When you’re moving to a new apartment, there are a lot of things you need to get done. From packing up boxes to putting down deposits, you’ve probably been making all sorts of checklists to get ready for the big move. But before you start organizing and packing everything, the most important thing to check off your moving list is to make sure that you’ve secured a moving van to get all of your things from point A to point B.
Whether it’s been awhile since you’ve moved or this is the first one you’ve handled on your own, there are a few things to keep in mind before signing your name on the dotted line of the moving van contract. Here’s what to watch out for when preparing to rent a moving van.
Compare Pricing Online or Over the Phone
Like you would with any other major purchase you made, it’s important to look into your rental options online before committing to any one of them. Renting a moving van can get expensive (especially if you’re moving cross-country), so you want to be sure you’re getting the best deal you can. A local move can cost you anywhere between $125 and $300, and you can expect to spend about $1,000 on a long-distance relocation.
Be sure to visit several different moving companies’ websites to check their specials and compare pricing. To get the most accurate prices, you’ll want to have an estimate of how much stuff you’ll need to move and your exact moving date in order.
Make Sure You Can Drive It
Moving vans are large and can be a little cumbersome to drive. If you’ve only driven a small sedan and haven’t handled a large truck before, you’ll want to make sure that you can easily maneuver it before you sign up to drive it across the city, state, or country. If you’re having a little trouble, consider asking a friend or family member for help. Trust us — you don’t want to just assume you can drive it and find yourself having trouble getting out of the parking lot on the day of the move. If you’re uncomfortable driving such a large vehicle, it might be best to pass off the reigns to someone else.
Make Sure You Know the Terms of the Contract
Before you drive your moving van off the lot, your moving van company will have you sign a contract to ensure that any damage to the vehicle will be taken care of and that they won’t be held liable for any injuries incurred while you are operating the van.
It might be tempting to skip over this big long contract and just sign on the dotted line, but that’s a huge mistake. You should always read over any contract you receive before you sign it.
Double check that your current address, contact information, and new address are all written correctly on the contract. Scan the contract carefully for any hidden costs or charges that the representative may not have mentioned initially. Your customer service representative will probably ask you if you want to buy additional insurance for the moving truck. This will likely be a separate cost unto itself, but it’s not a bad idea to get the extra coverage. Note that you should always check to see if the extra coverage will actually cover the items inside the truck and not just the truck itself.
Inspect the Vehicle Before You Drive It
After you’ve signed the contract, you’ll probably be assigned a specific time to pick up the van on the day of the move. But before you drive off to go get your stuff back at your old apartment, you’ll want to carefully look the moving van over. Check for any problems with the tires, dents in the sides, funny noises, etc.
If you neglect this part of the process, then you could be held liable for any damage that took place before you even put the keys in the ignition. If you spot anything unusual that wasn’t noted to you in your contract or by your customer service representative, be sure to tell an employee immediately. That way, they can either arrange for you to get a new truck altogether or at least note it in your file.
Figure Out Where to Return the Van in Your New City
Whether you’re moving across the state or across the entire country, you’ll need to figure out where to return your moving van once you’ve unloaded all of your boxes into your new place. Always try to pick the closest drop-off location to your new apartment, just so you won’t have to spend any more money on filling up the tank than you already have to.
Gas Up The Van Before You Return It
Your contract will most likely indicate that you need to return the moving van with the same level of gasoline that it had before you rented it. Don’t fill the tank up until right before you return it — just to be sure that you won’t have to pay anything extra.