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Why renting a U-Haul truck isn’t as cheap as you think!

Patriotic Movers in Geneva IL recently had a customer call in for a move. The job was to pick up a cabinet from Orland Park IL and bring it to Batavia IL. We do moves like this all the time. They aren’t the cheapest, but when you break it down you realize why it is the price it is. The customer was looking to spend $100. We wouldn’t be in business if we did moves for $100. After the call ended it got us thinking. Can you even rent a U-Haul for the price they were looking to spend? As this is being written we don’t think so, but let’s test the hypothesis together.

1. The $29.95 Rental

To rent a U-Haul truck at the time of writing this 2/11/2024. It is $29.95. This is for the 15’ or 17’ truck. You could get the 10’ truck for $19.95. Our experienced movers don’t think that’s a good option as the 10’ trucks don’t come with a ramp. Let’s pretend this cabinet is a piano. Would you rather try and carry that into the back or roll it up the ramp?  We think it’s worth the extra $10.

2. Adding in the Fees

So now you think, great I am only spending $30 dollars I’m $70 ahead. Well, this is just the start. U-Haul then asks if you would like “Damage Protection” for $15. U-Haul says this is their most popular. We will add that to the cart. (Did you know this covers the U-Haul vehicle, NOT the contents of the your items) After you click next it will ask you if you would like to add “Safetrip” for an extra $5. We’ll skip this one. Then it asks if you need Dollies and Furniture Pads. Well, the truck comes empty so we will add a furniture dolly for $7 and a half dozen pads for $5. This is what our movers would use during this specific move. If you’re keeping track, it is now at $52. But due to fees it says $57.95 and $.79 per mile. (Attached below are the screenshots) Now we need to add in the mileage. Google says Batavia to Orland Park is 39.8 miles. We’ll round up to 40 to make it easier. The new total is $121.15. For 80 miles and all the listed above. Lots of people forget fuel. The average cost per gallon in the US at the time of this being written is $3.25. According to the average U-Haul gets 10 mpg (We normally get about 6). That would be 8 gallons of fuel at $3.25 equaling $26. Truck and mileage of $121.15 + $26 fuel = $147.15. This is the roughly the cost it would be to rent a U-Haul and do the move yourself. We’ll leave out tolls since you’re trying to save money. If you go the toll free route, now you’re at 41 miles (one way) and 1 hour, 4 minutes of drive time.

3. The Total

There you have it, roughly $150 to rent a $30 truck (during the week). Oh yeah don’t forget. You still have to do all the labor yourself…

Expert Tip “The weekend rate is $.99 per mile. Now you are at about $165.”

4. Adding in Extras

Now that we know roughly the truck cost. It’s about 1 hour there and about 1 hour back. It’s probably going to be 15 minutes to park, see where the item is, come up with your plan to move it, open the truck, wrap up the item and load it and another 15 minutes to do the opposite for the unload. Oh no! We didn’t get any wrap, tape or straps. How are we going to keep the moving pads attached to the cabinet? How are we going to keep the dolly attached to the cabinet? How are we going to secure the cabinet in the truck, so it doesn’t slide around and get damaged? We have to add in the cost of tape, plastic wrap and straps. The plastic wrap that we would get if we were to get it from The Home Depot that is similar to what we use is $26.98 without tax. Let’s get 1 roll of tape for $3.98. This is the cheapest option. Now we will get 1 ratchet strap (Hopefully we don’t need more) for $6.98 (again cheapest option for 1). Now we are at $40.98 with tax.

5. Adding in Labor (p.s. it’s you)

We need to figure out labor. You have 2.25 hours of just driving. Time to do the move, roughly 30 minutes. You have the time it takes to book the U-Haul, pick it up and drop it off. Minimum 30 minutes if everything goes smoothly and there is no line.  Don’t forget the time to go to The Home Depot to get the rest of your supplies. Probably 15 minutes. Another 15 minutes to stop and fuel the truck up. In total you are at 3.75 hours on the very conservative side. The minimum wage in IL is $14. (Your time is worth much more than that but for the sake of doing this cheapish.) That is $52.50 in labor and that’s just for 1 person. For 2 people you are at about $105 in labor. $40.98 in supplies from The Home Depot and $150 for the truck during the week. You are at $296 for the cheapest that you can do yourself, moving 1 item and wasting almost 4 hours of your day. But remember, we want to spend $100…

Thanks for coming to our Ted Talk. If there are other topics you would like us to talk about, just let us know. We’ll see what we can do!


Patriotic Movers takes real customer call in information. We then break it down to provide you with the helpful information that is provided above.