How can I get furniture in two days without a car?
October 1, 2010 4:45 AM   Subscribe

I need a small, new futon by Sunday. I live in the DC area (Alexandria). I don't have a car, don't know anyone with a car, and I don't have Zipcar membership. What are my options?

I could:

a) rent a car for the day, which would be expensive.
b) use a cab on my way back from whichever store I buy from.
c) somehow utilize craigslist.
d) get super-fast overnight delivery, in which case I might as well rent a car.

Are there any services I'm unaware of? Any cheaper ways to accomplish this? What am I missing?

I'm thinking of just renting a car and running all the errands I can possibly think of that day.
posted by alligatorman to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Buy it from Ikea and have them deliver it; last I checked, their delivery fees weren't too bad.
posted by inigo2 at 5:01 AM on October 1, 2010

Do you have a driver's license? You can usually get a U-Haul truck for $20 plus mileage. Make sure you book it ahead of time.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:19 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

According to this link on the Zipcar website, residents of Alexandria are eligible to have their $25 application fee and $50 first year's dues refunded by the City. You have to have the money upfront, but this will likely help you in the long run by making cars available to you for the next, you get that money back (minus the actual rate of the car for the day). that.
posted by inturnaround at 5:21 AM on October 1, 2010

When I was in your situation I bought a cheapo futon from a chain bed store and they delivered the next day for $50. You could call a few places and see what the delivery rates are? It's probably less than you expect.
posted by vincele at 5:53 AM on October 1, 2010

Nearly every single furniture offers delivery. Make a few calls to check rates and schedules.
posted by gnutron at 6:38 AM on October 1, 2010

2nd-ing the U-Haul. Way cheaper than renting a car, although it's kind of terrifying to drive a box truck through city streets if you aren't used to driving.

Also, if you're up for being kind of an asshole, making a nuisance of yourself, and getting totally exhausted, and if it's not expressly forbidden in DC, you could do what I did when I had no car, wasn't old enough to rent one, and had to get a new futon: I enlisted my boyfriend to help me roll up the futon and tie it up tight, and we wrapped it in plastic. Then we carried it four blocks to the bus, rode on the bus with the futon smushed up in the back corner of the bus, and carried the sucker another eight blocks to our house. It really sucked a lot and we got cussed out by the bus driver for the whole ride, but there wasn't any rule explicitly forbidding bringing a futon on the bus, so he had to let us do it.
posted by kataclysm at 7:02 AM on October 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just one note on those $20 a day plus mileage deals. The mileage rates can be very high. Make sure you account for them in any cost comparisons. I've easily doubled the rate with relatively short runs.
posted by bitdamaged at 7:37 AM on October 1, 2010

I'd try pricelining a car rental. you can often get them for ~$25/day. Just be careful that you know what the total you're signing up for is before you place the final bid.
posted by mercredi at 7:44 AM on October 1, 2010

Lots of places will rent you a truck hourly, for fairly low rates. Home Depot for example. I don't think you specifically need to be buying anything from Home Depot to rent the truck.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:55 AM on October 1, 2010

Actually, instead of U-Haul, you might want to consider Budget Rent-a-Truck, or...anyone at all besides U-Haul, really. (Unless you enjoy dealing with crappy equipment, unhelpful stuff, and business practices bordering on abusive.)
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 7:56 AM on October 1, 2010

*unhelpful staff
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 7:56 AM on October 1, 2010

Don't forget that Home Depot rents vehicles these days. I gather they don't ask too many questions & are fairly cheap, although I have not done it myself.
posted by Ys at 7:59 AM on October 1, 2010

Home Depot may still require a purchase for truck rental. I did this years ago & bought a couple of bales of pinestraw to qualify for the cheap rental.
posted by pointystick at 9:20 AM on October 1, 2010

Second the Home Depot option. They'll ask what you're buying so tell them that your [relative] is over getting a bunch of stuff and you want have the truck there for them.

Of course, there's a cost and depending on where you live, where you're getting the futon, and where Home Depot is in relation can be a bugaboo.

BTW: Check your Metamail. I might be able to help you out.
posted by Man with Lantern at 11:38 AM on October 1, 2010

You should be able to rent a car from National/Reagan airport for $30 or so/day. Or Zipcar. Zipcar is great.
posted by RandlePatrickMcMurphy at 12:41 PM on October 1, 2010

Generally Zipcar will mail you your membership card, but you can also pick it up from their office, if there's one nearby, in which case you could use a Zipcar truck immediately.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:54 PM on October 1, 2010

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