Any one considering a self move, especially an interstate move, should ask a lot of questions and compute the actual costs of self moving before signing a rental agreement with a truck rental company. This worksheet helps you calculate self move costs and gives a basis of comparison when evaluating the price and value of professional moving.

Explanation of Charges

Rental Charge

For an interstate move, one needs to provide the origin and destination cities and the month, day and year of the move to the truck rental company. Depending on equipment availability in a certain location, prices may vary. Peak season runs from the end of May until the end of September, so truck rental rates may be higher during that time of year. Most people move at the beginning of a month or the end of the month, so demand may exceed supply during the first or last week of any month. The rental charge you are quoted includes a rental deposit that may be refunded depending on the condition of the vehicle upon its return, and a certain number of free miles (approximately 10% greater than the estimated actual mileage). This does not include state taxes. Any other charges are additional. You will need a day to pack and another to unpack, so be sure you are quote includes two days, plus driving days. Make sure you rent the right size truck! Remember, efficiently loading a truck is an art, not a science. After a long, hard day of loading all of your worldly possessions into the back of moving van, the last thing you need to discover is that you have run out of space but not out of furniture.


How many cars do you have? Are you going to drive or tow the vehicle(s)? A trailer package from a rental company may cost an additional $200, plus another $50 for insurance depending on how many days you are renting the truck for. If you are driving your own vehicle, you will need to factor in wear and tear on your vehicle (.30 cents a mile was the standard mileage rate in 1995 according to the IRS).

Insurance Charges

It may cost an additional $10 a day for insurance on the rental truck. The daily charge includes vehicle damage, cargo damage up to a certain dollar value, and medical and life insurance. (Reminder: Cargo damage insurance provides protection for your household goods from damages incurred during a vehicular accident. Any other types of damages are not covered!) Truck theft is also a problem if you are leaving the fully loaded vehicle unattended while you spend the night at a hotel.


You need pads so you do not scratch your furniture. Pads run $10 a dozen, with a 26 foot truck (four bedroom house) you will need at least 2 dozen pads @$20.


An appliance dolly, a utility dolly, or a furniture dolly may be needed to help move heavy furniture. Each dolly may cost an additional $5 to $10 per rental.

Per Move Value of Time

Who is going to do the packing and unpacking? Who will pick-up, load, drive, and unload the rental truck? Who will drive the automobile? If you are doing this yourself, it takes a lot of time. Figure out your average hourly wage and multiply it times the total number of hours you estimate it will take to pack, pick-up truck, load, drive, unload, etc. for you and your spouse/family. This is your per move value of time.

Packing and Loading the Truck

You might be able to collect free boxes in anticipation of the move, but to minimize damages especially for an interstate move, it is highly recommended that you purchase specialized boxes like wardrobe, dish pack, or mattress containers. You will need tape to secure the boxes and paper padding to secure the contents of the containers when they are loaded on the truck. The cost of packing materials may vary by state and state taxes will also apply. The average total cost of packing containers is approximately $125 for a 2-bedroom home and $200 for a 3 bedroom home (Source AMC's 1994 Transportation Fact Book.)

Mileage Charges

Are usually included in the rental agreement but may be limited; an additional mileage charge may be accessed at an average cost per mile, usually around .40 cents a mile for each additional mile over the limit.

Gasoline Charges

When you pick up your truck the vehicle is full of gas. You must return the vehicle full of gas or the rental company will normally charge a higher than average price per gallon to fill the vehicle. You will need to calculate the cost of gas used while driving the rental vehicle. A 26-foot, 5-speed diesel truck that is fully loaded will average about 10 miles per gallon. If you travel approximately 1200 miles/lO miles a gallon, you will consume 120 gallons of gasoline. At an average diesel price of $1.25 cents a gallon (Source:

AMC's April 1996 Fuel Survey) x 120 gallons of gasoline equals $150.)

Appliance Servicing

Refrigerators, grandfather clocks, washing machines, gas stoves, etc. all may require special care before they can be properly moved. You may need to hire several specialists to ensure proper handling of your possessions. These appliance service charges will increase the cost of your self-move.


Is your destination residence available for occupancy? If not, where will you store your possessions? You may need to secure a warehouse and unload all your household goods into storage. The only storage facilities available for the self-mover are mini warehouse storage units. While functional, these units often provide less than adequate protection for your belongings. Security is minimal, usually a manager sleeping on the premise, no insurance coverage, and no protection from fire or smoke damage incurred at the warehouse. When your new residence becomes available you will need to rent another truck, load all your possessions from the warehouse, deliver the goods to the final destination, and unload everything one last time.

1996 American Movers Confrence