the real cost of renting a moving truck

The Real Cost of Renting A Moving Truck

When moving a home or office on a budget, the first thing people usually forego to save money is hiring professional movers. A do-it-yourself move may seem like a simpler, more affordable way to go. But in reality the opposite is true— and we’re not just saying that. Renting a truck and moving on your own often turns out to be more frustrating and more expensive that you might expect. Here are some of the costs most people don’t see coming when renting a moving truck.

Little Extras

In addition to the truck, will you also be needing pads or blankets to protect your furniture? Maybe a dollie or two? If you’re renting a trailer do you also need a trailer hitch? Renting those items will cost extra, and in some cases you could pay just as much for the extras as you do for the truck.

The Fine Print: Fuel, Mileage, and Basic Logistics

When trying to attract budget-conscious consumers, the lowest price usually wins. Truck rental companies advertise rates as low as $20, but those prices may not always be offered. Budget says they always offer discounts, but prices continually fluctuate in response to demand and other market factors. Critics of this dynamic pricing model suggest it makes the discounts a matter of semantics. All the extra attention generated by the promotion also, in theory, inflates the price that is supposedly discounted.

Even if you were able to secure that advertised deal, use of the truck will most definitely end up costing you more. In the fine print next to the rental fee you’ll see it says, “plus mileage.” U-Haul says its mileage rates vary depending on where and when the rental takes place.

You’ll also be paying for gas, which will burn at about 4-5 miles per gallon. When picking up your truck, it could have a nearly full tank or nearly empty tank, that’s just your luck. Just remember to return it with as much as you started with, otherwise you’re looking at more fees.

And, if you want to drop the truck off at a different location, that low “in town” rate goes out the window since the dealer will be forced to shuffle trucks around to manage inventory.

You Can’t Count on Your Reservation

Being all packed up with no truck to move in sounds like a nightmare, but it’s been a reality for countless people relying on truck rental companies like U-Haul. During a class-action lawsuit in California, a former U-Haul executive admitted that on busy days, as many as 40% of customers with reservations can be left hanging. Even though U-Haul says they’ve stabilized truck inventory and improved their service, complaints on review sites like Yelp suggest it’s still a problem. Rental companies are quick to point out the numerous reasons for trucks not being available, such as mechanical issues or a previous customer returning a truck late.

Pain and Suffering

In most cases, you can feel really good about putting some sweat equity into a project. But if you’ve ever done a DIY move before, you know it can be overwhelming, stressful, and totally grueling. You could easily throw your back out, twist an ankle, or damage your belongings as you shlep boxes and furniture in and out of the truck.

Then there’s driving the truck. Unless you already drive a lark pickup or SUV, navigating through traffic in a 14-ft moving truck isn’t going to come as second nature. One could easily cause an accident driving a large truck or hauling a trailer if they’ve never done so before, especially if they’re on edge from moving. Add to that the fact that rental moving trucks are known to be old and poorly maintained, and dealers often ignore towing safety precautions. In fact, a number of U-Haul customers have been involved in accidents caused by brake failure, “trailer sway,” and other problems.

In addition to harming yourself and other drivers, you could also harm your relationships. The physical, mental and emotional pressure of a DIY move can make it tough for any family or group of friends to get through it without fighting.

Thankfully, you can avoid all the stress and cost surprises of renting a truck and moving on your own by partnering with Portland’s most trusted professional movers. Contact Master Movers Moving & Storage and we’ll take care of your packing, loading, transport and unloading needs. This way you can focus on the things that matter most! Call us at 503-762-1288 or send us an email today!