• Is it Better to Rent or Buy a Forklift?



    Warehouse management can be an unpredictable business, requiring a constant juggling act between supply, demand and inventory. When one of those factors changes dramatically, managers must adjust quickly or risk the whole operation shutting down. Fleet lifecycle management is a critical part of maintaining that balance. When your operation's demands change, is it better to rent or buy a forklift? When weighing the true nature of forklift prices, there are benefits to both.

    Benefits of renting a forklift:

    • It can be more cost-effective to rent a forklift if your business is seasonal. Rentals are also handy for special inventory counts or unexpected needs, such as a warehouse move.
    • Maintenance and service is included in the rental fee, so you don't incur expensive, unexpected repair costs if a forklift breaks down.
    • Likewise, there is no need to employ in-house mechanics, as the rental dealer takes care of all maintenance and service.
    • From a tax accounting standpoint, it can be simpler to use forklift rentals as an operational expense versus trying to discern the depreciation of a purchased asset.
    • It's easier for businesses with less credit to rent than buy.
    • There is a better chance that you will get newer equipment complete with the latest technology. Rental equipment from reputable dealers, like MH Equipment, will also be compliant with safety and emissions standards.

    When it's better to buy a forklift:

    • If you have special lift needs or any unique warehouse spaces such as doorways or tunnels that require custom machinery, the long-term cost of buying may be wiser.
    • Should your business already employ an in-house maintenance technician, you can perform the maintenance in-house instead of waiting for the dealer.
    • Likewise, you may not want to be at the mercy of rental companies' availability at all, particularly if there aren't any dealers close by.
    • If your workflow is predictable and steady, the investment in a purchased forklift may not be a risky move. You can’t completely predict the future, of course, but historical behavior should be considered.
    • Perhaps you have regular, albeit light, forklift needs; most forklifts can last quite a long time before they need extensive service and repair.
    • There is often a desire of operators to be comfortable with the machinery versus needing to familiarize themselves with a revolving door of different forklift brands.


    As with any business decision, it generally boils down to selecting the option with the greatest benefit at the lowest overall cost. When making a cost comparison, multiply the cost of a rental by the time for which you need it and compare that to the amortization cost of buying a forklift. Additionally, you will want to consider how much credit you have and if using your credit to make capital equipment purchases is the best use of your working capital.

    Whether you decide to rent or buy a forklift for sale, MH Equipment can help you find the right forklift for your warehouse needs. As an authorized Hyster and Yale forklift dealer, we provide the most trusted brands in the industry and offer ongoing support for service, training, maintenance, and service. In fact, half of our entire workforce is made up of experienced technicians.

    With 27 locations across 10 states, MH Equipment offers convenient access for rentals and repair. We will drop off and pick up your fleet rentals, and you can trust that your forklift rental will be well-maintained and reliable.

    Contact us today for help determining whether buying or renting is the right choice for your business.

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