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How to Rent a Forklift

If you've ever wondered how to rent a forklift, we've got your answers.
How to Rent a Forklift

Do you need a forklift but don’t currently have one? Maybe you’ve received an unexpected shipment to your business – and it’s too heavy to unload by hand. Perhaps you own a forklift, but it’s down for repairs. Maybe you’re just starting a business and you need a forklift now.

Whatever your situation is, if you’ve never rented a forklift before, you probably have some questions. Fortunately, this post will give you all the information you need to make an informed decision:

Are You Certified?

Before you move forward with getting a rental, you need to know that not just anyone can hop on a forklift and start using it. There are government regulations that govern what’s required of forklift drivers before they can operate a lift truck.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines exactly what those requirements are. Basically, an operator must receive three things before they can legally operate a forklift:

  1. Classroom instruction
  2. Hands-on training and a performance evaluation
  3. Certification

So, who will you have operating the forklift and do they have the required qualifications? If not, you’ll need to make sure that they get their forklift license first.

Choosing a Forklift that Meets Your Needs

Not all forklifts are the same. There are hundreds of different types of lift trucks spread across seven different classes. Deciding on the right truck for your application requires a bit of thought beforehand. Let’s review some of the top factors to consider so you can narrow down the right truck for your needs:

Operating Environment

The first question you should ask yourself is, “Where am I going to use the truck?” Depending on whether you’ll be indoors or outdoors, you’ll need a certain type of truck with a certain set of tires. The two most common types are cushion tires (for indoor use on flat, even ground) and pneumatic tires (for outdoor use on rough terrain).

Weight to Lift

The next question you should ask is, “How much weight do I need to lift?” Forklifts can range in lifting capacity from 2,500 lbs. to 100,000 lbs. or more, with the most common size being 5,000 lbs. Usually, the higher the lifting capacity, the higher the price. Be sure you’re not overspending by renting a truck whose lifting capacity far exceeds your needs.

Height to Lift

Next, you should be clear on how high you need to lift your load. If you just need to lift a pallet off a semi-trailer, you shouldn’t need anything fancy. But if you’re trying to reach 30-foot tall racking inside a warehouse, you’ll need a specialized truck with a mast that can reach that high. Be aware that the higher a truck can lift, the taller the truck will be. So you must take note of the height of any doorways in your facility that you need to fit through. You don’t want to have a rude (and expensive) surprise when you try to get the lift into your facility and find that it doesn’t fit.

Fuel Type

Finally, you should give some thought to the fuel type that’s acceptable for use in your facility. For example, if you’ll be working in a food production setting, you’ll pretty much be limited to an electric forklift. But if you’re outside, say in a lumberyard, you may have fewer restrictions. If you do plan to rent an electric truck for any longer than a day, you’ll also need to hire an electrician to wire the truck’s charger into your facility. Rental companies generally won’t do that for you, for liability reasons.

How Much It Costs to Rent a Forklift

Overall, you can expect to pay anywhere from $225 to $800 per day for a forklift rental. The good news is that, depending on how long you need to rent the forklift for, you’ll likely get a price break (i.e. the longer you rent, the lower the rate).

If those rates seem high, you should also be aware that rental companies typically cover forklift maintenance. So you won’t be on the hook for any mechanical problems or repairs (unless of course, you caused them!).

How to Find a Forklift Rental Company

When looking for a forklift rental company, a good place to start is with whom you already know. Do you have colleagues or other professional contacts who regularly rent forklifts and could direct you to a reputable company?

Another option is to search online. Google “forklift rental near me,” or “forklift rental + your city” to find a local company. Or, just search “forklift rental” to get a list of national rental houses. You can also use to find equipment dealers from whom you can rent.

When you find a company, you’ll need to give your basic business information, provide a payment method, and sign a delivery contract. Simple!


Renting a forklift may seem a little intimidating if you’ve never done it before. However, it’s actually a pretty simple process. Just use this article as a guide to ensure you consider all the most important factors. Then, reach out to a rental company, and you’ll have the right forklift for your needs on premise in no time. Good luck!

Author: Alex Hilke is a writer with Conger Industries, a material handling dealership and service center headquartered in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


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One Response

  1. Thanks for the reminder that I should consider the certifications when choosing a forklift rental company. I’m interested in finding one soon because it might be helpful for the home extension project that I will be having in my property soon. A lot of debris will have to be handled after that so it would be best to use a forklift for that.

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