When you decide to opt for a self-service move
, chances are you'll still need a rental truck, there are hidden charges most people don't know about or even think to ask about. Moving and truck rental companies are a business, first and foremost, so while the "Moving truck rental starting at $19.99" is an alluring offer, know that it is rare to actually pay that amount. Companies, like these, turn a profit with the hidden fees.
Paying for gas: When renting a truck, you are expected to return it with the same amount of gas it was given to you with. Filling up a rental truck isn't cheap, they have large tanks and not-so-great gas mileage.
Mileage: Companies charge a flat rate for every mile. Local moves will cost less than traveling hundreds, or even thousands, of miles. These miles add up, be sure to budget for this.
Peak time rental: It costs more to move on weekends and holidays, at the end of the month, and in the summer. Moving trucks are more in demand at these times, so it is a matter of supply and demand.
Cost recovery fees: This is a fee depends on who the rental company is. It is designed to cover wear and tear and loss of the ability to rent that specific truck out.
Insurance: While there is insurance provided on every vehicle, at least with every reputable company, if you get into an accident, you may have to pay a charge for the increase in premiums. Also, items that are being moved may not be covered by renter's insurance. Extra insurance may need to be purchased to cover items.
Truck maintenance: A truck that isn't well maintained runs the risk of breaking down in transit. While the company would eventually reimburse the repair fees, they will temporarily fall on the renter.
Late return: This isn't exactly a hidden fee, but if you are guessing the time it'll take to get from one point to the next, hitting traffic or other delays can put a damper on your timeline. It may be cheaper to rent for an extra day then it is to pay a late fee. Also, keep in mind if you'll be arriving late, then unpacking, the last thing you may want to do is drive the truck back.
Don't worry though, asking the right questions can prevent these costs from being a surprise. There are some tips and guidelines suggested to save the most money possible on truck rentals.
Price comparison: Just like shopping for a new TV, car insurance, or large furniture, shopping around gets the best deals. Prices may differ by $150 to $200 depending on the distance of the move.
Different drop off and pick up locations: Most people would never think about picking up a truck one town over, or in a suburb, but prices may change from one town to the next. This doesn't effect moves within the same city as much as those from one city to the next, but it is still worth looking into.
Reservation date: If it's possible, being flexible with moving dates can save money. Like listed above, renting during peak times allows the company to charge more. A truck rental during the middle of the week, towards the middle of the month and between Labor Day and Memorial Day will ultimately be cheaper. If these aren't an option, try for at least two out of three.
Date flexibility: Having the ability to move one day instead of the next can result in cheaper prices. Think of it like shopping for plane tickets.
Knowing these fees and tricks can alter the price of a truck rental by several hundred dollars. It is worth it to do some homework, ask questions, and know exactly what you're getting into.
Written by Margarita Hakobyan