When looking for a moving truck, you’ll likely find a number of options – each with a different cost.

Truck rental prices can vary greatly, based on a number of factors.

These determining circumstances include timing, location, and size. Evaluating what’s available in your area and comparing quotes might lead to saving hundreds of dollars on your next rental. So how do you find the cheapest moving truck rental?

The best time to rent a moving truck is on a Tuesday in the middle of the month during the winter. This is when you fill find the cheapest price for a moving truck rental.

But that won’t help you if you need to move right now!

In order to obtain the cheapest truck rental rates all year round, you’ll have to employ these smart shopping strategies.

Time Your Truck Rental

Just like airline tickets, when there is a greater demand for moving trucks, the price will tend to increase.

Summers are always going to be high season. Kids are out of school and parents generally want to get settled in  their new place before the end of August. College students are also on the move during the beginning and end of summer.  Winter, naturally, will be a slower season, with the exceptions of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the New Year.

Since leases and closings often occur at the end of the month, prices for moving trucks will rise during those times. Weekends, and especially holiday weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day, will be more expensive as well.

If you can, “avoid Friday, Saturday and the end of the month,” says Bob Gordon, a realtor and blogger in Boulder, CO. “Fewer home closings take place early in the week – consider moving on a Tuesday and avoiding the crowd.”

The best deals will usually be found at the beginning of the month or mid-month, particularly on Mondays to Thursdays. If your move is flexible, try picking different pickup dates when making an online reservation to see if there any difference in pricing.

Choose Rental Locations Wisely

One of the largest factors affecting the cost is based on the pick up and drop-off location the vehicle, explains Kevin Godfrey, owner of Henry Laurent Estate Sales. If you get the truck and return it to the same location, the cost will be less than if you pick up the truck in one spot and drop it off at a different location

This is because a truck returned to the same location doesn’t disrupt the inventory a company has at that particular place. With a one-way rental, the company will need to either return the truck to its original location, or reshuffle inventory to accommodate the change. That is why one-way moves cross country, or even one-way truck rentals across town will always cost more than returning the truck to the original rental location.

For local moves, rental truck prices could vary by location in the same town. If truck rental costs seem high at one location, you might check on prices at the next closest location. Prices could vary depending on available inventory.

Compare Different Truck Rental Companies

If you really want to find the cheapest truck rental reservation, you’ll need to get quotes from several different companies. Pricing from one company to another can vary greatly, and to a degree, depends on how busy that particular location is.

Logically, if business is slow, you’re more likely to get a better deal. Check on a number of websites and call around to compare quotes. If one location is busy at the time, you may find it harder to negotiate. On the other hand, if it isn’t busy, you may be offered a better quote.

The moving truck industry is dominated by a few big players. You can get a quote from each to figure out a range of prices in your area. You might check locally-owned truck rental options as well to see if they can offer a better deal.

  • Penske Truck RentalOver 2,400 locations nationwide. (You can get a 10 percent discount on Penske trucks by booking through SpareFoot.)
  • Budget Truck Rental
  • U-Haul Truck Rental
  • Enterprise Truck Rental

Choose the Right Moving Truck Size

“When you’re renting a moving truck, it is wise to start with the size you actually need for all of your belongings,” says Oz Drewniak of CLV Group, a real estate company. If you try to cut costs and get a smaller truck, you might end up carrying out multiple trips between your old and new place. This can lead to more mileage, gas, and time spent on the move. Getting a larger truck than you need is also a waste of money

“The goal is to be able to do just one or two trips and move all of your things, then return the truck to pay the smallest amount possible,” says Drewniak.

Many moving companies and truck rental places will offer a guide to help you decide what size of truck you need. Below is a brief overview of what size truck fits what. If you aren’t sure, call and ask a company representative to help you determine the best fit for your household goods.

  • 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.

If you don’t that much stuff, renting a pick up truck is also an option that might be more affordable.

Look for Bargains

Search online for discount codes, using key phrases such as “rental truck discount code.” Add your town’s name to the search to find local deals. These codes are usually available for all rental companies.

If you find a deal for one company, call other options and ask if a better price is available. You may be able to save up to several hundred dollars by checking around.

Use SpareFoot to save 10 percent on Penske moving truck rentals—no promo code required. Self-storage facilities may give you a deal on a moving truck if you are also renting a storage unit with them. Some may even offer the use of a free moving truck to facilitate your move-in.

Beware of Hidden Charges

When renting a box truck for moving, be aware that there may be additional cost add-ons, such as those for moving equipment or furniture pads. You might also watch out for fees for returning a truck late or without fuel. Factoring in fuel costs is important. Typically it will be cheaper to refuel the truck before returning it than pre-paying or buying fuel from the rental truck dealer.

Pricing structure also varies from company to company. Some company’s charge an upfront price with unlimited miles, while others will charge per mile. These options can further vary depending on whether you are renting for a long-distance move or a round-trip in-town rental. Whatever choice you make, ensure that you know what you are paying for. Remember going over your allotted miles might end up costing you more than you expect.

Rachel Hartman