U-Haul may be the first name that springs to mind when thinking about renting a moving truck, but that doesn’t mean it is the only solid option out there. The rental truck industry is booming and showing no signs of slowing, so it stands to reason that other companies out there have something to offer.
Let’s look at some of the best alternative companies- U-Haul’s biggest competitors- and how they compare on pricing, performance, services, and customer experience.
What Is U-Haul?
From humble beginnings as a husband and wife team supplying one-way rental trailers, U-Haul, an American-born company, now has a fleet of over 300,000 moving vehicles and 774,000 self-storage units in 21,000 locations across the country.
That’s a lot of numbers, which reflect the incredible success U-Haul has achieved in the moving rental industry. It also expanded its business into various other move-related services, including selling packing equipment and moving boxes and installing hitch and tow trailer wiring.
Additionally, U-Haul has thousands of storage units across the USA and Canada, which can be rented long or short-term.
U-Haul’s contracts with the U.S Postal Services and some of the biggest name international delivery companies such as UPS and FedEx, take them to a whole new level of vehicle rental.
In busy periods, especially Christmas, U-Haul makes their money by leasing some of their impressive truck collection to the postal industry to keep things moving.
On top of all that, U-Haul offers opportunities for individuals to launch a franchise. They can work semi-independently to grow the fleet in their location while displaying and expanding the U-Haul brand.
U-Haul Pros and Cons
- Many locations make it easy to find an available vehicle
- More than 75 years in business lets you know you can trust them
- Wide selection of services available
- Good local move rates
- Roadside assistance included with your rental
- Lots of hidden costs
- Complicated price quote
- No guarantee on reservations
Bottom Line on U-Haul Truck Rental
U-Haul International was the first of its kind and is still the leader of the pack all this time later, which has to stand for something. They can provide you with almost everything you need for your move, from the moving truck to the temporary storage unit, to the box you pack your socks in.
Biggest U-Haul Competitors
Enterprise Truck Rental
Although Enterprise is known primarily as an international car rental company, it has one of the best truck, trailer, and cargo van selections of any business of this kind worldwide.
The company aims to maintain the same excellent service and reputation it has for rent-a-car and translate it to rent-a-truck. With that being said, the company operates in a slightly different way to U-Haul and other top competitors.
Because in most cases the rental must be returned to the same location, much like when hiring a car, Enterprise is predominantly used by customers and movers staying local.
It has roughly 270 truck rental locations and growing across the US and Canada and, unlike U-Haul, has an international base in the UK.
Enterprise Pros and Cons
- 14 different moving truck sizes, plus cargo van, tow trailer, and car rentals
- Clear upfront pricing with very few hidden fees
- The first 300 miles are free!
- Reservations are easy to make and free to cancel
- Great customer service reviews
- International recognition and success
- Rentals usually need to be returned to the original leasing location
- Very limited long-distance or interstate options
- Deposit required to rent any vehicle (refundable)
- No booking guarantee
Bottom Line on Enterprise
For a no-fuss, local move or to shift furniture or other belongings to a nearby self-storage unit, this company is a friendly, easy, and affordable option. For a long-distance cross-country trip, you should look to U-Haul or one of the other competitors.
Budget Truck Rental
The name may be a bit of a giveaway, but Budget Truck Rental prides itself on providing an affordable moving service. Combine that with an impressive-sized fleet and 2800 US locations and you can quickly see why Budget is one of U-Haul’s toughest competitors.
Budget offers one-way rentals and is cost-effective over a long or short distance; a great choice for any move. Compared to U-Haul, this company is more upfront about pricing, although there are still a few extras along the way.
One of the best things about this company is the discounts it offers for customers who serve in the military (active or veteran), the emergency services including police, firefighters and EMTs, students, and AARP members. This is something U-Haul International does not offer as standard practice.
Budget Pros and Cons
- Value for money, letting you save on the move
- Many locations and a 30,000 strong fleet
- Discounts available
- Unbeatable pricing for local moves under 100 miles
- No option for unlimited mileage
- Need to pay a deposit before renting
- Additional fees on top of the original quote
- Bookings are not guaranteed
Bottom Line on Budget
If cost is your biggest concern and you are moving a short distance, Budget Rentals cannot be beaten. However far your trip is, this is one of the best U-Haul International competitors in the business.
Despite potential extra costs along the way, you can still save money in comparison to the others truck rental companies on this list. For an affordable leasing arrangement, Budget should be the first port of call.
Penske Truck Rental
As far as U-Haul alternatives go, Penske Truck Rental is at the top of the ladder. The company is known for its modern and varied fleet of more than 50,000 moving trucks, trailers, and various types of vans. With more than 2500 locations, a Penske truck is never too far away.
Not one to follow the crowd, Penske stands out from other U-Haul competitors by switching its focus to low pricing for customers moving long distances.
U-Haul and the other top competitors boast cost-effective moves for shorter distances, however, Penske charges fees per mile for local movers.
Where Penske shines is its unlimited mileage deals for customers moving across the country, making their prices beyond comparison to U-Haul, Budget, Enterprise, and any other competitors out there.
Penske also offers other services. In partnership with The Home Depot, Penske has set up a great way to save movers time and money by being able to pick up moving and home improvement supplies at the same time as picking up their Penske truck.
Penske Pros and Cons
- Convenient pickup and drop off
- Unlimited miles when renting long-distance
- Guaranteed reservations when made at least two days in advance
- The green choice
- Discounts for military and emergency service
- First-time customer discount
- Higher prices for local moves in comparison to other U-Haul competitors
- Deposit required
- Not the most cost-effective across the board
Bottom Line on Penske
A Penske truck is known for being clean, modern, and high quality. Customer reviews are glowing concerning convenience and service provided by the company. The only company on this list to offer a booking guarantee, Penske knows how to put the customer first.
Unlike the rest of U-Haul’s competition, Penske also offers a discount for first-time customers!
Penske may not be the overall cheapest of the U-Haul competitors but they are an excellent leasing option for a cross country trip.
U-Haul also has been given a run for its money in terms of services provided since Penske teamed up with The Home Depot.
These are by no means the only alternatives the U-Haul, but each of these companies are industry giants in their own right. U-Haul is undoubtedly the biggest and best-known name out there, but Enterprise, Budget, and Penske are all formidable competitors.
To pick an overall “best” is impossible, as every move has different requirements. The reason you have for leasing a truck or moving van plays heavily on what company is going to be best for you.
Although U-Haul cannot be matched in terms of size and reputation, it can be matched- and even beaten- in many other categories. It also will depend on your individual needs, for example if you’re moving from Georgia to FL, your choices may be different than if you’re moving from California to Texas, the Lonestar state.
Here is a breakdown of how these rental companies compare across different scenarios.
Most Locations and Availability
U-Haul is unbeatable in this regard. No other company has even close to U-Haul’s number of leasing spots or vehicles and as such, they simply cannot compete for availability.
Best for Local Moves
Budget’s price to rent trucks for local moves (under 100 miles) is the best. Enterprise is also a good option and actually costs less per mile, but the upfront prices are higher. Overall, Budget is best for the short-haul.
Best for Long-Distance Moves
A Penske truck is the only one you can lease with unlimited one-way miles, making this company the best choice for a long-distance move.
U-Haul has a good setup as well and is the second choice, but there is no comparison for one-way unlimited.
Best for One-Way Moves
This is dependent on for far you are going. Generally speaking, U-Haul is best because of how many bases it has.
That being said, Penske is superior on pricing for a cross-country haul. Budget is sufficient for a shorter single journey and could potentially work out cheaper than U-Haul.
Fairest Pricing and Value for Money
Overall, Budget is the cheapest option. Even with additional costs, the end price is often lower than with other companies.
Enterprise is a good value because the upfront cost is the closest of all the competitors to the final bill.
U-Haul is known to have many add-ons, so it is hard to predict what the final result is going to be.
Largest Selection of Trucks
Enterprise is the clear winner here with 14 different truck sizes available. The company also offers an interesting van selection, including high-roof, open-top, boxed, and refrigerated.
U-Haul is also impressive in this category, with eight-foot to 26-foot trucks included in their collection. The sheer volume of U-Haul’s fleet is enough to make them a top choice in this category
Best Choice of Services
U-Haul and Penske Truck both other just about everything you could need for a move. U-Haul sells equipment moving gear, helps with a trailer hook up, offers roadside assistance, storage units, and of course rents trucks of every shape and size.
Penske offers all the same things via its partnership with Home Depot. These two companies working together is an excellent bonus for customers and sets it aside from U-Haul and the other competitors.
Best Insurance Options
None of the trucks come with free insurance included, unfortunately, but U-Haul does offer insurance packages separately. Enterprise also offers an efficient insurance policy as an optional add-on, which is the most straightforward and comprehensive option of all the competitors.
Both Penske and U-Haul’s employees rate their job satisfaction as higher than other similar jobs. Penske offers employee health care a great vacation time, and because they work with low emission trucks their employees feel healthier.
U-Haul is known as a great kick-starter. Extensive employee training courses are provided and opportunities for further study are supported.
The pay for working in this type of job is not particularly competitive, but the hours are flexible and working for a company as massive as U-Haul is providing invaluable experience and looks great on a resume.
As a company, U-Haul is a time-tested giant in its field. On reputation alone, many people consider U-Haul the first and only option for leasing moving trucks.
Brand loyalty is fierce with U-Haul customers, but the competitors are certainly creeping up in ranks. More people are making the intelligent decision to research the alternatives for the best possible deal rather than sticking to what they know best.
Every company on this list has something unique to offer, be it free miles, refrigerated trucks, or exciting partnerships. They are all held in high regard in this industry and have countless positive reviews from previous users.
U-Haul’s competitors should not be dismissed. If you have an upcoming move or haul, consider the points made in this article to help ensure you make the best choice for yourself and your move.