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Forklift Purchasing Options: Buy, Rent, or Lease?

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Posted: March 28, 2018
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Deciding which material handling provider and equipment you want to go with can be a difficult and drawn out process. Determining what purchasing method to use to procure that equipment, however, doesn’t have to be. Buying, renting, and leasing forklifts all have their own unique advantages. The points outlined in this article will help identify which method is best for your operation so that you can get those forklifts on order as soon as possible.

Advantages of Buying a Forklift

  1. Return on Investment – This is the only option that will allow you to resale the forklift, which can be a valuable way to increase your return on investment depending on the residual value of the forklift and how well it is maintained. Purchasing forklifts is generally provided a better return on investment compared to long-term rentals since rental fees are higher than monthly financing costs.
  2. Customization – Buying a forklift means you have ownership of it, similar to owning a car. This allows you to make more modifications to the forklift than you could with a rented or leased vehicle. Ordering a new forklift allows you to customize it with factory-installed options tailored for your application.
  3. Tax Deduction – Forklifts that are purchased can be eligible for tax deductions, unlike rented or leased vehicles.
  4. Liability – Rental and lease vehicles must be returned after a set period of time and are expected to be in a reasonable condition based on the verbiage in your contract. Purchased vehicles are yours to keep, so cosmetic damage isn’t as much of a concern.

Advantages of Renting a Forklift

  1. Seasonality – Renting additional forklifts only as needed for seasonal purposes can be a great economic way to have additional equipment only during the times that you need it.
  2. No Long Term Commitment – Since rentals are usually paid for on a month-to-month basis, you have the ability to return the forklift or swap it out for a different one from your dealer’s stock.
  3. Short Lead Times – Most forklift dealerships have ample stock of a variety of material handling equipment, so you don’t have to wait for a new forklift to be built and shipped to you from the factory.
  4. No Financing Required – Renting forklifts requires no capital financing, eliminating an extra step in the approval process.
  5. Reduced Maintenance Costs – Planned maintenance is generally built into the rental contract, meaning any time your forklift is down due to normal wear and tear, a technician will come to repair it at no added cost.

Advantages of Leasing a Forklift

  1. Predetermined Replacement Cycle – Leasing allows you to set the number of years for the term of the lease based on your operation’s needs. Shorter leases tend to work better for companies that want to be more fluid and for high-cycle, high-throughput applications that will put more wear and tear on the forklifts more quickly.
  2. Lower Monthly Costs – Leasing offers lower monthly payments compared to buying or renting, allowing you to pocket more cash on a monthly basis.
  3. Less Paperwork – Owning a forklift or fleet of forklifts requires additional paperwork and fleet management duties than leasing does.
  4. Latest Models and Features – Leasing allows you to keep a rotating stock of new forklifts in your fleet so that you can utilize the latest and greatest models and technology. Similar to purchasing, these models can also be custom-built for your application.
  5. Flexibility – When the terms of the lease are up, you can make adjustments as needed to increase or decrease your fleet size, change the product mix, modify lease terms, and more to fit your constantly changing needs.

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