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(Bloomberg)   The secretive billionaire behind the American U-Haul market. You've definitely cursed this guy and his stupid broken-down trucks while moving   (bloomberg.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Telluride, dry cask storage, proxy battle  
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3156 clicks; posted to Business » on 05 Dec 2013 at 10:04 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-12-05 08:46:32 AM  
I've never had a U-Haul break down on me.  Then again, I wasn't hauling your mom's meth lab.
 
2013-12-05 09:14:46 AM  
I rented a U-Haul here in Huntsville to move from my apartment to my new house. The stupid truck smoked, ran rough, didn't have working turn signals. I'll never rent a U-Haul in this town ever again.
 
2013-12-05 09:41:24 AM  
U-Haul.  The best place to refill your propane tanks.
 
2013-12-05 09:43:33 AM  
Mark V. Shoen had to endure his father's suicide, a sister-in-law's murder and an internecine battle on his way to becoming the largest shareholder of Amerco, the parent of truck rental company U-Haul, North America's biggest moving and storage business.

Becoming a self-storage baron required additional drama, if only in the courtroom. Shoen's storage empire was the center of a decade-long shareholder suit that splintered his family and left the 62-year-old in control of a business that made him a billionaire.


They must have the best Thanksgivings.
 
2013-12-05 09:45:29 AM  
"The sexy stuff is the lawsuits and fistfights in the boardroom,"

Just another way the rich are different I guess.
 
2013-12-05 10:09:56 AM  
The secretive billionaire behind the American U-Haul market.

Mr. Dolittle?

/obscure?
 
2013-12-05 10:10:16 AM  
U-Haul is the worst.  The one truck I drove felt like it was about to fall apart at any moment.  Penske is a little more expensive, but their trucks are great.
 
2013-12-05 10:25:10 AM  

Mentat: U-Haul is the worst.  The one truck I drove felt like it was about to fall apart at any moment.  Penske is a little more expensive, but their trucks are great.


You and subby speak the truth.
 
2013-12-05 10:28:10 AM  

Mentat: U-Haul is the worst.  The one truck I drove felt like it was about to fall apart at any moment.  Penske is a little more expensive, but their trucks are great.


This!  Penski is the way to go.  Last time I rented a truck from them they threw in moving blankets at no cost.  I had tried to rent a U-haul truck earier in the day but they said I had to drive it to the next town to return it because they didn't rent to use locally (WTF?!?!).  Penski was about $20 more but the customer service and the quality of their equipment made up for it.
 
2013-12-05 10:29:29 AM  

thamike: I've never had a U-Haul break down on me.  Then again, I wasn't hauling your mom's meth lab.


I've never had one break down on me, but I've also never hauled my meth lab in one that was actually running right, either.
 
2013-12-05 10:29:38 AM  
Truck broke down between Arizona and Texas at a gas station in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. I spent 12 hours at that gas station before they sent someone who rigged it so it would run with the instructions "whatever you do, don't turn the engine off until you get to where you're going." There is also a bit about the awful customer service and amount of time and number of times I had to call and be put on hold by them. They also refused to offer any sort of discount for the awful experience.

I've been a loyal Budget customer ever since.
 
2013-12-05 10:30:02 AM  

AirForceVet: I'll never rent a U-Haul in this town ever again


This is the desired result, you know.
 
2013-12-05 10:33:59 AM  
And yet the three times I've had to use UHaul, the experience was quite....uneventful.  The trucks ran fine, albeit a little underpowered for my tastes, were clean and handled everything I needed them to handle (hauled a household worth of stuff from San Diego to Park City, Ut on one trip with no issues).

/I'm sure that the CEO knows EXACTLY what every single vehicle in his fleet of 25,000+ is like
 
2013-12-05 10:34:56 AM  
I'm pretty sure U-Haul is well-known as the worst of the consumer truck rental firms.  They likely exist because people use these firms so infrequently that they don't have much experience with them to know what to expect.

I prefer to rent Penske and then accuse people of not being Penske material.
 
2013-12-05 10:41:20 AM  
My brother in law last week: Hey bro, can I borrow your truck and cattle trailer to move into our new house?
Me: You could, but I just hauled a load of cattle and my pressure washer is broken, so...
BIL: So you're saying it's smelly and covered in cow shiat?
Me: Yeah. Sorry.
BIL: Meh. Still better than a u-haul truck. When can I pick it up?
 
2013-12-05 10:42:13 AM  
I know I am in the minority here because I have rented U-Haul trucks and never had a problem with the truck or customer service. Sure, some trucks were older and not so nice, but they ran and I was able to use them without incident.
 
2013-12-05 10:51:55 AM  
I rented a U Haul and it caught fire.

The only reason people hate Comcast more is that you have to deal with that company more often.
 
2013-12-05 10:52:31 AM  

rtaylor92: the middle of nowhere New Mexico.


Hell, even Albuquerque is in the middle of nowhere.
 
2013-12-05 11:04:52 AM  

thamike: I've never had a U-Haul break down on me.  Then again, I wasn't hauling your mom's meth lab.


Yeah, worst I had was that we blew a tire in the back while moving from Az to Ut. We still had to stay a night and get it fixed, but the truck itself ran fine. Added bonus is that we were debating staying a night, because my wife has issues driving at night for long distances anyway. I didn't want to drive an hour out of my way each way to Page and then spend a night, but understood my wife's issue, so while we were discussing this, pulled over and stopped, suddenly the farking tire blew all by itself and sealed the deal. Of course we were in The Gap, Az, which reminds me of a Hills Have Eyes type town whenever I pass through. I usually refuse to even slow down in that spooky-ass place.
 
2013-12-05 11:11:08 AM  
Halifax to Ottawa move. Gearshift broke off in my hand somewhere near Riviere de Loup. Had to try to fix it with my foot on the brake and a cat yowling in my ear. I'm hiring movers next time.
 
2013-12-05 11:19:30 AM  
Advertise $19.95 to rent
Actual cost around $80

Fark you U-haul
 
2013-12-05 11:22:45 AM  
Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.
 
2013-12-05 11:23:18 AM  

yeegrek: Halifax to Ottawa move. Gearshift broke off in my hand somewhere near Riviere de Loup. Had to try to fix it with my foot on the brake and a cat yowling in my ear. I'm hiring movers next time.


Yeah, moving yourself is reasonable if you're in college or maybe for your starter home with the new spouse, but it doesn't take long in life for your time to be worth more than the cost of professional movers.
 
2013-12-05 11:27:14 AM  

thamike: I've never had a U-Haul break down on me.  Then again, I wasn't hauling your mom's meth lab.


They rent to people who've never driven a truck or a trailer before and without much as far as safety and 'how to load the trailer' and 'how to drive a truck' goes.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/sep/16/local/me-uhaul16
http://www.uhaulsafetyalert.org/

I'd say that's worse than a break down.

/live in a college town
//have to dodge dumbasses with U-Hauls twice a year
 
2013-12-05 11:27:22 AM  

chevydeuce: And yet the three times I've had to use UHaul, the experience was quite....uneventful.  The trucks ran fine, albeit a little underpowered for my tastes, were clean and handled everything I needed them to handle (hauled a household worth of stuff from San Diego to Park City, Ut on one trip with no issues).

/I'm sure that the CEO knows EXACTLY what every single vehicle in his fleet of 25,000+ is like


I've used it to move across Chicago a few times. I used it to move from Bloomington to Chicago about 3.5 years back. I'd echo the underpowered bit, but those experiences were uneventful for me. I've rented everything from a small trailer up to a 25' truck. I've had way worse experiences with the actual movers.
 
2013-12-05 11:29:41 AM  

Carousel Beast: yeegrek: Halifax to Ottawa move. Gearshift broke off in my hand somewhere near Riviere de Loup. Had to try to fix it with my foot on the brake and a cat yowling in my ear. I'm hiring movers next time.

Yeah, moving yourself is reasonable if you're in college or maybe for your starter home with the new spouse, but it doesn't take long in life for your time to be worth more than the cost of professional movers.


Time? How about back and general health? Last time I helped a buddy move, I was helping him pick up a sofa bed. Well he has a bad knee and occasional pain in his back. He was able to move the couch, but his knee swelled up to like a grapefruit by the end of the day.

/he's not in very good shape
 
2013-12-05 11:30:19 AM  

Lord Dimwit: Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.


I'd think any city in the lower 48 with a quarter-million people should have Ryder, Budget, and Penske locations.
 
2013-12-05 11:37:59 AM  

Lord Dimwit: Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.


It's not 1950.  The major national chains have locations everywhere.  I've driven Penske cross-country several times and never had a problem finding a location.
 
2013-12-05 11:44:59 AM  

Lawnchair: Lord Dimwit: Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.

I'd think any city in the lower 48 with a quarter-million people should have Ryder, Budget, and Penske locations.


You do realize that the VAST majority of people in the US live in cities with FAR less than a quarter-million people, right?

U-Haul sucks, but they're EVERYWHERE.  They're often the only option.
 
2013-12-05 11:50:55 AM  
Last time I drove a U-Haul, it was to help a friend move.  We went to one location in Toronto, and they had about a dozen trucks and vans, and every single one of them was registered to Arizona.  That was a big red-flag for safety.  The truck itself was a disaster zone and the whole instrument cluster dislodged when I accelerated to highway speeds.

NEVER AGAIN.
 
2013-12-05 11:51:23 AM  

Lord Dimwit: Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.


Budget
Ryder
 
2013-12-05 11:53:26 AM  

realmolo: Lawnchair: Lord Dimwit: Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.

I'd think any city in the lower 48 with a quarter-million people should have Ryder, Budget, and Penske locations.

You do realize that the VAST majority of people in the US live in cities with FAR less than a quarter-million people, right?

U-Haul sucks, but they're EVERYWHERE.  They're often the only option.


Penske had a store when I moved from college to Chicago (city ~75K with 40K students).  The problem was that it only had a few trucks, was twice the price, and neither of them were available when I wanted to move. Uhaul was cheaper, had 10-12 trucks, and half of them were available. Had I moved a week or two later, I might have been SOL in general, but I got out of school a week before everyone else did (early exams and capstones ftw).
 
2013-12-05 11:54:36 AM  
tl;dr: JOOOOOOOOOOOOS
 
2013-12-05 11:54:57 AM  

realmolo: Lawnchair: Lord Dimwit: Everyone complains about U-Haul, but what other options do you have if you're moving from one city to another and want to do it yourself? I've never seen any other truck rental places that have offices in more than one or two cities.

I'd think any city in the lower 48 with a quarter-million people should have Ryder, Budget, and Penske locations.

You do realize that the VAST majority of people in the US live in cities with FAR less than a quarter-million people, right?

U-Haul sucks, but they're EVERYWHERE.  They're often the only option.


FFS.  Look at Budget on a map.  They're in plenty of sub 250,000 cities.  There are two in my town of 100,000-ish, and two in my random suburban hometown.
 
2013-12-05 11:56:11 AM  

chevydeuce: And yet the three times I've had to use UHaul, the experience was quite....uneventful.  The trucks ran fine, albeit a little underpowered for my tastes, were clean and handled everything I needed them to handle (hauled a household worth of stuff from San Diego to Park City, Ut on one trip with no issues).

/I'm sure that the CEO knows EXACTLY what every single vehicle in his fleet of 25,000+ is like


Same. But all my moves were no more than like 30 minutes apart tops.
 
2013-12-05 12:11:04 PM  

realmolo: You do realize that the VAST majority of people in the US live in cities with FAR less than a quarter-million people, right?


I don't know that because it's not true.  And I live in a city of under 100k and grew up in a city of under 10k.

At least, if you're willing to take 'metro area' as 'city', Milwaukee (1.5 million) is the cutoff.  More Americans live in Milwaukee and the 38 metro areas larger than it than live in the rest of the nation put together.   Just did the math, and 76% of Americans live in metros of at least a quarter-million.
 
2013-12-05 12:12:42 PM  
Last time I moved I used U-Haul, primarily because it was in walking distance. The truck was a gas hog (maybe all trucks are), but it took my load the hundred miles I needed it to go, up 3,000 feet, without any complaints.

So, it did what it needed to, but I'm sure other company's trucks would have, too.
 
2013-12-05 12:25:42 PM  
Their trailers aren't bad but their trucks are hit and miss.

If you get a newer truck, they aren't bad.  But the older ones have been beat to hell by the prior renters.

I know Canada cracked down on them at weigh stations for a while and sometimes it took 3 replacement trucks before they got one that also didn't fail inspection.
 
2013-12-05 12:27:59 PM  
CSB:

I was in a backwater town in Alaska visiting some family when my car broke down.  I went to every single rental car place in the town (3) to see if any of them had a car to rent - I had a meeting in Anchorage the next day and all of the flights were booked.  None of the rental car places had any cars left, and I thought I'd have to miss the biggest meeting of my life.  Then I had an epiphany: "Rent a truck from U-Haul and drive it over there".  I went to the U-Haul place and they had one HUGE truck left.  Without any other options, I rented the massive truck, drove it 4 hours to my meeting the next day, and then drove it back.  U-Haul saved my ass that day.
 
2013-12-05 12:33:35 PM  
Has anybody ever rented a U-Haul with a working A/C? I've rented 3 (two in different cities) and everyone was broken.
 
2013-12-05 12:34:41 PM  
Had a truck reserved for moving day, went to pick it up, was told they had no trucks because it hadn't been returned.
of course, no compensation offered, no effort to call other stores to see if they had a truck. ended up calling friends and made multiple runs with pickups--in the rain
 
2013-12-05 12:37:46 PM  

Pick13: Has anybody ever rented a U-Haul with a working A/C? I've rented 3 (two in different cities) and everyone was broken.


All four uhaul trucks/vans I've rented had working AC, which was good since I was moving some time between May and early August every time.
 
2013-12-05 12:38:25 PM  
About 25 years ago we were moving to Northern California. Three adults crammed into a little Mazda -- stick shift no less -- pulling a U-Haul trailer.  To make it extra fun we were all three in the midst of much personal upheaval and to top it off Stevie Ray Vaughn died two days earlier. We pull into Bakersfield and stop at a gas station.  All my adult life I've had the habit of checking out the tires when I get gas. (It's saved me numerous problems.)  This time I'm puzzled by this red dirt all over one trailer wheel. I wipe a bit of the "dirt" away only to badly burn my finger tip.  Why is this so hot?  A little more investigation reveals that the wheel is completely broken off from the axle. The only thing holding the tire on was the weight of the trailer.

We realized that having just driven through the Tehachapi mountains that we probably should be dead. Then we contemplated the prospect of reloading from one trailer to another.  My engineer father-in-law had supervised the packing. It was a masterpiece of maximum stuff in minimum space.

If you know the geography then you know that Bakersfield was pretty much the first decent-sized city since Flagstaff and it turned out Bakersfield had a major U-Haul center. They took our trailer to the center on a flatbed wrecker, torched off the old axle, welded on a new one, and viola, we were out of Bakersfield in 90 minutes.

Twenty+ years later I still have in my office a picture of that U-Haul trailer, the wheel, and a little troll sitting on the wheelbed all under a brilliant blue Bakersfield sky.

/when we left California we did it in a Penske
 
2013-12-05 12:39:25 PM  
In Seattle at least, it's the best place to get a hitch installed (for your bike rack, if not to haul a trailer).  It's half the cost of anywhere else; even REI recommends them.
 
2013-12-05 12:50:40 PM  
realmolo:

You do realize that the VAST majority of people in the US live in cities with FAR less than a quarter-million people, right?

This is a rather odd statement.

The majority of people in the US live in cities with greater than a 250,000.  The US has 313 million people.  There are over 150 million in the top 20 metros in the US (Orlando is #20 at 2.9M).
 
2013-12-05 12:52:50 PM  

Carousel Beast: Yeah, moving yourself is reasonable if you're in college or maybe for your starter home with the new spouse, but it doesn't take long in life for your time to be worth more than the cost of professional movers.


I'm not so sure about that.  Not just on the time alone angle.  Maybe time, health/safety, general stress (especially if buying) and some other factors.


/ moved recently from Chicago area to Philly area.
// 11000  # load
/// Nominal bill was quoted at $17k with complete pack/unpack.
//// employer paid for it and had discount contract with vendor. ended up they billed out at 6400 or so
/v/ csb
 
2013-12-05 12:54:21 PM  

Rapmaster2000: realmolo:

You do realize that the VAST majority of people in the US live in cities with FAR less than a quarter-million people, right?

This is a rather odd statement.

The majority of people in the US live in cities with greater than a 250,000.  The US has 313 million people.  There are over 150 million in the top 20 metros in the US (Orlando is #20 at 2.9M).


Just used Excel to calculate.   There are 185 metro areas in the US of over 250,000 people.  185 is Binghampton, NY.

250M of the 313M people in the US live in metros of over 250,000.  I'd say that's the vast majority.
 
2013-12-05 12:59:47 PM  
/csb

a long time ago i got volunteered to drive a gigantic u-haul from San Antonio to Fort Worth. I was working at a pharmacy chain and we were closing one of our San Antonio stores and needed to bring all the stuff back up to the corporate HQ in Fort Worth.

I had never driven anything that big before ( i think i was about 23 at the time ) and I distinctly remember being able to turn the steering wheel about a 1/4 turn either way with no impact on the wheels. This meant the truck wandered all over the place on the road. Also, various check this or check that lights kept coming on and off throughout the trip. I navigated that beast through downtown San Antonio and assorted highways under construction at the time then all the way up through Austin and finally in to Fort Worth. Pretty harrowing but made it a-ok with no major mishap.
 
2013-12-05 01:03:26 PM  
I just pay movers. Always works for me.
 
2013-12-05 01:03:53 PM  
Looks like he's making the real money on storage units. I never understood the concept.
If you have to rent a place to store shiat you don't immediately need, then sell it or give it to charity.
 
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