Removals - Truck Rentals and Mobile Storage Units

If you decide to use an outside self-service storage, you will need to find out what options are available in your area. Some storage companies offer a free truck so you can move your stuff to the unit. Beware of the possible restrictions, such as a set number of miles or hours. Going over the allotted miles or time may result in being charged a premium rate.

Read the small print. Some storage companies offer a truck rental service at "special" prices, however their idea of “special” may be more expensive than another company. Also inquire about offers, such as negotiated discounted rates with truck rental companies. When using a mobile storage unit, you may decide to rent your own truck or you may not need a truck at all. Many storage companies are designed so that you can drive directly up to your unit, back the truck up to the door of the unit, and simply unload.

Mobile Storage Units
Some storage companies offer mobile storage options in which a mobile storage trailer (of a size specified by you) is dropped off to your home. You then load up your items and the storage company comes and collects the unit on an agreed date, usually a few days after drop-off.

The storage company may also offer a packing and loading service where workers come to your home or office and pack up all the items professionally. You then lock the trailer, using your own lock, and the storage company moves it to the storage destination. This service ensures that your goods are packed up correctly, preventing damage. Proper loading also ensures that you get the most out of the space in your trailer. It is common for people who pack up trailers themselves to run out of space due to poor packing and loading.

The big advantage to using a mobile storage unit is convenience. You do not need to go through the hassle of renting a truck. You will have plenty of time to load the unit yourself, or have the storage company's professional packers do it for you.

Things to consider when choosing a mobile storage option:
  • The storage container will be moved to a storage unit when it is loaded. It cannot remain at the home or office indefinitely. In fact, most storage companies will insist on the trailer being moved as soon as possible after loading.

  • If you live in a condo or apartment you may need to get permission from your homeowners’ association and/or landlord in order to have the trailer parked outside.

  • If your office or home is located on a steep hill it may not be a good idea to use a mobile unit. A flat, hard surface is needed so the unit can be loaded.

  • The storage company cannot drop off a trailer in underground parking.

  • Rates for mobile storage units will differ depending on location and time of year.

  • Mobile storage units are a good alternative for people afraid of driving a big truck.

  • You are in total control of how the goods are packed, so you will know exactly where everything is when you wish to remove items. However, insurance companies may not be willing to insure your goods if you have packed them yourself. It may be better to allow the experts at the storage company to pack your items.

Truck Rental
The storage company you plan to use may offer a free truck rental or a discounted deal with a preferred truck rental company. Beware of any offer that seems too good to be true and read the small print on the contract. You don’t want to get caught paying a large fee for going over the allotted miles or number of hours. You may find it makes more sense to rent your own truck. The following is a “Do It Yourself” (DIY) guide for renting a truck on your own.

Do It Yourself
Renting your own truck to transport your goods to storage requires some detailed planning up front. Whether you are moving one item or all the contents of a large home, preparation will be needed for a successful and hassle free move.

The three most important resources you will need are a truck, people, and money. The less people you have helping, the longer the move will take, and the more money it costs. Be sure to solicit help early on. Ask family and friends and try to get firm commitments. Remember, the longer the time you rent the truck the more money it will cost you. If your friends and family are busy, or are particularly weak, you may need to hire labor. This will certainly add up and increase your total move cost. Generally, once you get to the storage unit, the storage company will help with the unloading. However, be sure to check if this service is available and if any extra charge applies.

When considering a truck rental:
  • Book early to save money.
  • Try to rent a truck mid week. You can save needed dollars, as rates are more competitive during the weekdays.
  • Obtain the right packing supplies. If your goods are not packed correctly they may become damaged in storage.
  • Ask friends for manpower help as early as possible.
  • Check out the truck before you drive. Make sure you are comfortable with the various unfamiliar controls.
  • Drive Safely!!!
Advantages of a DIY move:
  • It may be cheaper than a full service or self-service move.
  • A road trip is part of the experience.
  • You are in total control.
  • You can follow your own schedule and move at your own pace.
Disadvantages of a DIY move:
  • Pads and dollies and moving supplies will add to your cost. The truck rental company may provide these for free. Otherwise, each pad will cost approximately $12 and each dolly will cost about $7 per day.

  • You are responsible for goods damaged in transit. You can take out insurance, however it will be more expensive than standard insurance offered by the truck rental company.

  • You may not be comfortable driving a large truck.

  • You will have to pay for gas and tolls. You will also need to return the truck full of gas to avoid a premium rate charge for the refill.

  • You may have to pay for extra miles, or if you go over time, you may be charged a premium rate per hour.

  • You will have to pack the items yourself. This includes furnishing and antiques that you may not be an expert at packing. To avoid damage you will need to pack wisely. The storage company usually only offers packing services when you rent a truck from them or from a preferred vendor they use.

If you are going to rent a truck, you will need to reserve one as early as possible. All trucks are not the same. You will need to investigate and find out which type and size best suits your needs. Shop around and get a number of estimates. For an accurate estimate you will need to provide the estimator with a list of the contents you plan to move.

Some questions to ask when renting a truck:
  • Do you feel comfortable driving a truck? Remember it drives differently from a car.
  • Do you need a permit to drive a commercial vehicle?
  • Are additional miles covered?
  • Does the truck run on gas or diesel?
  • Does the gas tank need to be full on returning the truck?
  • Where is the most convenient drop-off location near the storage unit?
  • If needed, can the truck be used to tow your car or boat?
  • How do you operate the lift?
  • Is the cab and trailer air-conditioned?
  • Does your auto insurance cover you while operating a truck?
Find out if your auto insurance protects you while you drive the truck (it is not common). Contact your auto insurance office and find out how much extra it will cost to insure you and the truck. Also check if the company renting the truck provides roadside assistance.

The items being moved to storage will need to be insured and many trucking companies do not offer protection. If they do, it is minimal. Full and self-service movers offer insurance with better protection. If you need additional insurance, an insurance company will have better rates for full and self-service movers. Remember, you may think everything is covered by your household policy, but it is important to note exactly when that policy ends.

Don’t forget, price should not be the only consideration when examining estimates. Smaller rental truck operations do not offer many extras, such as insurance or roadside assistance.

Truck Size
You won’t want to pay for space that you are not using. Rent a truck that meets your needs. To do this you will need to know what you want. As a guide you will need approximately 125 to 150 cubic feet for each furnished room. The following guide will help you convert cubic fee to actual truck size.
  • 10 ft truck = 1 bedroom small apartment - approximately 350 cubic feet
  • 15 ft truck = 2 bedroom house or apartment - approximately 750 cubic feet
  • 20 ft truck = 3 to 4 bedroom house - approximately 1250 cubic feet
  • 25 ft truck = 5 to 8 bedroom house - approximately 1550 cubic feet