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Truck Rentals -- Get the Best Deal for You

If you're on a tight budget -- and can count on the help of family and friends -- a do-it-yourself move may be your best option. Renting a truck and handling your own packing can yield a big savings over a full service moving company. The big difference is that you will be responsible for all of the work and you will have to rent a moving van, truck or trailer to transport your items.

Here are some important questions to consider when planning a do-it-yourself move.

How Much Stuff Do You Need to Move?

Make a complete and detailed inventory of what you need to move. Try to dispose of any unwanted items and make sure that you are only moving (and paying for) those things you really want in your new home. If you can create an inventory with the major items that you will be moving and an estimate of the number of boxes by type (small, medium, large), your truck rental provider can help you determine the truck size that best suits your move.

What Size Truck Do I Need to Rent?

It's better to have the space and not need it, than to need the space and not have it. So be somewhat conservative in the size of truck you choose.

As a guide, each room that you pack will need between 125 and 150 cubic feet. To convert cubic feet to actual truck size, here are some general guidelines:

  • 10 ft truck - One bedroom small apartment- approximately 350 cubic feet
  • 15 ft truck - Two bedroom house or apartment- approximately 750 cubic feet
  • 20 ft truck - Three-four bedroom house- approximately 1,250 cubic feet 
  • 25 ft truck - Five-eight bedroom house- approximately 1,550 cubic feet

When Do You Need to Rent your Truck?

Moving companies tend to experience a rush of moves in the summer months, and so do truck rental companies. The peak rental season begins towards the end of May and will usually run through the end of September. We recommend that you book your rental truck well in advance during the busy AND slow seasons – it always pays to be prudent.

Because the majority of people move at the beginning of the month (new rentals leases), this is the most popular time for people to rent trucks. The end of each month is also busier than the middle of the month. If you are flexible with timing, you may be able to save some additional money on your truck rental. You will also find that the local self storage facilities will be less busy during the middle of the month.

Where Do You Need to Move -- Local or One Way?

If you are moving locally, nearly all truck rental agencies will be able to accommodate your needs. However, if you are moving to another city or state or even across the country, you will likely be doing a one way trip. Large rental agencies such as Budget Truck and Penske are better able to accommodate these one-way moves because they have many locations in most major cities. Visit their websites or call for availability and pricing.

What Other Supplies Do I Need?

Most truck rental agencies can provide you with pads and dollies. Pads are relatively inexpensive and are useful in protecting furniture, appliances and other items that could be damaged during your move. Dollies are essential for heavier items and can usually be rented for $7 - $15 per dolly.

Purchasing your moving boxes and packing supplies separately. Purchasing your boxes online is a great way to save substantial amounts over purchasing from a truck rental or box store and you can have guaranteed delivery of your products. There are very useful box calculators and preassembled moving kits that can make purchasing your packing supplies simple and convenient.

Do I Need Extra Insurance?

Truck-rental agencies will offer you insurance that can cost an additional $20 to $35 for each day that you rent the truck. Before accepting this option, check your credit card company to find out if they have coverage to protect you when renting a truck. Sometimes credit card companies exclude their insurance coverage on moving vans and moving trucks. If you choose to go with your credit card insurance or select the rental truck insurance options ask the following questions:

• What is the deductible?
• Am I protected in case of collision?
• Am I covered in other cities or states?
• What would happen in the case of theft of my items from the truck?
• Are my personal items covered inside the truck in case of an accident?

As with full service moving, insurance plans are an important aspect to consider and you must ensure that you are fully aware of how your coverage is going to work, well before you set out on your move.

Your Next Move:


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A Moving Company's Moving Story
June, 2012

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