Company Blog

Rental's Tips, Renter's Corner

By Amber

If you’re moving yourself, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is selecting the right truck for your move. Read on for the steps to take to ensure you’ve reserved the vehicle you need on moving day.

Take inventory of your belongings
Before you begin the process of selecting a truck, you need to cull your possessions down to exactly what you want to move. That means purging out what you don’t want to bring with you by sorting belongings into three piles: keep, toss and sell/donate. Once you’ve surveyed room by room, discarding and consolidating furniture, clothes and other items, you’ll be able to make a more accurate estimate of the size of moving truck which will be suitable for your move.

Deciding what size truck you need
Moving truck size is typically determined by the number of rooms whose contents you are moving. Generally-accepted approximations are as follows:

  • One-bedroom, small apartment: 10-ft truck
  • Two-bedroom house/apartment: 15-ft truck
  • Three- to four-room house/apartment: 20-ft truck 
  • Five- to eight-room house: 25-ft truck

Penske also offers a Truck Wizard to help you calculate based on individual items you are moving.

Even with these dimensions to go by, it’s a good idea to consult several rental companies to hear what they recommend. It’s always better to get a truck that’s a little too big, rather than too small. Do your best to estimate as accurately as possible to save money on the rental.

Choosing the rental company
It’s a good idea to get a few quotes from companies near you. Choose truck rental companies which have been in business for a length of time; look for online reviews via sites such as or Angie’s List.

Some information which is important to share with the rental company to receive an accurate estimate:

  • The number of days you’ll need the truck for loading, unloading and driving
  • Other moving paraphernalia you’ll rent, including items such as blankets and dollies

Compare rates among companies, taking into account the flat rental fee as well as the cost of extra items.

Are you ready to drive the truck?
Most budget truck rental companies stock trucks that a renter can drive with a general driver’s license, but don’t assume that’s the case with your rental. Confirm that a special license isn’t required before you make the reservation. Also know whether you’ll be renting a manual or automatic transmission truck.

Even if you don’t need a special license, consider whether or not you are able to handle a truck comfortably. Moving truck driving requires some special driving tactics and techniques. If you are a nervous driver in general, think of how you’ll feel with a truck on narrow city streets during bad weather or rush-hour traffic. If the thought of that makes you sweat, consider finding or hiring someone else to do the driving.

Moving is often a difficult process, no matter how well you prepare. If you’re moving yourself, choosing the right moving truck can mean the difference between a smooth move and one that you’ll talking about (and recovering from) for years to come!

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