How to Score the Best Price on a Moving Truck Rental

Andreea Draguleasa

If you are planning your own move, one of the most significant expenses is renting a moving truck. Rental rates vary from company to company, and different discounts come and go. That’s why it pays to compare quotes from different rental companies before you relocate.

You might be wondering, when is the best time to rent a moving truck?

Historical patterns suggest the optimal time to get the best price on a moving truck rental is on a Tuesday in the middle of the month during the winter. The real answer is, whenever you need one!

To secure the best rates at any time of the year, you’ll need to leverage smart shopping strategies. This comprehensive guide will provide insights into effective planning, savvy shopping, finding discounts, exploring alternatives and tapping into opportunities for free truck rentals.

Plan Ahead for the Cheapest Moving Truck Rental

The adage, “The early bird gets the worm,” rings true when it comes to securing the cheapest moving truck rental. Planning ahead gives you the upper hand in this scenario, as you can select the most affordable option without having to make concessions due to time constraints.

If you do have some flexibility in your move factors such as date, location and demand significantly influence the pricing of truck rentals. Peak moving times like weekends, the beginning or end of the month and summer months often see higher rates due to increased demand. If possible, avoid moving during peak times and you will reduce the cost of your moving truck rental.

“Moving outside of the peak season, which occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day, can also help keep costs down,” said Eric Bramlett, owner of Bramlett Residential.

If your moving schedule is set in stone, strategic planning still helps you identify the most cost-effective moving solutions. Compare prices, check availability and book your truck well in advance to lock in the best rate.

Pro tip: Reduce the cost of your rental truck by knowing exactly how much stuff you need to relocate. That way, you avoid renting a large truck that costs more if you don’t need all of the space. The sooner you start getting rid of items you no longer use or want at your new place, the better idea you will have of your space requirements.

Shop Around for the Cheapest Moving Truck to Rent

Just as you would for any major purchase, it’s important to shop around when looking for a budget truck rental.

“Moving truck prices can be as unpredictable as a Texas thunderstorm,”  Bramlett said, “The key to a successful and budget-friendly move lies in thorough research and comparison.”

Don’t settle for the first quote you receive, Bramlett says. Instead dig a little deeper, compare prices and don’t be afraid to negotiate. 

“They may be willing to match or even beat a competitor’s price,” he said. 

In addition, Bramlett recommends the following strategies to get the best price on a moving van:

  • Research different companies and compare their rates, which are usually available online. 
  • Factor in the size of the truck, fuel consumption and any additional charges that may apply. 
  • Read reviews and assess the reliability of each company.
  • Watch out for any hidden fees and penalties such as late fee or cleaning charges.
  • Consider alternative drop off locations for rental trucks. One-way rentals are usually more expensive than returning to the original location.

How big of a truck do I need?

  • A 10-foot or 12-foot truck or cargo van fits a studio apartment.
  • A 17-foot truck could work better for a two-bedroom home.
  • A large 26-foot truck may be recommended for a home with four or more bedrooms.

Look for Moving Truck Rental Discounts and Promotions

Finding the cheapest moving truck rental often involves keeping an eye out for discounts and promotions.

“Check if you qualify for special rates like AAA, AARP, military or student discounts. Some credit cards also offer discounts or cashback for rental services,” said Donnie Rand at the American Association of Owner Operators (AAOO).

Sometimes, companies acting as affiliate partners can also provide exclusive discounts and promotional offers. For example SpareFoot partnered with Penske to offer discounted truck rentals on its website.

While special discounts abound, so do hidden fees.

“Ask about extra charges, such as elevator fees, retrospective charges for more boxes or items, toll or transportation fees, holiday surcharges and storage fees for delayed delivery,” said Voyo Popovic, Founder & CEO of Piece of Cake Moving & Storage.

Consider Alternative Moving Options

Considering alternative options could save you money and better suit your specific needs. For instance, if you’re moving a small amount of stuff, renting a smaller truck or even a cargo van might be a more economical choice.

“Assess the volume of your belongings and select the smallest truck that can comfortably accommodate them. Renting a larger truck than necessary will not only cost more but also increase fuel consumption,” Rand says.

In some cases, it may be more cost-effective to ship some items using a portable moving container or even renting a trailer instead of a truck. While these options might require a bit more planning and coordination, they could result in significant savings.

Utilize Storage Unit with Free Moving Truck

When it comes to securing a cheap moving truck rental, nothing beats free. Yes, you heard it right — free truck rental options do exist. Often, these are provided as an amenity by storage facilities to new customers. For instance, if you’re renting a new storage unit, the facility may offer the use of a moving truck for free or at a significantly reduced cost.

These offers often come with certain restrictions. For example, they may not be available for house-to-house moves and are typically restricted to moving items into the rented storage unit. But if your moving plans align with these conditions, a storage unit with a free moving truck can be an excellent way to save on moving costs.

Your Roadmap to a Cost-Effective Move

As you can see, finding the cheapest moving truck rental involves more than just comparing prices. It requires careful planning, strategic timing, diligent shopping and a keen eye for discounts and promotion. With the right strategies and tools, you can make your next move more cost-effective and less stressful.

Every move is unique and the key to a successful, budget-friendly move lies in understanding your specific needs and exploring all options. Consider this guide as your roadmap to navigate the complexities of moving truck rentals and you’ll be well on your way to a smoother, more affordable move.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on June 28, 2023 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

Andreea Draguleasa

Andreea Draguleasa showed an affinity for foreign languages and literature at an early age and started writing when she was 6. She studied journalism, advertising, and public relations at the University of Bucharest and worked as a content writer for a tourism agency and as a journalist for a magazine in the hospitality industry until 2010. After seven years as marketing manager for a Home & Deco online shop, she realized that learning something new every day brings her the most joy, so she went back to researching and writing informative articles. Through her experience traveling the world, she's picked up tips and resources she now shares on self storage solutions. When not writing about home organizing and storage, Andreea spends most of her time reading, playing video games, and spoiling her cat.
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About the SpareFoot Blog

The SpareFoot Blog offers tips about self-storage, information about storage auctions, advice about home organization, news about SpareFoot and much more.
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