Founded in 1945 by Leonard Shoen, U-Haul has grown from humble beginnings into the number one moving and storage provider in the United States. Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, U-Haul operates as a subsidiary of the parent company AMERCO and employs around 19,500 nationwide.
Bolstered by increased demand for self-moving rentals and storage services, U-Haul generated $4.23 billion in revenue in 2020 – a 15% jump from the previous year. The company sets itself apart through its comprehensive moving packages that include rental trucks, moving supplies, and labor services.
U-Haul offers rental trucks ranging from 8-foot models for small loads to 26-foot trucks for large moves. Customers can purchase extra mileage at $0.40 per mile if they need more time.
With its one-stop-shop approach, U-Haul has become the go-to brand for do-it-yourself moves. However, competitors like Penske, Budget, and Hertz are nipping at U-Haul’s heels. Rivals often undercut U-Haul’s rates by $10 or more for similar rentals.
To maintain its leadership position, U-Haul utilizes its seven decades of industry expertise while expanding through franchising. The company also invests heavily in technology to improve customer convenience. By continuing to provide quality services and flexibility, U-Haul stays ahead of lower-cost alternatives.
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List of Top U-Haul competitors and alternatives
U-Haul and Penske are two of the major players in the truck and moving equipment rental industry in North America. While the companies offer similar services, from rental trucks to moving supplies and labor, there are several key differences between the brands.
U-Haul has the earlier founding, getting its start in 1945 and headquartering in Phoenix, Arizona. Penske was founded later in 1969 and is based in Reading, Pennsylvania. When it comes to geographic reach, U-Haul has a clear advantage with over 20,000 rental locations across North America compared to just 2,500 for Penske. This allows U-Haul to provide accessibility and convenience to more customers.
However, Penske operates a larger truck rental fleet at over 300,000 vehicles versus U-Haul’s 200,000 units. Penske also tends to charge higher daily and per-mile rates, often $60 or more daily versus U-Haul starting around $20 per day. Both brands provide moving labor services, but U-Haul has more established networks of moving helpers available.
From a brand awareness standpoint, U-Haul enjoys greater name recognition among consumers in the DIY moving space. Meanwhile, Penske benefits from the financial backing of parent company Penske Automotive Group, which boasts annual revenues exceeding $20 billion.
Home Depot Truck Rentals
Home Depot and U-Haul are top competitors when it comes to DIY moving truck rentals. Both chains offer convenient truck and moving van rentals nationwide.
However, there are some key differences shoppers should know. Home Depot rents trucks by the hour with no daily fees, while U-Haul charges daily rates. It offers unlimited mileage on rentals, but U-Haul charges per mile after a certain limit.
Home Depot’s fleet includes pickup trucks, cargo vans, and box trucks available for $19-$29 per hour. U-Haul’s smallest pickup truck rental starts at around $20 daily plus $0.79 per mile. For short, local moves, Home Depot’s unlimited hourly rates can be more affordable.
One advantage U-Haul has is more truck size options, including 17-foot and 26-foot trucks for bigger moves. Home Depot trucks max out at 16 feet. Overall, Home Depot is ideal for short moves under 75 miles while U-Haul works better for longer, cross-country relocations.
Headquartered in New Braunfels, Texas, Rush Enterprises operates Rush Truck Centers and competes with U-Haul in the truck leasing and rental space. Founded in 1965, Rush generates over $4 billion in annual revenue with a large rental fleet offered through 45 Pac-Lease and Idealease franchises.
Like U-Haul, Rush Truck Leasing utilizes franchising to expand its moving truck rentals nationwide. Rush also runs over 1,000 corporate-owned rental trucks. With a focus on commercial vehicle rentals, Rush still rivals U-Haul in the consumer DIY moving market.
Rush’s rental and leasing revenues grew 7.2% in the first half of 2021, showing the company’s strength in the post-pandemic economy. Its massive fleet size, franchising model, and increasing revenues make Rush a formidable competitor as U-Haul vies for market leadership.
While U-Haul enjoys wider brand recognition among consumers, Rush Enterprises’ commercial transportation expertise and integrated leasing-sales-service offerings give it key advantages. Backed by almost 60 years of experience, Rush has the scale and capabilities to go head-to-head with U-Haul for share in the growing truck rental space.
Enterprise Truck Rental
Enterprise Truck Rental competes directly with U-Haul in the DIY moving market. Both feature nationwide access to affordable moving trucks and equipment.
However, there are some differences in their offerings. Enterprise focuses more on cargo vans and pickup trucks, while U-Haul offers a wider range of truck sizes up to 26 feet. U-Haul also provides more moving accessories like tow hitches and auto transports.
Enterprise ties in with other services as part of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand. This gives them more corporate resources. But U-Haul has superior brand recognition among consumers looking for moving trucks.
Pricing can vary, but U-Haul often comes in lower for one-way long-distance moves. The Enterprise Truck Rental may be cheaper for local hourly rentals. Overall, U-Haul edges out Enterprise for selection and specialization in moving equipment. But Enterprise provides another quality option with the convenience of rental car locations.
For small apartment moves, Enterprise has advantages. But U-Haul remains the go-to choice for large, cross-country moves requiring bigger trucks and tailored moving accessories.
Budget Truck Rental
As the second-largest rental provider, Budget Truck Rental is a major competitor to U-Haul for do-it-yourself movers. Budget operates over 32,000 rental trucks across 2,800 locations in the U.S. Part of the Avis Budget Group, Budget has the corporate resources to grow its moving services rapidly.
Budget’s key edge over U-Haul is lower pricing. For local moves under 100 miles, Budget charges just $27.61 daily plus $0.47 per mile—about $10 less than U-Haul. With its national presence and wide selection of 10-foot to 24-foot rental trucks, Budget matches U-Haul’s offerings while beating on cost.
Supported by Avis’ leadership in transportation rentals, Budget can leverage its vast infrastructure to capture market share from U-Haul. Budget also invests heavily in digital capabilities to make renting fast and seamless. With competitive pricing and continually improving services, Budget Truck Rental is an appealing choice over pricier U-Haul for savvy customers looking to save on DIY moves.
Founded in 1918 and based in Florida, Hertz is a car and truck rental titan that competes with U-Haul through brands like Dollar and Thrifty. Despite filing for bankruptcy in 2020 amidst plummeting rental demand, Hertz reemerged in 2021 after raising $5.9 billion from investors.
Now with restructured finances and new ownership, Hertz is poised to regain its footing in the rental industry, including truck and moving equipment rentals against U-Haul.
Though Hertz scaled back its fleet during the pandemic, it still operates in 12000 corporate and franchise locations. This global presence gives it an edge in the market for moving trucks and vans for DIY relocations. Supported by its global infrastructure and recognition, Hertz draws on its century of experience in transportation rentals to go head-to-head for market share with category leader U-Haul.
While U-Haul is synonymous with do-it-yourself moves, Hertz aims to leverage its diverse business lines and newly raised capital to disrupt the market. With its strong brand and vast resources, a revitalized Hertz could present a major competitive threat to U-Haul in the moving equipment rental space.
Headquartered in Miami, Ryder is a transportation and logistics leader that competes with U-Haul in commercial and consumer truck rentals. Founded in 1933, Ryder manages large corporate fleets and supply chains worldwide. Despite the pandemic causing Ryder to post a $122 million loss in 2020, the company is regaining momentum as the economy recovers.
Ryder’s fleet encompasses everything from commercial semi-trucks to moving vans for DIY relocators. Supported by its extensive transportation management experience and network of over 500 maintenance facilities, Ryder provides a high-quality rental alternative to U-Haul.
While U-Haul is the go-to brand for direct consumers, Ryder focuses more on serving corporate clients’ large-scale rental and logistics needs. But Ryder’s fleet flexibility allows it to compete across rental segments. Backed by almost a century of industry expertise, Ryder is ramping up its competitive efforts as demand rebounds post-pandemic.
With its end-to-end transportation solutions and strong reputation, Ryder represents an imposing competitor for U-Haul as both vie for market leadership in rental trucks.
Headquartered in Germany, SIXT is a mobility services provider known for innovation. Despite revenue decline in 2020, SIXT is doubling down on tech to disrupt the rental industry with van & truck offerings.
SIXT launched a van and truck rental segment in January 2021 to compete with U-HaulSIXT leverages digital expertise gained from car-sharing and ride-hailing to compete against incumbents in truck rentals.
With over 2,100 worldwide locations, SIXT is focusing its tech-driven approach on the underserved commercial rental sector. The company is positioned to leverage its global presence and digital DNA to rapidly scale its truck and van business in the U.S. and beyond.
While U-Haul invented the DIY moving model, SIXT’s bold tech-centric rental vision makes it an emerging challenger. With an appetite for calculated risk-taking, SIXT represents a serious innovative threat as it pivots aggressively into untapped rental verticals like vans and trucks.
Avis Budget Group
Avis Budget Group, founded in 1946 and headquartered in New Jersey, competes with U-Haul primarily through its Budget Truck Rental subsidiary. While Avis offers limited rental trucks compared to U-Haul, it boasts a diversified transportation portfolio including car rentals, leasing, and sales.
Avis generated $3 billion in 2020 revenues from company-operated rental locations. As the pandemic disrupted travel, Avis realigned its fleet towards more profitable leisure rentals versus airport and commercial rentals. This strategic shift is driving a 12% increase in daily rental revenues as demand rebounds.
With expertise across vehicle types, Avis leverages its flexibility to competitively position Budget Truck Rental against category leader U-Haul. Avis’ experience optimizing varied mobility assets gives it an edge in responding nimbly to market fluctuations.
Though synonymous with DIY moving, U-Haul faces an innovative rival in Avis Budget Group as it adapts its diverse businesses to carve out truck rental share. Backed by the scale and resources of a nearly $10 billion revenue company, Avis represents an agile threat to U-Haul through its Budget Truck brand.
Established in 1958 and headquartered in Florida, Thrifty is a rental car company owned by Hertz that also provides moving truck and van rentals. Thrifty operates over 1,500 franchises and corporate locations across the U.S.
When Hertz filed for bankruptcy in 2020 during an industry slump, Thrifty lost a portion of its rental fleet. However, Thrifty maintains a sizable inventory of trucks, vans, and other vehicles to compete in the DIY moving market against U-Haul.
Supported by parent Hertz’s renewed financial backing and integrated resources after restructuring, Thrifty can leverage shared infrastructure to strengthen its rental offerings. U-Haul has long dominated consumer moving rentals. Thrifty and Hertz are a formidable value challenge to U-Haul, with a national presence and a large fleet.
Thrifty is tapping into Hertz and its sister Dollar brand for vehicles and corporate support. This positions Thrifty to disrupt U-Haul’s longstanding leadership. Thrifty, backed by internationally recognized names in transportation, brings formidable scale and experience to the massive do-it-yourself DIY moving space.
Founded in 1974 and headquartered in Missouri, Alamo is a car and truck rental company competing with U-Haul primarily in small van and pickup offerings. With over 1,000 U.S. locations, Alamo focuses more on airport car rentals than moving equipment.
Alamo recently redesigned its website with improved features for online reservations and check-in. This positions Alamo to capture digitally-savvy customers looking for rental convenience. Alamo offers discounts and deals to attract budget-focused DIY movers, despite limited truck selection.
The Alamo Insiders loyalty program also rewards frequent renters with perks like expedited service and free upgrades. Alamo’s value pricing and upgraded digital experience make it a competitive choice for smaller-scale relocations, while U-Haul dominates larger moves.
Backed by the resources of parent company Enterprise Holdings, Alamo leverages its consumer rental expertise to enhance its moving offerings. Alamo’s flexibility and affordability differentiate it from U-Haul as an appealing, cost-effective rental option.
Final Thoughts on U-Haual Competitors Analysis
Though U-Haul is the established leader in DIY moving rentals, competitors like Penske, Budget, and Enterprise are chipping away at its market share. Rivals beat U-Haul on price, digital convenience, or fleet size in certain contexts. For cost-conscious consumers, alternatives like Budget’s lower rates may provide better value. Those moving locally can benefit from hourly rentals at Home Depot.
While U-Haul remains the category leader, it must continue providing quality trucks and service as competition mounts. For some moves, competitors now offer superior options based on pricing, location, and inventory.