What to Expect When You Move with Budget Truck Rental

Budget Truck Rental is one of the industry leaders for moving truck rental services. In 2020, Move.org helped a customer named Derek move from Des Moines to Washington, DC, in a Budget truck to get a real customer’s experience of working with Budget.

Overall, things went pretty well. Budget was honest and stuck with its initial estimate. That said, the company’s customer service did leave something to be desired. Keep reading to learn all about this truck rental move with Budget.

Meet Derek

Derek is a recent law school graduate who needed to get from Des Moines, IA, to Washington, DC, to start a new job. While Derek is no stranger to moving—he has lived in several different states—this was his first time being solely responsible for a big, cross-country move.

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Why Derek chose Budget

Derek was in the market for an affordable move, and he was willing to do most of the work himself. He had worked with Budget previously for a few smaller moves, but he wanted to do a little shopping around before he settled on a company.

To cover all his bases and ensure he got a price that worked for him, Derek also got quotes from U-Haul and International Van Lines (IVL), one of our favorite full-service moving companies.

Full-service moving costs a lot more than renting a truck for a DIY move, so it’s unsurprising that IVL quoted Derek $3,293 for his move. What was a little more surprising was that U-Haul quoted Derek over $1,000 while Budget quoted him only $844.62.

In the end, Derek went with Budget.

How Budget compares to U-Haul

Budget and U-Haul are often compared to each other, and Budget is by far one of the best U-Haul alternatives. That said, either company could be the right option for your move depending on where you’re moving and what you need. To decide which company is best for your situation, check out these guides:

Derek’s moving labor

Derek had originally enlisted the help of some family to help him load and unload his truck, but because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he had to make different arrangements. To get the help he needed, Derek opted to hire a moving labor crew on both ends of his move.

At first, Derek tried to get moving labor from the companies College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving and Two Men and a Truck. However, because of a scheduling hiccup with Two Men and a Truck and a communication breakdown on College Hunks’ part, he ended up hiring smaller, local labor companies instead.

Derek’s Budget move at a glance

Moving companyBudget
Move dateSeptember 2020
Service typeTruck rental
Start locationDes Moines, IA
End locationWashington, DC
Quoted cost$844.62
Actual cost$844.62
Moving company
Move date
Service type
Start location
End location
Quoted cost
Actual cost
Budget
September 2020
Truck rental
Des Moines, IA
Washington, DC
$844.62
$844.62

What to expect with Budget—Pricing

One of the biggest dangers to look for in the moving industry is dishonest pricing. Whether it’s through last-minute rate increases, fine print on moving contracts, or just holding a customer’s belongings hostage for more money, shady companies will bait-and-switch their customers with low initial pricing then charge them more on moving day.

We’re happy to report that Budget didn’t pull any of this on Derek. The company quoted him $844.62 to rent a 12-foot truck, and that was the price he ultimately paid. This gives Budget a lot of trustworthiness points in our book.

Pricing breakdown for Derek’s Budget move

5-day rental for a 12-foot truck with unlimited miles$677.25
12 furniture pads$29.00
Roadside assistance$64.95
Rental tax$73.42
Total cost$844.62
5-day rental for a 12-foot truck with unlimited miles
12 furniture pads
Roadside assistance
Rental tax
Total cost
$677.25
$29.00
$64.95
$73.42
$844.62

If he wanted to, Derek could have covered his belongings and the truck in case of an accident or a natural disaster, but this would have cost him a lot more. Derek ultimately opted to save some money by going without Budget’s comprehensive truck and contents coverage plans.

He did pay for Budget’s roadside assistance, though, as well as some furniture pads to protect his stuff. Both of these are excellent add-ons that we always recommend in case something goes wrong.

We want to specify that Derek’s price is unique to his move, and if you move with Budget, your price will look at least slightly different. Truck rental prices are determined by factors like inventory at your location, seasonality, truck size, and how far you’re moving. Since these factors are unique to your move, your exact price is impossible to predict.

The most important takeaway is that Budget won’t hit you with unexpected price increases or last-minute fees. What the company quotes you for your rental is what you can expect to pay.

What to expect with Budget—Customer service

One of the biggest setbacks for Derek’s move was Budget’s customer service. While the customer service reps were friendly, they weren’t very helpful.

After looking over the company’s website, Derek wasn’t sure if he needed a 12-foot or a 16-foot truck. Instead of helping him make this decision by offering industry expertise, the Budget representatives Derek spoke with simply kept referring him back to the website.

This might not seem like a big deal, but picking the right truck size is actually one of the most important parts of any truck rental move. If your truck is too big, your stuff won’t be secure enough to prevent haphazard shifting when you take tight turns or stop suddenly. If your truck is too small, you obviously won’t be able to fit everything inside.

Bigger trucks are also more expensive to rent, so if Derek rented a bigger truck than he needed, his move would have cost more than it should have.

Luckily, Derek was able to get some outside expertise from the moving labor company he hired to help him load. With the labor company’s help, he determined that he just needed a 12-foot truck, which worked perfectly.

While it all came out okay for Derek, this is a red flag for Budget’s customer service. Other Budget customers might not get the advice and expertise they need the company to provide.

Luckily, Derek had no further problems with Budget’s customer service. His truck was ready at the time and location he reserved it for, and he had no issues picking it up or dropping it off.

What surprised us about Budget

Now that we’ve given you the rundown of Derek’s move, we wanted to highlight a few things that stood out and what they might mean if you choose to rent a truck from Budget.

The good

The good surprise was that Budget was cheaper than U-Haul.

While this is often the case, it’s not always true. For example, another customer we helped move got a much cheaper rate from U-Haul than Budget. This really highlights the importance of getting multiple quotes. A company that might charge less for some moves will likely charge more for others.

If you get only one quote, you won’t know for sure how much you might’ve saved.

The bad

There were two bad surprises in this Budget move.

The first was the poor customer service experience Derek had while picking a truck size. This really shouldn’t have been a problem, and it shows a lack of foresight and training on Budget’s part.

The other nasty surprise was how dirty Derek’s truck was when he picked it up. When he got his truck, there was mud splattered on the outside and the windows were covered with dirt and grime.

This was just a small problem, and the truck didn’t give Derek any trouble during his long drive. However, good presentation shows attention to detail that we appreciate in a moving company.

Our take

All in all, Derek’s move with Budget went very well. There were no hidden fees or unsolvable problems. Derek wanted a simple and affordable DIY move, and that’s exactly what Budget gave him. While a small handful of things could have gone better, none of them turned into major setbacks.

If you’re like Derek and you’re willing to put in a little elbow grease and deal with a few minor obstacles in exchange for a frugal long-distance move, then Budget is a great choice.

If you want to do a little more research before you decide to rent a truck from Budget, check out our Budget Truck Rental review and our list of the best truck rental companies.

About Joe Roberts

Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over three years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.