U-Haul is a company that rents moving trucks, vans and trailers for people who prefer to do the work themselves but do not have the necessary equipment. They have been around for a long time and are a popular resource for people who don’t want to pay high prices for a professional moving service. Almost everyone is familiar with the company, but there are things about them that not everyone knows. To give you a little more information on them, here are 18 things you probably didn’t know about U-Haul.
1. U-Haul Company was founded in 1945
We have seen U-Haul trucks across the country with their simple white and orange design and the name prominently displayed on their trucks. There’s no question that a U-haul pickup or truck has been on the road for decades. Leonard Shoen is the founder and created the company for a very personal reason. When he and his wife tried to move from Los Angeles to Portland, they couldn’t find a company that would rent them a trailer for a one-way trip. This was daunting, but it gave you an idea. He knew there were other people in similar circumstances and that’s why he founded the U-Haul company that same year.
2. The founder called U-Haul trucks “covered wagons.”
When you look at a modern U-Haul truck, none of them really look like covered wagons, but in the 1940s, they looked very different than they are now. Sam (Leonard) Shoen thought they looked like the covered wagons that took pioneers west to settle new land. In essence, they perform a similar function, so it is not difficult to understand why he referred to them as covered wagons.
3. The orange color is for practicality.
Shoen didn’t start his company with orange and white outfits. Rather, they were all painted black. The trailers were much harder to see and actually hit you at a four-way intersection when you were pulling one of them into traffic. There is a very good reason for the orange and white colors and it is simply for safety and to make them highly visible to other drivers when on the road. The noisy paint scheme served two purposes at the same time. It was vibrant and easy to see and also served as a great way to advertise the business. It was like having mobile billboards across the country.
4. U-Haul first worked on the honor system
In the early days of U-Haul, they didn’t have the complex tracking systems that exist today. They just had to trust that the people who rented their trailers for the move would be trustworthy and would return them to designated drop off locations which, at the time, were generally vehicle service stations. Local business owners were encouraged to become U-Haul agents in its early stages.
5. The first U-Hauls were trailers
When the business started, they did not offer trucks in their fleet. They started with trailers. From 1945 to 1959, this is the way they operated. Before adding trucks to their line, they had established more than 1,000 delivery locations and were running a profitable business. For the most part, people were returning trailers as promised, and the American public appreciated the convenience they offered for long moves across the country.
6. Ford Explorer owners couldn’t rent U-Hauls in the 2000s
There was a period in U-Haul history when Ford Explorers owners prohibited the use of these vehicles to pull a U-Haul trailer. The ban took place in 2003. The reason they imposed this rule was because of the large number of accidents that were occurring with this model of vehicle when trying to pull a U-Haul trailer. It was for the sake of security that the rule was implemented. The biggest complaints were due to frequent rollover accidents, but there were other types as well. There were also accidents that were determined to be caused by defective tires that were in stock on the 1998 Explorer models and there were multiple fatalities involved in the crashes. U-Haul was taking this action as a preventative measure not only to protect its customers and the safety of its trailer fleet, but also to avoid litigation over victim claims in the event of further crashes that may have been indirectly caused by pull their trailers.
7. U-Haul rented VHS tapes
U-Haul opened a subsidiary company that they called Haullywood Video Rentals. This was during the time when VHS tapes were all the rage. They opened the video business. Rental stores opened in 1985 in the state of Michigan at seven locations. It made sense for them to get involved in this …