U-Haul Competitors and Alternatives: Who Stacks Up Against this Moving and Storage Company?

Brent Davis - May 24, 2021

U-Haul Competitors
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U-Haul is a highly recognizable American brand that deals in storage, van rentals, and moving equipment.

Due to its branding and livery on the side of its vehicles U-Haul has become a genericized trademark.

That means some consumers will use the name U-Haul to refer to the service of van rental rather than for the specific brand. 

The company began in 1945 when it was founded by Leonard Shoen out of his garage in Pheonix, Arizona.

U-Haul is owned by the holding company AMERCO. 55% of its stock is owned by the Shoen family who remains the owners of U-Haul as well.

 

U-Haul Competitors

The company is publicly traded on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol UHAL.

In 2020 the company reported total revenue of $3.979 billion. They had an operating income of $530.128 million for the same period. 

U-Haul has around 19,500 employees worldwide and has expanded from van rentals to include storage units, tow hitches, and moving supplies.

It owned the subsidiary Uhaul Car Share, which was shut down in February 2019.

 

U-Haul Competitors and Alternatives

U-Haul makes its money through the rental of vans and trucks primarily used for house moves.

The company has expanded to include the rental of tow hitches and trailer rentals as well.

They also sell goods to customers such as boxes and moving supplies that can help people with their house move. 

Alongside its consumer business, U-Haul offers its services to businesses that are in need of fleet services.

UPS, FedEx, and the United States Postal Services all contract U-haul.

They rent U-haul’s trucks and vans to bolster their own fleet during temporary busy seasons such as Christmas.

U-Haul also offers people the opportunity to franchise with them.

Business people can partner with U-Haul to provide van rentals and storage solutions in their local area.

The benefit of doing this is the significant brand visibility that U-Haul has. 

There are not many people in America unfamiliar with what U-Haul is, or at least what industry they are in.

This gives operators the advantage to get in front of millions of potential customers. 

Now let’s take a closer look at some of the companies that are U-Haul competitors and alternatives:

  • Penske – A diversified transportation company.
  • Rush Enterprises – Retailer for commercial vehicles new and used.
  • Hertz – A car and van rental business.

U-Haul Competitors: Penske

U-Haul Competitors

Penske is a transportation company that deals in a range of different industries. They compete with U-Haul for a share of the van rental industry.

The company was founded in 1969 by Roger Penske who remains the companies chairman. 

Penske has its headquarters in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. There are around 65,000 people that work for Penske around the world.

The Penske Corporation has many subsidiaries including DAVCO Technology, Penske Automotive Group, Penske Entertainment Corporation, Penske Truck Leasing, and its NASCAR racing organization, Team Penske.

The company is very diversified but most of its business interests remain transportation-based.

Penske Truck Rental is the one that competes most directly with U-Haul.

Penske is smaller in the van rental industry but eclipses U-Haul in terms of business divisions and employees.

The company is privately held so its financial data is not available for comparison. 

U-Haul Competitors: Rush Enterprises

U-Haul Competitors

Rush Enterprises is an international company that deals in new and used trucks through its stores called Rush Truck Center.

The company has over 200 locations throughout America and 14 stores in Canada. 

The company began in 1965 when it was founded by W. Marvin Rush. The company has its headquarters in New Braunfels, Texas.

It was originally a dealership that sold Peterbilt trucks but through the years has acquired new dealerships, greatly expanding its operation.

The company is listed on the Nasdaq under the class A ticker RUSHA and class B ticker RUSHB.

During the fiscal year 2020, the company reported its total revenue to be $4.735 billion and an operating income of $152.753 million. 

The company has around 7,000 employees through its North American network.

It has partnerships with many leading truck manufacturers including Ford, Blue Bird, Isuzu, and Peterbilt.

U-Haul Competitors: Hertz

U-Haul Competitors

Hertz is the car and van rental subsidiary of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. The company was founded in Chicago, Illinois in 1918 by Walter L. Jacobs. 

There are over 12,000 locations worldwide which include corporate locations as well as franchises.

The company also operates other car rental companies called Thrifty and Dollar Rent A Car. 

Hertz was included on the 2020 Fortune 500 list ranked at 326th. There are over 24,000 people working for Hertz throughout its worldwide locations.

The company is listed on the OTC Pink market under the ticker symbol HTZGQ. 

Revenue for the company was in steep decline during the Covid-19 pandemic as car rentals became less popular.

In 2020 the company posted revenue of $5.258 billion and had an operating income of $-1.065 billion. 

The company competes with U-Haul for a share of the van rental market.

However, the companies main focus is on car rentals so U-Haul outpaces it for the market share of van rentals.

U-Haul’s Advantage

U-Haul has an incredible brand image thanks to the livery on the side of all of its trucks.

This has enabled the company’s name to become part of the nation’s lexicon.

Although it may be advantageous in some regards, it could also decrease the value of the brand’s image.

U-Haul has become a term used to describe renting a van through any company, rather than just U-Haul’s services. 

The company focuses on the do-it-yourself market of people moving homes.

Rather than the costly hire prices of a moving company people are choosing to rent with U-Haul and avoid the high prices.

U-Haul Competitors and Alternatives: Final Thoughts

As far as the van rental industry goes U-Haul is the most dominant player.

Apart from local independent businesses, no one is a direct U-Haul competitor. 

Hertz focuses on car rentals with vans as a secondary offer.

Penske has a national van rental service but it is only a fraction of what they offer.

U-Haul can continue in its position as the market leader so long as it keeps providing a competitively priced and valuable service.

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Brent Davis has been writing about the financial markets for 10 years and worked in research for the last five years at a Fortune 500 company. Brent's investing strategy is to buy high-quality companies and then let compounding do its thing.