Forklift Finance

Forklift Finance

Sunday 18th February | 14 minute read

Forklift finance is a financial arrangement that enables businesses to acquire (purchase or lease) forklift trucks.

Forklifts (material handlers) are essential equipment in warehousing, manufacturing, and logistics, and whether autonomous or manually operated, they represent a significant investment. Forklift finance encompasses Hire Purchase, Loans, Leasing, Finance Lease and Operating Lease.

Our Forklift Finance service

We arrange forklift finance across a range of industries and help you acquire the following:

  • Forklift truck finance from £50,000.
  • Loan, lease & hire purchase options.
  • Repayment periods match the economic asset life.
  • Finance is available on new and used assets.
  • There is no asset age limit.
  • Refinance existing assets to free up your company's liquid capital.
  • Property finance options for land and farm buildings,
    including conversions and refurbishments.
  • Market-leading rates.
  • Available to companies in & England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Examples of Forklift Truck Finance

Finance is available for many types of forklifts, enabling businesses to spread the acquisition cost over time. Typical examples include:

  • Internal Combustion Pneumatic Tyre.
  • Internal Combustion Trucks Cushion Tyre.
  • High Capacity Forklift Trucks.
  • Container Handlers.
  • 3 Wheel Electric Forklift Trucks.
  • 4 Wheel Electric Forklift Trucks.
  • Pallet Trucks.
  • Pallet Stackers.
  • Tow Tractors.
  • Reach Trucks.
  • Order Pickers.

Our Forklift Finance Options

The Benefits of Forklift Finance for Your Business

Forklift Finance can bring tangible benefits to any business that needs to access a new asset but doesn't want to use its cash reserves. Here are the top 7 reasons why companies use it.

  • Maintain cash flow
  • Access to tax relief
  • Acquire assets quickly 
  • Gain flexibility to upgrade or replace assets
  • Risk protection against fluctuations in asset prices
  • Affordable payment terms
  • Protect lines of credit and cash reserves

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Forklift Truck Finance

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2024 Forklift Finance Guide

Forklift finance is a strategic solution for businesses needing to acquire forklifts, essential in warehousing, manufacturing, and logistics, without the financial burden of an outright purchase. This financing approach encompasses options like Hire Purchase, Loans, Leasing, Finance Lease, and Operating Lease, tailored to suit different operational and financial requirements.

This Forklift Finance Guide delves into these options, offering insights into how businesses can leverage financing to enhance operational efficiency, manage cash flow, and maintain financial flexibility. From autonomous robotic forklifts to traditional counterbalance models, financing offers a pathway to access the necessary equipment across various industries, ensuring businesses can meet their material handling needs efficiently and cost-effectively.

What is Forklift Finance?

Forklift finance refers to a range of financial products designed to help businesses acquire forklifts without paying the full purchase price upfront.

Forklifts, being essential equipment in warehousing, manufacturing, and logistics, represent a significant investment. Financing options allow companies to manage their cash flow more effectively while still being able to invest in necessary material-handling equipment. The main types of forklift finance include Leasing, Hire Purchase, Loans, Operating Leases and Finance Leases. Let's take a look at each in more detail.

Forklift Truck Leasing

This is a popular option where a company pays to use a forklift for a specified period. At the end of the lease term, the business can choose to return the forklift, renew the lease, or sometimes purchase the forklift at a residual value. Leasing benefits companies wanting to avoid obsolescence, making upgrading to newer models easier.

Forklift Hire Purchase (HP)

Under this arrangement, the company makes payments over time and eventually owns the forklift outright. This suits businesses that prefer ownership but want to spread the cost over time.

Forklift Loans

Some companies opt to take out a loan to purchase a forklift directly. This means the company owns the equipment from the outset and pays back the loan amount plus interest over a period.

Operating Lease For Forklifts

Similar to leasing, but typically for a shorter period and often with maintenance and service included in the lease agreement. This option can be more flexible than traditional leases and might be cheaper in the short term.

Forklift Finance Lease

A finance lease is a full-payout, non-cancelable agreement wherein the lessee is responsible for maintaining the equipment and bears the risk of obsolescence. The lessee can record the equipment as an asset and the lease as a liability, benefiting from tax deductions.

Each financial product has advantages and considerations, depending on the business's needs and financial situation. Factors such as the length of time the equipment is needed, budget, tax implications, and the company's financial health will influence the choice of financing option. Forklift finance allows companies to preserve working capital, gain tax benefits in some cases, and align with business growth strategies without the heavy burden of outright purchase costs.

What types of forklifts can be financed?

Any new or used forklift can be financed. Forklifts are essential equipment in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and various industrial sectors for moving heavy and bulky materials, either manually operated or fully autonomous. Several forklift types are designed for specific tasks, environments, and material handling requirements. 

Counterbalance Forklifts

These are the most common types of forklifts. They have forks at the front and a counterweight at the back to balance the load. They are versatile and can be used in a wide range of applications, both indoors and outdoors.

Reach Trucks

For warehouse operations, reach trucks have two outer legs that distribute the load weight and a set of wheels under the operator's seating area. They can lift loads to great heights and are ideal for narrow aisle storage.

Pallet Jacks (Pallet Trucks)

These are the simplest forklifts designed to move pallets a short distance. They can be manual or powered and are known for their manoeuvrability in tight spaces.

Order Pickers

Order picker forklifts are designed for warehouses where items must be picked and assembled for shipping. Operators can drive them to the location of the goods, which can be picked directly from the shelves.

Rough Terrain Forklifts

These forklifts are designed for outdoor work on uneven surfaces. They have large, pneumatic tyres and a powerful engine, making them suitable for construction sites, lumber yards, and other outdoor applications.

Telescopic Handler Forklifts (Telehandlers)

Telehandlers have a boom and extendable arm, making them a combination of a crane and forklift. They are used for jobs where reach is important, such as agriculture and construction for lifting materials to high places.


Stackers are designed for stacking pallets at heights. They are available in walk-behind and ride-on models, making them suitable for various warehousing tasks.

Side Loaders

These forklifts are designed to load and unload materials from the side, making them ideal for handling long loads like timber and pipes. They are commonly used in manufacturing and warehousing.

Container Handlers

Specifically designed for handling shipping containers, these forklifts have massive lifting capacities and can stack containers several high.

Each type of forklift offers unique advantages depending on the operation's specific requirements, such as the weight of materials to be lifted, the height to which those materials need to be lifted, the terrain of the operating environment, and space constraints within the work area.


These forklifts are powered by electric motors and are known for their quiet operation and lack of emissions. They are ideal for indoor use or when air quality is a concern.


Autonomous forklifts come in two forms: autonomous machine vision (AMR) and automated guided vehicles (AGV). AGVs stop when an obstacle blocks their path and wait for the path to be cleared, while AMRs drive around obstacles before finding a new path to their destination, thanks to their artificial intelligence. Automated guided vehicle systems are completely safe for use in the warehouse. 

Forklifts that are commonly financed

  • Internal Combustion Pneumatic Tire
  • Internal Combustion Trucks Cushion Tire
  • High Capacity Forklift Trucks
  • Container Handlers
  • 3 Wheel Electric Forklift Trucks
  • 4 Wheel Electric Forklift Trucks
  • Pallet Trucks
  • Pallet Stackers
  • Tow Tractors
  • Reach Trucks
  • Order Pickers
  • Very Narrow Aisle Trucks

What industries require forklift finance?

  • Ports & terminals
  • General Manufacturing
  • Trucking
  • Metals
  • Agriculture
  • Lumber
  • Chemicals & plastics
  • Paper & packaging
  • Auto and transportation manufacturing
  • Building materials
  • 3pl - third party logistics

Can you get autonomous robotic forklifts?


Autonomous robotic forklifts are available and are increasingly integrated into warehouse, manufacturing, and logistics operations. These advanced forklifts are designed to operate without direct human intervention, using a combination of sensors, cameras, GPS, and sometimes Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging) technology to navigate and perform tasks within their operating environments.

Autonomous robotic forklifts can significantly enhance efficiency, productivity, and safety in the following ways:

Automated Material Handling. They can transport materials from one location to another, load and unload goods, and perform repetitive tasks with high precision and consistency.

Navigation and Safety. Equipped with advanced navigation systems, these robotic forklifts can safely manoeuvre around obstacles, avoid collisions, and work alongside human workers without posing safety risks. They use real-time data to make decisions and adapt to environmental changes.

Increased Productivity. By operating autonomously, these forklifts can work around the clock without breaks, reducing the time needed for material handling tasks and increasing overall operational throughput.

Cost Efficiency. Although the initial investment in autonomous technology can be significant, the long-term savings on labour costs and the reduction in accidents and product damage can make these forklifts cost-effective.

Integration with Warehouse Management Systems (WMS). Many autonomous forklifts are designed to integrate seamlessly with existing WMS, allowing for real-time inventory tracking, optimised material handling processes, and improved data accuracy.

Flexibility. Some models are designed to be reprogrammable and adaptable to various tasks, making them suitable for different operations without extensive reconfiguration.

As technology advances, the capabilities and applications of autonomous robotic forklifts continue to expand, making them a valuable asset for businesses looking to optimise their operations. However, implementing such technology requires careful planning, considering the specific needs of the operation, compatibility with existing systems, and compliance with safety regulations.


Automated logistics trucks are the future of the efficient flow of materials. They take over tiring transport tasks from employees, increase the handling volume and reduce the error and accident rates in the warehouse. Linde Material Handling offers a wide range of cutting-edge automation solutions with self-driving forklifts, pallet trucks and tow tractors from the MATIC series. All models have intelligent navigation and safety technology but can be manoeuvred conventionally via manual control.

Advantages of forklift finance

When considering forklift finance, users prioritise several key factors influencing their decision-making process. Understanding these factors can help businesses choose the most suitable financing option. Here are the most important factors to users of forklift finance:

What are the Interest Rates for forklift finance?

The cost of borrowing is a primary concern. Lower interest rates mean lower overall costs over the life of the financing agreement.

Payment Terms and Flexibility

Users look for favourable payment terms that align with their cash flow. Flexibility in payment schedules, such as the ability to make seasonal adjustments, can be crucial for businesses with fluctuating revenues.

Deposit Requirements

Some financing options may require a down payment. Users prefer lower down payments to conserve cash, but they must balance this with the impact on monthly payments and total finance costs.

Total Cost of Ownership

Beyond just the monthly payment, users consider the total cost of owning the forklift, including maintenance, insurance, and any hidden fees or charges associated with the finance agreement.

Lease vs. Purchase

Deciding whether to lease or purchase involves evaluating the long-term value of the forklift, potential tax benefits, and the business's operational needs. Leases may offer lower monthly payments, while purchasing may be more cost-effective over time.

End-of-Term Options

The options available at the end of the term, such as purchasing the equipment, returning it, or extending the lease, are important considerations for leases.

Early Termination Provisions

Understanding the costs and conditions of terminating the finance agreement early is crucial, especially if the business needs to change.

Upgrade and Trade-In Options

Users often prefer finance agreements that offer the flexibility to upgrade to newer models or trade-in equipment before the end of the term, ensuring they can adapt to changing operational requirements.

Maintenance and Service Packages

Some finance agreements include or offer maintenance and service packages, which can simplify budgeting for upkeep and repairs.

Tax Implications

The impact of the finance option on the business's tax situation, including potential deductions for interest payments, leasing costs, or depreciation, is a significant factor.

Approval Process and Requirements

The ease of the application process, speed of approval, and the documentation required can influence the financing choice. Businesses often prefer lenders who understand their industry and can offer quick, straightforward financing solutions.

Reputation and Reliability of the Finance Provider

Working with a reputable and reliable finance provider ensures that terms are fair and support is available throughout the finance agreement.

These factors collectively influence the decision on which forklift finance option best suits a business's operational needs, financial health, and strategic goals. Carefully evaluating each factor helps ensure that the chosen finance solution provides the best balance of cost, flexibility, and functionality.

How Does Forklift Finance Work?

Forklift finance refers to the various financing options available to businesses that need to acquire forklifts but prefer not to purchase them outright due to capital constraints or the desire to maintain financial flexibility. Financing can help spread the cost of the forklift over its useful life or a set period, making it easier for businesses to manage their cash flow and budgets. Here's a general outline of how forklift finance typically works:

1. Determine Need and Budget

Assess the need for the forklift, including type, capacity, and number of forklifts required.
Establish a budget, considering both the immediate financial impact and the long-term financial planning of the business.

2. Choose the Type of Finance

  • Lease. You pay to use the forklift for a predetermined period, after which you may return it, purchase it, or renew the lease.
  • Hire Purchase. You pay for the forklift in instalments and own it outright at the end of the payment term.
  • Loan. You borrow money to purchase the forklift, paying back the loan and interest over time.
  • Operating Lease or Rental. Similar to leasing, but typically for a shorter period and often with maintenance included.

3. Select a Finance Provider

Research and select a finance provider. This could be a bank, a financial institution specialising in equipment finance, or a forklift manufacturer or dealer offering financing options.

4. Application and Approval Process

Complete an application, which may require financial statements, business plans, and details about the forklift(s) being financed.

The finance provider will assess your application, which may involve a credit check and a review of your business's financial health.

5. Receive a Finance Offer

If approved, the finance provider will offer terms for the financing, including interest rate, repayment schedule, and any other conditions.

6. Review and Accept the Terms

Carefully review the finance offer. Consider consulting with a financial advisor to ensure the terms meet your business's needs and capacity. Accept the terms and sign the finance agreement.

7. Fulfillment

Once the agreement is signed, the finance provider will pay the forklift supplier or dealer. You take delivery of the forklift and begin using it in your operations.

8. Repayment

Make regular payments according to the agreed schedule until the finance term is complete. For leases or hire purchase agreements, decide whether to purchase the forklift, return it, or renew the agreement at the end of the term.

9. End of Finance Term

Once all payments are completed, the forklift becomes your property if you have chosen a hire purchase or loan. For leases, follow the end-of-term options as per your agreement.

Key Considerations

Interest Rates. Understand how interest rates affect your payment over the finance term.
Total Cost of Ownership: Consider all costs, including maintenance, insurance, and any fees, to understand the cost of financing a forklift.

Flexibility. Evaluate the flexibility of the finance option, including the ability to upgrade or change equipment as needed.

Forklift financing is a strategic decision to support operational needs while managing financial resources effectively. Choosing the right finance option that aligns with your business goals and cash flow requirements is important.

What are the disadvantages of forklift finance?

Potential disadvantages of forklift finance include a higher overall cost when compared to outright purchase, and it is a long-term commitment. Businesses should consider the following points.

Overall Cost

Financing a forklift can be more expensive than purchasing it outright due to interest payments and finance charges. The total cost of financing can significantly exceed the asset's purchase price over the agreement term.

Long-Term Commitment

Finance agreements often lock businesses into long-term commitments, which might not be ideal if the forklift's needs change due to evolving business operations or if the forklift becomes obsolete.

Interest Rates

Depending on the creditworthiness of the business and market conditions, interest rates on finance agreements can be high, further increasing the cost of financing.

Deposit Payment

Some financing options may require a down payment, which could be a significant upfront expense and impact cash flow.

Maintenance and Repair Costs

Depending on the type of finance agreement, the responsibility for maintenance and repairs can vary. In some cases, the lessee may be responsible for maintaining the forklift, adding to the overall cost of the lease.

Asset Ownership

With leasing options, the business does not own the forklift during the lease term and may pay more over time without gaining equity in the asset. This can disadvantage businesses that prefer to own their equipment outright.

Rigid Terms

Finance agreements can have rigid terms that may not easily accommodate changes in business needs, such as the desire to upgrade equipment or terminate the agreement early.

Early Termination Penalties

Exiting a finance agreement early can incur penalties or fees, making it costly to switch or upgrade equipment before the end of the term.

Financial Obligation

Financing a forklift places a long-term financial obligation on the business, affecting its borrowing capacity and financial flexibility for other investments or operational needs.


For businesses that purchase through asset finance, the asset will depreciate over time, and its value may be less than the remaining loan balance, especially in the agreement's early years.

Complexity and Paperwork

Financing agreements can be complex and require significant paperwork, including financial checks and documentation, which can be time-consuming and require legal or financial advice.

While forklift finance is a valuable tool for many businesses, weighing the potential disadvantages against the benefits is crucial to making an informed decision that aligns with the company's operational requirements and financial strategy.

What are the alternatives to forklift finance?

While forklift finance offers several advantages, such as preserving capital and improving cash flow management, alternatives are based on a business's specific needs, financial situation, and operational requirements. Each alternative comes with its own set of benefits and potential drawbacks.

Common alternatives to financing a forklift.

Outright Purchase

Using existing capital to buy a forklift outright eliminates interest costs and finance-related fees. This option gives businesses full ownership, offering the freedom to use and modify the equipment as needed without restrictions. However, it requires a significant upfront investment and may impact cash reserves.

Operating Lease

Unlike financial leasing, where the intent is often towards eventual ownership, an operating lease allows businesses to use a forklift for a predetermined period. This can be a cost-effective option for businesses needing the equipment for a short term or wanting to upgrade regularly without the hassle of selling old equipment. Operating leases may also include maintenance, reducing the lessee's responsibility for upkeep.


Short-term rentals provide maximum flexibility for businesses with seasonal peaks or those undertaking a specific project requiring additional forklifts temporarily. While rental costs can be higher than leasing or loan payments in the short term, this option avoids long-term financial commitments.

Business Loans

Business loans from commercial lenders, such as bridging loans, can help businesses finance the purchase of forklift trucks.

Peer-to-Peer Lending

Some platforms facilitate equipment financing directly from investors to businesses, bypassing traditional financial institutions. This can sometimes offer more flexible terms tailored to the business's needs but may come with higher interest rates.

Internal Financing

Large corporations with sufficient resources might offer internal financing options, using their capital to purchase the equipment and then leasing it to different departments. This can be a cost-effective way of managing assets within a larger organisation.

Government Grants and Loans

Some government programs provide grants, loans, or subsidies for businesses to purchase essential equipment, including forklifts. These programs often have specific eligibility criteria and may offer favourable terms, such as low or no interest rates.

Equipment Sharing or Co-Op Arrangements

Businesses with complementary operational schedules can consider forming a co-op or sharing arrangement to use a forklift. This can significantly reduce acquisition and maintenance costs, although it requires coordination and agreement on usage and upkeep.

Vendor Financing

Some forklift manufacturers or dealers offer financing options directly to customers. These can include competitive interest rates and tailored packages with maintenance and extended warranties. Vendor financing can be convenient, as it bundles the purchase and financing process with a single provider.

Choosing the right alternative to forklift finance depends on the business's operational needs, financial health, and the total cost of ownership over the equipment's expected life. It's essential to carefully evaluate each option's pros and cons, considering cost, flexibility, maintenance responsibilities, and the potential impact on the company's balance sheet.

Is Forklift finance right for me?

In conclusion, forklift finance presents a practical and strategic avenue for businesses to access essential material-handling equipment without the immediate financial strain of outright purchase. By offering a variety of financing options such as Hire Purchase, Loans, Leasing, Finance Lease, and Operating Lease, companies can tailor their approach to align with operational needs and financial strategies.

This guide has explored the intricacies of forklift finance, highlighting the need to consider the types of forklifts available, the industries that benefit from such financing, and the advantages and potential drawbacks involved. Whether seeking to integrate the latest autonomous robotic forklifts or maintain a fleet of traditional models, forklift finance offers a pathway to enhance operational efficiency, manage cash flow effectively, and drive business growth, making it an invaluable tool in the modern business landscape.

We're financial experts who arrange Forklift truck finance (asset finance) for business owners, securing you the best rates and terms from over 200 UK lenders, including private equity firms, investors and family offices.

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