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Should You Rent a Moving Truck or Container For Your Long Distance Move?

Ok, let’s take the low hanging fruit first. If you have an unlimited budget, stop reading and call us right now. We’ll give you the best move you’ve ever had, guaranteed.

If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you’re not Bill Gates, and thus do not have an unlimited budget.

Long distance moves are expensive. There is no denying that. If you’re leaning towards renting a moving truck or container, we are happy to help you load them. However, there are a few things to think about.

1.) How will you protect your furniture?

I’m sure you want to protect your furniture from scratches, scrapes, and chips. You’re going to need some type of moving pads to protect your belongings. The only rental company with usable moving pads is Uhaul and even those aren’t that great. You can rent them, but they get to be expensive. The typical charge is $10/dozen per day. In the summer, many locations are out of stock. On a full 26-foot moving truck, we use 8 dozen pads. That’s $80/day! Ouch.

If you’re looking into renting a moving container, this option is pretty much out of the question. It can take weeks for your belongings to arrive at your destination. At that point, it would be cheaper to buy the moving pads.

You will also need some way to protect the load while it’s in the vehicle. We recommend eight ratchet straps for the typical 26-foot truck. The cost for this is around $45.

When you hire a full service moving company, you don’t have to worry about the extra cost of moving pads or straps.

2.) Who is going to drive the rental truck?

Rental truck companies will rent to almost anyone. This is scary to me. They are not easy to drive. They are very unforgiving to even the smallest errors. Getting in and out of gas stations can be a nightmare. The blind spots are not like a typical blind spot in a personal vehicle. If it’s your first time driving one, expect lots of anxiety while you’re on the road. Also, expect to pay up for fuel! The quoted MPG you see listed online is not correct. Those are empty weight MPGs. The actual MPG is much worse with a load.

Would you tow your vehicle with the rental truck? Larger vehicles (most SUVs and pickup trucks) do not fit on tow dollies. Make sure your vehicle is compatible. Towing even the smallest of vehicles is very scary, especially in the wind. Make sure you do not exceed the recommended speed limit of 55 MPH. It also brings the gas mileage further down.

You definitely want to buy the added insurance coverage the rental company offers. The trucks are very expensive to repair if you get into an accident. Your personal insurance policy will likely not cover any damages. The price for this varies between companies, but it isn’t cheap!

Our crews receive lots of training before driving a moving van. They get lots of experience driving for local moves before they ever take on a long distance move. Hiring a full-service moving company is sure to save you lots of headaches.

3.) How much stuff do you have?

A typical moving truck can hold up to a 3 bedroom house on average. A typical moving container can hold up to a 4 bedroom house on average. These are only averages though and your situation may be different. To prevent an ugly surprise on move day, schedule an in-home survey with us. We can tell you what size vehicle you need and give you a flat rate price to load it as well as a price for a full-service move.

4.) Do you have nice stuff?

If you have nice or expensive furniture you need heavy duty moving pads to protect it. You can’t rent those from any of the rental companies. They are very expensive if you want to buy them and never use them again.

Containers are notorious for damages. They handle them very roughly. They have spring suspension and make most of the trip via railroad.

Your belongings are not insured if you rent a truck or container. Even if we load it for you, our liability ends when we do. Our insurance company will not let us cover anything that is out of our care, custody, and control.

Full-service moves come with free released value protection. Extra coverage is available for small fee. It’s not much to pay for the peace of mind!

5.) When do you need your stuff?

The nice thing about renting a moving truck is that it gets there when you do. With our door-to-door service, your belongings will arrive around the same time.

With containers, this is far from the case. Aside from damages, the worst problem with containers is a delay. You’re given a window for drop off but it is not a guarantee. Many times there is a delay. This can derail all your move plans. The delivery can take up to two weeks. This means many nights in a hotel room. Do your due diligence and read reviews of the container company you’re considering.


There are many factors to consider when you’re looking to rent a moving truck or container. Some hidden costs you need to think about are with rental trucks are the insurance on the vehicle, moving pads, moving straps, and damages. With moving containers, you need to think about the cost of moving pads and straps, damages, and the cost of delays (eating out and hotels). Book a consultation with us today and take the worry out of your long distance move.