You’ve done the research and made the informed decision to move yourself. And while you’ll be saving money, you’ll be taking on the labor. There’s furniture to lift, belongings to box, friends to bribe, and, most importantly, a moving truck to rent.
The two major considerations when renting a moving truck are truck size and cost, and there are a plenty of questions to ask before making a decision. Which size truck do you need? What’s the difference between a 17 foot U-Haul truck and a Budget 16 foot truck? Don’t worry – we’ve researched three major moving van rental companies to help you get the best truck for your buck.
Choosing the right size
Choosing the right truck size is crucial, as it effects the time, money, and overall success of your move. Rent one too large, and you’ll waste money on space you don’t need. Plus, you run the risk of your items being damaged as they shuffle and tumble around in the back. On the other hand, renting a truck that’s too small means unplanned trips back and forth, which means more gas money, a much longer day, and glares and grumbles from the friends you’ve recruited to help. Plus, most companies also charge by the mile, and making multiple trips will drastically increase costs. Worst case scenario: you may even have to rent a second moving van.
Trucks tend to range from 10 to 26 feet. These are the recommended truck sizes based on the size of your home:
- 1-bedroom apartment: 10-12-foot truck
- Apartment up to 2 bedrooms: 15-16-foot truck
- 2-bedroom house or 3-bedroom apartment: 20-foot truck
- 3+ bedroom house: 24-26-foot truck
As you shop around, you may find that a smaller-sized truck costs the same (or even more), than a larger truck, or has a higher cost per square foot. This is due to supply and demand – most moving companies have more larger trucks in their fleets than smaller ones. If you find a 20-foot Uhaul truck that’s less expensive than a 10-foot truck, don’t be tempted by the price. Just because a truck is larger doesn’t mean it’s better for your move, for the reasons mentioned above.
Comparing moving truck prices
We browsed the websites of three leading moving van rental companies – U-Haul, Penske, and Budget – to investigate their prices for trucks, which range from 10 to 26 feet.
These estimates were culled using identical inputs for each company: a one-day truck rental, for a move from Rock Hill, South Carolina to Charlotte, North Carolina (roughly 30 miles), with the same pick-up and return dates and times for each. Estimates were calculated Friday, June 9, 2017. Rates are typically based on a variety of factors, including equipment supply and demand, and can change on a daily basis.
|Company||Truck Size||Price||Price Per Square foot||Extras listed|
|15 foot||$79||$5.30||EZ-Load Ramp|
|20 foot||$91||$4.55||EZ-Load Ramp|
|26 foot||$99||$3.80||EZ-Load Ramp|
|Budget||12 foot||$19.99/day + $0.99/mile||N/A||N/A|
|16 foot||$29.99/day + $0.99/mile||N/A||towing capability, loading ramp|
|24 foot||$29.99/day + $0.99/mile||N/A||towing capability, loading ramp|
|Penske||12 foot||$39.99/day + $0.49/mile||N/A||non-slip wooden floors|
|16 foot||$39.99/day + $0.49/mile||N/A||non-slip wooden floors; 1,000 lb. capacity loading ramp|
|26 foot||$59.99/day + $0.49/mile||N/A||non-slip wooden floors; 1,000 lb. capacity loading ramp|
Be sure to check each company’s website before deciding. The above estimates do not include discounts or special offers you may find, such as instant-redeem coupon codes or unlimited miles on one-way rentals, which can make a significant difference in the cost.
More truck rental tips
- Take into account truck rental stores conveniently located near your current and new home. It may be worth paying a little extra for a simple pick-up and return.
- Consider buying insurance. Most moving trucks are not covered by your car insurance nor by credit cards that sometimes can help with rental car insurance.
- Saving on gas prices shouldn’t be a determining factor in your search. No matter the size, all moving trucks get around 10-12 miles per gallon.