The conventional idea is that renting a truck is the cheaper option and hiring moving companies is the luxury option.
The truth is, it’s more complicated than that.
Renting from a company like U-haul implies paying for gas, lodging, and food as well as driving a huge vehicle and doing all of the heavy lifting yourself.
We’ll break this down and much more.
But first, we must say: Every move is different. To get the best idea of how much each of these moving options will cost, use our moving cost calculator.
Here’s how renting a moving truck compares with hiring a professional moving company.
When it’s time to relocate, you have several options to consider. Comparing a professional moving company to a moving truck rental will help you decide if one of these two options is right for you.
Of course, you can also consider a moving container company or a freight moving company, especially if you’re moving long-distance.
Hiring a Moving Company
Hiring a professional moving company means you’ll have less to worry about. Moving companies take care of the heavy lifting for you and they will do the driving. You can even hire a moving company to handle the packing and unpacking.
Moving with a professional moving company means the move will likely get done much faster than choosing the DIY route. In some cases, it may be about the same price to hire interstate movers compared to renting a moving truck.
Using a Truck Rental for Moving
When you decide to go the DIY route for your move, you will need one of the truck rental companies. Renting a moving truck means you’ll be doing the driving, and you’ll be responsible for gas, tools, and other expenses along the way.
A moving truck rental doesn’t offer any type of storage and you will either have to hire moving labor to help with loading and unloading or handle it yourself. You do gain control over when your items arrive and most truck rental companies will offer car towing options.
Moving Company vs Truck Rental: How Each Service Works
Comparing a moving company to a truck rental means you should understand how each one works. They are quite different and your level of involvement will be different with each of these options.
When you hire a professional moving company, you can let them take care of just about everything. Their moving services will even include packing and unpacking for you.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure some of the most important items go with you in your vehicle. Outside of a few personal items, important paperwork, and a few other items, you can hire a professional moving company to pack up your entire house, load it into the truck, drive the truck to your new destination, unload the truck, and even unpack your items for you.
You can also choose to hire a professional moving company to handle the loading, driving, and unloading. While you will still be responsible for the packing and unpacking, you won’t have to worry about any heavy lifting.
When you choose a moving truck rental, you’ll be responsible for everything. You will either need to hire laborers to help with packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking, or you will have to handle it on your own.
If you’re moving from one city to another or across state lines, you may need to hire two different crews; one for loading and one for unloading.
Renting a moving truck also means you’ll do the driving and you’ll need to pay for all the gas. You’ll need to find a moving truck rental company you can trust, figure out where you will return the truck, and make sure you book your rental truck for enough time to complete your move.
If you’ll be towing a vehicle, you’ll also need to rent a car dolly or car trailer.
Our Top 5 Long Distance Movers of 2020
500 interstate moving companies, 3 months of research, cross-referenced reviews, license data, insurance data, and federal complaint records.
2020 Best Moving Containers & Storage Companies
We spent 260 hours researching moving container and storage companies to find the best prices, best customer service, and fastest deliveries so you don't have to.
Moving With a Professional Moving Company: Pros and Cons
What we love about professional moving companies: If you like the idea of a lower risk move, hiring a moving company helps to transfer some of the liability off your shoulders. They will handle the driving and most moving companies offer options to help protect your items from damage.
What we don’t love about professional moving companies: For most moves, hiring a professional moving company will be the most expensive option. Moving companies also don’t offer much flexibility and they have a reputation for hidden fees. It’s also important to watch out for moving scams.
Moving Company Pros
- A lower chance of an accident or damage to your items.
- The moving crew will handle all the heavy lifting for you.
- Compared to a DIY move, your move will happen much quicker.
- All moving supplies will be provided by the company.
- If you’re moving specialty items, such as fragile items, fine art, a piano, or electronics, a moving company provides special options for these items.
Moving Company Cons
- Compared to renting a moving truck, it will be more expensive to hire a moving company
- You won’t have the same flexibility compared to a DIY move.
- Moving companies are known for hidden fees, last-minute cancellations, and moving scams.
- Make sure you hire a reputable interstate moving company with good online reviews to avoid these common issues.
Moving With a Truck Rental: Pros and Cons
What we love about moving truck rental companies: When it comes to affordable moving, it doesn’t get more affordable than renting a moving truck. If you’re working with a tight budget, you will likely need to find a truck rental company to keep the costs of your move down.
What we don’t love about moving truck rental companies: It’s not uncommon for truck rental companies to bury hidden costs in the final bill. You want to make sure to read the fine print and ask all your questions before you choose the right truck rental company for you.
Truck Rental Pros
- More affordable than hiring a professional moving company.
- Most companies will offer a variety of truck sizes.
- Widely available throughout the United States and Canada.
Truck Rental Cons
- It’s up to you to handle the driving and pay for gas.
- Hidden fees are common with some truck rental companies.
- Quotes will vary quite a bit from one company to another.
Moving Company vs Truck Rental: Availability.
Moving companies and truck rentals are usually available if you book months in advance. During the peak moving season, it may be harder to hire a moving company, while truck rentals are usually easier to find.
Availability will be determined by many other factors including the size of your move, where you’re moving from, where you’re moving to, and the type of items you need to move. It’s easier to hire local movers during peak season than a long-distance moving company.
If you plan to hire professional movers, it’s best to book your move many months in advance. Truck rentals are easier to find with large truck rental companies across the country offering many options in most locations.
Moving Company vs Moving Truck Rental: Can You Fit All Your Stuff?
The quick answer? Yes.
Professional moving companies and moving truck rental companies will offer multiple truck sizes for your needs. It becomes a bit tricky when you need to move a very large home (5 bedrooms or more). If you do need to move a very large house, a freight moving company may offer a better option.
For most, hiring professional movers or renting a moving truck will provide all the necessary space.
Professional Moving Company vs Truck Rental: How Much Do They Cost?
The cost of hiring a moving company compared to a truck rental can be tricky to figure out. Many factors go into figuring out the cost, such as:
- Where you’re moving from
- Where you’re moving to
- How much you’re moving
- When you plan to move
With a truck rental, the cost will depend on the mileage, in some cases. It will also be determined by the location you will return the truck to when you’re done. A one-way truck rental will have a different cost compared to a local truck rental.
Cost for a Local Move
|Moving Company||Truck Rental|
|1 bedroom||$240 – $500||$20 – $200 (plus per-mile rate)|
|2-3 bedrooms||$320 – $800||$20 – $50 (plus per-mile rate)|
|4-5 bedrooms||$640 – $1,500||$40 – $100 (plus per-mile rate)|
Cost for a Move <250 Miles
|Moving Company||Truck Rental|
|1 bedroom||$1,400 – $3,500||$289 – $350 plus fuel costs|
|2-3 bedrooms||$1,800 – $5,300||$289 – $350 plus fuel costs|
|4-5 bedrooms||$2,400 – $7,000||$300 – $600 plus fuel costs|
Cost for a Cross-Country Move
|Moving Company||Truck Rental|
|1 bedroom||$2,700 – $6,000||$800 – $1,900 plus fuel costs|
|2-3 bedrooms||$4,000 – $8,900||$1,200 – $2,850 plus fuel costs|
|4-5 bedrooms||$7,600 – $13,200||$1,800 – $3,100 plus fuel costs|
Have a look at our moving cost calculator for a better idea of the cost of your move.
Moving Company vs Truck Rental: Which Is Right for Your Move?
If your budget will determine the option you choose, a truck rental will likely make the most sense. Handing the move yourself with a moving truck rental offers the most affordable option.
When cost isn’t the most important fact, hiring a professional moving company provides a good option. It’s more expensive, but you won’t have to do any heavy lifting or driving.