Ah, moving rental trucks. The quintessential part of a traditional DIY 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 your moving truck rental can now become part of a less-sweat-inducing Hybrid™ Move when you hire movers to load that couch for you instead of doing it yourself. 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.
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 move 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.
Not as many physical locations as other rental truck companies.
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.
Super simple online reservation, affordable moving transportation.
Impractical for long distance moves, you are the driver and are liable for damages without purchasing insurance.
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 of a moving truck 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 note: You have to be willing to speak up and ask questions, both to make sure you get the best price possible and to ensure best possible value for your specific move. 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.
Moving and need a lot of space? Consider renting a Ryder van or truck to get your stuff from point A to B. It’s true, Ryder trucks aren’t just for commercial use. In fact, there’s a lot to like if you go with Ryder. For starters, booking an available van or 22 foot straight truck is a seamless process, and canceling is just as simple, if you have to do it. And as far as rental trucks go, Ryder trucks are plenty affordable, especially for their size.
On the downside, all Ryder trucks must be dropped off a the same location you rented them from, meaning that personal moves are relegated to local ones (unless you like driving for a living). Also, the driving, insurance, and any incurred damages are pretty much all up to you.
If you want to see if Ryder Moving is the right call for your move, check out our Ryder moving truck 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 benefiting 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.
I used Penske because I needed a 22' truck and U-Haul had nothing between 20' and 26'. It turned out to be an excellent decision because the Penske 22' rented for more than $200 less than the U-Haul 20'. It was diesel but in excellent condition and didn't take long to get used to.
My truck I was going to rent was not at the place I was renting from. Thetruco was 35 mins late. They did do me right by a discount. I do like Penske truck company. Thank you Penske.
This was a tough move logistically. We rented a truck that was too small (our fault) and had to scramble for a second truck. U-Haul was very helpful in everything from arranging trucks to showing us how to hook up and use the car transport. Best move I've had with them (and I've done this a bunch of times before)
What can I say, it's a truck. It was fine. Good AC, fairly smooth ride, easy to drive, and came with a stereo hook up, which was unexpected but nice to have for music.
Good equipment. The return agent in my destination city is no longer an agent for Penske. I felt like an idiot trying to return my 26’ truck. The people at the old site did find a close agent to return the truck before my time was expired. Update your database Penske!
Easy and reasonable. Budget seemed like it would be cheaper at first, but they get you with a lot of really high fees for dollies, etc. U-Haul was less expensive all said and done and we've used them multiple times, so I felt much more comfortable going with them!
Customer service was good. I would strongly suggest booking online and in advance, as that moved the in person process along quickly compared to people who just walked in. Other than that, everything on the truck worked, including the A/C.
Chose Penske because of their newer truck fleet. Absolutely no problem with truck on this 650 mile move. I will say we passed several competitors with problems along the way! Customer Service on phone and on both ends was great! Recommend? Yes, yes!
they were easy to set up. I did not like the way they timed the pick up time to the return time to be the same. they should make it the same day, not same hour .
We did a cross country move. Renting the truck was easy as well as returning to a different location. The truck was very comfortable and quiet which made the trip so much more enjoyable.
Easy to do on the toll-free line for AMAC discount; local business a little too quick to deal with for older folks although all we had to do was pick up the pre-arranged 26' truck.
We had to exchange trucks before we could load up because we realized, after taking the first truck, that the right rear tires were unsafe, and we didn't want to be driving 600 miles over mountain passes in rainy weather. Also, the windshield wiper was broken. The second truck was great! We should have gotten a larger truck, and now we have to make one more 600 mile trip.
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.