Most people are familiar with truck rental companies only when they need to move. If you’ve ever packed up your family and moved across town or cross-country, you’ve probably dealt with U-Haul, Penske, Budget or any of the other big truck rental companies out there.
When you work in the storage auction business, you’ll find yourself much more familiar with the local truck rental company than ever before. This is because every auction you attend has the potential to send you home with large quantities of stuff that must be hauled away within 24-48 hours. Unless you have a pickup, you’re going to find yourself getting very cozy with the local truck rental; even if you have a truck of your own, you may still need to rent one to haul larger items.
Since you’ll be renting a truck semi-frequently, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with your options so that you can trim your expenses whenever possible.
First, do yourself a favor by getting the smallest truck that will get the job done. For in-town jobs, many companies allow you to rent a pickup or 10′ box truck, which be sufficient for most storage auction hauls and will be easier on gas mileage. That efficiency will keep your overhead low.
Next, you’ll want to compare prices among several companies. The exact rates will vary from one city to the next, so you should do your own research before settling on a particular truck rental company.
The top three truck rental companies in the U.S. are Budget, Penske and U-Haul. Other companies, like Avon and Enterprise, do have trucks they can loan you, especially if you’re just looking for a pickup, but for most people the term truck rental is synonymous with those three companies.
In terms of price, the cost of an in-town truck rental is quite low. All companies will average around $20 to $30 per day, with additional charges per mile. U-Haul is the cheapest, with an advertised daily rate of $19.95 per day. Penske and Budget usually rent around $29.
However, these rates are base prices, and the actual cost can be much higher if you’re using the truck on a popular day. Fortunately, these price fluctuations mean that rental costs are negotiable. You’ll often get the best rates if you call ahead for a price, then leave your number rather than commit. When a representative calls you afterward to follow up, you can play hardball and quote a competitor’s advertised price to see if you can get cheaper rates.
Also bear in mind that cost is not the only relevant factor in choosing a truck rental company for your storage auction needs. Customer service and vehicle availability make a big difference, too. Your local company may have the habit of advertising local rates without ever having a truck available for the job. This is why calling the exact company you plan to use and getting a quote is the only way to ensure you’re getting what you want.
Do you have a favorite truck rental company? If so, which one is it and how much does it cost you? Leave your interesting and creative responses in the comments section below.