Pros: Low Rates, Comfortable Trucks
Cons: Poor customers service.
I have move more times in the last 15 years, than I want to think about. Every time I think we are going to settle down and stay someplace we end up moving again mainly do to our employers. Here is some information that may prove useful if you find yourself in need of a rental truck.
U-haul has the largest selection of truck sizes in the industry while their competitors have only three. U-Haul offers the following sizes:
10 foot truck-368 cubic feet
14 foot truck-669 cubic feet
17 foot truck-849 cubic feet
24 foot truck-1401 cubic feet
26 foot truck-1538 cubic feet
I have rented 14 foot, 17 foot, and 24 foot trucks. The last two moves I have made with U-haul I reserved a 26 foot truck but they where not available, but they gave me the 24 footer at the lower price, plus a discount for not having what I requested. As it turned out the 24 footer worked both times.
Over all there is not a big price difference when moving up in truck sizes until you move from the 24 to 26 footer (that price jump must reflect the number they have).
All the trucks I have rented for long distance moves had had fewer than 50,000 miles (compared to the lowest of 60,000 with Ryder). They do have older trucks but they try to use them only in local service.
Do not underestimate how much room you are going to need. It is better to spend a few more bucks for a bigger truck, than to find out after you 3/4 loaded that the truck is too small (Happened to me once).
If you have the choice between using a major U-haul store or using a company that does U-haul on the side go with the major store. The smaller stores are lowest on the totem pole when it comes to trucks, they get the leftovers and the poorer trucks. In smaller cites where the only option is a smaller store this is not a problem since there is not the competition for trucks.
One of the downfalls of the big stores is that they will put the pressure on to sell their insurance, so the best thing is to check with your insurance company, and PLEASE NOTE that many will NOT cover you while driving the truck. Also note that some coverage only protects the cab of the truck, not the big box which is the most likely to get damaged. Also when you check out the truck, make sure every little scratch or ding is noted. While that person may say we don't pay attention that much and they may not, the place you return it to may go over it with a fine tooth comb.
Also remember to figure plenty of money for gas. According to the U-Haul website the 24 foot truck gets 7mpg. My best on mostly flat roads is about 6mpg. Also U-Haul trucks are generally more comfortable to drive than those from Ryder. They have cloth seats and a more gentle suspension. Don't get me wrong, they are still trucks but they are nicer to drive than the competition.
U-haul trucks also sit lower to the ground than Ryder. They have a lower loading floor which makes moving easier. One of the down falls is that on the bigger trucks, when making tight turns, the frame below the fuel tanks has the tendency to scrape the road. This can startle and worry you the first couple of times it happens, but is not a cause for alarm.
Of course U-haul also rents car dollies and car haulers to tow you car with. My suggestion would be if you have someone that can drive the car for you (my wife drove our car the last two moves) I would. The cost of gas was less than renting a trailer. In addition every time I have used a car hauler I have had problems including several blow outs, straps that go over the tires that broke, and another time that the frame of the hauler broke. Also note that the U-haul car haulers are only designed to hold 3000lbs, and some Ryder trailers only hold 2500lbs. Many times I have seen people hauling SUV's I knew where over the limit, and they where just playing with fire.
Although going to the smaller dealers can be a crap shoot, the best customer service I had from U-haul was from one of the small dealers in Lincoln City, Oregon. However they have no competition for trucks since there is no major U-haul outlets for 150 miles. Service at the majors has ranged from average to downright poor. The worst location I have encountered was the East Sprague location in Spokane. When I arrived at my destination I ask for an address to complain to u-haul, but they said there was no way to contact them. Calling their 800 number proved to be not much help.
In conclusion, just be a smart consumer. Know how much you are moving, what coverage you have, and if you have alternatives to using a tow dolly or car hauler. The name of the place is U-haul, so U need to be prepared for the rental and have all the facts.