- Practically guaranteed pickup and drop-off locations
- Free unlimited miles for long-distance moves
- Lots of neat discounts
- You can change your drop-off date online
- (Probably) higher prices than the competition
- Fewer locations
- Some weird fees U-Haul and Penske don't have
Budget® Company Overview
Budget tends to be better known for its car rentals. But it also has a truck rental arm, which is aimed mostly at people who are moving. (You know, like you!) With 1,700 locations in the United States and even more in Canada, it seems miniscule compared to a company like U-Haul®, with their over 22,000 locations nationwide. However, Budget keeps true to its name by offering promotional deals that translate into some pretty nifty savings.
It's also worth noting that if unlimited miles for a long-distance move is appealing to you, then you should consider seeing if there is a Budget rental location near where you're moving. There's nothing better than not feeling babysat by your rental company.
Budget® Reviews and Pricing
Under 50 mi.
3.87/510.9% lower than other companies
3.74/511.2% lower than other companies
3.67/512.8% lower than other companies
Average Cost Per Mile
$2.3514.9% cheaper than other companies
$1.1315.9% cheaper than other companies
Under 50 mi.
Compared to Other Companies
Compared to Other Companies
Compared to Other Companies
Budget® Truck Sizes
Miles Per Galon (Up To)
|12'||11'8 X 6'3" X 6'1"||1 to 2 rooms||443 cu. ft.||8 to 14 mpg|
|16'||16' X 6'3" X 6'7"||3 to 4 rooms||658 cu. ft.||6 to 10 mpg|
|26'||26' X 8'1" X 8'1"||5 to 8 rooms||1,698 cu. ft.||8 to 10 mpg|
Photos of Budget® in the Wild
Budget® Services Offered
- Not Offered
My move with Budget®
Author: Francesca Di Meglio
Updated: Thursday, October 22nd 2020
How does Budget work?
Similar to its competitors, Budget is most easily accessed through its website first. There, you can get a quote and contact customer service representatives either via phone or online chat. Although if you already know of a nearby location, you could always show up in person to get an estimate and schedule pick up and delivery. Simple enough.
Budget's Truck Options
For Budget, you only have a choice between one of three trucks: 12', 16', and 26'. And if you're moving from one big house to another, you might want to talk to someone about whether you need to rent more than one vehicle. Still, the medium-sized, 16' truck is the most popular choice for rentals.
Budget's Check Out
Once you fill out the online form (or provide details of your move to a representative), you will determine both your pick-up date and drop-off date. Your drop off date is not automatically generated, as is the case with other truck rental companies, such as Penske.
Budget gives you a mileage estimator online. You can calculate the number of miles of your move by the price per mile to get your total cost, which is nice.
To figure out your best deal, you still need to consider the distance, amount of gas, and any tolls. And keep in mind that in the case of a local move, you'll likely pickup and drop-off at the same location, whereas for a long-distance move, you'll be picking two different stops.
Budget gives you a mileage estimator online. You can calculate the number of miles of your move by the price per mile to get your total cost, which is nice. You can also add protection coverage and rentals of equipment, such as furniture pads. (No worries, you can bypass those options if you’re not interested.) Finally, you’ll see the estimated price. You can decide whether to move forward with scheduling and signing an agreement at that point.
If you go for it, then you pick your dates. On the pickup day, you will get your truck from the Budget location you chose. Then, you will bring the vehicle to your original home, load it with your stuff, and move it to the next destination to unload it. Once it's empty and clean, you'll return it to the Budget drop-off location you chose. You should aim to maintain the timeframe you suggested in your estimate to stay as close to the intended price as possible.
How does Budget work with local moves?
Like most other rental truck companies, Budget's process for planning either a local or a long-distance transport is standard stuff. You still start at the website, pick out the size truck you'll need, fill out all the necessary information about your starting and ending points. With a local move, you are likely going to pick up and drop off your vehicle at the same location. Because Budget has fewer locations, this can be a benefit in disguise. No trying to find a second Budget store!
For the local move, I was asked to make a deposit of $225, due at pickup.
While the tool for getting a quote automatically suggests a day for you to drop off the vehicle, you can easily change it with a drop-down menu that's front and center. For the local move I planned, for example, my pick up and drop off were for the same day. That seemed a little hard to accomplish, so I simply changed the date to the next day so I could bring it back 24 hours later and get a little sleep after the big move. Of course, the sooner you can return the vehicle, the cheaper your move will be.
One other unexpected (and not so great) difference is the fine print regarding the refundable deposit. For the local move, I was asked to make a deposit of $225, due at pickup. With a credit or debit card, a hold is placed on the card. (Cash is acceptable.) The deposit would be fully refundable pending any additional charges at check-in. For a long-distance move, the deposit is waived when paying by credit card, and you owe a minimum deposit of $150 when paying with a debit card, cash, or gift card.
Keep in mind you can hire professionals to help you with the move - not to mention save your back - through safe and more consumer friendly labor sites like HireAHelper.
My local move estimate
I planned a move from Fort Lee, New Jersey to neighboring Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, which are both close to New York City. There are only about five miles between the two towns.
My move was for a 3-bedroom house with an attic and basement. I reserved the 26-foot truck for a Saturday in September, and I opted to drop it off the following day. I scheduled the return for exactly 24 hours later at 8 a.m., but the location I chose in Hackensack, New Jersey allowed for after-hours drop-offs, so I ended up not needing to rush.
My estimate ended up being for $79.99 per day, and $1.19 per mile from the starting point of the trip in Hackensack.
Originally, I was going to have to pay $99.99 per day for the truck, and $1.49 per mile. However, while I was online using the mileage estimator, a screen popped up offering a 20 percent discount. As a result, the price was lowered to the $79.99 per day/$1.19 per mile deal. After I opted into the Value Protection Package at $45.98 per day, my total estimate was for $149.53. Having that discount pop up made me wonder if it would be worth it to contact a customer rep to get the estimate, so you can ask outright about possible promotions and deals. You might want to try that if you don't happen to get any pop ups or other online discount.
How does Budget work with long-distance moves?
Planning a long-distance move (or “one-way move”, as they call it) is virtually the same as a local move. Of course, because it's a longer trip, you can expect the price to be higher.
But there are a couple of other differences to note. Of course, you will pick up the rental truck near your starting point and drop it off near your final destination, so you will be choosing two different Budget locations. It's always up to you to pick the two best ones for your specific move.
...(W)hile I was online using the mileage estimator, a screen popped up offering a 20 percent discount.
Another difference is you get to pick how long you keep the truck. The automatic suggested trip for my local move was same-day pickup and drop off, but I got scheduled for five days later on the long-distance trip. In both cases, I could use the drop-down menu to either shorten or lengthen my trip. Five days seemed reasonable for a trip from northern New Jersey to central Florida, so I just took the suggested estimate. Options are nice, though.
Again, the fine print about the refundable deposit presents another difference between local and long-distance moves. For long-distance moves, the deposit is waived if you pay by credit card. But you owe $150 when paying by debit card, cash, or gift card as a deposit. This is close to the local move, which requires a refundable deposit and a hold of $225 due at pickup when paying with a credit or debit card.
Finally, the biggest difference is the fact that Budget offers unlimited miles for the long-distance trip, as opposed to the $1.19 per mile for the local one. It's a nice consolation prize for having to pick up and move your life so far away.
How much does Budget cost?
Prices vary a lot. The size of the rental truck and distance of the trip make a big difference. Not to mention variables like deciding on which insurance coverage package to choose. Judging from the website, you can usually get some sort of discount. Most recently, 20 percent off has been the standard, so try not to take less.
$149.53 for a local move - 3 bedrooms, 5 miles
The local move price is a little higher than some competitors, even with a 20 percent discount. The 26-foot truck with enough space to fill the contents of a 3-bedroom house cost a total of $149.53. The breakdown:
- Daily fee: $79.99
- $5.95 estimated mileage
- Value Protection Package: $45.98 per day
- Sales tax: $8.98
- Special tax: $5
- Cost recovery fee: $3.50
Energy recovery fee: $0.13
- Total: $149.53
In the estimate, you can see detailed information about the costs, and my discount came out to be a savings of $21.49. In the end, the total came to $149.53.
$2,967.18 for a long-distance move - 3 bedrooms, 1,200 miles
I made a reservation for a move of a 3-bedroom house with a basement and attic from northern New Jersey to central Florida. I was charged $2,967.18, which includes:
- Rental of the 26-foot truck ($2,511.20) for 5 days
- Free unlimited mileage
- Value Protection Package $229.90
- Sales tax $182.93
- Special tax $25
- Cost recovery fee $17.50
Energy recovery fee $0.65
- Total: $2,967.18
If any of those additional costs have you scratching your head, the cost recovery fee is described as "an accepted industry allocation that allows for the recovery of certain taxes, environmental costs, vehicle licensing fees, and federal inspection fees and apply (on a pro-rate basis) to each rental." Whatever that means.
You will end up spending more money if you turn in the vehicle later than suggested in the estimate. There are rate differences based on availability, says a customer services representative online.
While you don't get charged for changing your pick-up date, you should change it at least 48 hours before your scheduled pick-up to ensure inventory. If you're planning on canceling, you must do so at least 48 hours beforehand or you'll be charged $50. Be prepared!
How does insurance with Budget work?
Budget offers a number of coverage options. You can bypass them if you don't want to opt in, and you should definitely check your own car and home insurance policies to see if you're already covered or could be covered.
The prices differ a lot between local and long-distance moves, so you'll have to ask for your own quote. Here are the insurance choices from Budget:
- Complete Protection Package
This includes the physical damage waiver, supplemental liability, personal accident and cargo coverage, plus the Roadside Safety Net option.
- Choice Protection Package
This option includes physical damage waiver, supplemental liability, and Roadside Safety Net option.
- Value Protection Package
This package only includes the physical damage waiver and Roadside Safety Net.
- Roadside Safety Net
With this option, you can get roadside assistance coverage. It allows for help with flat tires, key replacement, non-collision towing, etc.
Downsides of using Budget
The biggest downside during my experience was the weird list of additional fees.
The cost recovery fee doesn't sound like a real thing. While it compares to the environmental fee of many of Budget's competitors, it is a much higher price. For example, one company charges $5 and Budget charged $17.50. Wowzers!
Also, you might be bounced around to get answers.
While all the Budget consumer representatives were busy minding their etiquette, I was getting the runaround. No one really ever answered my questions. I asked about the insurance options, which are available online, and I was told to contact the local dealer. I asked about the age of the fleet, I was told to contact the local dealer. You see where this is going.
When I contacted the local dealer, I pretty much got non-answers ... and very brief ones at that. That was only after I managed to get someone on the phone. The first few calls to the local dealer had me receiving a recorded message to try back later.
What I learned using Budget
Budget will lower your final price (when you can get them to answer you).
The national staff is impersonal and cold, but all my local dealership experiences were better. All staff members exuded niceness, the website and online chat are easy to use, and there are lots of promos that could lower your costs.
You need to check local reviews.
Because each local dealer takes such strong ownership of their rental companies, it behooves consumers to check out the reviews of that dealership, as opposed to relying on national info. Joe Shmo's thoughts are actually valuable when choosing a rental truck when it comes to your local Budget dealership.
Preferred pick-up locations are practically guaranteed.
The website says changes in venue are rare. If they occur, Budget tries to make sure your new pick-up place is still nearby. In addition, same-day rental is possible. As long as the truck you need is available, you can make a reservation and pick it up for the same day.
Should you choose Budget over other moving options?
You might be a good fit for Budget if you are the type who is willing to do research on promos and utilize the optimal times for moving. Of course, you also have to be flexible so you can take advantage of those optimal dates. Like with most rental companies, the availability of the equipment reduces the rates! Consumers who do their homework could end up with a great price that keeps them within their budget (or even spending less than they anticipated).
The cost of Budget is a little higher than some of its competitors. Some of those hidden fees can be seriously annoying! But there are some perks attached. For instance, you practically get a guaranteed location, which can be a big deal depending on your move. For me, a new location in the point of origin could mean having to travel to the Bronx or Manhattan, which are not far but avoid me going over the bridge, tackling traffic and paying more for gas and hefty tolls. Another plus for Budget is the fact that you can change the date of drop off online and check price differences in real time.
Overall, you're mostly at the mercy of how near Budget is from you, which means you might not have a sensible deal on the table. Dig into those HireAHelper reviews to see how your area stacks up!
Real People Moving Stories with Budget
Marilyn HSpokane, WA
Lawson BLoveland, CO
We had trouble picking up the truck in the first place. When we showed up to pick the truck at the scheduled time of 8:30 a. m., we learned that the truck was not yet available. We were not able to pick it up until 11:45 a. m. Meanwhile we had helpers waiting to load the truck. Needles to say, this situation was a bit of a cluster. Once we were able to load the truck things worked out better, and the truck operated fine on our 1900-mile move.
Mary WBaton Rouge, LA
Sheri HJohnson City, TN
If I could select zero stars, then I would. HORRIBLE - do not rent from Budget!! After the truck we rented broke down with 500 miles left to go, Budget kept us stranded for more than 48 hours in a motel room in an awful location with our entire possessions and our 3 cats. Budget kept giving us the run-around for over 2 days while they "checked inventory" for a replacement truck. I took the initiative on day number 3 and found our own replacement truck 20 miles away. It still took Budget another 8 hours to get us back on the road! I DO NOT RECOMMEND Budget Truck Rentals.
Matt ATempe, AZ
Crystal FDenver, CO
The truck was not serviced. We were left stranded on the road and had to do overnight stay in a hotel. The truck was dirty, driver's door banged up and does not shut completely so we had to tolerate loud street noise from Denver to Florida. The brake caliper from the trailer tire flew off, there was no oil in the truck. When I went to drop off the truck, I heard another customer complaining which confirmed my fears of not using Budget again.
Michael EParker, CO
Patricia FSnellville, GA
Joshua BDuluth, GA
Joshua BPompano Beach, FL
Henry CPlano, TX
First of all, Budget Rental only had a 16 or 26 ft. No in-between sizes were available. The 26 ft is MASSIVE! We went with the 16ft and we had to make two trips of just furniture and several trips for the boxes in the back of trucks and vans. We would go with Uhaul next time because they have more size options. At the time we used a Budget discount, but I don't think it saved us any money after all.
Michelle RMillersville, MD
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