LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A rental truck shortage continues to cause problems for those in Las Vegas, especially anyone trying to move. Some are going to extreme lengths to get the vehicles they need.

Terence O’Connor is moving from Las Vegas to Austin, Tex. But one day before he was supposed to get a U-Haul, he received a call from the company.

“They were like, ‘hey, we don’t have a truck,'” O’Connor recalled. “I can’t work with maybes. I have to be out of the house.”

O’Connor said he had everything scheduled for weeks and was shocked by the late change.

“What I wasn’t told was that they might cancel me,” O’Connor said. “Why am I responsible for what you didn’t tell me?”

A statement from U-Haul admitted O’Connor was contacted later in the process than U-Haul would have liked. They also noted that equipment is in high demand, so local teams are working to connect customers with different pickup locations.

Those familiar with the industry say the issue is a shortage of vehicles as rental truck companies.

Tremain Jackson used to own a moving company but now runs a junk removal service. He said the shortage is bringing unexpected customers his way.

“The littler van U-Hauls were typically used a lot by people that couldn’t get a rental car because of the pandemic,” said Jackson. “We don’t do moving typically too much, but we did get a lot of calls to come and move just a few small things.”

O’Connor did finally get a replacement U-Haul, but said he had to drive more than three hours to pick it up in Tonopah.

“I’m happy that I have some solution,” said O’Connor. “I don’t think it’s right at any level that it’s on me to fulfill the commitment that they made to me.”

A U-Haul spokesman released this statement to 8 News Now regarding the incident:

I can share that the customer you referenced rented a 26-foot truck tonight.

The equipment was dispatched at 6:54 p.m. from a U-Haul neighborhood dealer in Tonopah. The dealer, which normally closes at 4 p.m., stayed open three hours late to accommodate the customer’s needs at the request of our U-Haul Co. of Las Vegas West president. 

The procedure for every reservation is to have the local U-Haul traffic team contact the customer at least one day before pick-up to confirm the equipment, time and location that we can make available to them. The customer’s preferred pick-up location is exactly that – a preference that we try to accommodate. As our business model has always been based on the shared use of our trucks and trailers by the community, each future customer is dependent on a current customer fulfilling their contract and returning equipment at the agreed date and location; just as every current customer was dependent on a past customer fulfilling their contract and returning equipment at the agreed date and location. This is why equipment, times and rental locations are not confirmed far in advance, although we always strive to meet customer preferences. If and when our local traffic teams assess that a customer’s requested equipment cannot be made available, or can only be made available at an alternate rental location, they contact the customer at that time. 

Regrettably, the customer in this situation was contacted later in the process than we would have liked, once our local team realized the closest one-way 26-foot truck for the time window required was out of town. We are pleased accommodations could be made despite the inconvenience, and the customer was able to receive the equipment needed. 

We continue to see high demand for one-way equipment in and around the Las Vegas market. Our fleet inventory for one-way moves can and will see imbalances in certain markets due to migration trends, particularly during months when moves occur with great frequency. Our fleet includes both rotational (i.e. in-town) equipment as well as one-way equipment. Rotational rentals have remained steady and are more readily available to meet the needs of customers moving within the same general area. 

On a broad scope, people have been moving in large numbers since the pandemic lockdown lifted in late spring of 2020. But with a system-wide inventory of 176,000 trucks and 348,000 pieces of moving equipment (including trailers and towing devices), U-Haul continues to maintain the world’s largest DIY moving fleet and aims to find a moving solution for every customer seeking residential mobility. 

In markets like Las Vegas, where equipment is in high demand, our local teams may ask that one-way customers work with our local traffic teams to utilize pick-up locations where equipment is more readily available; consider moving on a different day when equipment is more readily available; consider a different size truck or trailer that may be available; or consider other U-Haul moving solutions, such as U-Box portable containers, to transport their belongings. 

Jeff Lockridge – U-Haul International