Fork Lift Truck Rental: Deciding What Counts as Acceptable Wear and Tear
Forklift trucks represent a hefty investment and, for this reason, there is a healthy trade in renting or leasing them – not every company wants or needs their own permanent trucks, with all the extra costs that can incur. While rental or leasing can be an ideal solution for both the rental company and the customer, problems can occur when the truck is returned in less than perfect condition.
Wear and Tear?
There is a clear distinction that should be made between normal wear and tear over the rental period – however long that may be – and any damage caused by misuse, recklessness or neglect. In the first case, the rental company is the one to pick up the bill, and in the second it is the customer’s responsibility to enact the repairs to an acceptable standard, or to pay the costs of repair.
It is in the grey area between these two situations that disputes can easily arise, especially in the absence of an iron-clad contract, when neither the rental company nor the customer can agree who’s responsible for picking up the tab. These disputes can run into the thousands of pounds, and so it makes sense to clear up any scope for confusion before the rental is taken out.
To this end the Fork Lift Truck Association have produced a 32 page booklet clearly setting out what counts as acceptable wear and tear, and what doesn’t. Reference to this booklet in a rental agreement can protect the hire company from costly disputes and unwarranted repair bills, and will also leave the customer with a clear idea of their responsibilities.
While the full contents of the FLTA booklet are beyond the scope of this article, some of the commonsense suggestions it makes include:
- The contract should make it clear that only authorised users may operate the machine.
- The customer should be aware that minor faults and damage must be attended to ASAP and not allowed to deteriorate.
- Inspect the machine thoroughly before handover and record any signs of damage or wear (taking photographs if possible), and ensure both parties have a copy of the handover certificate.
- Ensure that there is a written rental greement in place, that both parties understand, before handover of the truck.
- The truck should be inspected daily and any signs of damage or wear properly noted.
- The truck should always be used only within the manufacturer’s guidelines, and the customer should have a copy of these guidelines.
The rental agreement should clearly set out who is responsible for what kind of repair or maintenance costs, and that the FLTA guide should be used for this purpose
Of course, the vast majority of fork lift truck rentals are carried out in good faith and end satisfactorily for both parties, but it’s in the interests of both the hire company and the customer to have a proper agreement in place beforehand which will close down the room for expensive disputes further down the line.