What Is a Rental Truck?

A rental truck is an excellent option for someone moving on a budget. However, using a rental truck requires pre-planning to ensure the move is as smooth and convenient as possible. 

We’ll go over what a rental truck is and everything you need to know about using one for your long-distance or local move. 

What is a Rental Truck?

A rental truck is just what it sounds like — a truck you rent from a company. Popular truck rental companies include U-Haul, Penske Truck Rental, and Budget Truck Rental

If you’re moving a short distance, a moving rental truck can be a great option for taking your belongings in one or two loads to your new home or rental. For long-distance moves, you’ll want to consider the distance you’ll be driving as fuel prices can quickly add up. In the case of a long-distance or cross-country move, consider hiring moving professionals who can move everything in a larger vehicle, possibly for a lower rate.

Truck Rental Company Pricing

Rental prices for moving trucks are usually calculated by several factors, including your destination, if it’s a one-way rental, moving truck size, and the time of year you’re moving. Other factors like choosing a flatbed versus a foot truck, cargo van, box truck, or pickup truck can also impact price.

Keep in mind that summer and weekends are the most popular time to move, so prices for rental trucks will be higher during these times. If you must move during a popular time, make your rental reservation ahead of time to limit hassle later on.  

The quote you’re given will usually include how many days you can use the vehicle, access to a loading ramp, and a mileage allotment. Unlimited miles for a rental truck are uncommon. 

Gas can quickly become expensive and impact the overall cost, so don’t forget to factor in this additional cost when renting a pickup truck. 

Remember that labor is not included in the fees for a rental truck. It’ll be up to you, your family and friends, or professional movers to pack and unpack the rental truck with your belongings. Don’t be afraid to hire a professional moving company if you’re concerned about lifting heavy items. 

Other items that aren’t typically covered include: 

  • Fuel and tolls
  • Parking permits
  • Dolly or hand-truck — these are often available for rent
  • Labor to pack and unpack the vehicle
  • Packing supplies, like bubble wrap, boxes, and packing paper
  • Auto insurance — may vary by company
  • AAA, towing, or roadside assistance if you break down
  • Straps, blankets, or pads to secure your items — often available to rent

Consider looking into freight trailers and moving containers if you reach out to a rental truck company and are discouraged by the prices. Both are affordable moving options that may cost less depending on current fuel prices, the time of year, and where you’re moving. You can also ask about alternative pickup dates and locations to see if different times or places may be less expensive.  

How To Get a Great Deal on a Rental Truck

Trying to pick the right truck out? Here are some of our top tips for getting a great deal and saving time when using a rental truck. 

Start by getting online quotes, then call local companies and ask for quotes. After gathering multiple quotes, ask companies to price match. Let them know what other companies have quoted you and ask them to beat it.   

Calculate your gas costs and additional fees when renting a U-Haul truck or other truck rental. You’ll also need to look at the company’s policies. Check for truck clean-out fees, return fuel fees, equipment use fees, mileage fees, and more. 

In addition, ask the company representative for the newest truck or van rental available. Newer trucks are unlikely to break down or have maintenance issues. They may also get better gas mileage, saving you time and money. 

Don’t move during peak times. Summer is the worst time to move because many families move during this season. You’ll also want to avoid moving during weekends and at the end or beginning of the month. Many renters move at the end or beginning of the month because their lease ends. 

Book in advance. Call at least two weeks before your move date. We recommend calling again one to two days before your move date to confirm your moving truck rental is still available. Have a plan in case your reservation gets canceled or breaks down. 

Your regular car insurance is unlikely to cover you while driving a rental truck. Speak with a company representative about auto insurance options. Most of them offer a policy through the company, and this can give you peace of mind in case of an accident. Double-check that your driver’s license is up to date.

Look up customer reviews. Before calling any rental truck companies, look up online customer reviews and see what people say about them. You’ll want to look at both company-wide reviews and rental location-specific reviews for rental truck companies in your area. Many customers may love a company, but if your local truck leasing office has poor reviews, you’ll want to skip them.

Closing Thoughts

Moving with a rental truck can be an affordable option for the DIY mover. However, it’s important to account for additional fees, the cost of gas, and the physical labor required to load and unload the vehicle. However, it’s hard to beat local rental truck prices if you’re on a budget. You can always hire extra help from professional movers or ask your friends and family for help on moving day if you’re nervous about driving the rental truck or loading heavy furniture.

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