National truck rental companies will advertise vehicles for “$20/day!” — but, there’s a catch: these companies make all their money after you reserve your vehicle. Before renting a truck, make sure to understand what costs to realistically expect to pay when renting.
1. Base Rental Costs
Rental costs for your truck can range from $20 per day to $100+ per day, depending on the size of your truck. With most national truck-rental companies, a daily rental will include 24-hours of use of the vehicle. You will not receive any miles (or unlimited miles) with your rental.
Other things to ensure:
Is your rental guaranteed? Often times, rental agencies will not guarantee reservations and will overbook their vehicles. That means you may arrive to pick up your vehicle, and it isn’t available.
Late return fees: what are the fees for returning the vehicle late? Is there a “grace period?” If you return the vehicle 30-minutes late, are you charged for an extra hour or a full day? Can you return your truck anytime or only during primary business hours?
This is where most rental companies start to collect their profit. A few rental companies will include some amount of base miles in their rentals, but most rental companies will charge you a fee per mile that you drive.
This fee typically ranges from $0.69 cents to $1.59 per mile. If you drive just 50 miles, you’ll pay anywhere from $35 to $80 extra for your vehicle usage.
Make sure you know exactly what your per-mile pricing is with your rental agreement, and calculate the miles you expect to drive into your total trip costs.
With most truck-rental companies, you’re required to pay for the gas you use and also fill up the gas tank to its original state. This can be costly, and annoying.
Even if you only drive 10 miles, you’ll still need to fill up the gas. Otherwise, you can face gas-fill-up penalties.
This is an additional cost you’ll need to factor into your rental costs. For example, at $2/gallon, you can expect to spend $8-$16 for an average truck rental. You may also need to spend a bit extra to ensure there’s no question you’ve filled up the gas tank to its original state.
Most truck rental companies want to sell you insurance to cover your rental. This is typically 100% profit for them!
Should you buy rental insurance? You’ll want to call your insurance company to determine if your personal auto insurance will cover your truck rental. Often, personal insurance policies do not cover the use of commercial vehicles such as trucks and vans.
If you personal insurance policy doesn’t cover you, it’s a good idea to purchase the insurance from your rental company. Driving uninsured means that you could face out-of-pocket expenses for any damage you cause to your rental vehicle, or other drivers, during your trip.
For example, if you get in a wreck with another driver, and you’re at fault, you’ll be liable for:
– Repairing or replacing your rental vehicle
– Repairing or replacing the other driver’s vehicle
– Any personal damage caused to the driver, such as medical bills
It’s not difficult to imagine these costs adding up to tens of thousands of dollars. Without insurance, you’re responsible for paying all of these costs out of your own pocket.
5. Underage renting
Under 25 years of age? Most rental companies will charge you an additional cost for renting with them. Typically, this ranges from $10 — $30.
6. Moving supplies
Truck rental agencies want to sell you boxes and tape, whether you need them or not. Again, these upsells are essentially pure profit, and you’ll be asked if you need to purchase any supplies.
If you do need boxes, tape, gloves and other supplies, it’s recommended to purchase them before your rental at a normal hardware-supply store.
7. Cleaning fees
As a renter, you’re responsible for returning your truck rental in its original condition. If you’ve had any spills or debris collect in your truck, be sure to clean them before returning your vehicle.
If your vehicle isn’t returned in a clean state, cleaning fees can range from $30 to $100.
Lastly, be sure not to smoke in your truck rental. Smoking requires a vehicle to be detailed and cleaned extensively, which can result in hundreds of dollars in cleaning fees.
8. Additional costs
Many rental companies will tack on additional fees, such as “recovery costs” — that can add anywhere from a few dollars to $10 to your rental. While these costs may seem minimal, they can add up.
9. Cancellation fees
Does the truck rental company offer free cancellation for your reservation? If not, you’ll be liable for the full cost of
Your base rental fee is only the starting point for what you can expect to pay for a truck rental. After your rental, mileage, gas and insurance, expect to pay $60 — $150 for a 24-hour rental.
Be sure to understand the services that are included — and not included — with your truck rental. This will help you find not only the best price but also the most convenient option for renting a truck.
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