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How Much Does it Cost to Lease a Forklift?

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Forklift Leasing Prices

Leasing a forklift is a good option for business owners who need the use of a lift truck for more than a year, but are not interested in sinking large amounts of capital into purchasing a machine. While forklift leasing provides the ultimate in flexibility by allowing you to return the equipment at any time, it also has the highest costs. Forklift leasing, also known as a long-term rental, may not be quite as open-ended as a short-term rental, but you still maintain considerable flexibility while keeping costs down. This buying guide outlines the basics of leasing a forklift and includes pricing information to help you start budgeting.

Reasons Why Leasing a Forklift Is Better Than Buying

Forklift leasing has a number of advantages over ownership, including:

  • Cost Effectiveness: Unless you need a forklift for 52 weeks a year indefinitely, spending $30,000 or so for a new machine just doesn't make sense. Whether you have seasonal business, a temporary increase in workload, or are taking on a special project with a definite endpoint, leasing a forklift is probably the way to go. And the money you save by leasing can be put into what matter most: growing the business.
  • Better Equipment: In addition to freeing up capital, leasing a forklift usually results in getting better equipment than you could afford to buy. Leasing new or almost new equipment ensures that you will have a quality machine that won't break down.
  • Fewer Responsibilities: With the purchase of a service or maintenance plan, if anything does go wrong with the leased forklift, the dealer will take care of it.

The Basics of Forklift Leasing

While leasing is cheaper than buying, it is still a considerable investment and should be thought over carefully. Some things to keep in mind before signing on the dotted line include:

  • Types of Forklift Leases: As a forklift lessee, you have two major options. The first is a "pure" or "true" lease, which is defined by a lease term such as 36 or 60 months. After this period the equipment is returned to the dealer. The other major leasing option is a capital lease, which is considered a purchase and often gives you the option to take ownership of the equipment when the lease term expires. Both types of leases have tax implications that should be discussed with an accountant.
  • Lease Duration: Have a clear understanding of how long you will be using the forklift so that you don't end up leasing it for longer than is necessary or cost-effective. If you want to retain ultimate flexibility by using a forklift for only a few days, weeks, or months, you may want to consider renting a forklift.
  • Forklift Capability: How heavy are the loads to be moved and how high do they need to go? Will special attachments be required? Is the machine going to be used indoors or outdoors? Make sure to do your homework and determine what type of forklift is required for the job, otherwise you could end up paying for too much machine or else leasing one that can't handle the job.

Average Forklift Lease Costs – Sample Prices

If lift truck leasing sounds like a good fit for your business, the information below will give you a better idea of how much it costs to lease a forklift. Keep in mind that regional prices can fluctuate significantly. Prices shown below are only meant to serve as a basic overview.

In many cases, the total cost of your lease will be based on the vehicle price and the length of the lease agreement.

  • A vehicle costing $10,000 can be leased for approximately $250-$350/month over 36 months or $200-$250/month over 60 months.
  • A forklift that retails for $20,000 costs roughly $550-$650/month over 36 months or $300-$400/month over 60 months to lease.
  • For a lift truck that costs $30,000, you might pay around $850-$950/month for 36 months or $550-$650/month for 60 months.

Actual forklift leasing prices paid by U.S. customers include:

  • $524 per month for 36 months (Washington DC)
  • $400 per month for 36 months (Chicago)
  • Delivery and pick up, if not included as part of your lease agreement, could cost an additional $50-$100 apiece.

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