When you own or manage a warehouse, you’re tasked with purchasing many different pieces of equipment before you can get your loading and unloading processes up and running. If you’re beginning to stretch your budget further than you’d like, consider reducing your expenses by renting some of your equipment. It’s possible to rent everything from yard ramps to ground-to-dock ramps for short-term jobs.
There are many reasons why you might want to rent a ramp for material handling purposes, the primary of which is to unload or load a trailer. You can also use a container ramp to move large shipping containers to different areas around your warehouse. These ramps give you access to elevated loading docks as well.
Regardless of the type of application you wish to use the ramp for, the rental process differs when compared to buying a ramp. Along with making sure that the ramp is properly delivered to your facility, you must also follow the correct procedures once the rental period comes to an end. The following offers a comprehensive guide on how to rent a ramp for your warehouse or distribution center.
Understanding the Need for a Ramp
Loading and unloading trucks is a time-consuming process for any warehouse. However, you can expedite the material handling process with the right ramp. Material handling involves the storage, control, movement, and protection of various products and materials in warehousing, manufacturing, or distribution industries. This process typically combines many different manual, automated, and semi-automated equipment to ensure the supply chain is running efficiently.
If you haven’t taken steps to make your material handling processes more efficient, it’s more likely that your customers won’t be satisfied with the quality of service you provide. Keep in mind that inefficient processes also cost you money by creating delays. Before you rent a ramp, ask yourself if you need one. If you believe that your material handling processes should be more efficient, renting a portable dock ramp or concrete yard ramp could help you achieve your efficiency goals.
You should also consider renting a ramp if you have a raised loading dock and need to drive vehicles up and into the warehouse. If your warehouse doesn’t come with a loading dock, a ramp is necessary to transport heavier cargo that requires a forklift. Even the smallest ramps have a weight capacity of 16,000 pounds, which accommodates a forklift and at least two tons of items. Before you begin your search for the right ramp, think about why your warehouse needs a ramp.
Types of Ramps for Material Handling
There are numerous types of ramps you can rent for your facility, the primary of which are portable ramps that can be moved from one location to another without issue. Portable units consist of a light framework as well as a long-lasting wheel system. While the majority of portable ramps come with a simple design, you may be able to find custom options that offer more unique specifications during your search.
You can also consider renting a heavy-duty ramp that’s designed specifically to accommodate electric pallet jacks and forklifts. If your facility transports a considerable amount of heavy materials, renting a heavy-duty ramp might be your best option. Even though these ramps are heavy and difficult to maneuver, they can often be disassembled for easy transportation to another location.
Ground-to-dock ramps offer similar advantages and are capable of connecting your loading dock with a trailer. While it’s possible to purchase concrete ground-to-dock ramps, they are meant to be permanent fixtures at a facility and can’t be rented. The type of ramp you choose mainly depends on the items you’re transporting and the application the ramp is being used for.
Factors to Consider When Renting a Ramp
Before you rent a ramp for your warehouse or distribution center, there are several factors you should consider. For instance, every ramp has its own weight capacity. While some ramps are capable of supporting as much as 40,000 pounds at a time, other ramps are only rated to accommodate 16,000 pounds. Assess your inventory to determine what weight capacity requirements you need when renting a ramp.
You should also identify the ideal size and dimensions of the ramp in question. If you plan on using a forklift for your loading and unloading operations, measure this vehicle to identify its specifications. With this information in hand, avoid renting a ramp that doesn’t support your forklift. It’s also highly recommended that you buy a ramp that comes with the right safety features, which include everything from handlebars and serrated grating to safety curbs.
Finding the Right Rental Company
Among the most important aspects of renting a ramp is finding the right rental company. You should have a seamless and hassle-free experience throughout the entire process. You can effectively narrow your options and find the best companies to rent from by researching the most reputable options. To do so, look at their Better Business Bureau page to determine if they have a strong reputation.
You can read online reviews and testimonials to better understand what it’s like to work with the rental company. Before you sign a contract, compare rental prices and terms to make sure you aren’t paying too much for a short-term rental. Obtain at least three quotes to perform a useful comparison.
Cost Analysis of Ramp Rental
There are several costs that you’ll need to take into account when you’re thinking about renting a ramp. The primary factor that determines your costs is transportation. However, transportation costs are also dictated based on the amount of time the rental company has to prepare for the delivery.
If you need a ramp in a day or two because you’re in the middle of a job, the owner will likely charge you more to provide a quick turnaround. On the other hand, you can receive a reduced rental cost if you provide the company with more lead time to find the right ramp for your facility. Look out for hidden costs and additional fees as you read through the contract or documentation you receive.
In most cases, rental costs drop when you rent for a longer duration. Let’s say that a one-month rental costs you $1,400. If you sign a contract to rent the ramp for six months, your costs could drop to $1,000 per month. When you’re evaluating the cost-effectiveness of renting vs. buying, ramp rentals aren’t as affordable if you need to rent this equipment for a lengthy period of time.
Rental Duration and Flexibility
As mentioned previously, there’s a difference between rental duration when it comes to cost. If you rent for a lengthy period of time, your costs will be smaller. Short-term rentals are your best option if you’re going to eventually purchase a permanent ramp. These rentals are also effective if you need a ramp for a specific application that won’t last long. In comparison, long-term rentals give you peace of mind that you’ll have a ramp available whenever you need it.
When you’re searching for the right ramp, ask about the company’s flexibility regarding rental periods and extensions. You should only consider rental companies that offer some flexibility to account for your needs. Look for any provisions or extra costs for extensions or early returns. Even if you sign a contract to rent a ramp for six months, you might only need the ramp for four months. Try to find a rental company that allows you to return the ramp early without paying full costs.
Transportation and Delivery
Among the more expensive aspects of renting a ramp is its delivery. A portable ramp that has a weight capacity of 16,000 pounds will invariably have lower shipping costs when compared to a heavy-duty ramp that has a capacity of 40,000 pounds. Most rental companies provide their own delivery services, which means that you’ll pay for them to transport the ramp to your facility and take it away once you’re finished using it.
Many rental companies offer expedited delivery options that cost more. Once you’ve rented the ramp you’re interested in, take some time to prepare the site for ramp installation. Since it isn’t a permanent fixture, it doesn’t require a lot of preparation. However, you should clean the area and make sure it’s free of any cargo or debris.
Setting Up and Using the Ramp
Setting up a ramp is simple and straightforward. You’ll be dealing with a metal ramp that may be delivered to you in one piece. If the ramp needs to be assembled, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. There’s also a chance that the rental company will offer their own assembly services.
Make sure your personnel follow certain safety guidelines when using the ramp. Everyone who’s set to use the ramp should thoroughly read the owner’s manual. They also should receive education and training on ramp handling to ensure accidents and hazards are kept to a minimum.
Maintenance and Support
The main concern when renting a ramp is making sure it’s not damaged. You’re responsible for any damage that occurs and will need to pay for repairs. If the ramp is damaged while it’s at your facility, notify the rental company immediately for some assistance in obtaining repairs. You can reduce the need for repairs by scheduling maintenance every month or so.
End of Rental Period Procedures
Once you’re finished using the ramp, call the rental company to schedule the return of the ramp. When the rental company arrives at your facility, they may perform an inspection and damage assessment to determine if you owe them any money for repairs. Most rental companies obtain a deposit when you first rent a ramp from them. Once the ramp has been returned, make sure you retrieve your deposit.
Alternative Solutions for Material Handling
There are several other options at your disposal if you don’t want to go through the official rental process but need to obtain material handling solutions for your facility. For instance, consider driving through industrial parks to search for ramps that are sitting behind buildings. If you spot a ramp that suits your needs, the company that owns it might be interested in renting it to you for a brief period of time. In this scenario, you’ll likely need to handle transportation yourself.
You could also choose to buy a ramp and resell it when you’re done. If you only require a ramp for a week or two, buying an affordable ramp may be more cost-effective than renting one. When you buy a ramp, you’ll need to pay for the transportation costs to your facility. However, the person you end up selling the ramp to will pay shipping costs to their warehouse.
From portable ramps to ground-to-dock ramps, renting a ramp for your material handling needs is a great way to control costs if you don’t always need a ramp on your premises. If you properly maintain the ramp and keep damage at bay, you should be able to avoid any extra fees. However, it’s essential that you choose the right ramp and rental company to avoid wasting potentially thousands of dollars. By obtaining the proper ramp and using it to bolster your loading and unloading operations, you should be able to optimize your material handling processes.