Our Editor-at-Large, Mark Stevenson, recently rented a U-Haul to move, and he’s got a few tips to make it easier for us.

No moving truck is more ubiquitous – whether we like it or not – as the white and orange liveried U-Haul. Plastered with bits of history, low in-town move rates, and other advertisements, the U-Haul truck is hard not recognize. From the in-town move to long distance relocations, U-Haul allows those of us who don’t own pickups or box vans to relocate our abodes. All without having to contact that delivery truck driving cousin of ours (who, let’s face it, usually ruins every Thanksgiving dinner) in order to use his conveyance.

Are you planning to do a move with a U-Haul truck? Well, here are some tips that will not only save you money, but time as well.

1. Quote online early…and often

If your move is of the one-way variety, do a quote online as soon as you know you need to move. U-Haul rates can fluctuate depending on demand for the equipment you rent.

But, as we all know, supply and demand change over time. So, don’t just rely on your initial reservation. Keep quoting as your date gets closer. Demand for your particular equipment choice may have changed considerably (hopefully for the better). If it has, you can create a new reservation for the new price and cancel the old one.

Sometimes, U-Haul will even offer a free trailer if you are going to a location that has a desperate need.

2. Maybe you don’t need a 17 foot truck

The way you pack can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars in the long run. By packing neatly and creatively you can drop down a size in the truck you rent. Also, because you are using a smaller truck, you are also saving fuel. Less fuel equals less cost at the end of the road.

3. Just because you reserved at this location doesn’t mean you’ll pick up at this location

Because of the vast number of U-Haul outlets and breadth of equipment, your reservation location may or may not have the equipment you reserved on the day you reserved it. The day you are to pick up your truck, a representative for a location will contact you advising you of your pick up location. Nine times out of ten, it won’t be for where you reserved initially. But, it should be close.


4. Prices at certain locations are negotiable

If you do have to go to a far away location, it may be possible to get a discount. A manager at your pick up location may have the authority to change the pricing of your rental. You may also be able to negotiate a discount depending on the age of the vehicle you are offered. If you are offered an older vehicle, you could possibly argue that it would be less fuel efficient, not be in as good condition, etc. But, this is all at the discretion of the manager (or a U-Haul rep over the phone if you are at a U-Haul outlet not owned by U-Haul).

5. Print your quote before you pick up your equipment

I’ve experienced and heard of prices on U-Haul equipment changing at the counter when you go to pick up your rental. However, if you have a quote in hand when the employee says it will be $500 more than you were planning for, you can usually get them to bring the price back down.

6. Newer trucks will save you money on fuel

U-Haul keeps their vehicles in service for a much longer time than most other rental companies. Older vehicles, using less efficient engines, will cost you more in the long run. But, a few days before your rental date, call around to the different U-Haul locations to find newer equipment. On longer trips, not only will it be cheaper, the vehicle will usually be in better condition, safer, and quieter than older vehicles.