5 Important Factors to Consider When Selecting a Rental Truck

Renting a moving truck can be a bit intimidating and probably confusing for people who aren’t in the moving business. The process is actually quite simple though, when you have information to steer you in the right direction.

There are many moving trucks available on the rental market but be aware they’re not all the same. There are trucks that are too small for what you need and certainly, rental trucks that are too large and too costly. There are also trucks you may not be able to drive, both from a licensing and a mechanical standpoint.

To help you make the right selection in choosing a rental moving truck, here are 5 important factors to consider.

1. Choose the Right Size

Rental trucks come in a wide variety of sizes. The smaller ones are often built on a van chassis and are easy to drive for most people. They are generally gasoline-fueled and have normal transmissions and brakes.

Sizes and capacities range from what you’re moving to what rental truck company select. Below is a rough idea of what you can expect based on the size truck you select:

  • 10’ – 12’ that will handle contents of a small apartment
  • 13’ – 15’ that will handle a 1 – 2 bedroom house
  • 16’ – 22’ that will handle a 2 – 3 bedroom house
  • 23’ – 25’ that will handle a 3 – 4 bedroom house
  • 26’ plus for larger or multiple home moves

When in doubt about the size, always opt for the next size up as making multiple trips is costly in truck mileage, fuel and your own time.

2. Ensure Availability

Make sure you book your rental truck early to avoid a supply shortage. Month-ends are the busiest time for demand on moving trucks and often they’re all taken by mid-month.

Contact the truck provider to reserve your vehicle prior to the 15th and leave a security deposit with your credit card. You won’t have to pay for the truck until you actually pick it up, however, this is excellent insurance that you won’t be left stranded come moving day.

3. Licensing and Operation

Reputable companies that rent moving trucks make sure the operators are properly licensed and carry adequate insurance before they release the vehicle. Be aware that regardless of who provides you the truck, the onus and responsibility is on you to ensure you are legally allowed to drive that type of vehicle and that your insurance is valid.

Requirements may vary from state to state, so if your move is interstate be certain that you are legal on both ends. Also, be aware that diesel trucks have different operating procedures from gasoline-fueled trucks. Be very careful if the truck is air brake equipped and you do not have an air brake endorsement.

4. Cost, Return and Drop-off

Be careful about the total cost and read the fine print on your contract. Most rental truck companies have a fixed day rate with an allowable mileage. There are extra fees for fuel consumption, excess mileage, and insurance coverage, so realize there will be more to the price than the advertised day rate.

Additionally, many companies allow drop-offs at your final location but there may be a significant drop-off charge for this. Ask about the return and drop-off conditions before you book your truck to avoid any costly surprises.

5. Select a Reputable Dealer

Though there are many rental moving truck providers, they’re not all the same. Some have inferior equipment that’s not well-maintained and may charge you for break-down time and repair costs.

Selecting a reputable, name-brand dealer like Budget, U-Haul or Penske will be true value when it comes to a hassle-free move. Remember with moving truck rentals, like most things in life, you get what you pay for.

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