Cutting the cost of your construction forklifts

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Cutting the cost of your forklifts

Forklift trucks are used to transport materials and goods on pallets or packs, and are able to move them both horizontally and vertically. Since World War II when they were developed for the fast loading and unloading of aircraft, they have become an indispensable manufacturing and warehousing

Forklift trucks are designed for the fast and efficient mechanised movement and lifting to height and of palletised goods of all types. They are most suited to use on firm and level ground, and so are common in warehouses and on industrial sites, but they can be designed to operate in poorer conditions and so can be used on construction sites too.

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On construction sites, they are predominantly used as part of the materials and goods storage process, or for moving materials and goods to working areas - although the working height even of the largest and most specialised models does not exceed three storeys.

They may be powered by diesel or propane, petrol, LPG and even paraffin IC engines, or batteries. Battery power is more usual in enclosed spaces such as warehouses, or onboard vessels and in mines.

Forklift trucks range from manual machines designed for the movement of lightly loaded pallets at ground level to large devices which are capable of moving loaded shipping containers.

Low lift trucks

Unpowered low lift trucks are generally known as walkers and require the handle to be pumped to lift a pallet off a floor or deck.  Electric low lifters work in the same way, but use battery power to lift and move the load. Some low lift trucks may be operated by a person seated on the machine, but most will have the operator walking alongside.

Order picking trucks

Similar to a low lift truck except the operator either rides in a cage welded to the fork carriage or walks alongside, and transfers the load onto the pallet one article at a time by hand. This is an efficient way of picking less-than-pallet-load shipments and is most popular for use in very large distribution centres.

Straight mast forklift

These are the standard forklift to be found in service up and down the country - from manufacturers such as Kubota and Jungheinrich, and Hyster and Linde. They have a telescopic straight mast that extends vertically, typically with a maximum lift height of 6 metres, a maximum forward tilt of 3-degrees and a maximum backward tilt of 10-degrees. This type of forklift is usually capable of lifting 1.5 tonnes.

Telescopic boom forklift or reach truck 

This differs from the straight mast forklift in having a telescopic boom that is able to reach forwards 3.35m and has a maximum lift height of 8.5 m. The standard maximum load is 2 tonnes.


As their name suggests, side loaders operate by lifting loads from the side. This layout allows them to work in narrow aisles, and to handle long loads, giving the operator visibility of the load and a clear view of what's in front and behind. Where regular counterbalance forklifts may become unstable, the side loader fork truck specialises in easily handling long loads such as wood and pipe.

Container lifters

Compact fork trucks can be driven inside containers - but large forklifts are often used to move shipping containers. A high capacity forklift can also be used to lift and move empty and lightweight containers if the need arises, although there may be issues if this becomes standard practice. Although massive forklifts are able to lift heavy shipping containers, uneven container weight distribution can be dangerous, as the forklift typically lifts from a relatively short base at the centre of the container. The solution is to use a specially built forklift with a much wider than standard space between the forks and to take Health and Safety precautions at all times. Hyster are among the manufacturers which offer container handler forklifts as part of their standard range.

Specialised trucks

A variety of specialised trucks do exist. Some may have the forks replaced with a hook to deal with large sacked of sand or aggregate. Others may have sideways closing arms or ‘spoons’ for the movement of drums. Rotating heads, drum clamps, paper roll clamps, bale clamps and load stabilisers may all be used for particular load types.

Looking to fund equipment for your construction business?

Looking to fund equipment for your construction business?

Getting the fork truck that is right for you

With all the choices available with forklift trucks, it is fair to say that there will be a solution for any type of material handling need - including departures from the pallet system.

Choosing the truck that is right for you and your business will depend on many factors.

The terrain you operate on is one of the most important. The most basic forklift trucks need a smooth concrete or similar surface to operate safely. However, most manufacturers can provide wheel variations that will allow safe operation on uneven surfaces and bare earth - most suitable for construction and agricultural sites.

The second consideration may be the space available. Narrow aisle trucks are available, and several designs (such as the Flexitruck) are capable of extreme manoeuvrability, with front steer and all steer in place of the more usual rear steer.

Environmental considerations may also be important. Working in an enclosed space, in a warehouse or factory environment may dictate electric power, while LPG, petrol or diesel may offer greater power and longer work cycles.

Remember though that electrics may have the edge when it comes to reduced maintenance needs. 

Of course, the selection of the appropriate type of forklift truck will ultimately depend on considerations such as the load and lifting height required, and the operating and purchase costs.

Finance for your forklifts

You can’t afford to skimp on your forklifts. A worn machine soon becomes unreliable and - even worse - a liability for your business and a danger to your workers. Forklifts that have reached the end of their initial economic life may still have value and may be reconditioned - but it is rarely economic to rebuild your own trucks.

Fortunately, it is always easy to finance a forklift and get the benefits of increased performance and reliability from a new, or recent but pre-owned machine.

But where should you get that finance?

Your forklift dealer will be pleased to offer you various finance plans, but at Rangewell we know that this can be an expensive way to get the finance you need.  The simple fact is that the dealers will be happy to offer you a finance package to help seal the deal but the rates and terms are likely to benefit him rather than you.

We believe that you will almost always be better off negotiating the best price for cash financing your forklift yourself with funding from an independent lender.

We have found that the most appropriate approach is to use asset finance.

Whatever type of forklift equipment your business needs

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What exactly is asset finance?

Asset finance can be a more appropriate solution than a conventional business loan when you need any kind of business equipment. 

This is because with asset finance, the equipment - or assets - can provide security for the loan itself. If your business became unable to keep up the repayments on an asset finance deal, the lender would simply take the equipment to recover their costs, with no other risk to your business or property. This is simple to arrange for assets such as forklifts, which have a ready secondhand market and can always be sold on. 

The risk to the lender is reduced, so they can offer a reduced interest rate for the finance they provide, which means, in turn, a reduced monthly payment.

So you pay less with asset finance.

There are several types to choose from 

Hire Purchase – spreading the cost of buying a forklift

Hire purchase spreads the cost of buying an asset over time. You pay an initial deposit, followed by fixed monthly instalments for an agreed term, between 12 and 60 months.

HP can be a cost-effective solution for durable equipment you‘ll want to keep for long term service. An electric forklift could go on working for ten years after it was paid off, making HP a sound proposition - although it will mean capital costs and an upfront deposit.


Leasing can provide the forklifts you want without an upfront cost. It is another type of asset finance that allows you to rent your equipment rather than buy it. You simply pay a monthly rental charge to use the asset - with maintenance, repairs and registration all remaining the responsibility of the leasing company. This means you have a problem-free service - and the chance to arrange a new lease and a new machine when the arrangement comes to an end. 

Helping you save on your existing forklift

If you already have forklifts or other plant under a finance arrangement, we may be able to help you cut the cost you pay each month with a finance product known as Asset Refinance. We do this by helping you find a more competitive lender, allowing you to pay off the existing arrangement and start a fresh deal with a lower cost commitment. It could also mean a substantial reduction in your monthly outgoings.

With our contacts across the entire lending market, the chances are that we can find a better deal than the one you currently have.

An Asset Refinance agreement might also help you raise cash to use elsewhere in your business - in effect, releasing the investment you have already made in your existing plant and other assets. By using your forklifts as the security for a loan - in essence, selling them to the lender and buying them back - you can receive a cash lump sum which you will repay, again by using a straightforward asset finance deal. You can continue to use the equipment while you are repaying the lender.

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Why you need Rangewell to set up finance for your forklift needs

At Rangewell, we know the many different ways to fund your forklifts, excavators and any other heavy equipment your business needs.

We also know that getting the right type of finance for your business is essential to keep costs under control.

Many lenders offer asset finance – but their costs vary enormously. Not all types of deals may be suitable for all circumstances. Getting things wrong could mean you pay a great deal more for the equipment you need.

At Rangewell, our team includes asset finance experts. They work with you to understand your needs and help you find the most appropriate type of finance arrangement. Then they will help you find lenders who work in the heavy equipment sector and who can offer the most competitive deals.

Asset Finance is essential to spread the cost of the equipment you need. Our expertise is essential to get the asset finance that’s right for your business. When you call us, we can explain more about all the different asset finance options - helping you see which is the right choice for your heavy equipment needs.

Whatever your business, we will help you get the equipment you need, and get it working for you - as well as cutting the costs. 

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