After finding you're dream home, you’ve bravely decided on a DIY move. Unless you’re getting rid of all your furniture and buying new ones, you’ll need to rent a moving truck to haul your belongings in this adventure.
Renting a moving truck is not as simple as it may seem. Before you sign that contract and pick up the keys to your ride, here are a few things you should know.
Make Sure You Meet the Requirements
Anyone who will be driving the rental truck must be at least 18 years old or older, in some cases 16 years old or older, and hold a valid driver's license in order to rent a moving truck or a trailer. No need for a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) to drive a rental truck, as they’re not considered commercial vehicles.
Check for Insurance
Before comparing insurance options and costs, check your current auto and home insurance policy. It might already cover rentals and cargo. Insurance is required for whoever will be driving the rental truck. If you and a family member or friend will be taking turns driving the rental, make sure everyone and everything is covered. Keep in mind, the person who signs the contract is the one who is responsible for the truck.
Know the Size & Type of Vehicle You Need
Moving trucks come in many sizes, from pickups that move few items to 26' trucks that can move an entire 4-bedroom household. The cost of the rental varies by size of the vehicle and the cost of mileage. Keep in mind, gas can increase significantly the bigger you go. Penske has a nifty truck rental wizard that can help you determine which size you will need. The dilemma with the wrong truck size works both ways. If you rent a truck that is too small, you will need to make multiple trips, thus making your move longer and adding more mileage.
Moving Equipment & Supplies
Getting the proper equipment and supplies can save you a lot of hassle and headaches and make your move safer and easier. Moving equipment like dollies, hand trucks, paddings or blankets and straps may not be included, so be sure to ask about it. Not to mention, since you’re liable for all items, you'll want to take special care in protecting them properly.
Pricing & Additional Costs
We've all seen the advertisements listing prices as low as $19.99 to rent a moving truck. Sounds too good to be true? It is! What they don't mention in these advertisements is the cost of fuel, mileage, tolls, taxes and duration of the rental. It's also common for the rental company to require that you return the truck with a full tank of gas. If you don't, they charge a penalty.
Keep in mind, trucks do not get great gas mileage. The bigger the truck, the lower miles per gallon, typically ranging from 19 mpg to 9 mpg. After all the necessities, the cost to rent a moving truck will not be anywhere near $20. To learn about all the hidden costs involved, check out this article.
Pick-Up & Drop-Off
If you’re moving a long distance, look into a one-way rental option and return the truck at a location closer to your new home. If you're moving from one state to another, rent from the larger companies who have branches all over the country. Some companies do not offer a one-way rental option. Be sure to get the pick-up and drop-off arrangements that make sense for the route you’re taking so you’re not left driving additional miles unnecessarily.
What About All The What Ifs?
Once you've selected the size of the truck, the rental company will hold the reservation. However, keep in mind that your reservation may not be "guaranteed" until they contact you to confirm the details one day prior to the pick-up date.
On the day of the pick-up, you may also be offered a different sized truck as availability is based on the previous renter returning their truck in a timely manner. If the other renters are delayed, your reservation can be changed.
When the truck you originally requested is no longer available, they may offer you a larger truck or recommend a nearby rental facility for the truck size you'd prefer. Keep in the mpg in mind when settling for the larger truck!
Rental trucks are used quite frequently. They often travel long distances that adds a lot of mileage, wear and tear. Before you get in the truck and hit the road, consider a thorough inspection. Check both the inside and outside of the truck for damages. Report this to the rental company before you take off so that you don't end up liable for existing damages. If anything doesn't feel right, ask the rental company for another truck. Better safe than sorry. For more safe driving tips, check out 9 Safety Tips for Driving a Rental.
Just because you’re renting your own truck doesn't mean that you can't hire moving help. You can still hire movers to help you pack, load and unload through most moving companies. If you're getting moving help from friends or family, remember that most rental trucks only have seating for up to three passengers. Smaller trucks don’t even have a back seat, making it difficult if you're moving with the family.
DIY move can be challenging and require a lot of planning. Find out everything you need to know before leaping into this adventure. Check out prices for your move from a full-service moving company and compare it to the cost of your DIY move. You may find that hiring a moving company will save you in the long run.
Have you had any experience in DIY Moving? Share with us in the comments below.