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How to rent a moving truck


Packing and moving your own belongings saves money. It also means greater control and flexibility for your moving plans. When you “do it yourself,” you get to decide when to start boxing up, how to organize all your items, and where to unpack each box when you arrive at your new home. For many, more control and lower expenses feels like the obvious choice.

On the contrary, hiring professional movers could meaningfully increase moving costs. A crew of 4 movers can charge $200 an hour or more. For a typical move, the final bill could cost well over $2,000 and, for a long-distance van line, the total could be as much as $10,000 or more. What’s more, professional movers may not treat your items as carefully as you would yourself. Some things could end up damaged or missing.

Fortunately, you have options. You can move yourself by renting from a trusted truck or van rental service. This might be your preferred option if you most value control and flexibility. Alternatively, you could find a licensed and insured professional moving company and compare quotes to minimize overall costs. This could be your preferred choice if you simply own too much stuff to manage on your own or if you do not have enough helping hands to pack, load, and unpack a rental truck without hired help.

For families and individuals who prefer the do-it-yourself approach, our team put together this handy checklist for renting a moving truck.

How to rent a moving truck

Step 1: Choose the right truck or van

Before packing, decide what size moving truck you need. Rental companies offer everything from basic pickup trucks to 26-foot vans capable of moving a five-bedroom house in a single trip. Consider the size of your home, how many boxes you plan to move, and how much furniture you need to pack. Then, decide if you can make more than one trip. This may be impossible for long-distance relocation but can save money for local moves. Last, put it all together and determine if you just need a pickup truck or small van – say, for a studio apartment – or if you need a larger truck for multiple rooms and family members. If you still feel uncertain about what size moving truck to choose, we recommend sizing up rather than ending up with a rental truck that cannot fit all your items.

Step 2: Know the rental requirements

Typically, movers need to meet certain requirements before renting a moving truck or van. For example, certain criteria for age, identification, payment deposits, or more. Often, the basic set of requirements includes 18 years of age and a valid driver’s license for any driver added to the rental agreement. Rental companies often charge an additional fee for drivers between the ages of 18 and 24 and may charge other fees or deposits depending on how you choose to pay.

Step 3: Pay upfront or finance your rental

Rental truck and moving van companies charge based on the size of the vehicle, the distance you travel, and the duration of your rental. Take note, though, that insurance, additional fuel, moving supplies, moving help, and moving accessories may not be included in your original quote. For example, families and individuals renting moving trucks often forget about additional costs like highway tolls or weigh stations for especially large vehicles. Regardless of the options you need to consider, you usually only have one option to pay for your rental – paying in full when your bill comes due.

Thankfully, Safely Finance helps you avoid spending thousands of dollars in a lump sum. Instead, Safely Finance helps renters and movers break up costs into simple monthly payments with rates as low as 0% APR. Instead of paying $1,000 in a single payment, you could pay $83.33 per month in a 12-month plan. To see what your monthly payment would be, check out your offers here.

Step 4: Driving the truck

Driving a truck can feel intimidating, especially if you have never driven one before. You will need to keep in mind more things than when you drive a normal sized passenger vehicle. Before you even start the engine, make sure you familiarize yourself with the vehicle, all its features, and inspect for any damage that could cause driving issues. Adjust the mirrors, check the windshield wipers, ensure that the lights turn on and off, and know your clearance height for tunnels, road signs, and parking structures. Plan an easy route for your trip: avoid winding roads, steep roads, tight turns, and heavy traffic if possible. Finally, and importantly, obey all traffic laws and drive the speed limit to avoid causing any harm to yourself, your belongings, or others.

Other things to consider

Choosing to save money does not mean doing everything yourself. For example, you can plan a hybrid move. In a hybrid move, professionals help you pack, load, and unpack but you rent and drive the moving truck. With a hybrid move, you can reduce your overall moving costs without doing all the heavy lifting by yourself. You will still need to pay a professional moving crew for their time and labor. However, you will save yourself some headache and potential backache along the way.