What Should I Consider Before Getting a Rental Truck?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 17 March 2020
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Few people ever escape the need for a rental truck at some point in their lives. It is not unusual for adults to move five or six times during the course of their careers. With all of this mobility, it's no surprise that the rental truck business has rarely suffered for lack of interest. The question is, what do you need to consider before calling the local rental truck company?

First of all, before spending money on a rental truck, ask yourself if you've already exhausted all other possibilities. Although the per-day rental fees are usually not prohibitive, getting a rental truck may be overkill for a small project. A friend with a pickup truck or a trailer may be willing to loan his or her vehicle for a few hours, or a professional jack-of-all-trades may agree to move your items for a negotiable wage. In short, take an honest inventory of your situation and decide if a rental truck is the best solution. If the answer is yes, then you can start to make some phone calls to local rental agencies.


One important thing to consider when looking for a rental truck is destination. Many of the low rates promoted by the rental companies are only for in-town or one-way moving. Round-trips or out-of-state moves may cost significantly more. Another consideration is overall driver comfort. A diesel-powered rental truck with no air conditioning may rent for much less than a gas-powered, air-conditioned cab, but you may find the drive to be a lot less comfortable.

In the rental truck world, size does matter. The smallest truck sizes available should be able to handle the equivalent of a few rooms of furniture, but don't expect miracles. If you need to make several long distance trips to move all of your belongings in a smaller truck, you probably haven't saved much money. On the other hand, overestimating your needs can lead to a cavernous rental truck with too much unused space. It pays to look inside every size rental truck available to get a proper feel for the space each offers for your items.

If you're planning on moving heavy furnishings and delicate accessories at the same time in the same rental truck, you may also want to ask about strapping and packing material options. A good rental truck should have strong nylon strapping for securing large pieces of furniture and padding to prevent damage en route. Some rental companies may also provide cardboard boxes and other containers for a nominal fee.

One final thing to consider is the convenience of returning the truck after use. Most companies allow renters to return the truck to the nearest authorized agent, but this may prove problematic if the nearest agent is 50 miles away. It pays to ask the original rental company the locations of their nearest drop-off points to your destination. Also, many rental companies place restrictor plates on their trucks' engines to regulate speed. If your particular rental truck has such a speed governor installed, you probably won't have enough power available to pass other vehicles at highway speeds.



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