Since, I moved out on my own 7 years ago, I have moved a lot. At least once a year. That's not counting all the friends I have helped move in the past several years too. In the majority of these moves I have used the services of UHaul. Granted I would love to be able to sincerely justify the expense of hiring a moving company to haul my stuff across town for me, but realistically it's not worth the expense.
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With UHaul, I have had my good and my bad experiences. Overall I would say that I got my $$$ worth each time. When renting a UHaul, there are two types of vendors you can go through. One being the true UHaul dealer, the other being the Exxon down the road. My advice is to always go with a main UHaul dealer, if possible. This being because, unlike the Exxon down the road that rents out that one truck over and over again, they are more governed by rules and regulations set by UHaul. Individual loaner's at gas stations and rinky dinky stores don't have to follow those rules as strictly, because they own their trucks, not UHaul. Most of all the problems I have had with UHaul has orginated from those little franchises.
Below are some points to remember when renting from UHaul:
1. Reservations. Know how far in advance to reserve a truck. This seems to vary with each dealer. Some vendors will accept reservations and deposits very early, while others will only accept them the week of the move. This is because some of the smaller vendors don't know exactly what trucks are going to be in there lot from week to week. Find out when you can reserve your truck and reserve it as soon as possible. On busy weekends, like the beginning or the end of the month, it may be impossible to get any size truck if your not quick.
2. Size.Know what size a truck you think you will need. I'm very bad at estimating this so I usually have the dealer make a suggestion. Each time they have been very accurate in recommending a truck for me.
3. Inspection. Make sure you thoroughly inspect the truck before you leave the lot. I've never had any problems with this, but I usually get paranoid at sometime during the trip that they are going to blame me for the big dent in the door that I didn't point out in the inspection.
4. Insurance. They first time I rented a UHaul I got trapped into paying for the UHaul insurance. Before you committ to buying the insurance, check with your car insurance company and see if the truck would be covered under your personal plan. In many cases it is covered by your insurance company. The UHaul dealer usually won't tell you this, because of course they want to suck every penny they can out of you. Also, the insurance is fairly expensive. It seems to usually range from $80 - $100. Buying the insurance, even if your car insurance won't cover the car, is not required. But if something happens then you still are financially responsible.
5. Rates. Rates for renting a UHaul are usually very competitive. There has only been one occasion where I have found a cheaper rate with another company, Ryder. Don't be fooled by the ads on the back of their trucks advertising rental as low as $9.95. This price does not include mileage, or is only for in-town moves. When moving to a different city, UHaul will give you a package for a one way move. This package will include a certain number of miles and days for the rental. If you go over the miles, be aware that it is a huge fee per mile. Somewhere around .45 a mile. At some places they offer a mileage deal on top of that. You can purchase additional miles in advance for a reduced rate.
6. Gasoline. Remember that this monsters guzzle a lot of gas. You have to return the truck to the lot with about the same amount of gas as when you left. If you don't 'fill her up', you're going to get charged a butt load for them to do. They'll charge you a large flat fee, plus several dollars per gallon.
7. Customer Service. Don't expect to be treated as royality. I have very very rarely had good customer service with UHaul, the people are usually pretty rude initially. Kill them with kindness though, and they'll crumble.
8. Other moving supplies. UHaul will also sell you about anything you could imagine needing for a move. Things like boxes, bubble wrap, tape, paper, etc. The prices are a little step, but it's sometimes worth the convenience.
9. Reliability. I have never had any trouble with a UHaul rental. It's always been a smooth, uneventful ride.
In conclusion, I recommend UHaul to anyone who is looking for a cost efficient reliable way to move. Just be sure to compare prices with other providers before making a commitment with UHaul, most of the times they are the cheapest, but sometimes they're not. Also, know the reservation policies of your particular dealer well in advance of the date you will need the truck.
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