Thinking about adding truck rentals to your business model? You’re probably making a smart choice - when done correctly, truck rentals can be an excellent way to increase your facility’s profits while improving convenience for renters.
Moving truck rentals and retail sales (like locks, boxes, and packing supplies) are some of the top cross-promotional, revenue-boosting services for self storage brands. By providing these services, you can create a one-stop-shop for renters who are moving their stuff into your facility. It’s a win-win: providing reciprocal services helps out your customers and increases your brand’s competitive edge.
So how do you get started? Check out the rest of this post for tips on how to successfully add truck rentals to your self storage business.
Truck rentals are a well-performing industry, with over $19 billion in annual revenue and steady growth over the past several years. As home sales and moving activity increases in your area, you can bet on the demand for moving truck rentals increasing, as well. Even with these solid national numbers, you’ll want to do a little market research to find out the projected growth and housing market trends for your zip code before investing in moving vehicles or becoming a truck dealer. Average home prices (and sizes) are also important: if tenants are moving more expensive stuff, they’ll expect better amenities in both moving trucks and storage units. Make sure your moving truck rentals and storage offerings are well-matched with the household and family needs in your area.
If you’re looking at dealer opportunities, talk to trusted friends in the industry about their average monthly commissions, their experience with the company, and any hidden pain points or opportunities they’ve experienced while becoming a dealer for moving trucks. Find out where the other dealers are in your area and what the demand is for truck rentals by secret shopping their business. You’ll walk away with more knowledge on becoming a dealer and a better understanding of the demand for moving trucks in your community.
Video by The U-Haul Dealer Group
If you have your own trucks, you’ll need to buy, insure, pay taxes on, and maintain multiple vehicles. If you become a dealer for moving trucks (like U-Haul), you’ll be able to eliminate these costs. But there are pros and cons to both both owning your own moving trucks and becoming a dealer.
As a dealer, you won’t be able to wrap the truck with your logo, phone number, or any promotional signage, but you also won’t have to pay the costs of owning and operating the truck. Consumers are also familiar with trusted moving truck brands like U-Haul, Budget, and Penske, and having their lettering on your trucks could help you build authority in the space. As a dealer, your tenants will also be able to rent a truck from your facility and drop it off at another company storage center in another city or state. But when you become a dealer, you’ll also need to sign an agreement with the company that owns the trucks, and work with their team and their software to manage reservations. They’ll also control your commissions, which can be frustrating for many managers and owners.
On the other hand, by owning your own fleet of moving trucks, you’ll be able to completely control the rental process and keep all income from rentals. You’ll also be able to brand your truck with your name, logo, and phone number, so you’ll have a moving billboard advertising for your business as renters drive them around town.
Your business’s financial health should be your top priority when deciding whether to own moving trucks or become a dealer. If your goal is to simply supplement your self storage business with truck rentals, you’ll likely lean toward a dealer partnership. Before you jump into anything, take plenty of time to assess your business’s budget and figure out the right solution to make moving trucks a profitable add-on at your self storage facility.
You’ve done your research, and you’re ready to get going with truck rentals. But before you start sending out tenants with your moving trucks, consider all the things you’ll need to make the new service work for your business. To get started renting and offering moving trucks, you’ll likely need:
Nobody wants to take time off work to spend the whole day moving. The vast majority of people will want to move their stuff in or out of their home on a weekend! Make sure your facility offers weekend hours or 24/7 access so that your renters can pick up their truck and drop it off at their convenience.
Extra parking spaces on your lot.
This one is pretty obvious, right? You’ll need a place to put your moving trucks, and a good place is close to the entrance of your facility or major trafficways where people will be able to see them. Ideally, you’ll be able to park your trucks in unrentable space so that you can still maximize your outdoor parking revenue. Make sure your trucks are in a safe, secure location where managers will be able to keep a close eye on them.
Tenant driver’s license and payment records.
Your renters will need a valid driver’s license and a credit card to secure their truck reservation. Just like renting a vehicle at the airport, your renter’s credit card will be used to secure a deposit for the moving truck in case of damage. Most truck dealers require a deposit of $100 - $200 depending on the truck’s size and location.
Detailed record-keeping for lease agreements.
Your renters will need to sign a truck rental agreement that is similar to their storage unit lease agreement. If you’re a dealer of moving trucks, the parent company will require the agreement to be signed and completed through their software, but your self storage business will need to receive copies of these agreements in the event of an accident or damage. Whether your storage business owns or leases moving trucks, you’ll need to keep truck rental records organized in your facility management software. (Pro tip: If you use storEDGE software, you can easily attach truck rental agreements to tenant profiles for convenient cloud storage.) By keeping detailed records, you’ll be able to protect your company from a “he said, she said” dispute.
Just like a car rental, moving truck rentals typically include the option of renter’s insurance. Most renters will opt for the insurance, because if not, they’ll be financially responsible for the truck in the event of damage. This will be outlined in your truck rental agreement, but your team should make sure to talk to customers about the insurance at the time of rental to avoid legal woes in the event of an accident.
Want to take your facility’s truck rental revenue up a notch? Check out these best practices for managing and improving your profits from truck rentals.
Do a little web marketing.
Get more rentals by mentioning your moving trucks on all marketing materials, especially online! Make sure your website includes keywords like “moving trucks” and “truck rentals” to help your storage website rank for searches like “moving trucks near me” or “moving trucks in Your City Name.” Just like the search for storage units, the search for nearby moving truck rentals typically starts online.
Offer a free rental promotion.
Many facilities offer a free truck rental with large storage unit or climate-controlled rentals. This is a great promotion to kick off the new truck rental service or get an edge on competition in your area. After all, your tenants need some way to get all their stuff to your facility, and with your free truck promotion, they won’t have to ask a friend if they can borrow their truck for the day.
Bump up security.
If you’re investing into moving trucks for your business, it’s a good idea to protect your equipment by bumping up security on your property. Installing surveillance cameras, adding bright night lighting around the vehicles, and adding perimeter fencing and an access-controlled gate can all help to prevent illegal activity and potential damage to your property.
Keep your trucks spotless.
Keeping your trucks looking shiny, clean, and new is a simple way to improve your renter’s experience and keep their stuff in tip-top shape. You should present your moving trucks the same way you’d present your storage units: sparkling clean and ready to store moving boxes, furniture, and treasured items. Wash your trucks inside and out before a new renter picks them up, and do a thorough walk-around to assess them for damage before and after rentals. If anything looks out of place, get detailed documentation by taking plenty of pictures, marking down the time and date, getting security footage, and noting it on your tenant record.
Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, you may also like: The complete guide to offering move-in trucks, How to choose the right self storage contractor for your new build, and What’s the ROI on your self storage marketing efforts? (Infographic).