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How Much are your Forklifts Costing You?

Oct 16 2020 Fleet Management 4 Min. Read

Your forklifts have costs associated with operation and it's important that you know how much each one costs you per hour of operation.

A few of the factors that determine the cost of your machine over its lifetime are:

  • Routine and preventative maintenance costs
  • Repair costs
  • Costs of replacement parts and components
  • Operator error/accidents


The per hour operation cost of your forklift can be determined by calculating the cost of these repairs and dividing them by the number of hours the forklift has been used.

For example, if you have a forklift that has been used for 1200 hours, and you’ve spent $1800 on repairs and maintenance, your hourly operation cost would be $1.50 an hour.

Monitor these costs regularly—especially as your machines start to age. The more you spend on repairs, maintenance and parts, the more expensive your hourly operating cost will be. Monitoring and tracking these costs can help you assess when it might be more cost-effective to replace your forklift. The cost of operating a forklift will increase over time, so it’s important to note when you start to see costs hit a threshold where the machine is costing you more than it’s worth.


Once you begin tracking the operating cost of your machine, you may be wondering how you can improve these costs and increase your value out of your machines. One of the things you can do is to consistently provide professional training of your operators so that less stress from accidents and mistakes is put on the vehicle. With fewer accidents and better driving habits, you gain additional life of the forklift while keeping your hourly operating costs much lower.

Take the stress and guesswork out of operator training with TrainMOR™. Our professional Powered Industrial Truck Operator training curriculum provides flexibility and everything you need to stay OSHA compliant. Conducting the proper operator training can save you thousands in repairs on your machines, keep your employees safe and avoid any costly OSHA fines associated with operator accidents or violations.


Another way to improve your operating costs is through preventative maintenance. Although this sounds counterintuitive because it involves spending money, preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run by avoiding the unwanted “surprise” and downtime of costly repairs caused by negligence or unmaintained equipment.

You should be tracking the wear on your machines through daily pre-trip inspections, which is also a good time to consider what items might need maintenance in the near future. Inspect your forks; are they starting to wear? Review the tread on your tires; are they balding in certain areas? Indications like excessive wear or tire balding may signal the need for preventative maintenance. Once you notice the first signs of wear and tear on your machine, bring it in to be serviced. This will typically cost you less than waiting until the wear on the machine turns into a bigger problem.

The Morrison SA, or Systems Analysis™, is a comprehensive, customized program that goes beyond the standard PM or Planned Maintenance program. When you invest in material handling equipment for your business, you need a partner you can trust to do way more than average to help you manage and protect that investment.

Systems Analysis™ (SA) provides the most comprehensive and cost-effective planned maintenance program available. Fully customized to your application and usage, the SA eliminates over or under maintenance and heads off costly repairs and downtime.

Whether you use your own PM program or take advantage of our SA program, making sure that you track and schedule your preventative maintenance is vital to the longevity of your equipment. If you are unsure how often to perform maintenance, ask us! We are happy to help you determine the needs of your specific machine.


Once you begin tracking your operating costs and preventative maintenance, start using this data to your advantage. Analyze trends across machines and get a feel for patterns you may notice on what is causing machines to cost more over time. Is it operator errors? Could it be that your machines are getting too old for the job? Gathering and reviewing data over time is the best thing you can do to know when to make decisions such as getting new machines and retiring the old ones. By retiring machines when necessary, you could be saving your operation thousands of dollars per year. That’s a lot of money to leave on the table!

Use the material handling professionals at your local Morrison branch to help you get answers as to how to make your machines more efficient and spend less money per hour operating them. Talk to us about Fleet Management, our Maintenance Logistics:MX program, Systems Analysis™ and Total Maintenance and Repair program options.

Asking the experts is important when trying to maximize your investment. Don’t let machinery costs blindside you. Let us help you keep up with your machines and keep tabs on how much your forklifts are costing you.