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What Size Moving Van Do I Need? A Van Size Guide for Renters

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Will Southall

Will Southall

25 days ago - 8 minute read

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Figuring out what size moving van you need when renting can feel like an impossible task.

I mean, who really knows how many boxes you’ll have when all your stuff is packed up? 30? 40? 200?

Realistically, most tenants only need a small to medium-sized moving van, especially when renting a furnished property, a studio apartment, or a 1-2-bed flat.

But it really depends on what size property you’re moving from and how much stuff you’re taking with you.

To help you figure out what size moving van you need, we’ve put together an expert guide on the most common UK van sizes and what you can fit in them. We’ll also share our top tips on how to save money on a van when you’re moving rental.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Moving Van Size

Which size moving van you need depends on 3 main things:

  • How much stuff you need to move
  • How large or heavy your stuff is
  • Your budget and how much you can/are willing to spend

When searching for a moving van to hire, you also need to consider what level of service you need. There’s a difference between hiring a moving van and hiring a removal company.

Hiring a van means you’ll need to load, unload and drive the van to your new rental yourself.

Whereas hiring a removal company means hiring a van plus a team of people to help you load, unload and drive the vehicle.

Hiring just a van will always be cheaper than hiring a removal company, but with good reason! DIY-ing your move from one rental to another can be a lot of work. It can also be risky if you have fragile belongings.

If you’re thinking about hiring just a van, not a removal company, consider things like:

  • Will you be able to load and unload the van yourself?
  • Will you be able to carry larger items up or downstairs?
  • Do you know how to load and unload items safely?
  • Do you know how to load the van efficiently?
  • Do you know how, and have the right license and insurance, to drive a removal van of the size you’re hiring?

Related article: Top tips to help you move from one rental to another

What Size Moving Van Do I Need? A Van Size Guide for Renters

When you move from one rental to another, you can usually hire one of four sized moving vans.

While some of the specifics may vary per company, here’s a general moving van size guide to help you determine what size moving van you may need:

Van Type

Approximate Size

Who is it Usually Suitable For?

Medium Wheels Base (MWB) Van

280-380 cubic feet

OR

Equivalent to a medium-sized garden shed

1-2 people moving from living at home or an unfurnished studio apartment or a 1-bedroom flat

People with 30-40 boxes to transport with no furniture

Long Wheels Base (LWB) Van

380-350 cubic feet

OR

Equivalent to a single garage

People moving from 1–2-bedroom flats with some furniture and 20-30 boxes

3.5 Tonne Luton Van

550 cubic feet

People moving from a 2-bedroom flat or a small house with some furniture and up to 45 boxes

People who need a van with a tail lift to load heavy items

7.5 Tonne Luton Van

650-880 cubic feet

People moving from 3-bedroom houses with lots of furniture, kitchen appliances and 40-50 boxes

Related article: Top 10 questions to ask when viewing a house to rent

How to Arrange a Moving Van

It’s always a good idea to get more than one quote when you’re looking at hiring a moving van.

Ideally, you want to get at least 3 quotes from different companies.

If you can, make sure 1 quote is from a company based in your new area and 1 is based where you currently live. Sometimes, quotes can be cheaper in your new area compared with where you currently live.

It’s best to speak to each company directly rather than just booking a van to hire online. This is because you can ask their advice about what size van you need.

When you speak to the company, try to give as much detail as possible about what you need to transport and how it might need to be done.

For example, tell them if you have lots of large or heavy furniture items, like wardrobes and beds, that need to be taken down a flight of stairs.

Some companies carry out a free home survey to assess how much stuff you have and what van size you need. If you’re hiring removal services as well as the van, it’s a good idea to do the survey. It’ll ensure you get a more accurate quote.

Remember, always be careful of scammers. Do your research about the company you’re hiring from and check the reviews to ensure it’s a legit business.

To recap the above, here’s how to hire a moving van or a removal company:

  • Contact at least 3 moving van companies for a quote.
  • Get a quote from companies in both your current and new area.
  • Give as much detail as possible about how much stuff you have and what services you’ll need to hire e.g., loading, unloading, driving, etc.
  • If possible, only contact companies who provide a free home survey before giving you a quote – this will ensure you get an accurate cost.
  • Book the moving van company that best suits your needs – remember, sometimes the cheapest option isn’t always the best!

Related article: Pros & cons of renting furnished vs unfurnished

How to Save Money on a Moving Van When You’re Moving Rental

Moving from one rental to another can be expensive, especially when you have to pay rent, bills, and your deposit upfront (although the secret is that your deposit doesn’t always have to be paid upfront!).

Hiring a moving van is just another expense renters have to deal with.

If you live in the UK, hiring a moving van can cost anywhere between £40-£200 per day, depending on the van size you need.

If you’re hiring removal services as well, you’ll usually be charged an hourly rate for each person you have helping you. This can cost anywhere between £40 to £135 per hour.

Saving money is always a priority when you’re moving. Here’s our best advice on how to save money when you’re moving rental.

Related article: How & why Lifetime Deposits can help moving renters

1. Purge Your Belongings

A guaranteed way to save money when you move is to get rid of stuff you don’t want or need.

The less stuff you have, the smaller moving van you’ll need. Naturally, the smaller the moving van, the cheaper it’ll be!

Purging your belongings may sound easy, but it can be more difficult than it sounds.

Before you start packing, ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you ever use the item?
  • Will you use the item again in future?
  • Will it be more expensive to move than buy new?
  • Will you have space for it in your new place?
  • Will it match the décor in your new place?

Some good items to purge to save money when you move are often things like:

  • Books (read or unread)
  • Mugs (especially any chipped ones!)
  • Old papers and notepads
  • Worn bath towels
  • Unworn clothes and shoes
  • Old Christmas decorations
  • Décor items that won’t match your new place, like rugs and bedsheets
  • Toiletries (don’t we all have tons of unused products stashed away in cupboards that we never use?)

Related article: Everything renters need to know about end of tenancy cleaning.

2. Pack Smartly

Another way to save money when you move is to pack wisely.

The goal is to minimise the number of boxes you need to take with you as best you can.

Here are a few tips to help you pack smartly:

  • Packing furniture? – Keep your wardrobe full of clothes, hangers and anything else you can fit in there. Wrap the doors to keep them closed during the move. Do the same with any chests of drawers or cabinets. Just don’t do it with any glass door cabinets, as they could shatter.
  • Fill your pots – Stack your pots and pans where you can, and if you have space in the top pans or around the edges, fill them with other things from the kitchen, like spice jars or small cooking utensils, like tin openers or garlic crushers.
  • Roll up – If you have blankets, cushion covers, bed sheets or clothes to transport in boxes, roll them up instead of folding them. You can normally squish a lot more in!
  • Fill your shoes – Small items like socks, underwear, stationery or even toiletries can often be slotted into your shoes to save space.

Related article: Expert tips to help your rental application stand out

3. Ask Friends or Family for Help

Moving from one rental to another can be a stressful and expensive time. Getting help can make things easier, cheaper and less stressful.

If you don’t feel too cheeky asking, see if nearby friends or family are willing to lend a hand when you’re moving.

For example, you could ask for favours like:

  • Can you keep some boxes at their house while you move, so you can use a smaller moving van for furniture only?
  • Can they help you move by taking some stuff in their car?
  • Do they have any empty boxes lying around at home that you could take off their hands?
  • Do they know someone with a van that you can hire for cheaper?

Related article: 40+ First home essentials every new renter needs

4. Make Things Quicker for the Removal Company

It probably goes without saying that the more time a removal company spends with you, the more it’ll cost.

Most removal companies charge by the hour, so the goal is to make things as quick and easy for them on moving day.

While you should be given a relatively accurate cost upfront, if you leave tons of stuff for the removal company to do on the day, you’ll be charged for the extra time it takes.

For example, if they need to tape up your wardrobes or dismantle furniture for you, this could come at an extra, unexpected cost.

To ensure you get an accurate quote from the removal company, choose a supplier who undertakes a free home visit before giving you a cost.

Ask the company what you can do in advance to save time on the day, and be upfront about what you’ll need them to do.

For example, don’t neglect to tell them that they’ll need to take furniture down 3 flights of stairs in the hopes they won’t charge you for it on moving day!

Some other things you can do to save money include:

  • Tape up any fragile items yourself, like glass cabinets.
  • Dismantle all your furniture.
  • Move some furniture as close to the front door as possible (without causing a hazard or inconvenience)
  • Move your boxes downstairs and/or leave them outside on a driveway.
  • Pack everything before the removal company arrives – the removers will help you pack stuff into boxes if you’re running behind, but it’ll likely cost you more.
  • Buy your own spare packing materials like boxes and tape – so the removers can use your stuff (not theirs) if they need to.

Related article: 15 Things all renters MUST do when moving rental

Moving to a New Rental?

You no longer need to save up for a deposit every time you move.

For the first time ever, if you already have a deposit protected in a deposit scheme, you can transfer it to your next property.

A Lifetime Deposit will help you keep hold of £1,200 on average, which we think is pretty neat.

We are on a mission to help more people move, so if you are moving soon, don’t forget your Lifetime Deposit!

Get a Lifetime Deposit: Get started.

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Will Southall

Guide by

Will Southall

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