Saving "Big Money" and Making Life Easier

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What's that jingle, again? – Photo by Randy Stern

You're a car guy or woman. You have a project you must do at your home, townhome, condominium, mobile home…so forth. Yet, you need to get stuff…a lot of stuff.

The problem is that your car is inadequate to do the job. Trunk space is fine, even hatchback space. If you have a crossover or SUV, you might limitations with them, too. Minivans could do the job, but that rear suspension could sag under weight and the mess you might leave behind would take some to clean up. You could borrow the neighbor's pickup truck, but when was the last time you actually drove one of them? You know how big they really are and they do sit higher than the vehicle that you are actually drive.

Oh, I forgot that in order to do said project, you would have to go to a home improvement center.

The home improvement center – where you can get anything to fix something at home, or to build something yourself for said property. A place where hard-working men and women find joy in hand tools, lumber, plumbing fixtures and new appliances. The decorators love these places, because they can match any color in the rainbow at the paint department – as long as it mixes correctly.

Long time ago, I used to work at one of these places. First, it was called Ole's, until Wickes bought them and merged it with Builder's Emporium. I worked at the one in Reseda for a year, until I transferred to the store in Fairfield along Interstate 80 northeast of Vallejo. I know how these places work and the people that shop at them. Most of them have their own trucks to haul home the bags of concrete mix, sod for the yard and wood for the new deck. Good times, indeed.

Decades later, I was faced with dealing with a home improvement center again. This time, as helping a customer of theirs. In this case, it was my roommate/owner-occupant Melodie. She was planning on replacing the doors inside the house, but she decided against one of those doors. The plan was to return that door back to the local Menard's for credit. Part of that plan was to put that door in the back of her vehicle – a BMW X3.

The day before was her birthday. So, as a gift for her birthday, I went to Menard's and picked up a truck from them to haul the door back to their store.

Melodie did not know that they had this service. So, how did I know?

The service is quite simple. If you had to make a huge purchase for your home project and did not have the right vehicle for the job, Menard's can have you rent one of their pickup trucks. There is a flat rate based on 75 minutes of use, plus a few fees and taxes. You must provide a major credit card, your driver's license and proof of insurance before you can the truck. Once everything is set, you get the keys and you are off. Once you are either off-loading or on-loading at the house, the truck is returned back to the store and the rental is complete. If you use it over 75 minutes, you are charged an extra cost per 15 minutes. You can also get a damage waiver as an option.

Menard's is not the only place that does truck rentals for its customers. Home Depot offers flatbed trucks and vans for haul home the goods for the project. Their in-store fleet consist of Ford F-Series Super Duty and Transit vans. They also have a tie-in with Penske Truck rentals, when a relocation is involved. Lowe's uses Chevrolet Silverado 1500s for their truck rentals at select stores. They used to have a collaboration with Hertz to have this service, but it appears Lowe’s have taken it in-house.

The local Menard's store provided me a familiar vehicle – a 2016 Ford F-150 XL Regular Cab/Long Box. Though I reviewed three F-150s for 2015, the XL represented the work truck, especially with its spacious regular cab and the perfectly sized long box. I was not sure which engine this F-150 had, but considering the time and distance of the job, it did not matter. The fact of familiarity made the job much, much easier.

Little did Melodie know that I was doing this for her – well, to avoid trying to put the door in the X3 as we thought it could work. I texted my arrival at the house and she was very surprised. We simply loaded the door in the bed of the F-150 and sent the truck and the door back to the store.

(In case you're wondering, I left the Lexus RC 200t F Sport I was working with that weekend at the store while I was driving the truck. We went home in the Lexus after we were done at Menard's.)

The story is not about the little task we had to do to return a door. Rather, this is about making lives easier when dealing with having to take on a home improvement task. For urban dwellers or truck-less suburbanites alike, renting a truck from your favorite home improvement store makes the job easier. Truck rental is a great deal – for the price of two rolls of insulation or about a dozen Economy grade 2 x 4 studs.

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