Right up there with planning a wedding and preparing for your first-born, moving houses is one of the most stressful life experiences of them all. Fortunately, renting a van to help you safely move all of your precious belongings from A to B needn't be a hassle - here's our guide on making sure it all goes off without a hitch.
Planning is key - knowing exactly what you need to load up and how far it needs to travel - is essential when it comes to renting a van.
The first thing all rental companies want to know is how much you need to shift (in order to determine how big a van you need), as well as the sort of mileage that you'll be doing (in most cases, cross-country trips are unfortunately frowned upon and will cost you a lot).
It is also important to consider the type of stuff you will be transporting - if it's going to be too heavy (i.e. furniture and large household appliances) for you to lift into the back of a van, then you may need to rent one with a tailgate lift at the back. Yes, this will be more expensive but it will make things much easier for you.
A little word of advice from someone who has moved a lot – you may think you don’t have that many things to move, but once you start packing you realise everything takes a lot of space. Therefore, don’t automatically go for the smallest vehicle available. Remember that hiring a bigger van doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be full, but if you hire a smaller van and there’s no space to fit all your stuff in it, you will have to do multiple trips which can be quite tiring.
Additionally, be aware that if you're loading the van up with material that is potentially harmful to the van's body or interior, then the insurance costs associated with renting will be higher. Just make sure you are honest with the van rental company as incidents do happen.
When comparing prices from different companies make sure you look at all the details carefully. Some companies may be a little bit more expensive but their offers include some extras which ultimately will be worth the money. Always read the full terms and conditions before signing the rental agreement.
It goes without saying that companies which rent out large machinery are generally pretty discerning with their cash and resources.
Often times, those looking to hire a van will need to be at least 21 years old (in some cases 25 is the minimum age), and have held a UK driver's license for at least three years.
This is simply to ensure that they candrive without causing an incident - and there's really no way around this rule unfortunately.
In most cases, you will also need a credit card - so that the company can keep a security deposit on file - and be able to prove your current (or future) address with a utility bill or a bank statement.
Remember, due diligence isn't a one-way street. You need to take responsibility for making sure the company you rent from is correctly certified to operate in the UK. A simple check online ought to suffice, but if in doubt, ask them for their credentials directly.
When it comes to choosing which company you rent your van from, it's often contingent on your location and the services available in your area.
Below are some of the ones we recommend taking a closer look at.
Europcar are perhaps the leaders when it comes to van rental in the UK - and a great place to start (or indeed finish; they promise to match any better deals you find on third party websites). Pick-up and drop-off points are available nationwide, with midweek deals said to be the most generous.
Enterprise vans are a popular sight on British roads, as they cater for private customers as well as businesses. Over a longer rental period - let's say more than the standard one week - they offer some of the best value for money on the UK market.
Avis doesn't have quite the same name recognition as Europcar or Enterprise, but its diverse van fleet is specially designed for long-haul trips with heavy cargo in tow. Well worth a look if you need a sturdy pair of wheels.
Those of you living in London have probably seen the zipcars and zipvans parked in many places across the city. If you’re moving houses but don’t have any furniture and large home appliances to move, renting a zipvan might be the best option for you, as it can cost you as little as £10 an hour.
You may want to read about: Man & Van Hire.