A frank and open exchange of information with the supplier is by far the most important factor for businesses needing to temporarily boost their forklift fleet to cope with a surge in demand. Materials handling specialist Briggs Equipment has therefore come up with a simple five-point checklist to help those hiring in extra machines to get the right trucks for their job.
Allan Parsons, National Rental Manager at Briggs Equipment, says: "The more information you can provide when making the booking, the better. Only by knowing the full story and understanding exactly what it is you want to do, can your supplier arrange an appropriate machine at a competitive rate.
"An in-depth discussion at the outset will also help businesses avoid unplanned post-hire bills."
Briggs is advising businesses that want to hire a fork lift truck on a short-term contract, which can range from a single day up to 12 months, to consider the following:
- Be clear about the hours of operation as well as the hire period. A week's hire is 40 hours between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday. Use of the truck after 5pm or at weekends will incur additional cost. If you don't specify the timeframe accurately, an excess hours charge could apply and there will be a call out fee if the truck breaks down.
- Discuss the application, including where you plan to use the truck. Will it be working indoors or outside? Are there any restrictions on height in the work environment? Are the ground conditions likely to impact on tyre choice?
- Do you have enough drivers? If you will be using agency drivers, it is your responsibility to make sure they are properly qualified to operate the truck(s) you are hiring.
- Know your load. If, for example, the job involves handling shrink-wrapped, palletised goods clearly marked with their weight, a 2 tonne forklift will suffice. There is no benefit in paying more to hire a 3 tonne truck.
- Plan ahead. Booking early will improve your chances of getting the machine you want, while a longer hire period attracts a more favourable rate.
Businesses that hire trucks infrequently do not always understand what they are paying for and where their contractual obligations lie. The short-term rental team at Briggs Equipment always provides a breakdown of the hire package. Businesses pay for delivery to site and collection, a truck hire fee plus a charge for fuel/a spare battery (and battery charging bed if required). Breakdown support is included, but an extra charge will apply if assistance is required after 5pm or at weekends, unless this has been negotiated as part of the contract.
Hirers must make sure that their operators carry out daily machine checks and are also liable for maintenance/repairs due to damage. An excess hours fee will be levied if trucks are used outside the agreed timeframe.
Allan Parsons adds: "In the long run, it pays to work with a reputable supplier that can provide quality, modern forklift trucks that are certified in accordance with LOLER (the Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations) and have been safety checked and serviced properly before going out on hire.
"The last thing hirers want is for their short-term rental forklift to break down. If a driver is standing idle and can't get the work done, the knock on effect with potentially serious cost implications, can be highly damaging to their business."