Moving Containers

A new moving option: Shipping container moving is one of the hottest trends in moving.

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Moving container companies, one of the “you pack, they drive” moving options, are the babies of the D.I.Y. moving industry, but they're also one of the most popular options for a Hybrid™ Move. These newcomers have revolutionized the process by allowing people an easy, convenient way to pack, store, and move their stuff. Clients reserve a date for the delivery of a shipping container (or two for larger homes), and then they pack up their stuff - on their own or with hired help - at their convenience. You lock up the container and you alone hang onto the key. Finally, you call the container company to send a driver, who will drive a truck out, pick up the container, and bring your stuff to a storage facility or your spiffy new address.

You can move locally or long distance, but moving containers are more affordably suited to local moves of small houses or apartments. But that’s mostly because you need to rent out more than one container for larger homes, which raises the fee. And the costs associated with the company driving the container long distance (read: paying the driver, fuel, insurance, etc.) all piles onto your bill, but then again you’re not driving that massive truck 2000 miles in 110 degree heat. Trade offs. Prices range from just under $500 for a local move (with the largest container) to more than $5,000 for a long-distance move (with two of the largest containers). In the rest of this guide, you can see average prices for each type of move, as well as get a quick intro to the companies who offer these moving services, learn the best tips for making a portable storage container move successful, and figure out what size container you might need using our container size guide.

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Price & Review Comparison

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.45
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $611
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,604
    Long Move: $3,294
    Positive Review

    'PODS® was a fabulous way to move! Getting the PODS® container was a breeze.' - J.C.

    Negative Review

    'They required an inordinate amount of notice before they could deliver the PODS® container.' - M.H.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.49
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $727
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,190
    Long Move: $3,459
    Positive Review

    'Booking container was easy, customer service was excellent.' - S.C.

    Negative Review

    'Could not give an accurate time for delivery of empty container or pick up time for packed container.' - G.J.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.47
    Average Cost
    Local Move: N/A
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,542
    Long Move: $2,149
    Positive Review

    'When I had a question about scheduling customer Service was friendly and knew what they were talking about.' - N.H.

    Negative Review

    'I wish we would have had more time than 3 days to pack and load the cube.' - B.T.

  •  

    Research In Progress

    We're busy gathering prices and reviews from real customer moves. Once we have enough to be reliable and helpful, we'll let you know!

    0

    Positive Review

    Negative Review

  •  

    Research In Progress

    We're busy gathering prices and reviews from real customer moves. Once we have enough to be reliable and helpful, we'll let you know!

    0

    Positive Review

    Negative Review

  •  

    Research In Progress

    We're busy gathering prices and reviews from real customer moves. Once we have enough to be reliable and helpful, we'll let you know!

    0

    Positive Review

    Negative Review

Moving Container Companies

PODS ® and 1-800-PACK-RAT ® are the most popular moving container options. These companies offer storage either on your property (you keep the container locked up in your driveway, for example) or at one of the company’s facilities. Some people use the storage containers to store their stuff while completing a renovation project. Of course, you pay for the moving container rental by the month, so the more months you keep them, the more money you will spend.

You can usually purchase moving supplies, such as boxes, from the company’s Web site. But you are limited and there are no supply rentals, which means you are on your own when it comes to getting hand trucks and furniture blankets, unless you want to buy them. In other words, you are better off seeking out supplies elsewhere, where they are gentler on your wallet. Still, the extra costs associated with moving container rental might just be worth it if you don’t want to make like a truck driver.

PODS® Container

PODS ® Moving & Storage

PODS® Container

Locations

  • 200+

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 7’, 12, 16’
  • Equipement rental
  • Packing supplies

There’s no question that PODS is the leader - and self-proclaimed founder - of the “you pack, they drive” moving options. The "Portable On-Demand Self-Storage" units, known as PODS containers which are 7, 12, or 16-feet long, have a reputation for being durable. They are composed of aluminum skin and steel frames. They have a translucent top, which lets in light. Finally, a lightweight steel, roll-up door is designed to make it easy to open and close, according to the company’s Web site. But PODS is also among the most expensive ways to hack a move, especially if you’re hauling a larger home a long distance. The convenience factor, however, can definitely make it worth it. Plus, they seem to have their operation nailed down more than some of the competition, and they get some of the highest customer reviews. You can keep the moving containers for packing, unpacking, and storage for as long as you want, and someone else schleps them to your destination. You really call the shots when it comes to scheduling, at least once you get a hold of your moving container. However, in the high season, you might have a difficult time getting access to the containers you need in the first place, and scheduling can become a challenge. You might have to plan far in advance. On the bright side, PODS has more facilities across the country than 1-800-PACK-RAT, which gives consumers in most regions a better shot at getting what they need when they need it. For more information on PODS, visit its profile page.visit its profile page.

1800Packrat® Container

1-800-PACK-RAT ® Moving + Portable Storage

1800Packrat® Container

Locations

  • 200+

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 12, 16’
  • Equipement rental
  • Packing supplies

The major differences between 1-800-PACK-RAT and PODS are the type of container and the size of the company. For all we know, the two companies have the same number of facilities, but PODS seem to be more spread out, which means that you are more likely to have a facility near you. This matters because a driver can drop off and pick up moving containers at your place more easily and at a lower cost, which benefits your bottom line. If you go with 1-800-PACK-RAT, there’s a good chance that someone will have to drive a longer distance to drop off and pick up your moving containers, and you’ll have to pay for that. On the other hand, your stuff might be more secure and protected. 1-800-PACK-RAT’s containers are made entirely of steel, which makes them seem like the toughest containers around. And the company’s partnership with Lowe’s® means you can snag discounts on all sorts of stuff you might need as you move into a new home. Also, you can talk to a customer representative via phone about ways to lower your bill before committing to 1-800-PACK-RAT. For more information on the 1-800-PACK-RAT moving alternative, visit its profile page.visit its profile page.

Relocubes Container

ReloCubes ® - U-Pack ® Moving Container

Relocubes® Container

Locations

  • N/A

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 8’
  • Equipement rental
  • Packing supplies

ReloCubes ® are a little different from the others in the portable storage containers category. These all-steel containers are brought to us by U-Pack ® Moving, which is part of ABF ® Freight Systems, Inc., a grandfather in the shipping industry. Unlike its competitors, ReloCubes come in one size, are offered for long-distance moves, and cannot be loaded or unloaded at the client’s convenience. (You have 3 business days on either end for loading and unloading.) The price - at $2,494 for moving a studio apartment from New Jersey to Florida - is decent. And ABF has lots of experience - more than PODS or 1-800-PACK-RAT - hauling delicate stuff a lengthy distance. For more information on ReloCubes, visit its profile page.visit its profile page.

Container Size Guide

  • Small 7-8ft
    Studio Apt. 400-600 sq ft

    Ideal For:

    • Fits: 1-2,500 LBS
    • 100-375 cubic feet
    • 1 - 5 furniture items
    • Up to 120 medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • King Size Bed
    • Pianos
    • Pool Tables
    • Refridgerators
    • Gun safes
    • 2+ bedroom homes
  • Medium 12ft
    1-2 Bedrooms 600-1200 sq ft

    Ideal For:

    • Fits: 1 - 3,500 LBS
    • 375-750 cubic feet
    • 1 - 10 furniture items
    • Up to 225 medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • Grand / Baby grand pianos
    • 3+ bedroom homes
  • Large 16ft
    2-3 Bedrooms 1200-1600 sq ft

    Ideal For:

    • Fits: 3,500-6,000 LBS
    • 750-1,000 cubic feet
    • 1 - 10 furniture items
    • Up to 300 medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • 3+ Bedroom Homes
  • Multiple 16ft+
    3-4+ Bedrooms 1600-2400+ sq ft

    Ideal For:

    • Fits: 6,000 LBS+
    • 1,000+ cubic feet
    • 10+ furniture items
    • 600+ Medium Boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • Small apartments
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Moving Container Tips

Each company has its own positives and negatives, but there are some tips that are universal when renting portable storage containers. We've learned the ins and outs from booking to drop off, from storage to delivery, so take notes and you'll be prepared when you rent your next portable storage unit.

Evaluate

Consider the value based on the type of move you’re making.

These containers are best suited to those who are moving and need storage. If that’s you, then this could be a really convenient and affordable way to move. On the other hand, you’ll pay more than you would with a rental truck for a long-distance move of a larger home, but then again you don’t have to drive. If you need to store your stuff for long periods of time (especially if you can and prefer storing it on your own property), these are really a fantastic option.

Negotiate

Ask about discounts.

Often these companies do seasonal promotions, so be on the lookout for those. Also, you might be able to do a bit of negotiating. PODS wasn’t as willing to negotiate price for my imaginary move, but 1-800-PACK-RAT was. Simply by asking to make sure you’re getting all the discounts which you are eligible can help you pay less. So, don’t be shy.

Plan Ahead

Plan ahead of time.

Truck rental companies have thousands of facilities each. As a result, they have more rentals available, so you have more access to them when you need them. This is not the case with these newer and smaller portable storage units. This means you need to think about the future now. Weekends, for example, might need to be secured a year ahead of time, according to a PODS representative. If you need to move unexpectedly or within a quick time frame, then these containers might not be right for you, but check first. Then again, if you can plan your move months ahead of time, these units could be perfect.

Set a Budget

Budget for additional storage if you’ll need it.

The first month of storage is factored into the price for most companies, so you can feel free to take your time loading, getting the driver, and unloading. Once you pass that first month, however, you are going to have to pay a monthly fee for storage. While it’s true that you can take all the time you need to load, have your stuff moved, and unload, you maximize the value of the service by doing it all within one month’s time. Procrastinating will suck the dollars right out of your wallet.

Parking Sign

You are responsible for container parking at both locations.

This means that you must find out if it’s legal to park the container on the street, and for how long. You should check with the local city hall for details on parking containers in your town (both where you’re living now and where you’re moving to). For example, in Seattle you need to get a permit that will allow you to leave the container on the street for 120 days. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay any parking violations incurred by the container while in your possession for loading and unloading. Most moving container companies will inform you of your city’s regulations for parking containers at the time of booking as well. As a kind gesture, you should also inform your neighbors that this big boy is going to be visiting for a while.

No Parking

Find out if you can even park the container in the first place.

Cities, such as New York City, require a live load/unload, which means that certain locations do not permit overnight parking of the container. So, you have to allow the driver to wait for you while you load or unload the truck. Each company has its own rules of live load/unloads. Another option is to rent a truck and shuttle your belongings to a portable storage container warehouse where you can unload them into a container, but at that point, a lot of the convenience has been lost unfortunately.

Recent Customer Reviews

  •   Shreveport, LA

    2/27/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Shreveport, LA

    2/27/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    U-Pack/ABF staff were always available and extremely helpful with our questions. When I first made contact via chat and email, they provided a quote and a lot of information right away. They were proactive about each step, responsive and accommodating for our holiday and guaranteed delivery schedule requirements. (I also contacted PODS but did not receive the quote and never connected to a real person despite several phone calls. We'd priced them both for a similar move years ago and knew UPack to be less expensive at that time, so I stopped trying to reach PODS this time.) The ReloCube was an excellent solution for us. We'll definitely use them again.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,600 mi
    Cost $1,585
    Per. Mile $0.99
    SqFt. Moved 550

  •   Phoenix, AZ

    1/5/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Phoenix, AZ

    1/5/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    PODS made everything happen the way a container company should. It was delivered and placed professionally. Even when we couldn't get the door open, they were helpful in trying to resolve that issue. Even to the point of possibly having to remove the door. They got in the container and were able to get the door open. The redelivery and pick up of the container were excellent as well. Thank you John and Steven. I don't recall the drivers name, but high praise to her as well.

    Move Details

    Distance 30 mi
    Cost $2,700
    Per. Mile $90.00
    SqFt. Moved 1,500

  •   Murphy, TX

    1/2/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Murphy, TX

    1/2/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    If you can work around the containers arriving and being picked up without a time schedule on the arrival day, Pack Rat was wonderful to work with. They were less expensive than the other container companies we bid and they handled all my questions and scheduling without any issues.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,500 mi
    Cost $6,000
    Per. Mile $4.00
    SqFt. Moved 2,600

  •   Saint Louis, MO

    12/24/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Saint Louis, MO

    12/24/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Truck arrived when advised. The only complaint I have is that the company removed the bulk head and used my matress as the bulk head. Matress was wet and black from road slush upon arrival. If I had less stuff and were able to get the bulk head up correctly, I would rate the experience as excellent. Just not sure why ABF opted to take the bulk head out?

    Move Details

    Distance 750 mi
    Cost $2,000
    Per. Mile $2.67
    SqFt. Moved 2,300

  •   Lake Wales, FL

    12/22/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Lake Wales, FL

    12/22/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    This was my first time using PODS, I was very happy with the service provided. We moved from Ohio to Florida and their storage for a month. The drivers were nice and polite, as well as the customer service reps.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,100 mi
    Cost $2,000
    Per. Mile $1.82
    SqFt. Moved 1,200

  •   Niskayuna, NY

    11/26/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Niskayuna, NY

    11/26/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    We had a complicated cross-country move. We sold our house and knew our stuff would have to be in storage for a few months while we found a house my wife would like. I priced out a lot of options from classic moving companies to other container companies. Pack-Rat had the best numbers and they were the most friendly. Our move went very smoothly. I had an issue opening up one of the containers once it arrived at our new house and my contact said something to the effect of “Just tie it to the back of your truck and rip it off, I hate those damn doors anyways” That’s the kind of company I like. I would highly recommend them.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,800 mi
    Cost $4,000
    Per. Mile $2.22
    SqFt. Moved 2,100

  •   Spring Hill, TN

    11/13/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Spring Hill, TN

    11/13/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    The fulfilled everything as promised. They were easy to work with and easy to communicate with. Their workers were friendly, courteous and efficient. Good communications throughout the process.

    Move Details

    Distance 650 mi
    Cost $3,600
    Per. Mile $5.54
    SqFt. Moved 2,600

  •   Black Mountain, NC

    11/3/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Black Mountain, NC

    11/3/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Overall very good. The delivery and pick-up time windows good be a little tighter but the individuals that transport the PODS were all very professional and polite.

    Move Details

    Distance 700 mi
    Cost $1,800
    Per. Mile $2.57
    SqFt. Moved 2,000

  •   Fort Worth, TX

    9/13/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Fort Worth, TX

    9/13/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    First time moving in 17 years. They made it easy. They kept me informed about everything, always gave me options and transported my things with little or no damage .

    Move Details

    Distance 750 mi
    Cost $4,000
    Per. Mile $5.33
    SqFt. Moved 1,200

  •   Mckinney, TX

    8/22/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Mckinney, TX

    8/22/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Everything went perfect. Pack Rat container was very clean. The guy who brought the container was extra nice, he really helped me get it the right place. The guy who picked it up was very nice too.

    Move Details

    Distance 10 mi
    Cost $465
    Per. Mile $46.50
    SqFt. Moved 770

  •   Austin, TX

    5/19/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Austin, TX

    5/19/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Using the cube was great and it offered great options for moving within a short time frame. Always get a second one (no charge unless you use it). My small, one bedroom (without moving washer/dryer and dining room table) BARELY fit. Luckily, my movers were able to make it work. I still had to put several things in my car as well. Overall, the entire move with the cube went great and I will definitely consider using a cube if I move in the future.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,800 mi
    Cost $1,250
    Per. Mile $0.69
    SqFt. Moved 670

  •   Rantoul, IL

    4/9/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Rantoul, IL

    4/9/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    These guys were awesome. They managed to figure out a way to get my giant fridge into the kitchen despite the fact that the kitchen door was too small (they picked it up and moved it through the pass through!) They were efficient, friendly and strong.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,035 mi
    Cost $3,900
    Per. Mile $1.92
    SqFt. Moved 1,300

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