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Comparing Truck Rental Rates to U-Pack

October 13th, 2017 - 11:06 AM

Are moving truck rates always cheaper?

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding long-distance moving is that truck rental is the cheapest option. While that may be true for some moves, so many factors contribute to pricing that rates can widely vary. Before you choose a moving company, take a closer look at the components that determine moving truck pricing, see how U-Pack® is different, and then compare rates.

Read more about how U-Pack compares to truck rental.

Compare truck rental rates to U-Pack to find the best deal.

What goes into truck rental pricing?

The equipment rental

Base pricing can vary depending on each company. However, these are the things that normally go into the rental rates:

Truck size. Typically, the larger the equipment, the more expensive the rental. Unless you’re a pro (or at least have moved enough to have it down), estimating the size truck needed can be difficult. With a rental truck, it’s normally good practice to reserve a little larger than you think you’ll need — in most cases it’s better to have more than enough than not enough. Because who wants to leave stuff behind or have to rent another truck or trailer?   

Where you’re moving to/from. “Location, location, location” doesn’t just apply to real estate. Along with the mileage between origin and destination, some areas can have higher (or lower) pricing due to demand.

The rental time. Most rental trucks include a set number of days. If you need more time than what’s allowed for the base price, most can add days for an extra charge.  

Extra costs​

Along with the cost of the equipment, these extras can have a big impact on the rates:

Fuel. One of the biggest additions to a long distance move in a rental truck is fuel. A coast-to-coast move could add upwards of $800-1000 for gas. The rental truck fuel calculator can give you an average of the estimated fuel costs for your move.

Liability coverage and damage waiver. While not normally required, it’s wise to consider liability coverage and/or damage waiver with a truck rental. Without a damage waiver, you could be responsible for damage (like a cracked windshield, for example).

Taxes and fees. Local taxes are usually added on and there may be environmental fees as well.

How U-Pack beats truck rental rates

U-Pack is often comparable or better than truck rental because of a few things:

What U-Pack prices include

U-Pack rates are based on the origin/destination and space, similar to truck rental. But with U-Pack, you don’t have to drive. Equipment is delivered to your home, you load, and then we deliver to your new home. And, with U-Pack, there’s no additional charge for things like fuel, limited liability coverage and taxes.


Instead of having to size up to a bigger truck if you need a little more space, U-Pack gives you flexibility to pay for the space you use. With our moving trailer option, you can use as little as 5 linear feet or as much as the entire trailer (27 feet). For example, if you get a quote for 13 linear feet, but end up needing a little more space, you can use just what you need — and your rate is adjusted accordingly. With ReloCube containers, you can have multiple containers delivered, but only pay for the ones you use. That means if you have three Cubes delivered but only use two, you only pay for two.

The transportation system

U-Pack is able to offer competitive rates because any space you don’t use in the trailer gets filled with commercial freight headed in the same direction. This saves money because you’re not covering the transportation of the entire truck.

Compare rates for renting a truck to U-Pack

To see the price differences at work, take a look at these sample moves. 

Note: The prices for these example moves are based on specific locations, dates and move sizes. Rates can change daily. We’ve included fuel based on the rental truck fuel calculator linked above, and only included fees or taxes when the company included it in their online quote.

Seattle, WA to Denver, CO for a 3-bedroom home

These quotes were for similar space from three companies. U-Haul® includes 1015 cu. ft., Penske® includes 1,200 cu. ft., and 17’ linear feet of U-Pack space includes 1224 cu. ft.

  • U-Haul 20’ truck: $1,725, Safemove® coverage $105, $5 environmental fee, $473 fuel = $2,308
  • Penske 22’ truck: $2,276.10, $120 Limited Damage Waiver, $9 environmental fee, $473 fuel = $2,878.10
  • U-Pack 17 linear feet: $1,702

Los Angeles, CA to Chicago for a 1-bedroom apartment

When comparing the space to move a small apartment, we chose the smallest option each company had available.

  • U-Haul 10’ truck: $1,965, $135 Safemove® coverage, $5 environmental fee, $736 fuel = $2,841
  • Budget® 12’ truck: $2,139.30, local taxes $235.04, $736 fuel = $3,110.34
  • U-Pack 1 ReloCube: $2,360

Oakland, CA to Dallas, TX for a 2-Bedroom Home

We checked rates for comparable space. The Budget truck includes 830 cu. ft., the Penske truck includes 806 cu. ft., and 13 feet of U-Pack space includes 936 cu. ft.

  • Budget 16’ truck: $2,880, local taxes $294.16, $629 fuel = $3,803.16
  • Penske 16’ truck: $2,021.40, $154 Limited Damage Waiver, $9 environmental fee, $629 fuel = $2,813.40
  • U-Pack 13 linear feet: $2,114

Check prices for your move

You can easily do your own comparisons. Get a free moving quote from U-Pack online or by calling 800-413-4799. You may be surprised that you can get rates that compare to truck rental without having to drive. If you have any questions, please let us know in the comments. We’re here to help.


Penske® is a registered trademark of Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. Budget® is a registered trademark of Budget Truck Rental, LLC. Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.