Does my moving math check out?
August 14, 2016 6:55 PM   Subscribe

I'm moving back east (cross country) and I was able to get a, frankly, unbelievable rate on a one-way 16' truck rental--apparently they really need trucks back east.

Truck rental (base rate, estimated taxes and fees): $221.13
Gas: $700 (40 gallon tank, 12 MPG, 3000 miles, $2.50/gallon, rounded up to 7 fill-ups)
Insurance: Not needed, my car insurance will cover me
Total: $991.13

It cost me $1800 for movers when I moved out here, so this is a significant savings and I don't mind doing the work myself this time to save over $800--and really it's more since if I wasn't renting this truck I'd be driving my car back and spending money on gas either way.

Really just want more opinions on the gas (I was pretty liberal in estimating how much gas I'd use.)
posted by Automocar to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
No mileage charge?
posted by SLC Mom at 7:01 PM on August 14, 2016

Response by poster: Unlimited mileage.

It's a really insane deal. Yes, I triple-checked it.
posted by Automocar at 7:03 PM on August 14, 2016

According to the GasBuddy map, there are very few places in the country where gas is over $2.50 a gallon. I'd expect that you'll be closer to $2.25 all told, depending on the route you take and your final destination.

One additional expense to keep in mind is the cost of hotels along the way. This could easily run to $500, depending on where you stay and how long you take. I personally wouldn't do it in less than six days (500 miles/day), especially if I was driving solo; but your mileage, quite literally, might vary.
posted by Johnny Assay at 7:10 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

Don't forget to add the costs of travel whole driving (hotels, food, etc). That could add up quick!
posted by snowysoul at 7:34 PM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh yeah, since I was going to drive my car anyway, I'm basically just looking to assure myself that this is indeed significantly cheaper than movers. Not factoring in hotels and food because that was already a cost I was going to incur.
posted by Automocar at 7:39 PM on August 14, 2016

Ok, take what I'm saying with a grain of salt as I haven't moved in over 10 years, but that doesn't seem like that much of a savings. You are still having to pack your stuff, load it into the truck, drive and then unload it? How many hours will that take? Do you have friends and/or family who will help you on either end with the load-in and load-out? Are you really good at packing a truck? Do you have heavy or fragile belongings that risk getting damaged at any point during transit? Since you aren't going to be driving your car, how will that get transported to your new city?

Personally, I would value not having to worry about my stuff every step of the way, and $800 seems like a reasonable amount to pay for this convenience/peace of mind.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 7:46 PM on August 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

So you'll be towing your car? Might affect mileage. Have you experience doing that? I'd probably rather pay for movers if I were unsure about driving with a trailered car to boot.
posted by tilde at 7:48 PM on August 14, 2016

Insurance: Not needed, my car insurance will cover me

You're gonna want to triple-check that. Most car insurance companies explicitly exclude truck rental from their rental coverage agreements.

Don't forget about boxes and other packing supplies. That can add $200 give or take.
posted by slagheap at 8:15 PM on August 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

You'll pay for the moving supplies if you hire movers, though--either you'll do so directly if you pack yourself, or if they pack you, it will be rolled into the bill. So moving supplies cancel out of a comparison to the cost of movers.
posted by praemunire at 10:37 PM on August 14, 2016

Personally, I would value not having to worry about my stuff every step of the way, and $800 seems like a reasonable amount to pay for this convenience/peace of mind.

Interstate moving services, especially at the cheaper end, are not especially well-known for taking good care of one's stuff.
posted by praemunire at 10:38 PM on August 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

Yeah talk to your insurance agent, don't try to interpret the rules yourself. Also read a copy of the rental agreement like you're a lawyer. Plan your route carefully to get to a reasonable priced motel with lots of parking at the right time and start driving really early each day, like before dawn. Do it well before any chance of snow.
posted by sammyo at 4:47 AM on August 15, 2016

If you are towing a trailer, the mileage will probably be lower. I rented a truck and car hauler recently, and while I didn't bother to calculate the exact mpg, you could almost watch the gas gauge dropping as the motor sucked fuel.

You will almost certainly drive fewer miles per day than you would in just your car, so add in some extra money for food and hotels, too. Tolls may be higher on some roads if they charge for the trailer.

I'm in the camp of $800 extra sounding like a great deal for not having to carry boxes or drive a rental truck, but that assumes you have the $800. I'd refigure with some of the additional costs people have listed, see if it still makes sense, and then look at your accounting to see what is possible. My experience with movers has been mostly good, but it isn't hard to find genuine horror stories, so there are no guarantees on that front either.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:02 AM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

N-th-ing to double check the insurance. Not only would I be shocked if your auto insurance policy covers the truck itself, you should also check if it will cover your car while it's being towed. Also double check your property insurance to make sure your stuff is covered in transit.
posted by Kriesa at 7:41 AM on August 15, 2016

When I first read this question, 12 mpg seemed high to me. I don't know what size truck you're renting or whether the rental agency gave you that number (is that the unloaded mpg?), but this site suggested 6 or 8 mpg for their trucks. Another site I found was a forum where someone suggested that towing a car could knock 1-3 mpg off what you'd otherwise get. So it's possible you'd be spending over $1k on fuel, perhaps significantly more.

An issue someone brought up there would be whether towing the car would exceed the weight limit of the truck. Another issue would be whether your car/windshield would get damaged by rocks being so close behind a truck for so long.

I asked my wife how much we spent on movers, she thought $500 combined with both ends (we rented a truck but moved locally).

The issue of what insurance covers what could be very significant, I recently heard of someone whose moving truck was stolen with everything he owns in it while he was at a hotel.

I think it'd be worth it to spend the money to not have to worry about moving yourself, but as others have said, it'll all depends if you have the money to spend as well as people to help you load and unload on both ends. I would stress being very careful and double and triple checking all the calculations and insurance coverage, as well as trying to ensure the truck doesn't get stolen.
posted by cali59 at 5:11 PM on August 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'm not towing my car, and money is of a much greater concern to me than time. Since I'd be driving anyway and spending $350-400 on gas if I drove my car, and movers are going be minimum $1800 (which is what I paid when I moved out here last year) the cost savings are significant, even factoring in $200 for truck insurance and hiring movers to load the truck for me. Even if I got 8MPG that's still less than $900 for gas.
posted by Automocar at 12:06 PM on August 16, 2016

« Older Care package ideas for first year university...   |   Chicken of mysterious provenance Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.