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.
Lots of affordable options with an easy cancellation policy.
Having to drop off the truck at the same store you got it limits Enterprise to local moves only.
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.
When you think of Enterprise, no doubt "that car rental place" flashes through your mind. But now with Enterprise Truck Rental, could Enterprise be a viable option to help out your move? Well, it just depends on what you're hauling and where you're going. Enterprise offers a massive variety of different types of trucks to rent, which means if you're relocating your above ground pool, you might want to look into their catalogue of vehicles to help you do just that. But don't get too excited if you have plans on taking that pool very far; Enterprise Truck Rental mandates that all vehicles be returned to the same location they were rented from. Whether you're moving your kitchenware or your ride mower, Enterprise is logistically a local move option only. But with Enterprise's famous rental car business model dangling over, namely their 24/7 roadside assistance program and free pick-up options, it's a tempting and affordable option for your DIY move. For more info, check out their 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.
We were in contract to have three movers for three hours. Only two movers showed up. This proved to be more expensive for me and my husband. The reason we had requested three men was because we had some heavy items, a roll top desk I estimate at four hundred pounds. The antique desk had a top that lifted off so it made moving easier. The two moving men dropped the dos of the desk while carrying it down the stairs, breaking the roll top desk top in many pieces, and chipping all the stairs as it went down. Thank goodness none of the men were injured. The two men were nice, and did get the rest of our stuff on the 26 ft. truck without incident. My husband and I drove very slowly to our destination in Virginia from New York. There was almost no damage to anything in the truck. So overall we are thankful that the trip was a success. I think that there would have been no damage to our desk if they had sent three men instead of two. The billing didn't seem fair, we were charged for 2 men for 2 hrs plus 6 additional hours (a total of 16 hrs.). It was unfair because we had been in contract for 3 men for 3 hrs. With an 2 additional hours and 20 minutes by 3 men (to equal a total of 16 hrs.) the bill would have been lower. We were billed $730 (with an $85 adjustment credit to us), instead of the original $370 we had agreed to, plus $95 for each additional hour would have totaled $607.50. So we were overcharged $122.50
UHaul was the least expensive company we looked at and they also has the right size truck for the job. When we picked up the truck, there was no power in the company's area, but the workers topkcarwofthe customers by phoning in the pick up order and even by writing the transaction by hand. But the power came on and saves the day. They gave us a wealth of information to help us during the trip and when we were ending it.
The truck ran perfectly with no problems. It was a 16' and filled to the brim. It was clean. Personnel for pickup and drop off were very personable. I would definitely use Budget again...............although I hope this will be my last move...ever.. These people were very professional which is not the experience I had with another truck rental company a while back. Kudo's to Budget and Zooming Moving, LLC
Jose and his team from Sebastian Moving and More arrived promptly at 8:20 and their arrival window was between 8:00 and 9:00. They came ready to work and began immediately to determine what was to be loaded. They were extremely organized as they packed the truck meticulously to minimize any wasted space. They worked continually until the truck was packed as tight as possible, They were a pleasure as they could work and talk at the same time....meaning that they didn't stop working to talk. All of the Sebastian team were very respectful of my family, me, and my belongings. I intend to move another truck load within the next month and will request Sebastian Moving and the Jose Team.
The Ford truck was good with 9700 miles. It was dependable and handled well on the road. It did not have any windshield washer fluid and the windows were a mess. And we had some trouble with the ramp not working properly. We had to call the Budget Rep to find out how to get the ramp to go back in and latch. If I had been by myself it could not have been done since one person had to hold the latch down under the bumper while another had to slide the ramp in. Otherwise, the truck was in good shape.
I was really happy with the truck, it was brand new! What a nice surprise to have for our out of state move. I did not like that my pick up location was moved 40 min away from my preferred location the day before I was to pick it up. Nor did I appreciate the worker at the gas station giving me a very uneducated guess when I asked why my truck was costing me $120 more than I was told online.
One way 26' truck with 100k miles. Maybe could have used next smaller size. Much better condition than Budget or UHaul trucks I have rented in the past. The diesel engine ran well. Air brakes were touchy. Steering a little loose. Would use them again.
Got the job done. I got a discount on Budget through setting up a change of address with USPS (recommended--they give you lots of great discount coupons!). The truck was in good shape, handled reasonably well, and got me where I wanted.
We had a great experience with Budget! Our only qualms were that the steering wheel shook at certain speeds, the window was always slightly open, and there was no cruise control. Otherwise, the truck did exactly what we needed for a long-distance move.
This option worked well for us as it was the least expensive way we found to move our graduate student daughter. WE had to use the 16 ft truck in order to pull the car carrier, but we only filled it half full. The driver's seat was uncomfortable, but the truck was otherwise fine. Customer service was good all around.
Penske cost a tad more than others, but the 26' moving truck had both a hydraulic lift and a ramp. We used both during the move. The lift for the upright piano. The ramp for handtrucks hauling boxes, bookshelves, and such.
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.
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.