10 Questions to ask when hiring a forklift
Whether you have hired a forklift before or this is the first time. Answer these questions to ensure you make the correct choice.
- What type of equipment are you looking to rent?
It’s fair to say forklifts come in many shapes, sizes and brand names. It’s, therefore, important that you fully explain the application the truck will be working in and what you want to achieve. The rental controller will be able to match up the right truck from the wide range of equipment available. These include:
– Diesel, LPG and Electric counterbalance forklifts
– Rough Terrain forklifts
– Heavy-duty lift trucks
– Narrow Aisle Forklifts
– Multi-directional forklift
– Access Platforms
– Reach Trucks
– Pallet Stackers
– Pallet Trucks
– Order Pickers
- How long will you be needing the truck for?
Most forklift leasing companies offer their vehicles on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, with the days hire cost reducing the longer you rent the truck for. It would be beneficial to thoroughly plan your work flow to keep the equipment moving for as many hours as you can, every single day it’s on-site. This can shorten the hire period.
- What load am I lifting?
To ensure you receive the right forklift for your needs, you will need to provide accurate information regarding the maximum sizes and weights of the loads you handle, together with the maximum lift height you require. If you are using a hydraulic or mechanical attachment mounted on the truck please also inform your rental controller as this will have an effect on the residual capacity of the truck, which will also require a Rating Plate for this attachment.
- On-site limitations?
The hiring company will also ask you about the width and height of the smallest door the machine will need to pass through. Be aware of any low headroom areas where the truck may need to operate. The last thing you want is a forklift coming off the back of the lorry and can’t get into your warehouse, wasting time and money on getting another truck delivered. Also, think about how wide your aisles are, as specialised narrow aisle equipment might be more sufficient.
- What fuel source is best?
Deciding between which fuel source is right for you comes down to which type of lift truck you decide to hire e.g.- Electric, Diesel or LPG.
Best for indoor use because they produce zero emissions. They typically provide enough power for one eight-hour shift depending on the battery size. Your forklift dealer will likely ask whether you already have a suitable charger. If not, you’ll need to factor in acquiring this capability.
LPG fork trucks
Versatile indoor/outdoor performers which are easier to refuel. Powered by propane makes them easy-to-run as you simply replace the canister when it runs out.
Diesel lift trucks
Typically used outdoors due to their exhaust fumes but can work infrequently inside if room is well ventilated. They also deliver the most power for strenuous jobs. Diesel forklifts are easier to refuel on the go.
- If I go electric, what charger do I need?
Electric forklifts, of course, require a battery charger for refuelling. All electric rental trucks, whatever the length of hire, are sent with a charger. It is useful to know when enquiring what phase charge comes into your building (single or 3 phase) so that the supplier can provide the appropriate charger. It is your responsibility to wire into the mains as the majority of forklift engineers are not qualified to do this.
- Is transport included?
Most forklift dealers will offer to deliver the machinery to your premises, and many prefer to do so because they are experienced at handling these bulky, heavy machines without damage. But be sure to contact a local forklift supplier because when delivering to longer distances, transport fees can fetch up to five times the amount of actually hiring the forklift itself.
- Should I be making any checks to the truck during the hire?
Whilst it’s the forklift company’s responsibility to ensure a truck is LOLERed, the customer also has a duty to check it’s been done. As well as conducting a thorough visual inspection every day before you use the truck, you will need to gain a clear understanding of your responsibilities to keep the machine running smoothly.
- Will you service the truck?
The majority forklift suppliers will offer to provide maintenance during the duration of the rental. If you call with a problem, they will typically send out a technician to determine whether it can be repaired on-site. If not, they will swap it out for a replacement vehicle. Make sure to ask your supplier whether they have local engineers in your area to help minimise downtime.
- Am I responsible for any damage?
Just like renting a car, you can be held liable to cover repair costs for any driver damage that may occur whilst the vehicle is under your care. However, the customer is typically not responsible for normal wear and tear. Make sure you have read the terms and conditions so you what you are liable for.