How to Rent a Moving Truck

Family Moving In

Moving is a lot of work – there’s no denying that. The process of packing up everything you own and transporting it from one place to another can feel like an ordeal. One element of moving that can be stressful is renting a moving truck.

How Large a Truck Do You Need?

The first thing you need to consider is how large a truck you need to rent. The last thing you want is to start loading up on moving day only to discover that you can’t fit everything into the truck. There are two basic methods to use to calculate your truck size.

  1. Go by the number of rooms you have. In general, you can use these guidelines:
    1. A 10’ van or cargo truck for a studio apartment
    2. A 15’ truck for apartments with three rooms or less
    3. A 20’ truck for apartments or houses with four or five rooms
    4. A 24’ to 26’ foot truck for six, seven, or eight room houses
  2. Go by the square footage of the truck you are renting. The best way to calculate that is to figure out the measurements of the truck and plug the total into an online calculator like this one. The moving company you use should have a guideline for you to consult, but you can also assume that you need between 150 and 200 cubic feet of truck space for each fully furnished room in your home.

Moving1smIt’s important to note that if your rooms are heavily furnished, you will need more truck space than you would if they were sparsely furnished. If you are still unsure what size truck to use, you can take an inventory of your furniture to the moving company and ask for their advice. Don’t forget to include outdoor items you are taking such as grills and patio furniture.

One final word of advice on truck size: if you are right on the cusp between two truck sizes, it’s best to play it safe and rent the larger of the two sizes. That way you will be sure to have enough room on moving day.

When Should You Reserve Your Moving Truck?

Once you have determined which size moving truck you need, the next step is to know how early you need to reserve it.

Ideally, you should go online or call and reserve your truck as soon as possible after you have committed to a moving date. Waiting until the last minute is never a good idea – if you do, you may not be able to get the size truck you need. It is also a good idea to call and confirm your reservation about a week before you move. Doing so will give you time to make alternate arrangements should that be necessary.

If you are hiring movers along with your truck, make sure you know what time they will be arriving. Other questions to ask when booking a truck include:

  • How long is the rental?
  • What are the penalties for a late truck return?
  • Are there any restrictions on interstate rentals?
  • What is expected when you return the truck? For example, you should find out if you need to fill the gas tank or clean the truck before returning it.

Moving can be a challenge, but if you follow these guidelines, you will be sure to have a smooth experience as you pack up your old home and settle in to your new one.

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