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Guide to Renting Industrial Lift Equipment

guide to renting industrial lift equipment

Working at height is one of the most common yet dangerous tasks on many job sites. Regardless if your business is new construction or renovation, building or equipment maintenance in a commercial or industrial setting, electrical contracting, warehousing, mining, aviation, shipping, tree trimming or even fruit picking, there will be a situation where you’ll have to elevate workers and materials to get a job done.

Getting that job done depends on having the right lift equipment available and having your workers know how to safely put it to use. With the vast array of industrial lift equipment available, it can be a hard decision as to what piece of lift equipment is best suited to a particular job.

Your site may be enclosed in the tight confines of a commercial building where noise, ventilation and overhead hazards affect other workers, slowing their tasks or even preventing them from working while a lift is in progress. You might need to move material outdoors on rough terrain and on steep inclines. Or, you might have a peculiar application where the task-at-hand sits on a face that can only be reached by extending a boom over hazardous space.

There are so many different applications where industrial lift equipment is required that it’s impossible to list each scenario. The need for an industrial lift is sure to be as individual as your business and as specialized as the work you’re about to do. In the industrial lift equipment business, there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. That’s why full-service lift suppliers like Access Lift Equipment keep so many different types of industrial lift equipment in inventory.

Choosing to Rent Industrial Lift Equipment

Choosing lift equipment can be confusing, if not overwhelming, for many business owners like you or your site supervisors. Companies that use industrial lift equipment have two acquisition options, and it can be a difficult decision for the uninformed or inexperienced. Buying industrial lift equipment is one procurement avenue, but ownership of expensive lift equipment does have its drawbacks. Renting industrial lift equipment is often your better choice for economical and efficient performance.

Renting allows greater flexibility in the selection, servicing and swapping out of equipment as their part in the project is fulfilled or the parameters change. This often happens on construction sites where lift requirements progress as each stage morphs into the next. Where a twenty-foot reach was sufficient in the start-up phase, now you’re faced with three times the height and growing. You’ve outgrown that smaller lift you bought at the beginning of the job or you’ve grown your site where movement of materials simply can no longer be done by a machine with limited reach and capacity.

Instead of being stuck with inadequate lift equipment that needs to be replaced and then facing a costly loss from depreciation, ask yourself in the beginning if you’re better off renting lift equipment than buying. It’s all about return on investment, and that can be a complicated analysis unless you’re familiar with the different types of industrial lift equipment available. This includes lifts offered for sale on the new and used market as well as what’s available for short- or long-term rentals.

Getting professional advice from an industrial lift equipment dealer like Access Lift Equipment should be your first step in the rent vs. buy lift equipment decision process. Turning to a team of highly-trained and skilled technicians is the logical approach to sorting through the many options and benefits that each piece of lift equipment offers.

rent vs buy lift equipment

Access Lift Equipment is both a dealer of industrial lift equipment for sale and a supplier of rental lift equipment. We are in the best position to know what your job requirements are and what piece of lift equipment will serve you best. We’re also in the best position to advise you if buying is the right move or if it’s better to rent the exact lift equipment for your job.

In choosing lift equipment rentals, knowledgeable and helpful professionals will first explain the different types of industrial lift equipment available so you can make an informed choice on what’s best for your application. After that, you’ll be in the best position to make an informed decision about whether you’re better off to rent vs. buy lift equipment.

Here is a look at the three basic types of industrial lift equipment. The first is scissor lifts, which are suitable for flat surfaces where workers need to be raised in vertical lines. Next are boom lifts, where workers and small amounts of material have to access difficult, elevated horizontal positions. Finally, there are telehandler lifts that are used to hoist heavy and bulky goods into tough places.

You’ll soon see that no matter what your job requires, one of these pieces of industrial lift equipment will be just right for your needs — at just the right time for your business. From there you can decide if purchasing is the right road in acquiring industrial lift equipment or like in most cases, your return on investment is going to be greater by renting industrial lift equipment.

Scissor Lifts

Scissor lifts are the most basic form of industrial lift equipment. The “scissor” name comes from its extension mechanism that opens vertically in an accordion-style between the base and the work platform. This forms a series of compressed “X-shaped” frames that hinge, allowing the mechanism to unfold and straighten out as the lift is increased and the work platform is raised to the height it’s needed.

Scissor lifts provide the greatest stability and safety of all industrial lift equipment. They have heavy and sturdy bases that serve as reliable anchors, allowing the operator to drive the scissor lift even while the scissors are extended. Scissor lifts are intended to be mobile work platforms and are used more for elevating workers and small amounts of materials rather than being heavy-duty material movers.

Scissor lifts are controlled by the operator who is contained inside safety railings on the work platform. They are designed to be used on flat surfaces like warehouse floors or parking lots and can be driven about while extended. Scissor lifts can extend to a variety of heights, with rough terrain models able to get up to 150 ft. The lifting capacity of the largest scissor lifts can exceed 1,500 pounds.

rent vs buy scissor lifts

The radius of an entire scissor lift doesn’t extend beyond the work platform’s footprint. This lets them store compactly. Scissor lifts perform well in tight spaces and are easily maneuvered within tight wheelbases as small as two and a half feet. Working platforms on scissor lifts are very stable and present little sway, bounce or jar. This gives workers a strong sense of security and makes scissor lifts popular in many applications.

Scissor lifts are built differently for indoor and outdoor applications. Outdoor models have rugged, inflatable tires and often have stabilizers that extend to improve balance on uneven ground. Being used outdoors allows for fuels like gasoline or diesel that produce more power than electricity but require extensive ventilation.

Indoor scissor lifts are designed for flat concrete or finished surfaces. They have hard, non-marking tires similar to warehouse forklifts and are usually electric or propane powered. Due to noise and emission considerations, most indoor scissor lifts are rechargeable electric or occasionally hybrid powered.

The most important considerations in selecting a scissor lift are the location it’s to be used, the lift height required and the capacity of the working platform size. Genie and JLG brands are the most popular rental scissor lifts.

Boom Lifts

Boom lifts are the most versatile of all the industrial lift equipment available. They’re commonly known as “cherry-pickers” or “man lifts” and come in a wide range of sizes. This includes the vertical and horizontal reach of the boom, the weight capacity of the lift and the size of the work platform or “basket.”

A boom lift primarily differs from a scissor lift in that the design of the boom allows the lift to reach horizontally as well as vertically, whereas a scissor lift is restricted to a vertical extension only. Further, boom lifts can be operated over much more uneven ground, including sloped surfaces. This extends workers across hazardous ground conditions and places them against vertical-faced surfaces that are impossible to reach practically with ladders or scaffolding.

The “boom” is an extending or telescoping arm that extends from 10 feet to as long as 180 feet, depending on the model’s capacity. A major advantage of a boom lift is they allow for a full 360-degree field of rotation. Like a scissor lift, a boom lift is controlled by the operator who’s contained on a secured work platform or “basket.”

rent vs buy boom lift

The greatest benefit of boom lifts over scissor lifts are their range of motion and versatility. Due to the complexity, boom lifts are more expensive to purchase than scissor lifts. Like scissor lifts, though, JLG and Genie brands are the most common.

Most boom lifts are designed to be self-driving. They’re built on a heavy chassis that has a built-in ballast acting as a counterweight to offset and balance the boom. The four tires are pneumatic and heavily-treaded to work in all conditions. The operator-driven mobility lets the boom lift be easily transported about the jobsite, but it must be loaded on a trailer for trips between longer distance.

A major component on boom lifts is the design and application of the boom itself. The simplest booms are telescoping, where they can be extended in a straight line from the central boom mast. This provides a steady and solid extension and allows workers to reach their work area in one continuous path.

More advanced designs of boom lifts allow the boom to articulate or unfold in layers and turn into positions that let the boom transport workers into hard-to-reach positions and maneuver about obstacles including dangerous hazards like electrical installments and exhaust ventilation devices. Articulating booms are considerably more expensive than the simpler telescoping arms. Articulating booms also sacrifice height for their articulation.

Telehandler Lifts

While scissor and boom lifts specialize in moving workers and small amounts of their materials up to elevated work areas, telehandlers are designed to lift material only into high and hard-to-reach locations. Also, telehandlers are designed to be driven by operators who remain in a control position at the base of the machine and direct upward lifts. The other two main types of industrial lift equipment are controlled by operators who ride with the extension of the work platform.

Telehandlers are commonly called rough terrain forklifts and are used in outdoor industrial or construction projects. They feature large wheels on a heavy chassis with an operator’s cab containing all control functions. Lifting is done by heavy-duty, telescoping booms that can be equipped with different attachments like forks, buckets, hooks and worker platforms. They range in size from small units having 1,500-pound capacities up to huge machines capable of lifting over 10,000 pounds.

Telehandler lifts are more difficult to move than scissor and boom lifts. Their size requires ample turning room, and their nature of design makes them limited in boom function. Telehandler lifts must be lined-up by the operator and steered into position rather than being manipulated while raising or lowering the lift. Most models of telehandlers have dual-axle steering that allows all four wheels to turn, increasing the turning radius.

Telehandlers are expensive industrial lifts that serve a heavy-duty application. Sizing of a telehandler is extremely important to ensure it’s the right machine for the job. As they operate much like other pieces of heavy machinery, proper operator training is a must. Professional advice from an industrial lift supplier is crucial in selecting your best-suited telehandler from among top brands like JLG, Genie, Gradall, JCB and Sky Trak.

Renting Industrial Lift Equipment

Making the decision to rent vs. buy a scissor lift, boom lift or telehandler is much easier when you weigh the advantages of renting over buying industrial lift equipment. When you’re in the market for a reliable piece of lifting equipment, our professionals at Access Lift Equipment will be pleased to help you select the right lift for your work site as well as to discuss the following factors to consider before making a rent or buy decision:

  • Financial Position: Consider whether you’re in a position to spend cash on hand or extend borrowing capital. Making short-term daily, weekly or monthly rental payments may be far more practical than making a capital purchase.
  • Frequency of Use: Consider the lift’s expected work schedule. If it’s only needed for short, intermittent periods, then renting is a better option.
  • Overall Length of Use: Again, renting is a preferred acquisition option when the long-term need for a lift has a specific end and the machine is no longer required.
  • Required Lead Time: In variable situations where circumstances change with limited warning, purchasing an industrial lift limits the wide range of uses that renting various sizes and applications of lifts allow. Rental equipment lends well to short lead times when time doesn’t allow shopping for the best deal.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Rental suppliers, like Access Lift Equipment, keep machinery in top condition and continue a scheduled maintenance program while you’re in a rental contract. Ownership puts the maintenance burden on the equipment owner, including the downtime and the labor and material expenses.
  • Flexibility in Exchange: Renting lift equipment allows for easy and timely exchange of lifts as a project’s needs change. Owning equipment restricts expansion of inventory without time-consuming and costly resale and repurchase.
  • Changing Technology: Rental suppliers keep the latest and most technically advanced machinery in stock, ensuring you benefit from the latest, most economical and safest lift equipment.
  • Opportunity for Extensive Choice: Given the expensive models and types of lift equipment available, renting a machine gives you the opportunity to choose the exact lift piece suitable for your needs rather than compromising on a purchasing a general-purpose lift.
  • Eliminate Long-Term Storage: Lift equipment can be bulky machinery that takes up valuable space when not needed. Renting lift equipment is the perfect long-term storage solution.
  • Lack of Incurred Depreciation: Owning lift equipment amounts for a capital investment that becomes a company asset. Depreciation may be tax-deductible, but it may be a poor choice of return on investment if the equipment is only needed for a limited time. Renting lift equipment puts the depreciation burden on the rental supplier.

choosing lift equipment rental

As a local dealer serving Carlisle, PA, Hagerstown, MD and surrounding regions, we at Access Lift Equipment understand your need for fast lift equipment rentals at a competitive rate. You’re sure to find the right scissor lift, towable boom lift or telehandler rental among our extensive inventory of Genie, JLG, Lull and Sky Trak industrial lifts.

Choosing lift equipment rental products is easy with help from our experienced staff. Besides the excellent range of lifts to supply you with exactly the right piece for your workplace, we offer flexible daily, weekly, monthly and long-term contracts to ensure you only pay for the equipment you require when it’s in use.

If you’re asking, “What lift should I rent?” make sure to check out our rental inventory and browse our selection of scissor, boom and telehandler industrial lifts available for your next project. If you have any questions about what equipment is best for your needs, contact us today.

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