Last updated

Traded as NASDAQ:  UHAL
Industry Rentals
Founded1945;74 years ago (1945)
Ridgefield, Washington, U.S.
Founder Leonard Shoen
Headquarters Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.
Key people
Chairman, CEO: Joe Shoen
President: John "J.T." Taylor
Vice-President: Mark Shoen
ProductsTruck rentals, trailer rentals, tow hitches, self-storage
Revenue US$4.02 billion (2006)
Number of employees
18,000 (2017)
Parent Amerco
Subsidiaries Uhaul Car Share
Website uhaul.com

U-Haul is an American moving equipment and storage rental company, based in Phoenix, Arizona, [1] that has been in operation since 1945. The company was founded by Leonard Shoen (L. S. "Sam" Shoen) in Ridgefield, Washington, who began it in the garage owned by his wife's family, and expanded it through franchising with gas stations.

Phoenix, Arizona State capital city in Arizona, United States

Phoenix is the capital and most populous city of Arizona, with 1,660,272 people. It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the most populous American state capital, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.

Leonard Samuel Shoen was an American entrepreneur who founded the U-Haul truck and trailer organization in Ridgefield, Washington. After growing up in the farm belt during the Great Depression, he envisioned the market for rental vehicles for families who wished to avoid the expense of professional transfer and storage companies and move themselves around the country.

Ridgefield, Washington Town in Washington, United States

Ridgefield is a city in the pastoral, rolling-hills countryside of northern Clark County, Washington, in the United States. The population was 4,763 at the 2010 census.



U-Haul is owned by AMERCO (NASDAQ :  UHAL), a holding company which also operates Amerco Real Estate, Republic Western Insurance, and Oxford Life Insurance. [2] The Shoen family currently owns, both directly and indirectly, about 55% of the publicly traded stock corporation. [3] The company rents trucks, trailers, and other pieces of equipment, but many U-Haul centers and dealerships also provide self storage units, LPG (propane) refueling, hitch and trailer wiring installation, and carpet cleaners, among other services.

The Nasdaq Stock Market is an American stock exchange. It is the second-largest stock exchange in the world by market capitalization, behind only the New York Stock Exchange located in the same city. The exchange platform is owned by Nasdaq, Inc., which also owns the Nasdaq Nordic and Nasdaq Baltic stock market network and several U.S. stock and options exchanges.

Truck freight motor vehicle

A truck or lorry is a motor vehicle designed to transport cargo. Trucks vary greatly in size, power, and configuration; smaller varieties may be mechanically similar to some automobiles. Commercial trucks can be very large and powerful and may be configured to be mounted with specialized equipment, such as in the case of refuse trucks, fire trucks, concrete mixers, and suction excavators. Strictly speaking, a commercial vehicle without a tractor or other articulation is a "straight truck" while one designed specifically to pull a trailer is not a truck but a "tractor".

Trailer (vehicle) vehicles that have a loading area but do not have their own drive

A trailer is an unpowered vehicle towed by a powered vehicle. It is commonly used for the transport of goods and materials.

Because of the company's ubiquity (there are over 16,000 active dealers across the country) [3] the name is sometimes used as a genericized trademark to refer to the services of any rental company. The livery used on rented vehicles is widely recognized, primarily consisting of white and a thick horizontal orange stripe, in addition to a large state- or province-themed picture, known as SuperGraphics.

Livery uniforms worn by servants or other classes of people

A livery is a uniform, insignia or symbol adorning, in a non-military context, a person, an object or a vehicle that denotes a relationship between the wearer of the livery and an individual or corporate body. Often, elements of the heraldry relating to the individual or corporate body feature in the livery. Alternatively, some kind of a personal emblem or badge, or a distinctive colour, is featured.


U-Haul trucks outside Reno, Nevada in 1973. ALONG I-80, OUTSIDE RENO - NARA - 553132.jpg
U-Haul trucks outside Reno, Nevada in 1973.
A U-Haul center in Washington, D.C. U.S. Post Office Department Mail Equipment Shops, DC.jpg
A U-Haul center in Washington, D.C.
U-Haul truck being refueled Uhaul portsmouth.jpg
U-Haul truck being refueled

In 1945 at the age of 29 Leonard Shoen co-founded U-Haul with his wife, Anna Mary Carty, in the town of Ridgefield, Washington, with an investment of $5,000. [4] He began building rental trailers and splitting the fees for their use with gas station owners whom he franchised as agents. He developed one-way rentals and enlisted investors as partners in each trailer as methods of growth.

By 1955 there were more than 10,000 U-Haul trailers on the road, and the brand was nationally known. Distracted to some extent by growing his business, Shoen took time for multiple marriages and eventually had a total of 12 children, each of whom he made stockholders. Shoen transferred all but 2% of control to his children when two of them, Edward and Mark launched a successful takeover of the business in 1986. Family squabbling over the U-Haul empire turned to physical confrontations between some of his children at company meetings, even before the 1986 takeover. The takeover sparked a major family dispute that led to a $461 million judgment in favor of Leonard Shoen and others. In 1999, 83-year-old Leonard Shoen suffered fatal injuries when he crashed into a telephone pole near his Las Vegas, Nevada, home.

Mark V. Shoen is an American billionaire businessman, vice-president of the moving equipment and storage rental company U-Haul, founded by his father, and the largest shareholder in its parent company, Amerco.

The Shoen family, currently led by chairman and president Edward "Joe" Shoen, owns about 40% of the company through their AMERCO holding company. AMERCO filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June 2003 and emerged in March 2004. The filing did not include or affect U-Haul operations.

In 2012, another moving and storage company, PODS, sued U-Haul in U.S. District Court for trademark infringement, claiming that U-Haul "improperly and unlawfully" used the word "pods" to describe its U-Box product. On September 25, 2014, a jury ruled that U-Haul had infringed on PODS' trademarks, causing confusion and damaging business for PODS. The jury found that U-Haul unjustly profited from mentioning the term on its marketing and advertising materials and began using the word only after PODS became famous as a brand name in the industry. The jury awarded PODS $62 million in damages. [5] In 2014 UHaul sued HireAHelper for trademark infringement, a suit that was settled out of court. [6]

In December, 2015, U-Haul was used by UPS to help temporarily expand UPS's fleet to handle a surge due to Christmas and other holiday volume. [7]


GMC Savana U-Haul GMC Savana Wagon U-Haul.jpg
GMC Savana U-Haul

U-Haul's rental fleet is composed of trucks, trailers, auto-transports, and various other equipment. Heavy duty pickup truck and van cabs manufactured by Ford, GMC, and Ram are mated with U-Haul manufactured truck boxes in fabrication plants located at various places in North America. The vehicles are all gas powered, with previous models offering diesel 17-foot (5.2 m) trucks that must be brought back to the same location where they were rented. Six truck sizes are available, ranging from 10 feet (3.0 m) to 26 feet (7.9 m), and multiple trailer sizes, in addition to a two-wheeled "Tow Dolly" and a four-wheeled "Auto Transport". U-Haul advertises that their trucks have lower decks which are built below the tops rather than above the rear tires like standard cargo box trucks. Some trucks also have an over the cab storage area called "Mom's Attic." The trucks are painted with SuperGraphics which are educational images of different states and provinces across the United States and Canada. [8] Pickup trucks and cargo vans are also available at most corporate owned centers, and select neighborhood dealerships.

U-Haul has two main classifications for equipment in its fleet: "In-Town" and "One-Way". The "One-Way" equipment is mostly used for one-way trips, meaning pickup and drop off are at different locations whereas the "In-Town" equipment is meant to be picked up and dropped off at the same location and the equipment is meant to be used for a local move. U-Haul has been building new one-way vehicles en-masse, and as these one-way trucks are being built the older one-way fleet models are being retired to "In-Town" local use only while previous "In-Town" local use trucks are being de-imaged and sold.

All trucks owned by the U-Haul corporation (including those assigned and decaled for use in Canada) display apportioned Arizona license plates that do not expire. Newer trailers in the U-Haul fleet have apportioned plates, registered in a variety of states. In the Alaska and Hawaii markets, U-Haul registers equipment locally because those states do not have apportioned vehicle registration systems.

U-Haul Trucks, Stamford, CT 06902, USA - Feb 2013.jpg
U-Haul rental trucks

Storage space rentals

Some U-Haul facilities provide self-storage lockers for weekly or monthly rental, and rent portable storage lockers called U-Boxes on a monthly basis. The storage facilities are located at most corporate locations.

Ford Explorer ban (model years 2010 and older)

U-Haul previously did not rent trailers intended to be attached to a Ford Explorer. [9] According to U-Haul: "U-Haul has chosen not to rent behind this tow vehicle based on our history of excessive costs in defending lawsuits involving Ford Explorer towing combinations. This policy does not involve safety issues. This is an unusual circumstance for U-Haul." This applies to all production years and models (for example, this ban includes the Ford Explorer Sport Trac) of the Explorer, regardless of tire brand that is attached. This comes from many accidents involving Bridgestone or Firestone tires.

Safety problems

A U-Haul truck on the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia. Chevrolet Van U-haul Truck.jpg
A U-Haul truck on the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia.

In Canada, various news agencies have found serious safety problems on U-Haul equipment. In July 2005, the Toronto Star reported statistics suggesting that about half of U-Haul vehicles in Ontario were not road safe. Shortly afterward, the Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) reported that, of 296 U-Haul vehicles inspected in the summer of 2005 (43.5% of all inspections performed), 58 (19.6%) were found to have out-of-service defects, meaning that they are not road worthy. [10] CTV followed in October 2005, conducting their own inspections across the country, and finding that all 13 rented U-Haul trucks failed to meet basic provincial safety standards. [11]

Replying to the Toronto Star, the company's Canadian officials cited its inspection policies and procedures that employees and dealers are expected to follow. In response to the CTV results, Canadian U-Haul vice-president admitted to not heeding earlier warnings to improve their vehicles' safety conditions, and said older trucks would be replaced.

In October 2006 CTV W-Five re-investigated U-Haul by renting trucks from 9 locations across Canada. The rentals were then taken to mechanics for an inspection. Of the 9 trucks rented, 7 failed basic safety standards and were not deemed roadworthy; the other 2, while roadworthy, had minor problems. [12]

On June 24, 2007, the Los Angeles Times published a story on U-Haul's safety problems titled "Driving With Rented Risks". [13] There were also related articles published such as "Upkeep Lags In U-Haul's Aging Fleet" and "Key Trial Evidence Goes Missing". The articles outline reports of ongoing maintenance problems, falsification of maintenance records and lawsuits against the company for injuries and accidents with quotes from former maintenance workers and executives. [14]

Related Research Articles

Van covered transportation vehicle

A van is a type of road vehicle used for transporting goods or people. Depending on the type of van, it can be bigger or smaller than a truck and SUV, and bigger than a common car. There is some varying in the scope of the word across the different English-speaking countries. The smallest vans, microvans, are used for transporting either goods or people in tiny quantities. Mini MPVs, Compact MPVs, and MPVs are all small vans usually used for transporting people in small quantities. Larger vans with passenger seats are used for institutional purposes, such as transporting students. Larger vans with only front seats are often used for business purposes, to carry goods and equipment. Specially-equipped vans are used by television stations as mobile studios. Postal services and courier companies use large step vans to deliver packages.

Ryder transportation company

Ryder System, Inc., or Ryder, is an American provider of transportation and supply chain management products, and is especially known for its fleet of rental trucks. Ryder specializes in fleet management, supply chain management, and dedicated contracted carriage. Ryder operates in North America, the United Kingdom and Asia. It has its headquarters in suburban Miami, Florida within Miami-Dade County.

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is an American car rental company headquartered in Clayton, Missouri, United States in Greater St. Louis. In addition to car rental, Enterprise also oversees commercial fleet management, used car sales, and commercial truck rental operations

Penske Truck Leasing American company

Penske Truck Leasing Co., L.P. is a joint venture of Penske Corporation, Penske Automotive Group, and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. Headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, the company was founded by Team Penske owner Roger Penske on December 1, 1969. The firm serves customers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Australia; among its services are full-service commercial truck leasing, truck fleet maintenance, truck rentals, and used truck sales. The company employs more than 32,000 workers worldwide. Brian Hard is the president and CEO of the company.

Rent-A-Wreck is a car rental company renting vehicles which have been previously owned by individuals or other rental car companies. They are also known for accommodating younger drivers and those with poor or no credit.

A car rental, hire car, or car hire agency is a company that rents automobiles for short periods of time, generally ranging from a few hours to a few weeks. It is often organised with numerous local branches, and primarily located near airports or busy city areas and often complemented by a website allowing online reservations.

Commercial vehicle motor vehicle that is designed to transport persons or goods

A commercial vehicle is any type of motor vehicle used for transporting goods or paying passengers. The European Union defines a "commercial motor vehicle" as any motorized road vehicle, that by its type of construction and equipment is designed for, and capable of transporting, whether for payment or not: (1) more than nine persons, including the driver; (2) goods and "standard fuel tanks". This means the tanks permanently fixed by the manufacturer to all motor vehicles of the same type as the vehicle in question and whose permanent fitting lets fuel be used directly, both for propulsion and, where appropriate, to power a refrigeration system. Gas tanks fitted to motor vehicles for the direct use of diesel as a fuel are considered standard fuel tanks.

Vehicle inspection

Vehicle inspection is a procedure mandated by national or subnational governments in many countries, in which a vehicle is inspected to ensure that it conforms to regulations governing safety, emissions, or both. Inspection can be required at various times, e.g., periodically or on the transfer of title to a vehicle. If required periodically, it is often termed periodic motor vehicle inspection; typical intervals are every two years and every year. When a vehicle passes inspection, often a sticker is placed on the vehicle's windshield or registration plate to simplify later controls, but in some countries—such as the Netherlands since 1994—it's no longer necessary. Inspection stations are places to drive inside to see if a vehicle passes inspection once a vehicle is due for inspection. Most US inspection decals/stickers display the month's number and the year.

Towing coupling two or more objects together so that they may be pulled by a designated (towing) power source or sources

Towing is coupling two or more objects together so that they may be pulled by a designated power source or sources. The towing source may be a motorized land vehicle, vessel, animal, or human, the load anything that can be pulled. These may be joined by a chain, rope, bar, hitch, three-point, fifth wheel, coupling, drawbar, integrated platform, or other means of keeping the objects together while in motion.

Edward Joseph "Joe" Shoen is an American businessman. He is the president, chairman, and chief executive officer (CEO) of AMERCO, the holding company of U-Haul International.

Trucking industry in the United States

The trucking industry serves the American economy by transporting large quantities of raw materials, works in process, and finished goods over land—typically from manufacturing plants to retail distribution centers. Trucks are also used in the construction industry, as dump trucks and portable concrete mixers move the large amounts of rocks, dirt, concrete, and other building materials used in construction. Trucks in America are responsible for the majority of freight movement over land and are tools in the manufacturing, transportation, and warehousing industries.

Kei truck

A Kei truck, or Kei class truck, or Japanese mini truck is a mini truck, a tiny but practical pickup truck available in RWD or 4WD version, built to satisfy the Japanese keijidōsha statutory class. They are known as Keitora in Japan alongside the microvan.

PODS, or Portable On Demand Storage, is a moving and storage company. It was founded in 1998 and is based in Clearwater, Florida.

Construction equipment theft

Construction equipment theft, is the criminal act of stealing or attempting to steal construction equipment, including all type of heavy equipments. Construction equipment theft has been recognized as a significant problem in the United States and elsewhere in the world, including Canada, Australia, Europe, and Japan.

The brand TruckStore is part of the Daimler AG portfolio and in particular its business unit Daimler Trucks. Since 2001, Daimler offers used trucks of all brands, age categories and body types as an independent used vehicle dealer under this brand. Furthermore, TruckStore offers individual services such as financing, leasing, rental, warranty- and service contracts as well as buyback.

TIP Trailer Services is a truck trailer rental, leasing and sales company founded in 1957. The company's portfolio measures 64,000 trailers. Other operations are trailer maintenance, damage insurance and sales of used trailers.


  1. "U-Haul Co. of Arizona : Private Company Information - Businessweek". investing.businessweek.com. Retrieved August 15, 2010.
  2. "AMERCO The parent company of U-Haul". amerco.com.
  3. 1 2 CL King's 11th Annual Best Ideas Conference 2013
  4. Content Lawyerlinks
  5. Susan Thurston (September 25, 2014). "PODS wins $62 million award in trademark infringement lawsuit against U-Haul". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
  6. "What Happens When Your Startup Gets Sued by UHaul". Entrepreneur Magazine. December 9, 2014.
  7. Peterson, Hayley. "UPS drivers are making deliveries in U-Haul trucks — and people are panicking and calling the police". Business Insider. Business Insider. Business Insider Inc. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  8. "About U-Haul SuperGraphics" . Retrieved February 2, 2013.
  9. "U-Haul: Frequently asked questions: Truck rentals". uhaul.com.
  10. O'Brien, Danna. "MTO Rental Truck Blitz Takes 74 Vehicles Out of Service". CNW. Retrieved May 24, 2014.
  11. "Risky Move". CTV News. October 22, 2005. Archived from the original on October 31, 2005.
  12. "Danger on the Road". CTV News. October 21, 2006. Archived from the original on March 11, 2007.
  13. Miller, Alan C.; Levin, Myron (June 24, 2007). "Driving with rented risks". Los Angeles Times.
  14. Levin, Myron; Miller, Alan C. (June 26, 2007). "Key trial evidence goes missing". Los Angeles Times.

Further reading