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How to Rent a Truck

Three Parts:

Rental trucks provide an easy and affordable way to transport lots of small objects at once and haul large items that you otherwise wouldn’t be able to budge. Though the rental process may seem confusing at first, it is actually fairly straightforward once you know all the steps involved.


Finding a Truck

  1. Figure out what type of truck you need.When renting a truck, your primary concern should be how large it is. As a general rule, start with a 10 to 12 ft (3.0 to 3.7 m) long truck if you’re moving 1 room’s worth of stuff and add 2 to 3 ft (0.61 to 0.91 m) for each additional room you plan on packing.
    • For small loads, you may be able to rent a pickup truck or cargo van instead of a full moving truck.
    • If you need to haul a large object like a car or tractor, make sure your truck comes with a trailer hitch.
  2. Search online for local truck rental companies.Your search results will show you a number of different rental stores located near your house. Most of your options will be national franchises like U-Haul, Penske, and Enterprise, though some areas may have small mom-and-pop rental shops as well.
    • Chain stores have more locations than independent businesses, so go with them if you plan on traveling far away.
  3. Compare prices to find the best deal.Before committing to a specific rental company, look at how much each store charges for the type of truck you want. Some stores offer rental estimates through their official website, though others may require you to call their customer hotline for current pricing information.
    • When comparing prices, keep in mind that some companies charge an additional fee for each mile you drive.
    • Make sure you look at each company’s website to see if there are any promotional discounts available, and don’t forget to search online for third-party coupons from groups like AAA.
  4. Reserve your truck in advance if necessary.Depending on the company you’re renting from, you may need to reserve your truck in advance. You can typically do this in person, through the store’s official website, or by calling the store’s customer hotline.
    • To reserve your truck, you’ll have to know the dates you need it for, where you want to pick it up from, and where you want to return it to.
    • In some cases, making your reservation early can lock you into lower rental rates.

Getting Your Vehicle

  1. Show the clerk your driver’s license and pass a background check.The law requires anybody who rents a truck to have a valid government-issued driver’s license. In addition, some companies may run a background check on you to see if you have any recent moving violations or vehicle-related convictions.
    • In most cases, your background check will occur while the company verifies your license. Since they’re looking exclusively at your driving record, the background check should only take a few minutes.
  2. Present a commercial driver’s license if necessary.In most cases, your standard driver’s license will be more than enough to rent a truck. However, you may need to present a commercial driver’s license if you’re acquiring an extremely large vehicle or renting on behalf of a company.
  3. Review and sign your vehicle contract.Your vehicle contract will explain, in great detail, the terms of your rental agreement. It will include your rental rate, your expected return date, and any additional fees not included in the rental rate, among various other things.
    • These contracts vary by company and vehicle, so read the paperwork carefully before signing your name.
  4. Pay for your rental using a credit card.Most companies require you to pay for your rental vehicle using a credit or, in some cases, debit card. This allows them to put a hold on your account so that, if you extend your rental period or incur any extra fees, the company can take out additional money without having you approve another transaction.
  5. Purchase vehicle insurance if necessary.Some companies include auto insurance in the initial rental price while others require you to purchase a plan separately. If you can’t afford full insurance, make sure you at least buy a Collision Damage Waiver. Doing so makes the rental company liable for any damage incurred by the vehicle.
    • In some cases, you may be able to extend your normal car insurance plan to the rental truck.
  6. Inspect your vehicle before taking it off the lot.Before driving away, look over your truck to make sure it’s the model you requested and appears to be in good condition. If you see any major damage, take a picture of it using your phone. This gives you evidence in case the rental company accuses you of causing the damage.
    • Make sure you check the body of the car for dents and scratches, the windshields and windows for cracks, and the seats for tears and stains.

Returning the Truck

  1. Clean the vehicle before you drop it off.When you’re ready to return the truck, make sure to take out any remaining personal items and pick up any pieces of trash you see. If the inside of the truck is particularly dirty, clean it using a handheld vacuum and sanitary wipes. If the outside of the truck has lots of dirt or gunk on it, rinse it off using a hose.
    • Most rental agencies charge a cleaning fee if you bring back a dirty vehicle.
  2. Fill the truck up with gas if necessary.If your rental contract stipulates it, make sure to fill your truck’s gas tank before returning it. If you fail to do so, most rental companies will fill the truck up with their own fuel and charge you for it.
    • Fill your truck with the amount of gas stipulated by your contract. If no amount was listed, return the vehicle with the same amount of gas it came with.
    • Rental service fuel is almost always more expensive than gas station and truck stop fuel.
  3. Return your vehicle to the rental store on time.Rental services are notorious for their hidden fees, and nowhere is this more apparent than when returning your vehicle. To avoid any unexpected charges, bring your truck back to the rental store within 30 minutes of the return time listed in your rental contract.
    • If you do not return your truck on time, expect to receive a late return fee. Some companies may even charge you for an entire extra day.
    • Some companies may charge you an early return fee if you bring the vehicle back before the expected return time.

Video: Things You Should Know About U-Haul Before Renting a Truck

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