Saturday, January 16, 2021

U-Haul: American auto rental services company

The Do-it-Yourself moving market is a category created by Leonard Shoen and his wife Anna Shoen in 1945 after Shoen, a 29-year old WWII veteran, planned to move his family from Los Angeles to Portland upon returning from the war, and realized that no company offered equipment rentals to allow families to move between cities. During the drive, they came up with the name and formulated the outline of what was to become the U-Haul Trailer Rental System.

At the age of 29, Shoen created the first U-Haul trailers on the ranch. Shoen launched U-Haul in the summer of 1945. The first trailers were bought from welding shops or second hand from private owners. He rented them for $2 a day.
Within two weeks of leaving Los Angeles, the first U-Haul trailer was parked on a service station lot and being offered for rent. By the end of 1945, 30 4’ x 7’ open trailers were on service station lots in Portland, Vancouver and Seattle, Wash. Shoen found that although it was possible to rent moving equipment for intra-city rentals, there was no effective solution for “one-way” moves.

Shoen immediately recognized that in order to fill the need for one-way moves, a competitor needed to develop a “network” across cities where individuals could pick up equipment and drop it off at a different location.

Starting in 1945 with the first U-Haul trailers painted in the now ubiquitous orange color, Shoen spent the next two decades traveling tirelessly across the United States to create the U-Haul network. Later, dealerships were established, and by 1949, it was possible to rent a trailer for a one-way trip from city to city in most of the country. Shoen signed up thousands of franchisees, often service stations that had excess parking, to join U-Haul’s network in exchange for collecting a fee for processing rentals and accepting dropped-off equipment.

Virtually all of the Company operations are done in-house; from the construction of truck boxes, to the production of the well-known Super Graphics displayed one quipment to the customer service center based in Phoenix. With over 2,500 system members locally in Arizona and over 20,000 across North America, U-Haul is dedicated to serving its customers’ communities.
U-Haul: American auto rental services company

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