Updated 4/19/2019 5:47:25 PM
Some may know Penske for their race car expertise, but it’s their moving truck rental business where you will find them driving the most these days. Compared to other moving truck rental companies, they have refreshingly knowledgeable customer service agents always willing to help, plus some great discounts. A thorough website that anticipates consumer questions and provides more info than you’ll ever need to know on the company are plusses. That makes up for its relatively small size compared to others (only 2,200+ locations, compared to 20,000+ U-Haul locations) by paying lots of attention to customers.
For the purposes of this guide, I am planning a long distance move (1,100 miles) of a 3-bedroom home from Fort Lee, New Jersey (New York City area) to Kissimmee, Florida (Orlando area). I ordered the rental about two weeks before the invented move date. I try to reserve the rental for a Saturday, which is a popular moving day. I complete the order and later cancel it. By keeping the particulars of the move about the same for each order, I make it possible for you to more easily compare companies and services.
Here’s the particulars of my move:
I live in a 3-bedroom home with two large flights of stairs. In addition to the bedrooms, there are two and a half bathrooms, a finished basement (which includes a bar and living area featuring a sofa that turns into a queen-sized bed), a laundry room (with storage under the staircase that includes boxes of holiday decorations), a kitchen, living room (with two sofas, including another one that converts to a queen-sized bed), formal dining room (with a very large and heavy china closet filled with delicate china and glasses for entertaining), and an attic (with some pieces that will eventually be used to convert my son's toddler bed to a queen-sized bed and my wedding dress packed in a special box for preservation). The quotes I received are based on this information.
Prices vary based on the distance of the move and the equipment and coverage you choose. To give you an idea, for the move from New Jersey to Florida, I was going to be charged $2,089.05, which includes the rental of the 26-foot truck ($1,614.75) for 6 days and unlimited mileage, 2 dozen furniture pads ($15 per dozen), 2 hand trucks ($20 each), protection plans (Limited Damage Waiver for $132 and supplemental liability for $100.50), sales tax for $162.80, and an environmental fee of $9. This cost puts Penske right in line with those offered by Budget® and U-Haul®. Talking to an agent and making your reservation online can lower the price.
You get unlimited mileage free, but you have to pay if you go over the agreed-upon number of travel days. Pick-up and drop-off are the same time, so you have to return the vehicle when agreed upon or risk being charged for an extra day. If you add extra days to your trip before pick-up, you will pay $50 more per day. If you add them after pick-up, you will be charged $100 per day. If you complete your move and drop off the truck before the agreed upon date, you do NOT receive a refund, except on protection plans and insurance. You’ll be charged for returning a dirty truck, so sweep out the cargo areas and make sure to remove all trash and personal belongings.
There is no charge for changing or canceling your reservation as long as you do this at least 48 hours before the scheduled date and time. You will be charged $100 if you fail to notify Penske of changes or cancellations within that time frame.
Someone who is concerned about safety and is willing to do the necessary research to find out about available discounts is the perfect match for Penske. You have to be willing to speak up and ask questions to get the best price. If you do, you’ll probably be satisfied with the experience at least through the reservation portion of the process.
The two biggest upsides are pretty nice ones. Firstly, Penske has the most up to date fleet of trucks, with no truck anywhere older than 2015 models. You’re far less likely to come away with an annoying problem, especially compared to the other big truck rental companies.
The second noticeable perk is that Penske has outstanding customer service. The representatives are both knowledgeable and kind, a winning combination. The website is more informative than those of U-Haul and Budget. Discounts – even if they are sometimes hidden – can bring the cost of your rental down. A focus on driving safety and the types of trucks you are renting puts your mind at ease. And there are some other perks too.
I found little to dislike about Penske. I had one of the best customer service experiences ever. But, of course, there is always room for improvement. The company’s site and reputation are largely based on its commercial and logistics services. That’s great, but as a consumer looking for a personal rental, you might be put off by that emphasis on the website. Also, you might end up spending more if you don’t know the tricks to getting a lower price. And a couple times the knowledgeable customer service representative refrained from admitting certain charges by deferring to the receipt I would be getting in my email. Here’s what you need to know:
There are many protection plans and each one is clearly defined on the Web site. You can find out about your options here: Penske Truck Rental Coverage.
I was unsure which was the right plan for me, so I consulted a customer service representative. She suggested I opt into the Limited Damage Waiver (LDW), which covered me for any loss or damage as long as I lived by the terms of service and cost $132, and the Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI), which protects against claims by third parties for bodily and/or property damage sustained as a result of an accident and costs $100.50. Both seemed right for me because they protected me against my own fears of destroying equipment, strangers and their vehicles or property, and myself and my passengers. Anything that saves me from myself is a good thing.
Penske has more than 2,200 locations in the United States, 26 locations in Canada and 200,000 vehicles. The average age of rental trucks for personal use is 24 months.
Penske goes way back to Dec. 1, 1969, when Roger Penske founded the company by purchasing a car and light truck rental and leasing business that served eastern Pennsylvania, according to the website. By 1981, the business had grown to include 33 facilities staffed by 420 employees and making sales of more than $40 million. In 1982, the company joined forces with Hertz® Truck Division to form Hertz-Penske® Truck Leasing, and together they later acquired Goldston & Leaseway Transportation’s truck renting and leasing business. In 1988, Penske solidified the ‘80s as its golden era by purchasing Hertz’s share of the joint venture and forming a partnership with General Electric that folded GE’s Gelco Truck Leasing into Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P., according to the site. From 1995 to 2007, Penske expanded its logistics business to the rest of the world.
If that wasn’t enough to get the head honchos at Penske shouting they were “kings of the world,” then their status today must have done the trick. The company now operates 200,000 vehicles across North America and employs about 18,000 associates worldwide. The logistics arm of the business operates more than 275 locations and manages about 15 million square feet of warehousing space worldwide. Annual revenue, according to the website, is $4 billion. Woah baby!
Besides showing genuine concern for the safety of consumers, Penske promotes diversity, community service, and concern for environmental safety. The company boasts about its diversity and inclusion initiatives. “We will improve and grow our businesses by supporting a work environment that is diverse, inclusive and respectful, so we can draw from the talents, backgrounds and varied perspectives of all our associates,” according to the website.
Among its recent community service are providing help to charities that supported victims of the southern tornadoes and floods and Red Cross fundraising for Japan’s earthquake. Penske donated $1 million to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund, and has worked with many organizations, including Toys for Tots and Habitat for Humanity. The company is a major supporter of United Way and has donated trucks for Al Roker’s Lend a Hand Today charity effort on NBC’s Today Show. It recently partnered with the Paralyzed Veterans of America for a year-long fundraising effort to benefit Mission:ABLE, which promotes the support, care, and benefits of veterans with disabilities.
Penske is also trying to limit its carbon footprint by participating and supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Transport partnership as an affiliate, carrier, and logistics partner. The program is designed to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions, and improve energy security, according to the website.
Thanks to a partnership, you can pick up or drop off your Penske truck rental at participating Home Depot locations.
Towing a vehicle into a head wind was a challenge for most of the four day trip from TN to AZ. Of course, if the truck had been more powerful, it would have consumed more fuel so I guess all came out even in the end.
Great truck. No problems not to bad on gas.
Great riding truck. No problems and gas wasn't to bad.
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