I Need a Forklift: Should I Buy or Rent? - Part I
At a certain point, every business with a materials handling component (a warehouse, a shipping center, a production floor) will reach a critical turning point. When this milestone arrives, business owners will recognize the human power of their teams can’t measure up against the size, weight and bulk of the products and pallets that need to be moved from one area to another. At that point, shipping can’t keep pace with orders. Raw material (like dough) can’t reach the ovens or production line fast enough to keep the bakers busy. And the objects and orders that need to be moved have exceeded the capacities of those who are moving them (entire cases and cartons rather than single units).
When you reach this point, you need a forklift. But purchasing or renting a lift truck can mean adding a major line item to a lean budget, and in some cases, this single asset can dramatically shift your account books. How and when will such an item pay for itself? And more urgently: Should you buy your truck, or rent one and return it? Here are a few key reasons to rent. Next week, we’ll consider the benefits of buying.
Renting works best for short-term projects.
How long will the truck remain active in your possession? If you’re just struggling through a temporary surge in orders or a seasonal bump in activity, rent your lift truck. Otherwise you’ll be stuck with an expensive asset depreciating in the corner while you work to keep up with the payments. Don’t buy your truck until its presence is vital and its use is nearly constant.
Renting brings flexibility.
If you bring your lift truck into the workplace and find a mismatch between its abilities and your needs, renting simply means choosing a bigger truck next time. (Or smaller, or narrower, or more versatile, or one that uses a different fuel source.) If you buy, you’re locked into your choice.
Renting can validate your decision.
If you determine that a truck isn’t as vital as you thought, or the maintenance and safety concerns of using a lift truck are not worth the productivity benefits, renting allows you to change your mind with no strings attached. Maybe you only need a hand truck or pallet lifter, or a reorganization of the workplace. Renting a truck allows you to continue to search for other options.