Renting a moving truck is an essential part of the moving process. While some people may opt for hiring professional movers, renting a truck is a practical and cost-effective solution for those wanting more control over their move. It allows you to pack and transport your belongings at your own pace and in your own way.
But renting a moving truck can also be tricky and time-consuming, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the process. That’s why we’ve put together this article to help you navigate this process and maintain your sanity.
Here are seven tips for renting a moving truck to ensure your move is successful and stress-free.
- Plan Your Move
As with any other aspect of the move, planning is key. Planning can make a significant difference in the success of your move. It allows you to stay organized and ready to go on the day of your move, ultimately reducing stress and avoiding last-minute issues.
One of the first things to consider is your moving date. Determining your moving date ahead of time will allow you to book your rental truck in advance, ensuring that you have the vehicle you need on the day you need it. This is especially important during peak moving season when rental trucks can quickly become booked up.
Before your moving day, ensure you have a list of all the items you’ll be transporting. This list will not only help you determine the size of the truck you need but also allow you to pack and load your belongings more efficiently. Also, when making your list, consider separating items into categories, such as furniture, appliances, and personal belongings. This will help you keep track of everything and ensure that nothing is left behind.
- Get a Quote for Your Actual Moving Day
The cost of renting a truck can vary depending on the day of the week, time of year, and demand for rental trucks in your area. Truck rentals tend to be cheaper during the winter months. But, scheduling your move for mid-month rather than at the beginning or the end is often more cost-effective.
Either way, it’s important to call the rental company ahead and get a quote. Getting a quote for the actual day of your move will help you budget accordingly and avoid any unexpected costs or last-minute changes.
When calling for a quote, ask questions, including the size of the trucks available, the cost per day or hour, and whether gas and additional moving equipment are provided. Some rental agreements have designated mileage limits, so it’s essential to know how far you’ll be traveling and whether you’ll need to pay extra for additional mileage.
In addition, inquire about their cancellation policy and whether there are any fees for last-minute reservations or upgrades. Some rental companies may charge you extra if you return the truck late; to a different location or in a poor condition than when you rented it. So, you must understand the rental agreement to avoid any unexpected fees.
- Figure Out What Moving Truck Size You’ll Need
Moving trucks come in various sizes, such as 26-, 22-, 16-, or 12-foot trucks, and you must choose one that’s suitable for your move. If you rent a truck that is too small, you will have to make multiple trips, which will waste time and money.
On the other hand, renting a truck that is too large can also be problematic as it can be difficult to drive and maneuver. And you’ll be overpaying for extra footage you won’t need.
The best way to determine what size moving truck you’ll need is to take inventory of all the items you plan to move. This includes furniture, appliances, and personal belongings. Once you have a complete list, you can use a moving truck size calculator to determine which truck size will work best for you. The calculator will take into account the number of rooms you’re moving, the amount of furniture and appliances, and the number of boxes you’ll be transporting.
If you’re still unsure, it’s better to go with a slightly larger size than you think you’ll need. You can always use moving blankets to pad any extra space, ensuring your belongings don’t move and get damaged during transit.
- Make Sure You Have the Proper Paperwork
It’s crucial to have the proper paperwork when renting a truck. You don’t want to show up at the rental facility and realize you don’t have what you need to pick up the truck. To avoid this, call ahead and confirm what documents are required. Generally, you’ll need a valid driver’s license if you plan to operate the truck yourself, proof of insurance, and a credit card in the renter’s name.
But, it’s always best to double-check with the company you’re renting from, as requirements may vary. It’s also essential to confirm beforehand if your insurance will cover the truck and its contents in case of an accident or if you will need to purchase additional insurance from the rental agency.
- Thoroughly Inspect the Moving Truck Before Hiring
Before hitting the road, inspect the truck’s interior and exterior thoroughly. This will help you avoid any unnecessary costs or headaches down the road. First, walk around the truck’s exterior and carefully inspect the tires, signals, and lights to ensure they’re all in proper working order.
Also, look for any scratches, dents, or other damages to the truck’s body, as even minor damage can result in hefty fees. Don’t forget to inspect the truck’s interior, checking for any damage or cleanliness issues that may have been overlooked. Note any damage or issues and report them to the rental company. This will ensure that you are not held responsible for any pre-existing damages.
- Pack the Truck Efficiently
Driving a moving truck is hard enough without every single one of your prized possessions clinking into each other in the back, so ensure you pack the truck box properly. It’s recommended that you load the heaviest items first, such as your refrigerator, washing machine, and other appliances, towards the front of the truck box. This will help stabilize the truck and prevent damage to lighter items towards the back.
Next, load less heavy items such as desks and tables, followed by mattresses, which should be placed on the left side of the box, and sofas on the right side. The remaining center space should be reserved for heavy boxes, while smaller boxes should be packed behind and around the heavier items.
Use packing materials, such as bubble wrap and packing peanuts, to protect fragile items. Keep your valuables, such as jewelry and money, with you in the front of the truck. The back of the truck is the easiest to access for thieves, and leaving your valuables behind could lead to theft.
If you feel overwhelmed by the packing process, consider hiring professional moving services to help load and unload your belongings safely.
- Drive Carefully
Driving a moving truck can be challenging, especially if you are not used to driving large vehicles. Moving trucks are much larger and heavier than the average car, which means they require more space and time to maneuver. Ensure to take extra care when turning corners, changing lanes, and braking — especially when going uphill or downhill — as the increased weight can cause the truck to respond differently than what you’re used to.
Avoid sudden stops and starts, and maintain a safe following distance from other vehicles. You should keep at least a three-vehicle-sized space between you and the next car. It’s also important to be aware of the height and width of the truck, as bridges, tunnels, and low-hanging branches can pose a hazard. Take the time to plan your route ahead of time, and avoid busy or narrow streets whenever possible.
Renting a moving truck can be a daunting task, but with proper planning and preparation, it can be a smooth and stress-free experience. By following these seven sanity-saving tips, you can ensure that your move goes as smoothly as possible and that your belongings arrive at your new home safe and sound.