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How to Rent a Moving Truck

If hiring a moving company is outside your budget or if youíd like to handle the move yourself, youíll want to rent a moving truck or van. Here are some guidelines to help you have a smooth move.

Step 1: Determine the size of the truck to rent
The size of the truck youíll need depends on how many rooms you are moving. Generally, rental companies suggest a 24-foot truck for 3-4 bedrooms, a 15 to 17-foot truck for 2-3 bedrooms, or 10 to 14-foot truck for 1 bedroom. Another option is to rent a cargo van, which will accommodate a studio or 1 bedroom move.

Step 2: Research rental companies in your area
Look for rental companies that have locations in your town and in neighboring cities. Itís a good idea to ask people you know or find reviews online for recommendations. If you are moving within the city or just a short distance, you can return the truck to the same rental facility. If you are moving a long distance, youíll want to find a rental company that has locations in the city you are moving to.

Questions to ask:
  • What is included in the price (such as mileage)?
  • What is the fee for drop-off at another location?
  • Are there special requirements for the driver? Some companies will not rent to drivers under the age of 25.
  • Are there any special deals the company is offering at this time?

You can call rental companies or check online to see if the truck you need is available during your move dates. It helps to get an early start, especially if you are moving during the weekend or in the summer months when trucks are in high demand.

Step 3: Make your reservation and pick up!
Once you decide on the rental company to use, make your reservation online or by phone. You can also reserve tools such as moving dollies, cushioning mats, boxes, and more for an additional fee. A few days before your move date, youíll want to call and confirm your reservation again. Some companies do not guarantee availability, even with a reservation, because other renters may not have returned their truck on time.

When you go to pick up your truck:
  • Bring your driverís license and credit card
  • Inspect the truck thoroughly for any damage or signs of wear and tear. Make sure these are documented, or you may be charged for them!
  • Check the gas tank levels and odometer.
  • Ask about special instructions or tips in operating the vehicle.

Check if your auto insurance covers rental trucks. Otherwise, rental companies offer insurance for a small fee per day. Some offer additional coverage for your goods. These fees can add up, though, so read the insurance options carefully and ask plenty of questions.

Step 5: Returning the truck
Now youíve settled into your new place and are ready to return the truck! Itís important to return the truck in good condition and on time in order to avoid extra fees. First, make sure the truck is swept clean. Second, remember to fill up the gas tank to the level indicated by the rental company before you return the truck, or else you will be charged for gas and a refueling service fee. Third, check your contract for any other maintenance requirements. If you rented additional tools, such as a moving dolly, donít forget to leave that in the truck too.

If you are dropping the truck off at the rental company after-hours, most locations will have a key drop-off box. Remember to call the company on the next business day to confirm that they received the truck and key.

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