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: $616
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,566
    Long Move: $3,303
    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: $719
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,203
    Long Move: $3,446
    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
    4.50
    Average Cost
    Local Move: N/A
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,542
    Long Move: $2,219
    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

  •   O Fallon, MO

    5/28/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      O Fallon, MO

    5/28/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    PODs is really efficient and accurate with delivery and pick-up. No fumbles. My only complaint is with their 1-800 customer service. It seems that updates that are made on the phone sometimes don't save in the system. You have to check your account after the changes are made to make sure. Overall very satisfied.

    Move Details

    Distance 820 mi
    Cost $8,500
    Per. Mile $10.37
    SqFt. Moved 2,750

  •   De Forest, WI

    5/26/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      De Forest, WI

    5/26/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    LOVED my PODS experience so far! They delivered it right where I wanted it and moved it so the door was facing the right way. The drop off and pick up were super easy and the delivery man showed me how to lock it properly. Will definitely use PODs again.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,000 mi
    Cost $3,000
    Per. Mile $3.00
    SqFt. Moved 1,000

  •   Wahoo, NE

    5/22/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Wahoo, NE

    5/22/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    So far so good! I have only had it delivered, I have not been through the pick-up or storage phase yet. It was a little dirty when I got it, but nothing that a good sweeping couldn't fix.

    Move Details

    Distance 40 mi
    Cost $300
    Per. Mile $7.50
    SqFt. Moved 1,500

  •   Frederick, MD

    5/21/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Frederick, MD

    5/21/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Pick up time changed without notifiying me the night before. This was a problem, because I was in another state at the time. If I have known the night before, I would have allowed more time to get up to Maryland from Virginia. All worked out at the end and the workman was very nice about it.

    Move Details

    Distance 20 mi
    Cost $500
    Per. Mile $25.00
    SqFt. Moved 900

  •   Raleigh, NC

    3/4/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Raleigh, NC

    3/4/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    This is my 2nd time using U-Pack and I have not been disappointed. I have used them to store my stuff prior to delivery once. Not only was I pleased with their price ( compared to PODS, they are better overall; I used them prior, for a TX - VA move ), their customer service and timeliness were remarkable. They were true to the window if time provided for delivery & pickup. The only thing though, be aware that for a one- bedroom apt move, if you have an oversized bedroom set, it would not fit in a single 'cube'. Based on the number of boxes and bins, if you have those, you'll need at least 2 - 3 cubes. It is not as the site has suggested for a 1 bedroom apt (granted there's no stipulation as to size of bedroom set that will fit into 1 cube). The first time I used them, I packed and stacked my items at home, measuring the area they took up for comparison with the cube's size. In so doing I averted the disappointment of having to order more cubes, after the fact. Awesome moving experience with ABS-UPack. I'd definitely recommend them.

    Move Details

    Distance 255 mi
    Cost $1,600
    Per. Mile $6.27
    SqFt. Moved 780

  •   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

  •   Santa Clarita, CA

    2/22/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Santa Clarita, CA

    2/22/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    The men who delivered our containers were professional and helpful. We ran out of room, and needed another container, and were able to get it delivered the following workd day. We did have a hard time working out the details of exchanging the containers, and I was told that we got bumped from our scheduled pick-up because I asked them if they would like to pick one container up when they dropped off the extra container. I thought it would save them a trip, and it ended up costing my my reservation. It ook and hour on the phone work this out. They finally came back on the line and said that somone else had cancelled their reservation for that day so that I could get back my reservation --yeah right. I just complained enough that it was rediculous that I lost my reservation for trying to be helpful.

    Move Details

    Distance 330 mi
    Cost $3,600
    Per. Mile $10.91
    SqFt. Moved 1,900

  •   Loudon, TN

    2/16/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Loudon, TN

    2/16/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    We used Pack Rat to move us across the country because this type of transportation seemed to be be the best option for us and it was! The condition of the containers were great! Our experience was excellent when booking pick up & drop off dates- they were right on the time schedule! We picked Pack Rat because they offered us just what we needed for a reasonable price! The customer service from the start to the end has been so good-We are glad we chose Pack Rat! Thank You, Pete & Yvette B. Loudon, TN.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,300 mi
    Cost $5,000
    Per. Mile $2.17
    SqFt. Moved 1,500

  •   Medina, OH

    2/6/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Medina, OH

    2/6/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    FL to OH moved. Belonging arrived early and were stored for over a month near new house without issue. Nothing was broken or all items were accounted for.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,150 mi
    Cost $10,000
    Per. Mile $8.70
    SqFt. Moved 2,650

  •   Waldorf, MD

    1/24/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Waldorf, MD

    1/24/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    After researching several companies, we decided ABF U-Pack was the right choice for us. We were looking for an affordable option that didn't include us driving a truck. It turns out that using ABF was cheaper than truck rentals anyway. The beauty is that a trailer is delivered to your house, you load it, and they drive it to your destination. You only pay for the space you use!! There's a locked wall separating your belongings and the rest of the truck is filled with commercial merchandise that is going the same direction. Everything was very easy to schedule, and U-Pack is very accommodating. We have used them twice and will do so again if we ever move again.

    Move Details

    Distance 650 mi
    Cost $2,400
    Per. Mile $3.69
    SqFt. Moved 1,600

  •   Bethany, OK

    1/20/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Bethany, OK

    1/20/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    I used Pack-Rat now 2x's and have had great success each time. They are clear in quoting how Pack-Rat works, the cost and the time frame to deliver, load and how to locate helpers to load/unload. I would recommend them again and again. When you load it yourself-you know what is there and because you have the lock and only keys you have peace of mind.

    Move Details

    Distance 150 mi
    Cost $1,250
    Per. Mile $8.33
    SqFt. Moved 900

  •   Webster, NY

    12/19/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Webster, NY

    12/19/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    UPack is a great company. They have excellent customer service, they are reliable and they are very cost efficient. I would definitely use them again for an interstate move. I recommend them to friends regularly and with no reservation.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,600 mi
    Cost $1,900
    Per. Mile $1.19
    SqFt. Moved 1,200

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