Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Bikes, trikes, personal mobility and getting to/from the event - this is the place to discuss general transportation issues.
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sparr
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by sparr » Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:39 pm

Sham wrote:YES! I bought a used U-Haul box truck and did a full overhaul of it. The truck was $500, so I bought a second one just to have spare parts.
Sadly I've only found one decent box truck, but I just picked up two e350 short schoolbuses that I suspect are going to be hauling someone's gear out to the playa this year. +1 for cheap hauling vehicles that you can drive into the ground after a few years.
If you want to make a reply about my personality instead of about what this thread is about, don't clutter this thread, post over here instead.

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silvergirl70
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by silvergirl70 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:27 am

We rent a cargo van from LA . They asked me if I was going to Burning Man, and I decided to be truthful (I was taken off guard when he asked and just like that, the cat was out of the bag...)(Enterprise truck rental). He just asked to bring it back clean. Aside from the drive, the rental is way cheaper than same company in Reno, who asked me for $1000 cleaning/overhaul fee when I went to make a reservation this year. Uh, no.

After cleaning the van to the best of our ability, last year we took the van to a detailer who blew out the engine compartment, filters and rubbed down the interior with ArmorAll (fucking miracle product, better than Vinegar water). I live in the Midwest and just don't have the ability to bring a compressor and clean out the engine. (I had posted on here last year about other air blowing options but was put down by some of the trolls for potentially getting foreign playa dust on the ground at a gas station's business place, so I dropped the subject.)

In any case, the van looked brand new, and when we turned on the AC, it wasn't blowing dust. The filters were as clean as we could get without replacing them. In all reality, and throughout the rental, we took great care of the van and made sure that we would be in good humor with the company next year.

Asking a super high ($500+) mandatory fee for cleaning I feel is highway robbery, but I subscribe to the elbow grease modus operandi instead of pay for service. Now I know how fabulous ArmorAll is, I'm all over it. I have to use a detailer for the engine cleaning part, but as we don't live in the area, and I don't have a compressor nor garage to clean, there's no other way around that part.

I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cleaning; e.g. putting down plastic or old towels over some of the surfaces (especially floors near the doors) really helps immensely with cleanup. Also, putting AC to recirculate (instead of fresh intake) as soon as you enter Gate Rd helps immensely. Just my 2¢.
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Popeye
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by Popeye » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:17 pm

I talked to Penske at their 800 number about a van or truck and was flat turned down. They said they would not let one of their trucks go to Burning Man. Using Uhaul instead.
nobody wants to live in a world with only one flavor...

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Dr. Pyro
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by Dr. Pyro » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:24 pm

The Budget/AVIS dealership in midtown Sacramento is very burner-friendly. Barbie Death Camp rents a 16' box truck from them every year and they have always been more than accommodating. PM me for details.

NikonKing
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by NikonKing » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:46 am

livinglovingsteph wrote:
Wed May 02, 2018 12:47 pm
Oh my goodness the rental anxiety is so real! I rented an RV from Salt Lake City for the burn twice in the past two years, and didn't disclose we were going to Burning Man (I think I said Arizona when they asked...)

Anyway, spent both burns with a little ball of anxiety and guilt in the back of my mind. Would they know we took it to Burning Man? Do they have a GPS on this thing? Can they sue us for anything? What if we don't get the security deposit back? First year we returned it, and there were no questions asked. Phew. The next year... not so much. Despite our best efforts to scrub the RV, I got an email from the owner saying they knew where we had taken it, and that they do not let their RVs go to Burning Man. Because they can tell we really tried to clean it, they only charged a $100 fee. Ok, could have been worse.

This year, I fully disclosed where we intend to take the RV from the owner we are renting from. He was ok with it as long as we paid a slightly higher weekly fee. I'm looking forward to finally enjoying my week without the rental anxiety in the back of my mind! So I guess my advice is, be honest. It's not worth the ball of stress hanging around all week.
I soooooo am aligned with this. Thank you, Living...

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Elderberry
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by Elderberry » Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:55 am

NikonKing wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:39 am
lucky420 wrote:I rent a big truck every year. After the event I take it to a car wash and have it cleaned for about $140, tip included.
Like a truck wash? And then you pay for additional services? Can you give me more information about this? Maybe this is the better way to go.
Most truck washes do not wash the interior of the cab. We rent a 26' box truck, we never say we are going to burning man, even if they ask. But after the burn we take the truck to a local truck wash and have them wash the outside, the cargo area and the engine. While try are doing that we stay in the cab and wash that ourselves with baby wipes.

You could never tell the truck was ever on the playa.

One of the first rentals, when we tried the honest approach, was cancelled. Fortunately we were able to find another rental company last minute. Never again.
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lucky420
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by lucky420 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 12:51 pm

Elderberry wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 8:55 am
NikonKing wrote:
Fri Apr 27, 2018 6:39 am
lucky420 wrote:I rent a big truck every year. After the event I take it to a car wash and have it cleaned for about $140, tip included.
Like a truck wash? And then you pay for additional services? Can you give me more information about this? Maybe this is the better way to go.
Most truck washes do not wash the interior of the cab. We rent a 26' box truck, we never say we are going to burning man, even if they ask. But after the burn we take the truck to a local truck wash and have them wash the outside, the cargo area and the engine. While try are doing that we stay in the cab and wash that ourselves with baby wipes.

You could never tell the truck was ever on the playa.

One of the first rentals, when we tried the honest approach, was cancelled. Fortunately we were able to find another rental company last minute. Never again.
The place I take mine does the inside and out. Cost me $120 last year, worth it and keeps U-Haul I the Reno area happy too.
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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silvergirl70
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by silvergirl70 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 10:31 pm

Also, I don't think they can sue you for taking the vehicle to Burning Man (you're not leaving the country or stealing the vehicle) but technically, you are taking a rental vehicle on an unpaved road. I think that if you had engine issues or a breakdown, the extrication process would be on your shoulders, not the rental company's shoulders. Other than that, returning a clean vehicle with relatively clean filters is all one could ask of a utility vehicle rental customer. This is not a Maserati we're renting, its a cargo van (or box truck or whatever.)

For breach of contract (e.g. driving on unpaved road) they may be able to keep your security deposit and charge you extra cleaning fees if they determine it is needed, but unless they do have a LoJack or GPS on the vehicle, you technically could be driving any dusty place in the SW US with the same end result to the vehicle and they would not know. If someone is bored enough to take the time out from their work schedule to actually go online and track that stuff, then they need another job, IMHO. Unless the contract specifically states "no Burning Man" and "no unpaved road" you aren't violating anything. I actually wonder if they have the right to ask, " are you going to Burning Man?" or if you have the right to refuse to answer? Again, if its not explicitly stated in the contract "no" then that's all that counts in a court of law.

I usually have a great story ready to go about moving a house full of furniture to my husband's cousin's house in Tahoe, and a short vacation I'm taking in the Tahoe area. (husband's cousin actually lives in Incline Village, if anyone wants his address for reference..haha, otherwise look up a trailer park near there and give the address as your destination.)

Another thing to look up is your personal vehicle insurance policy. I have a copy of mine printed out so they can't try to fuck me at the drive thru at the rental place. Many personal vehicle insurance policies do not cover industrial or utility vehicles (e.g. Box truck) so if you are in an accident, you are SOL. This may be something to factor in to what your budget will allow. My policy allows gross vehicle weight up to 12000 lbs and cargo van size, so I stick to that for our group and we are covered in the event we get in an accident etc.

I travel a lot and rent cars (not utility vehicles) frequently. I find immense variation in how policies are enforced depending on who is working, how busy they are, what kind of mood they are in, etc.

I once took a rental car illegally "off roading" on a mountain road construction site near the Kona airport in Hawaii, and after an evening of looking at the stars and watching the jets land, it was time to return the rental car to the airport, which was about 1.5 miles away from the entrance to the construction 'road' I was on. Unfortunately, the construction guys had left for the day, and locked a gate to the road entrance, with the road flanked by impassable lava fields. My car was stuck there. After 30 minutes of frantic calls to anyone I could think of including the police who basically laughed at me (deservedly), I ended up abandoning the car on the dirt road at the gate and schlepping all my luggage by foot on the dark highway for 1.5 miles with my travelling companion. (Insert numerous choice expletives here.) I was basically caught with my hand in the cookie jar that I violated the rental policy. Fortunately, either I looked like a sweaty pitiable drowned rat when I got to the desk, or the woman there was having a good day. I explained the story, white lying that we had just parked the vehicle there to hike, and that the vehicle was safe. She didn't even bat an eye. Someone ended up picking up the vehicle the next AM, and they only charged me $25 for the extra day, no "pick up fee" or anything. I have not been so lucky with other rental companies for minor infractions, I think due to the mood of the staff.

But...just take good care of the vehicle and keep good rapport with the staff (bribe them with home made cookies? It sounds crazy, but I find this also works in a pinch) and you probably will be OK.
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Drizzt321
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Re: Cargo Van Rental Anxiety

Post by Drizzt321 » Wed Jul 25, 2018 4:41 pm

I rent from Avon in LA, and they're sorta OK with going to BM. They do charge an extra $25 or $50 a day, I forget, but as long as I do a pretty reasonable detail on the inside (ArmorAll spray, paper towels FTW!), and I use one of those gas station air fillup to blow out the back cargo area of the truck, and go through a truck car wash for the outside, I've never had a problem. They literally told me they're working vehicles, as long as it's reasonably clean a little dust/dirt in the cracks wasn't anything they cared about.

Otherwise, especially if you're in Reno or SF, yea...they'll probably just charge you the extra unless you can prove you're not going to BM, like if you only rent a day or two. I'd also check the rental to see what the mileage allowance is before they start to charge you.

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