How Moving Truck Rentals Can Be A Cheap Moving Option

do it yourself movingHopefully this little article can show you how moving truck rentals can be a cheap moving option for you.

There is no doubt, in some circumstances, that renting moving trucks from the likes of U-Haul, Penske or Budget can save you money when moving. But this is not a hard and fast rule. In fact, I would never recommend you using one of these big trucks when moving across the country. You can hire professional movers cheaper or near the same cost as it would doing the move yourself with a rented moving truck.

But if you are moving within the state (depending on the state) or even locally renting a moving truck and doing the move yourself can and will save you money.

To illustrate the expenses that you may encounter when using a moving truck lets look at the costs and hidden costs of a do it yourself move with a moving truck rental:

  • Truck rental (daily or flat rate for long distance)
  • Insurance ( you can waive the insurance in some cases)
  • Fuel (always at the mercy of the markets on this one; and the trucks are NOT  good at fuel economy)
  • Mileage (if you are moving locally companies usually charge a $1.00/mile)
  • Labor to load/unload (that is if you hire the labor, or you can family and friends to help)
  • Hotel (if you traveling across the country, you may want to have a hotel — especially traveling with little kids)
  • Food (this expense is reserved for the long distance moves from state to state)
  • Car trailer (many times you may have to haul your car behind the truck)
  • Time off work (especially when moving across the country you are losing money when not working)
  • Health costs (if you hurt yourself you have may the medical bills yourself)
  • Damaged possessions (if you do it yourself you can’t make an insurance claim and get it replaced…it going to happen)

What usually happens when people choose this route they only look at the cost of  the moving truck and when they compare that to the estimates they have gotten from the professional movers they say to themselves, “Oh we can do it ourselves for far cheaper” without realizing the full cost behind doing the move themselves. I don’t want you falling into that trap. I want you to fully educated on how moving truck rentals can be a cheap moving option.

Local Moving:

When you are moving locally renting a moving truck yourself is the best option if you are trying to save money. I would not recommend this option, however, if you have a large home of 3 bedrooms or more. The time and effort precludes any savings. It would be better to hire a professional mover.

I have seen it over and over again where it has taken several days for the these large moves to load and unload the moving truck rental. You get charged by the day for these trucks and that will add up, so for larger moves call a mover it will save you time and money.

You also need to take in account mileage costs. Most moving truck rental companies charge $1.00/mile. So lets say you are moving 10 miles away that $10 for the mileage there, but don’t forget you are also paying for the mileage to get the truck to the old home and the mileage back to the rental store. And if you have to make multiple trips from on house to the other that cost adds up.

That being said, if you are in apartment and you aren’t moving far this could be a great money saver for you. Even if you hire out labor to load/unload the truck it can save you $100’s.

But don’t rent a moving truck and do the move yourself if you are going to:

  1. Move a large home, or
  2. move more than 20 miles

Long Distance Moving:

By renting the truck and moving long distance may sound appealing and on the surface it may look like a great deal but the facts are you could hire a professional mover to do the move for close to the same price or even cheaper than doing it yourself.

Look above again and check out the costs involved in renting moving trucks. There are a lot of costs and hidden costs associated with doing a move yourself. But if you have the help to load and unload the truck, or can do it yourself and are willing to drive then straight through to destination, then yes, you could save yourself a lot of money.

But be honest with yourself. Are you truly willing to do this work and are you prepared for the stress of it, because it will be stressful both emotionally and physically. Some people can handle this and God bless them, but most can’t.

Just make sure you weigh all the options and factors before embarking a long distance move with a moving truck rental. You may be in more than you bargained for.

U-Haul Moving Truck Rentals:

u-haul moving truck rentalsU-Haul by far t is the largest of all the moving truck rental companies out there and it is the most well known. But in my opinion also the most risky and expensive. That being said, if you know how to avoid many of those costs, and your moving locally only, then I say U-Haul is your cheapest bet versus the other companies.

U-Haul has so many hidden costs when it comes to renting a truck from them. Sure they advertise $39/day for a large moving truck (26 foot) but that is a lie. First off, they only give you so many hours with your rental. Its a not a full 24 hours. If you rent a truck from them, they will expect it back in about 6 hours (for local moves). Go past that limit and they may start hounding you, and in some cases even threatening to call the cops. I have seen it happen and have had it happen to me.

Plus the insurance is ungodly high and they will tack it on to your cost without informing you. And insurance will cost as much as the truck or more. SO that $39 is now close to $80 (ouch!). Plus they charge an enviromental fee. And don’t forget the $1.00/mile mileage charge.

Another very sneaky tactic they use is blankets and dolly. Many of their trucks have dollies and blankets already in the truck and I have found them often to be in the way. But break that seal and it is an automatic charge of nearly $20.

So you can see by renting a moving truck from U-Haul may look cheap in the end the cost of that truck can easily be over $100 not including mileage and fuel charges.

Another negative is that U-Haul has a very bad reputation in regards their maintenance of their fleet. Their trucks break down often and the service is very slow to fix the problem. I have seen take days all the while you are being charged the daily rental fees.

Just go online and look at the horror stories by people that have rented U-Hauls. It is a lot.

Just be sure to do your homework first. Be safe and be aware.

Penske Moving Truck Rentals:

Penske moving truck rentalsIn my humble opinion I believe if you are going to rent a moving truck then you should rent from Penske.

Penske as comparable rates to U-Haul but without all of the hidden fees. Plus I have found that the service tends to be much friendlier. With U-Haul it seems they find reason NOT to rent to you.

Penske also hands down has the better maintained and newer trucks.

The only real flaw with Penske trucks, especially with their big ones is that the fuel mileage is not as good as U-Haul’s. Even though they both are bad, Penske seems to get even worse fuel economy. It seems st odds with what I said just a little earlier but that is what I have found to be true. Your experience may be different.

I do not recommend Penske for the shorter local moves because of the costs. U-Haul is the best option here when it comes to money. But I am willing to pay a little extra for the better service and better maintained trucks.

The really cool thing about Penske which is a secret is that they are willing to negotiate on price of their trucks, especially on mileage costs. They won’t bring it up so you’ll have to mention it to them obviously. Just simply ask them, “what kind of discount can I get on mileage?” And I think you can find you can bargain them down to below that of U-Haul. Give it a try and write me back and let know your results.

Budget Moving Truck Rentals:

The last of the notable moving truck rental companies is Budget.

But truthfully you are set between U-Haul and Penske. Budget really doesn’t bring anything to the table.

I personally never consider Budget. There are fewer rental stores making them harder to rent, and usually further to go get thus making the mileage fees higher. And they really don’t have better prices or trucks so why even bother. Now if they were smart and marketed their company better then maybe I’d consider using them. For instance, lower the costs of the trucks. Offer freebies like blankets and dollies. Charge less per mile. etc. But that is pure fantasy in opinion.

But who knows. May be some big mucky-muck will read this and think I have some good ideas and change their ways. But I think I have a greater chance of winning the lottery. Another thing, I heard a rumor last year that Budget was selling to Penske. I think it is just a rumor, but if they do sell to Penske, then I’d also consider renting from them.

Other Moving Truck Rentals:

There are a couple of other moving truck rental companies like Ryder or Star etc, but those companies mainly deal with commercial rentals and not really something that you should consider. I mention them because I’d be remiss if I didn’t.

In my opinion stick to U-Haul or Penske and you’ll be just fine.


So I hope that this article was educational for you. I hope that I gave all the data that you needed to make an informed decision on doing a move for yourself and renting moving trucks. But, if you find that I wrong in my info, or if I left something out, please feel free to email me at

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Thank you.

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