Providing convenience has been the goal at U-Haul since it revolutionized truck rental back in 1945 — allowing people to return a truck to a location convenient to them at their destination, even across state borders, rather than where they’d rented it. In this spirit, U-Haul recently welcomed Big Savings Furniture in Mesa as a neighborhood dealer, which will offer its community U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment, moving supplies and in-store pick-up for boxes.
Since its founding with primarily gas stations as dealers, U-Haul has contracted with many dealers like Big Savings Furniture that fall into the “slightly unusual” category, says Jeff Lockridge, manager of Media & Public Relations. “It makes perfect sense for the dealer and its typical customers, who may require a truck to get their furniture home after a purchase. U-Haul seeks out small business owners such as this who have sufficient lot space to park U-Haul trucks and trailers, a desire to supplement their normal business income with commissions from U-Haul rental transactions, and a willingness to assist their communities by offering shared-use equipment to meet their moving needs.”
In fact, while self-storage facilities, auto shops and gas stations account for a good portion of the 20,000-plus U-Haul dealers across North America, there are also mom-and-pop country stores, antique dealers/flea markets, bowling alleys, ice cream shops, tattoo parlors, go-kart tracks and countless other diverse operations under the U-Haul dealer umbrella.
While the long-distance haul convenience of a return-to-a-different-location policy revolutionized the industry seven decades ago, the family-run business has applied technological advances in communication to revolutionize it yet again. U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 was launched in the U.S. and Canada in 2017, offering a more convenient, more secure way to pick up and return a truck. U-Haul live verification technology allows rental transactions to be carried out entirely on a smartphone at any hour — day or night. There are no membership fees.
“Once you have a registered account to conduct U-Haul Truck Share 24/7 transactions, you can search for the equipment you need, the date you need it, your preferred location, etc. The U-Haul app or website will let you know where that equipment is available,” Lockridge explains. If customers are reserving a truck in advance, U-Haul will work to make sure the desired equipment is at the preferred location at the requested date and time, if at all possible; otherwise, customers will be directed to the closest U-Haul store or dealer with the desired equipment. Customers reserving equipment on short notice may need to have slightly more flexibility with regard to the pick-up location, but, observes Lockridge, “that’s also the beauty of a company that has more than 161,000 trucks and more than 21,000 truck-sharing locations. U-Haul can generally accommodate any customer just about anywhere in the U.S. or Canada.”
[Did You Know] Every U-Haul truck placed in a community helps keep 19 personally owned large-capacity vehicles, pickups, SUVs and vans off the road, and U-Haul points out that fewer vehicles means less traffic congestion, less pollution, less fuel burned and cleaner air.