To anyone outside of Hawaii, it’s an island paradise where people spend most of their time surfing, riding horses on the beach and drinking mai tais. But those who live there know the real truth.
“The cost of living is very high here,” explains U-Haul Company of Hawaii president Kaleo Alau. “People here work hard so they can live well. At the same time, we embrace many of the things that are unique to Hawaii. Our repair shop team likes to hold their group lunches at the beach, just because they can.”
“The culture in Hawaii is very family-oriented,” adds Cerise Huihui, general manager at U-Haul of Kailua-Kona. “We make everyone, customers and Team Members, feel welcome and treat them like family. It’s the aloha spirit.”
Every day, the UHC of Hawaii team deals with many challenges and quirks that are unique to them. But at the same time, their U-Haul operations are largely the same as anywhere on the mainland.
“Everything costs more in Hawaii, except for U-Haul in-town rental rates!” notes Iao Edmonds, owner of Kilauea Paint and Feed Store and U-Haul Dealership, which is located on Kauai.
While their overall operations are similar to other places, there are some glaring differences, the biggest of which is the absence of one-way rentals.
“We would have a 100 percent increase in one-way rentals by doing just one,” Alau says with a laugh. “We can’t do one-way rentals because obviously you can’t drive from one island to another. Also, it’s difficult to go one-way to another city on the same island because it can be difficult to find a receiving location that has enough space for a large U-Haul truck.
“When customers need to move between islands, U-Box containers are a great option.”
Space is in high demand on every Hawaiian island. For most people, one of the trade-offs for residing in a tropical paradise is that their homes and yards (if they have one) will be small. That means they need a place to store their belongings. And, of course, U-Haul is there to help.
“Self-storage is a really good business here,” Alau states. “We’re constantly looking to add more self-storage locations.”
U-Haul Moving and Storage of Kaka’ako in Honolulu even offers self-storage for surfboards, paddle boards and kayaks. The location is close to the beach, making it perfect for customers to grab their board or kayak and be in the water in minutes.
“It’s a very popular service,” GM Cheryl Konanui says. “We’re planning to build some more racks to keep up with the demand.”
Lots of Perks
With all of the unique challenges to living and working in Hawaii, there are an equal number of benefits that make those on the mainland jealous.
“I have a beautiful commute to and from the office,” Somerville states. “It’s gorgeous and it never gets old!”
“We get to work in a tropical paradise,” explains Huihui, piling on. “You can go to work and still have time afterward to go to the ocean, go diving, and even go skiing!”
“It’s just a slower-paced lifestyle here,” Edmonds adds. “There are so many outdoor activities you can do all the time, such as surfing, hiking, paddle boarding, fishing … the options are endless!”
As you can see, it’s a nice trade-off to the high cost of living and other challenges that come with making big moves in paradise.
Find U-Haul store and neighborhood dealer locations in Hawaii by visiting uhaul.com/locations.