Updated 8/15/2017 7:55:44 AM
Enterprise Rent-a-Car offers truck rentals to those looking to make a DIY move. They have a number of options, including vans, pickup trucks and 26-foot straight trucks. Know that when you rent a truck from a rental company, you have to do the driving. This differs from renting moving containers or space in a freight truck.
To rent a truck with Enterprise, you can either fill out a reservation form online or call the company. The online reservation form is self-explanatory and easy to fill out, but does leave you with some questions. You might have to follow up with a phone call to speak with a customer representative like I did.
On paper, truck rentals are by far the most affordable option when planning a DIY move, and Enterprise is no exception. However, you only get an estimate upfront, and there are a number of ways the price can increase as you begin your moving journey. In addition, the value associated with the services of truck rental might not be the same for every move, so you will have to self-evaluate. Overall, Enterprise offers an affordable option for those willing to drive and who are moving locally.
For the purposes of this guide, I planned a long distance move (1,100 miles) from a three-bedroom home in Fort Lee, NJ (New York City area) to Kissimmee, FL (Orlando area). I ordered the service in the early fall, which is still a somewhat busy time for movers. For the purposes of this review, I completed the order, then later canceled it. The company never took my credit card information, which is different from most other moving companies. Regardless, a long-distance move was not a plausible one for Enterprise because of its restrictions.
I am also planning a fictitious move from Fort Lee, NJ to Ridgefield Park, NJ for my parents, in order to give you an idea of the company's local moving services. By keeping the particulars of the move roughly the same for each order, I've made it possible for you to easily compare.
Here are the specifics about what we'd be hauling into the trucks.
I live in a three-bedroom home with two large flights of stairs. In addition to the bedrooms, there are:
My parents live in a similarly sized home with three floors and three bedrooms, but they also have the following:
The quotes I received are based on the info above.
The price, which remains under $500 for a straight truck, looks great on paper. But you shouldn't be so sure that price will stick, since there are just too many variables. For starters, you have to consider how much gas will cost, as it's never included in the price estimate. Many people forget about it and end up going way over budget.
Moreover, if your trip takes longer than you expect, you'll end up paying more. In fact, you have a small window to get your stuff to its destination and get the truck back to the original pickup post. (This estimate was based on a trip that would last from Sept. 30th to Oct. 3rd, 2017.) Still, their estimates are tempting because the price is often lower than any of the other options, such as moving containers or renting space in a freight truck.
Renting a truck from Enterprise for the long-distance move seemed pointless. I would have to get the truck from Edison, NJ, which would take me out of my way. Then, I would head to Florida and have to come all the way back to New Jersey to return the vehicle at the point of origin. And I only would have three days to do it all without having to pay more.
Truth be told, it wasn't the greatest option for the local move either because the closest stores for truck pickup and return delivery were in the Bronx, NY and Edison, NJ, neither of which is that close. The Bronx technically is close to Fort Lee and Ridgefield Park, but you have to go over the George Washington Bridge and face a deplorable amount of traffic to get there.
Enterprise is more competitive than you might think. I received an estimate of $484.68 for a 24-foot straight truck. These trucks have automatic transmission, air conditioning and power steering. For only a little more (an estimated $497.51), I could upgrade to the 26-foot straight truck with the same features. Keep in mind that insurance and other extras will raise the price.
FYI: you leave a deposit when you pick up the truck, then pay the rest when you return it.
Reading the entire estimate and price explanation is a necessity when trying to understand the additional costs. You will be charged $.59 for each mile more than your estimate. "Additional surcharges and taxes may apply," according to mine. In the fine print of the reservation, you should note that the rental deposit is in addition to the total cost of the rental.
I ultimately made the decision to reserve the larger truck. There was little information given to me to help decide what I needed based on my move details.
Unlike many moving sites, this one has no tool to determine which rental is the best fit for you. The site indicated that the 24-foot and 26-foot trucks both had enough space for about five room's worth of stuff. Those are the largest options they offer.
I would have to go out of my way to Edison or the Bronx to pick up the truck because of my location. But it was far more reasonable to get the truck back to its original destination within the three-day timeframe than it would have been with a move to Kissimmee, FL.
Looking at the price on its own, however, is not the right way to make this decision. You have to consider value. For some people, being in control of the driving and timeframe makes renting a truck more appealing.
Of course, consider all the possible outcomes. For example, what if the unexpected forces you to, say, keep the truck longer than you thought? Furthermore, someone such as myself might not care about any savings if it means I have to drive that enormous truck by myself. That scares me, and I don't mind paying a little more to have a professional do that part of the move for me. Clearly, the value is in the eye of the beholder.
Not surprisingly, this is where the decision to rent and drive one of these trucks gets complicated. The fact is that you very likely need some sort of insurance, especially if you've never driven one of these big boys before.
The good news is your own insurance might actually cover you. In fact, they suggest as such in their disclaimer: "Enterprise is not qualified to evaluate the adequacy of the renter's existing coverage and therefore the renter should examine his or her credit card protections and automobile insurance policies".
Regardless, they do offer other options for protection coverage. You can purchase a damage waiver, which ranges in price between $21.99-$39.99. If anything happens under this protection, Enterprise waives or reduces your responsibility for loss or damage of vehicle. This could include towing, storage, loss of use, administrative fees or the diminishment of value, according to the website.
Also, you can get proper insurance coverage through Enterprise. For rentals in New York state, minimum financial responsibility for liability is provided with the rental. You should definitely check on what is provided in the state from which you are renting.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) provides the renter and passengers with coverage for accidental death, accidental medical expenses and ambulance expenses. It costs $7 per day at this location, but may vary by store. I'm not sure this insurance is necessary if you already have life insurance and health insurance.
For an additional fee, you can get Roadside Assistance Protection (RAP). This would include help with lost keys, flat tires, lockout services, refueling (for up to 3 gallons of fuel) and jumpstarts. If renters opt out of RAP, they still can get roadside assistance, but they will be charged separately for it, according to the reservation info.
Finally, you can also purchase supplemental liability protection to cover the renter and authorized drivers with up to $1,000,000 for third party liability claims. At this location, the cost was $26.25 per day.
Overall, Enterprise offers an affordable rental option for those conducting a DIY move. But you have to go into the agreement with eyes wide open. You must realize that gas, tolls, insurance and unexpected happenings could raise the price.
One way Enterprise helps renters is by offering the Toll Pass Program, which allows drivers to pass through tolls and pay electronically. It is handled differently in each state, so you'll have to ask for particulars. What you get is a transponder - in the case of the tri-state area, it's called the "EZ Pass" transponder - for $3.95 per day, not to exceed $19.75 per rental period, plus the amount of each toll and any other charges by EZ Pass or the service administrator. You can also just use your own transponder in the vehicle. Ask an agent for more information.
In addition to these costs, you have to consider whether the value of what you're getting meets your needs. In other words, if you want to pay extra for a professional driver to haul your stuff, then this is not the option for you.
In general, truck rental is best for those who are both on a budget and willing and able to drive a truck. Let's face it, that's not for everyone. You must be a decent driver and have a valid license to take this route. Also, you must follow guidelines set by the rental company. For starters, you have to be at least 21 to drive one of these rentals. Note you have to be at least 25 years old to rent an Enterprise truck without a major credit card.
By renting a truck for your DIY move, you're taking control of the entire operation. There are few variables in terms of scheduling and planning that don't land squarely on your shoulders. If you rent moving containers, for example, you are vulnerable to the schedule of the driver. The same is true if you opt to rent space in a freight truck. But in this case, you're loading and unloading and driving the vehicle all on your own.
Much like the other two options, you can use the money you are saving to get professionals to help you load and unload items from the truck. Or you can force friends and family to pitch in. Just don't be surprised if they don't want to be your friends and family afterward.
There's no question that renting a truck is your most affordable option. Enterprise is no exception. Even though there are some unknowns that could end up forcing you to pay more, the estimate indicates the base cost is far lower than other options.
I made a reservation, but I never handed my credit card number to Enterprise. You don't give the company any money - or even a means with which to charge you - ahead of pickup of the vehicle. A customer representative told me on the phone that the company appreciates a courtesy call if you have to cancel. But there is no charge, no matter when you decide against the rental, even on the day of the scheduled pickup.
For some, this con is a pro. But I prefer having a professional drive such an awesome vehicle. As Uncle Ben says, "With great power comes great responsibility." And the mighty moving trucks are too much responsibility for me! Any deal that has me sign an agreement making me aware I could die while undertaking it makes me queasy.
With a number of ways to increase the cost, you can't be sure the price won't rise. You have to consider gas and tolls, which can also bloat the bill. Ultimately, it is nearly impossible to keep a totally precise budget with Enterprise.
Other websites for truck rentals or moving containers provide more information about the process up front. I had to read the additional information on the estimate and call the customer representative to get the answers to some pretty basic questions. I was surprised by the lack of help to determine the size of truck that would best suit my needs. I'm accustomed to inputting the types and sizes of my worldly possessions on a website, but that never happens here. I was basically winging it based on a chart that suggested the straight trucks could fit five room's worth of stuff.
This downside is a big one. Moving, by its very name, means going from one place to another. Having to bring the vehicle back to the same place makes this an inconvenient, if not altogether useless option for anyone moving long distances. "With limited exceptions, rental vehicles must be returned to the original location from where they were rented," according to the online reservation form.
Frankly, it's not the best option even if you're only moving a little further away from where you currently reside. It would have made no sense for me to go from New Jersey to Florida to New Jersey again. It would have inevitably cost me more in gas (and lost sleep) alone.
Enterprise dates back to 1957. The truck rental division came some time after the car rental division. When you look at the truck rental section of the website, you'll quickly notice that commercial truck rentals are now a major priority for Enterprise. Renting out trucks for personal use, such as with a move, is a newer part of the business.
You have a number of options available to rent. The company boasts more than 250 makes and models of vehicles available for renting. In addition to the straight trucks, you can rent a 16-foot cabover truck with liftgate, a half-ton pickup truck, a three-quarter-ton pickup truck, a 1-ton pickup truck, and a number of cargo vans, parcel vans, and stakebed trucks. The trucks range in age, though nothing seems particularly old.
In 1957, Enterprise launched with just seven cars. Its founder Jack Taylor called the company Executive Leasing Company, which was based in St. Louis. At first, the company only leased, not rented, cars. In 1962, Taylor recognized a need for rental cars after people whose automobiles were in the shop were looking for a solution. In addition, he began selling cars at the same time. By 1969, the company expanded outside St. Louis and first used its new name, Enterprise. In 1993, Enterprise went international by opening an office in Windsor, Canada. By then it had 200,000 rental vehicles and 1,500 locations. Today, Enterprise has more than 7,600 locations in more than 85 countries.
As a very green company, Enterprise is looking to the future of the environment. "We take an active role in sustainability, not only because it's smart for our business, but because we believe in making the world a better place for future generations," says the site. "Because of our size, we are in a unique position to foster innovation, advance research, and test market-driven solutions." For example, the company has pledged to plant 50 million trees in 50 years. It also runs its shuttles on clean fuel since 2015.
Taylor, the founder of the company, was a decorated World War II Hellcat pilot who served over the skies of the South Pacific.
I used a Chevy Express Cargo Van, which was just large enough for what I was moving, and is very easy to drive.
Enterprise rented me a 26ft truck, with only 7k miles. IT was tricked out with the easy glide braking, etc. It had electric loading gate as well as a ramp, so you could chose how to load. They called the day before and said I could pickup the truck a day early no charge which helped with my logistics, including no Saturday morning line at the rental company. Was able to drop off at rental site after finishing though they were closed.
Rented a 16ft box truck with tail lift and a cargo van. Equipment was newer and a lot more affordable than the competition, would definitely be using them again
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