Should You Buy or Rent a Forklift?   


November 16, 2022

Having the right equipment for your warehousing operation is essential for meeting productivity demands. Forklifts are crucial for warehouse efficiency, enabling operators to move high quantities of stock with minimal effort. When your warehouse needs an additional forklift to maximize its operations, you may wonder whether buying or renting is the right choice. 

Renting a forklift to fill a short-term need brings advantages and disadvantages compared with purchasing one for the long term. Whether you want to rent or buy a forklift in Ontario or Quebec, this guide will help you make the best choice for your business. 

What to Consider When Deciding to Rent or Buy a Forklift 

Several factors will impact your decision about buying or renting a forklift. In addition to the price of the equipment, your warehouse also has specific needs that affect your choice. Consider the following before making your decision: 

  • Budget: Your warehousing company’s budget is one of the most significant considerations in buying or renting a forklift. While used forklifts are typically cheaper than new equipment, renting might be a more budget-friendly option. Remember that upfront costs are only part of the expense of buying or renting a forklift — you may also be responsible for maintenance and storage expenses. 
  • Current warehousing operations: Consider your existing processes and what you need the forklift to accomplish. Your decision will differ if you need more forklifts for your fleet or support a short-term contract requiring additional use. 
  • Project types: Consider the type and length of projects your warehouse needs to complete in the short term and its plans for future projects. All of these factors will impact the type of forklift you need, which could affect your decision. 
  • Usage: A continual or immediate need might require buying a forklift, while a rental would likely fulfill less demanding requirements. 

Buying a Forklift 

Adding a new or used forklift to your fleet might be the best choice if your business needs the equipment long-term and is financially prepared to maintain it. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of buying a forklift in Quebec or Ontario:


Owning a forklift outright brings several benefits: 

  • Complete control over usage times: Buying a forklift permanently grows your fleet and warehousing capabilities. You won’t have to worry about usage limits — your operators can access the forklift whenever they need to. This flexibility can be crucial when working on multiple projects or when your warehouse experiences higher inventory volumes. 
  • Ideal for filling long-term needs: If you need a forklift for your operations for more than a few weeks a year, buying a piece of equipment will likely be more cost-efficient than renting in the long run. 
  • Less downtime: You can meet deadlines more effectively if you always have the equipment you need on hand. Having your forklift available when and where your operators need it creates less downtime for your operation. 
  • Tax deductions: Buying equipment for your warehousing company may also qualify you for tax deductions on the purchase and depreciate its cost over its lifetime. 
  • Resale value: Since your company owns the forklift, it can potentially resell it later and regain some of its investment. 



Buying a forklift could also bring a few disadvantages: 

  • Higher upfront cost: Buying a forklift is more expensive up front than renting the equipment — sometimes tens of thousands of dollars more expensive. The most expensive option is a new piece of equipment right off the assembly line with all the latest features and technology. While buying used can save money, it will still likely be more costly than renting, which your company typically pays for on an as-needed basis. 
  • Maintenance, insurance and storage expenses: When you purchase a forklift, you’ll also have to pay for storage, maintenance and repairs on the equipment over its lifetime. You may also need to pay for additional insurance for your operators. 

Renting a Forklift 

Renting a forklift in Ontario and Quebec might be your best option if you have a short-term need and a lower budget. Consider the pros and cons of renting a forklift:


Here are some of the most common benefits you can expect from renting a forklift: 

  • Lower cost: Renting a forklift is usually more affordable than buying one, making it ideal for warehousing businesses with lower budgets and limited access to credit. 
  • Ideal for short-term needs: Renting a forklift can be the best choice when you only need it for a couple of weeks to a month. If your warehouse is experiencing a busy period, renting enables you to fill your customers’ needs while minimizing your investment. 
  • No maintenance costs: Unexpected equipment failure can be costly. While you have to cover the cost of maintenance and repairs for the machines you own, forklift rental companies are responsible for ensuring their equipment is well-maintained. Some of these companies only use low-hour equipment in their rental fleet, so warehouses can be sure their rental forklifts are in good condition. 
  • Access to newer equipment: Renting can let you get a newer forklift model than you would be able to afford if you were purchasing, like forklifts with the most up-to-date safety features. Some equipment suppliers also let you try before you buy, so you know you’re getting the equipment you need. 


Renting a forklift could also bring some disadvantages: 

  • Restricted availability: Renting a forklift means accepting limited availability. A rental agreement will only give you a certain period to use the equipment, meaning you must complete your project within that time frame. Renting could also delay your project if you have to wait until the right equipment becomes available. 
  • Overuse fees: If your warehousing company uses the forklift past the agreed-upon date, you’ll likely have to pay overuse fees. Warehouse projects can be unpredictable, making it challenging for warehouse managers to budget for these fees. 
  • Maintenance fees: Suppliers typically roll maintenance fees into your rental payments. However, you’ll pay less over the rental period than you would if you owned the forklift and were solely responsible for handling unexpected repairs. 

Find Forklifts to Buy or Rent From YIT 

Find Forklifts to Buy or Rent From YIT

Whether you decide to buy or rent a forklift in Quebec or Ontario, let YIT help you meet your business goals. YIT offers Class 1-5 new, pre-owned and rental lift trucks to fit all budgets. Our award-winning products are innovative and high-quality, providing the durability and functions your warehouse needs to get the job done. 

Whether you need a new forklift to fill a permanent need or want a rental for a busy period, YIT has the quality equipment you can trust. Our technicians inspect and certify our rental forklifts and use only OEM parts in repairs, so we can guarantee their performance and give you peace of mind. Our wide range of new equipment and pre-owned forklifts delivers optimum performance for various operations. 

YIT is proud to be Ontario and Quebec’s one-stop shop for all your warehousing and material handling needs. To learn more about our line of forklifts, training courses and other products and services, fill out our online form.

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