My daughter moved out of an apartment, my son moved into one, and we moved our office.
It occurred to me as I was lugging boxes and wondering whose bright idea moving the office was, that moving is like childbirth. It’s difficult to go through, but in time you forget just how difficult it was. You’re once again lured by the prospect of a new place to live or work, and think, “There’s not much stuff here; it will be a breeze.” It’s never a breeze. So before I suppress the memory, allow me to share a few tips on renting a truck for your in-town move.
We have several options locally for moving truck rentals, with Penske, Budget, U-Haul and even Enterprise (for cargo vans) in the area. U-Haul is the most prolific though, with a location springing up on every corner, it seems. They also have ratings and reviews of each location on the website to help you choose. I’d rather drive further to get friendlier, more helpful service, which I did for the second truck I
rented in May. Online quoting tools are helpful, too, to compare each company’s total costs side by side.
Don’t be fooled by the $19.95 sign on the side of the truck, thinking that’s the total price you’re going to pay. There are a few components that go into your cost: the price of the truck, the cost per mile, the cost of the insurance and fuel efficiency of the vehicle. The price fluctuates widely depending on the day of the month and the day of the week to rent.
For instance, a 10-foot truck from Budget may be $17.99 with .79 per mile on a Wednesday in late July; that same truck rents for $125.09 on a Saturday and .89 per mile, quite a jump. U-Haul’s prices for those same days range from $19.95 and $.89 per mile on Wednesday and same price on Saturday but $1.39 per mile. Sundays through Thursdays are the least expensive days to move.
Which one is a better deal for you will depend on how many miles you are driving, where you have to pick up the truck, and how important it is to move on a weekend. So get out your calculator and Mapquest before deciding.
I also found in some cases that the price for the same truck on the same day changed when I ran online quotes at different times — the closer to the date I needed it, the higher the price was.
You may find, too, that the truck you thought you reserved actually isn’t available at the location you chose. Call the location in advance and make sure they have that size and that it will be there for you. U-Haul offers a guarantee that you’ll have the truck or they’ll give you $50. That would be of little consolation to me if I had help lined up a deadline to meet with no truck.
You may be offered a bigger truck as well, which may or may not work for you depending on where you are driving it. Choosing the right size is important. If you are moving far, naturally you will want to make fewer trips and save the mileage costs, but for short moves you may save by renting a smaller, less expensive truck and taking a few trips.
I’m not one to take insurance whenever it is offered, but renting a truck is one of those times I do. Just about every auto insurance company excludes coverage on rental trucks and cargo vans. So take a look at the options available, and choose wisely.
Some policies exclude common damage like denting the top corner of the truck or popping a tire, and some don’t include any liability coverage, or coverage for things they consider to be caused by neglect. To buy the coverage that has few or no exclusions, while pricey, may be worth the peace of mind. Things to look for: coverage of accidental damage to the truck or another vehicle, liability coverage, insurance on your cargo, insurance to cover vehicles you tow.
If you make a reservation online and later change it, either online or by phone with the reservations center, be careful that all of your chosen options still stand. Once you get in the shop, if the reservation was made online, it can’t be modified at all. At least that’s what I was told when I realized that the damage waiver I chose online didn’t survive the reservation change I made on the phone. It was too late to add; I had quite a nerve wracking trip to Allentown and back in that truck.
In addition to the costs of renting a truck, there are things like renting dollies, furniture pads and the gas that is needed. Don’t underestimate how much gas those trucks use when budgeting. You’ll also have the odds and ends like packing tape, replacing possessions damaged or lost in the move, and take-out when you can’t find your way through the kitchen yet.
Then there’s the moving crew. I found that the older you are, the more stuff you have. Unfortunately, on the flip side of that, you also have less energy (and so do your friends). Instead of rounding up a bunch of friends and feeding them pizza in exchange for a few hours of heavy lifting, when you’re my age, rounding up a bunch of your kids’ 20-something friends is a huge help. They move a lot faster and carry much heavier loads. Although providing cash in addition to the pizza helps.
If you’ve driven by the corner of Eighth and Ann streets in Stroudsburg and wondered where I went, I’m pleased (now) to tell you that we moved two blocks down and across the street (like the knight on a chess board), to 25 N. Eighth St.