How to Determine Whether You Should Rent or Buy a Forklift

forklift safetyMany employers who are starting out in the construction industry envision themselves buying brand new equipment. Owning your own gear as an employer can be rewarding, but you might think twice about a buy when you take a look at the massive bills that come with buying.

While leasing or renting a used forklift might not seem like an incredibly attractive option, it’s often the only option for employers who are just getting started running their own sites. Your forklift-certified employees deserve to be in a safe forklift, and you deserve to get the kind of forklift you need for your business at a reasonable cost. (FLC) offers affordable, OSHA-compliant training and certification for your entire fleet. So whether you rent or buy a forklift, we’re here with all the safety training you need!

Some of the common questions we receive about the purchase – rental dynamic include:

Can you rent a forklift any time of the year?

How much does it cost to rent a forklift?

I’d like to rent a forklift for a day. What’s the best option?

Do rental lifts require the same level of training as owned forklift?

And many more


Whether you want to rent a forklift for a day, or buy a new or used one outright, each situation has its own pros and cons. Finding the right fit for you might hinge on whether your old forklift is ready to be scrapped, the type of job involved and many other factors.

Renting a refurbished forklift


  • Low-cost upfront
  • Maintenance is often done by the rental company
  • No need for a high credit limit; when you can rent a forklift instead of buying one, there’s no need to tie up a large credit line.
  • Can easily rent a newer model when you want an upgrade
  • Great option for forklifts that are used on occasion
  • Ideal for short-term solutions; many companies rent a forklift for just a day
  • Smart option to limit expenses during slower working periods
  • Technology availability – when you need to rent a forklift for a day, you can rent one with the latest safety technology.
  • Convenience factor – equipment is delivered to your site, so no worries about transport.


  • Might be paying more each payment period compared to buying, without any promise of resale value
  • The cost per pay period may exceed the cost to buy if you would be using the forklifts frequently

Buying a refurbished forklift


  • May save money month-to-month
  • May be a good option for forklifts that are used every day
  • Buying a specialty lift for certain tasks (for example, a lift that’s used to stack shipping containers) can save time and money in the long run.
  • Better fit for established companies with plenty of work; buying simply makes more sense instead of asking how much does it cost to rent a forklift.


  • Higher upfront costs. The answer to how much does it cost to rent a forklift is much lower than buying a new or used lift. 
  • You will be responsible for all maintenance and repair costs
  • May not see return on investment.

For companies concerned about up-front costs, the concern about how much does it cost to rent a forklift on an hourly or daily basis can outweigh the significant expense associated with a forklift purchase. 

Plus, not only can you rent a forklift for any specified time to fit your requirements, but other potential issues are taken care of from the start. For example, the rental company will likely provide replacements and repairs free of charge. This leaves you with less worry and less money flying out of your pocket.

Once you figure out what works for you and what doesn’t, you can make the decision to buy used forklifts for sale.

What Should You Look for in a Forklift?

Finding the right forklift comes down to safety and cost. Take some time to think about what components and capabilities are most important to you and the work you’ll be doing. Will you be working indoors in a warehouse and need lifts that can accommodate narrow aisles, or will you be working outdoors on rough terrain? Make a list of your needs and you’ll narrow down your options.

Safety Features

It’s really important to make sure you go through a rigorous model checklist for any model of forklift you’re considering. Forklift certified employees require maximum safety, so make a list of the types of things you’d like to see safety-wise in a forklift.

If you decide to rent a refurbished forklift, you can present your safety checklist to the dealer and view different types of forklifts that would work for you. Explain that you’re a new business owner and use the experience you have from previous forklift jobs to determine what will best suit your needs.


You don’t have to invest in a new forklift immediately. Trying out different models of used forklifts for sale is a smart choice before settling down with any one decision. A new company owner has so much to worry about. Between hiring employees and getting contracts, you probably don’t have time to go out yourself and test every model of forklift out there until you find one that works for you.

Accessories & Attachments

From fork extensions to hoisting hooks and more, it helps to do some upfront research and see if your forklift rental or purchase is compatible with specific accessories. Find out which accessories & attachments make sense for your workplace, and verify they can be integrated with your lift

Forklift Certification and Training For Either Option You Choose

While the rent vs buy debate may never be truly settled, there’s always a compromise to consider. Some companies offer a rent-to-own scenario where you’d rent a forklift (for a day, month, or other specified time), then transition to buy the equipment once you’ve satisfied the rental terms. Remember that safety standards are set by OSHA, so it’s important to ensure that whatever machine you rent – or used forklifts for sale that you buy – should meet the minimum safety mandates OSHA sets out.

A rental agency should be able to prove that the refurbished forklift you’re renting meets these requirements, but it’s always good to check the machine over yourself before it’s driven onto your lot. Whether you rent or buy a forklift, you should ensure your training and certification always meet OSHA requirements.

If you need forklift training for your employees, choose the convenient online training from Our online program is accessible 24/7 from any device with an internet connection and is self-paced. Call us today at (888) 278-8896 and keep it easy and affordable with FLC.

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