Ah, rental trucks. The quintessential part of a traditional D.I.Y. move. Many friends and family, including you and me, have gone through what's almost become an American rite of passage: sweating bullets while carrying your couch down some precarious stairs and into that hot box known as a rental truck.
But this is a new generation! And the good news is moving trucks can now become part of a less-sweat-inducing Hybrid™ move when you hire movers to load that couch for you instead. You'll still have to drive that ginormous beast, but at least you and your co-pilot will smell prettier for the ride. If you don't want to drive, you might want to compare a rental truck to a portable storage container or some space in a freight trailer instead. What's that? Ice Road Truckers ain't got nothin' on your drivin' skills? Then read on, and let's help you figure out which truck rental company is best for you and your move.
As you probably already know, truck rental companies allow customers to rent a large vehicle in which they can schlep the entire contents of their home or apartment from one place to another. You pick up the truck from a nearby facility, load up the truck on your own or with hired help, drive it yourself to your new place, unload it yourself or with hired help, and then return it to another facility (or the same one if you moved nearby). You can move locally or long distance, but a long-distance one way truck rental will, of course, cost you more both in time and money. You will pay, on average, around $155 for a local move, $225 for a short move, and $971 for a long-distance move. In the rest of this handy guide, you can see average prices for each type of move, as well as get a quick intro to the truck rental companies, learn the best moving tips for using a rental truck, and figure out what size truck you might need using our truck size guide.
Easy online reservations. Generous resolutions to any issues that may arise.
Quality of truck (and sometimes accuracy of order) comes down to luck of the draw.
Massive online network that makes booking easy. Knowledgeable employees.
Large corporate structure can often lead to problems, including non-personable interactions and inconvenient solutions.
Competitive pricing, easy to navigate website and personable experience.
Because their fleet of trucks are large, they can often go too long without proper servicing.
U-Haul ®, Budget ®, and Penske ® are the major players in moving truck rental. In general, a customer calls one of these companies or goes to their website, determines how big a vehicle is needed (the trucks range in size from pickups to 26-footers), and schedules the rental. Generally, pickups and small vans are appropriate for those renting out a room or small apartment and the larger trucks are best for those who need to haul the belongings of a family moving from one large home to another. On the day of your scheduled delivery, you head to the nearest truck rental center, sign the relevant paperwork, and pick up the vehicle. Then, you are set to make like a truck driver and move your stuff. You can rent hand trucks and furniture pads, too. Tows for your car are also available. In addition, you can purchase other moving supplies, such as boxes, through most truck rental companies. But you might be able to find these items cheaper at the local hardware store or even the dollar store, so keep that in mind.
U-Haul ® created the DIY move and squashes the competition, thanks to its experience and size. With more than 15,000 locations in the United States and Canada, no other truck rental company comes close to having the same volume. Just about everyone has driven a U-Haul truck or knows someone who has. Still, no company is perfect. While you can pick up just about anything you need for your move at the local U-Haul center, you might be hoodwinked into buying stuff when making your reservation online because quantities of products for purchase are already input for you. In fact, the online system is pretty frustrating, and you’re better off talking to a customer service representative by phone as opposed to online. Keep in mind that your preferred pick-up location might not be the one to which you end up traveling. The good news is that if U-Haul changes things up on you, it will pay you $50 for the inconvenience. For more detailed information on U-Haul visit its profile page.
Penske’s ® logistics and commercial businesses overshadow its consumer rental truck arm. But it’s worth a second look because its small size makes for more personalized service and a better overall customer service experience. The price is somewhat negotiable or at least agents are open to helping you find discounts to lower the cost. One warning: You have to be willing to speak up and ask questions, both to make sure you get the best price possible and to insure you don’t end up with extra, unnecessary costs. On the other hand, there’s lots of safety info on the Web site and roadside assistance is available 24/7, which are nice perks for anyone who is the slightest bit intimidated by driving a ginormous truck. For more information on Penske visit its profile page.
Maybe you have used Budget ® for its car rental service and didn’t even know it had a truck rental arm. Well, it does. Of course, with nearly 1,700 locations in the United States, it’s significantly smaller than U-Haul. The best news about Budget’s truck rentals is that there are lots of discounts available to bring down your costs. If you’re the type who doesn’t like to ask for directions, you can also rent a GPS to boot. But your experience will only be as good as your local Budget dealer because they really run the show as individual entities. There are also limitations for modifying your reservation online. Although everyone was kind as can be, customer service representatives at the national level often refer you to the local dealer for answers. Who wants to dwell on the negative though? One of the differentiating factors here is that Budget practically guarantees your preferred pick-up location, which can really help you plan your move more efficiently. For more information on Budget visit its profile page.
Each company has its own positives and negatives, but there are some tips that are universal when dealing with the truck rental companies. We've learned the ins and outs from booking to drop off, so take note so you'll be prepared when you rent your next moving truck.
You are likely to pay more if you insist on moving on a weekend because everyone wants to move then. The spring and summer, peak moving seasons, also tend to bring with them higher prices. Weekdays in the off season could mean getting to move at bargain prices.
You’ll find weekends and the busy season also mean less access to the vehicle size you need and your preferred pick-up location. Some consumers have reported getting a smaller truck than they ordered, which can be problematic if you have a lot of stuff to haul. Starting your journey at another pick-up location might mean going out of your way before your move even begins.
You have to find out about the insurance options available to you because most credit card companies and auto insurance firms will not cover such a large vehicle. Let’s face it, you’re not usually driving a truck like this, so it’s easy to make mistakes that could cost you. This is NOT the place to save money. In this case, insurance is really an investment that could save you in the long run.
If you’re trying to stay on a budget, make sure you weigh in the cost of gas when making your plans. Lots of DIY movers, who go the truck rental route, forget about the fuel fees and end up spending way more than they expected when all is said and moved. A hybrid Prius these big boys are not. They get a paltry 6 - 8 MPG, and with the average gas price around $3.30 / gallon, your fuel cost can add up fast. U-Pack has a really handy calculator that you can use to calculate your gas cost.
I have to admit that even I, someone with a soft spot for all environmentally sound efforts, found it hard to accept that each of these truck rental options charges an environmental fee. The problem I had is that it’s unclear exactly how this extra money - coming out of my pocket - was benefitting the environment. Yet, the companies are allowed to charge this fee and they do. So, you have to pay it and move on. If it will help, say a little prayer that it actually is helping the planet.
Ask questions about the pricing. You can even come out and ask, “Are there any hidden costs?” Ask if the price you’re given at reservation time is likely to change and how it might change. For goodness sake, for long-distance moves, get the low down on whether you’ll get money back if you finish the trip in less time than the company is estimating. Find out how much more you’ll be charged if you end up returning the truck later than estimated. Do whatever you can to make sure there are no surprises on that bill in the end. That’s not the kind of surprise anyone wants.
Make sure you sweep out the interior, move out all your stuff, and don’t leave any trash or belongings in the truck. Most of the truck rental companies will charge you more if you don’t bring back the truck in the same condition as you received it. And the cleaning gods will smile down on you to boot.
This was a good experience. We chose the 26' truck which is the largest they offer. We were only moving out of a 1900 sq ft home and still was unable to get everything in the truck (we do have quite a bit of storage boxes though). Truck was in good condition. Customer service was great and we would definitely use them again.
Good value, place we rented from was a bit sketchy though and piece to the gear shift immediately fell off (it had been glued back on by someone else).
I had booked a truck from another rental company, when they failed to provide me with the truck I needed I decided to go elsewhere. I was very fortunate to find that Budget had exactly what I needed and at a lower price. Very friendly and accommodating.
Uhaul worked well for the the size and distance I moved. The truck and trailer were in good condition. Customer service during booking was fair. I was not told the booking location would not have the equipment I needed until I arrived to pick up the equipment. I chose Uhaul because I have used them successfully in the past. I would use them again in spite of the difficulty I encountered at one location. Telephone customer service is great. I even had a follow-up call the next day to see if everything was going well with my move.
great truck only problem was the a/c stopped working after 75 miles after too much heat on a old man and wife with health problems not having a/c was a much bigger problem than the Kyle check in person who offered a week sorry a bought that. got a snide response to complaint that the seat was very uncomfortable with very thick foam pillows ( it not a luxury car). I have maintained a fleet of 300 I H trucks this one was the most painful to set on. this was a great running truck easy to drive.
The truck was ready for us when we arrived and pickup and return of vehicle went smoothly. Size is deceiving because the truck held an amazing amount of furniture and boxes. I would definitely use them again.
Good experience except that they changed our drop off location at the last minute and it was a lot further/harder to get to than expected, but when I called to get directions, they were incredibly helpful.
I rented a 26 ft truck which was in good shape. The only thing that I was not familiar with was the DEF thing. Had to rev up the engine to reset it occasionally.
Penske Truck Rental is great! This company is reliable, professional and cost is reasonable. Trucks are very well maintained. Excellent customer service!
The truck ran well and was clean when picked up. However, the truck needed DEF twice during our drive. Penske reimbursed me, but it would have been great to not worry about it. Also, the pickup location did not have the damage forms on hand.
I have used Penske for every move. The trucks and trailers are always in excellent condition. We have always moved long distance 400+ miles and have never had a problem. Their customer service is perfect every time. I initially used them because they have great pricing for one way moves. They offer great discounts including online reservation discount and military. I have used them for all 7 of my moves and would use them again. I recommend them all the time to anyone moving.
15 foot truck was clean. Affordable. Available when requested. Young woman in front was courteous and efficient. We used the U-Haul at 2842 Washington St, Waukegan, IL 60085. Look for the Alpha Auto Glass sign on the north side of the street or you might miss them.
U-Haul ® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Budget Truck Rental ®, LLC is a registered trademark of Budget Truck Rental, LLC. Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P.® is a trademark of Penske System, Inc.