Before Your Move: What You Need To Know About Rental Truck Shortages

Posted on

It’s every potential mover’s nightmare; your boxes are packed, your home is sold or your lease is up, your loaders are on the way, and you arrive at the rental company at your reserved pickup time only to be told that the truck that you’ve reserved isn’t available. You might be informed that you have to travel long distances to retrieve an available truck, or worse, that there simply aren’t any in a feasible distance. Many moving families are finding themselves in exactly that circumstance across the country, particularly in California and Nevada.

Rental Truck Shortages

Rental truck prices have been rising across the country alongside the shortage. Mark J Perry, economist and professor at the University of Michigan/Flint first reported the shortage on Twitter referencing data provided by Uhaul earlier this summer. He noted that rental prices (particularly in California) were almost five times that of other states. With residents leaving the state en masse due to a confluence of economic, social, and environmental factors, moving trucks are in short supply and prices are at record highs. 

Did You Know? Traditional van lines and moving companies often utilize trucks from rental services like Uhaul and Budget who are primarily focused on consumer rentals, regardless of the reservation status of those trucks. This often leaves consumers like you in the lurch, without the truck you’ve reserved for your move date.

Beyond mere availability, another shock factor for consumers has been the skyrocketing cost of rentals. Erin Marquis, managing editor at Jalopnik requested quotes from multiple truck rental companies for an article about the economic and demographic impacts of California’s recent wildfires and found that when moving from a major California city like San Francisco, consumers could pay $4200 for a three day rental of a 26′ moving truck bound for Houston, Texas. In Houston, that same truck, reserved to travel the opposite way inbound to San Francisco, will cost only $793. A 22′ Penske truck to move from Los Angeles to Houston was listed at over $6200. 

Did You Know? Most consumers believe that once they’ve made their reservation, that they’re guaranteed a truck on their specified moving date, but that’s not the case, particularly when there is a shortage of trucks in specific regions. Rented Truck Driver highly recommends that you pick your truck up the day before your move to ensure that you have time to make alternate arrangements with your rental company in the event that your truck is not immediately available.

While it pays to shop around because rental rates are variable across vendors, you should also be careful to note the availability policy of the company that you select. Uhaul and Budget do not guarantee availability (and are generally less expensive, sometimes by thousands of dollars) compared to Penske, who guarantees equipment availability (with an often much higher price tag.) In the event that your rental is not available on your specified move date, you may have to travel (sometimes hundreds of miles) to retrieve a truck. We’ve traveled as far as Arizona to retrieve trucks for clients moving from California. 

While you can’t control truck shortages or the rising cost of rentals, you can engage trusted professionals to help you manage your move. At Rented Truck Driver, we work with you to create the blueprint of your perfect move and we’re with you every step of the way. Contact us for a free quote today, and take the worry and stress out of moving!