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
    4.46
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $620
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,584
    Long Move: $3,311
    Positive Review

    Website super simple to navigate, giant online presence.

    Negative Review

    Requires lengthy scheduling notice for best results.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.50
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $725
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,250
    Long Move: $3,443
    Positive Review

    Quick and easy booking, great customer service.

    Negative Review

    Delivery and pickup times are broadly assigned, not specific.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.55
    Average Cost
    Local Move: N/A
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,542
    Long Move: $2,233
    Positive Review

    Knowledgable and responsive customer service.

    Negative Review

    Limited scheduling window for packing and unloading containers.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.02
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $1,733
    Medium Move: Med. Move: N/A
    Long Move: $2,356
    Positive Review

    Delivery options offered, affordable pricing.

    Negative Review

    Wood containers are less sturdy, cancellation process a headache.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.40
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $495
    Medium Move: Med. Move: N/A
    Long Move: N/A
    Positive Review

    Unparalleled customer service, lots of different container options.

    Negative Review

    Fewer long distance move options, total cost obscured until after move.

  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    3.42
    Average Cost
    Local Move: N/A
    Medium Move: Med. Move: N/A
    Long Move: $2,800
    Positive Review

    Flexible billing based on actual containers used, online tracking.

    Negative Review

    Costliest option for large homes, container quality not as good as the competition.

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. Their containers are composed of aluminum skin and steel frames, have a translucent top to let in light, and a lightweight steel, roll-up door that's designed to make them easy to open and close.

But PODS is also among the most expensive ways to hack a move, especially if you're hauling a larger home from a long distance. The convenience factor, however, can definitely make it worth it, considering their many locations. Plus, they have their operation nailed down, compared to a lot of the competition, which is reflected in their customer reviews. You can keep the moving containers for packing, unpacking and storage for as long as you want to pay for them, while someone else delivers them to your destination. You really call the shots when it comes to scheduling. However, this becomes a challenge in the busy summer season, as you might have a difficult time getting access to the containers you need. Plan far in advance. Again, however, 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 sizes of their containers (as well as maybe the sizes of the companies). 1-800-PACK-RAT offers a great selection of containers. Both also have about the same number of facilities, but PODS wins out by being geographically spread out more, which means you are more likely to have a facility near you. This matters because a delivery driver is more likely to drop off and pick up moving containers much more quickly, thus, lowering the cost.

But on the other hand, your stuff might be considerably more secure and protected with this option. 1-800-PACK-RAT's containers are made entirely of steel, which makes them among the toughest containers around. Not to mention 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 on the phone about their many discounts before committing.

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

  • Size: 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.

Door to Door Container

Door to Door Moving & Storage


Door to Door Container

Locations

  • Closed/Acquired by U-Haul

Available Services

Sizes

  • Size: 8'
  • Shipping/Delivery
  • Storage
  • Boxes and Supplies

A fixture of college dorm move-ins for over two decades, Door to Door boasts high customer satisfaction in their tightly clustered network of locations. They also claim great affordability, as the college students who are a major component of their demographic can attest. Like much of the competition, there are also delivery options for your moving container, as well as readily available (but offline) customer service agents.

Door to Door gains a lot of their financial affordability from the fact that they offer one-size-fits all option (56"x 93"x 77"), which is about the size of one bedroom. Not to mention the fact that the container is made of wood, and the company offers no insurance options, unlike the competition. But if you're in a (mostly) west coast location and have a small scale move in mind, check out their site to see their options.

Go Mini's Container

Go Mini's Moving & Portable Storage


Go Mini's Container

Locations

  • 200+

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 12', 16', 20'
  • Local Moving
  • Long-distance Moving
  • Storage
  • Moving and Packing Supplies

If you're in an area that is serviced by any of their 200+ locations, Go Mini's can be an attractive option. Like many of the more prolific storage container options on the market, Go Mini's offers delivery services and competitive storage pricing. Where this company vastly flexes their muscles is in unparalleled customer service. Because they deal in local moving, you are likely to be assigned a personal, friendly agent with lightning quick response times for any of your questions, which is the sure sign of a smaller, more nimble company. Go Mini's also lays claim to being the only company on the market that offers a 20-foot container, which fits about five to six rooms worth of stuff.

However, don't count on Go Mini's for long distance moves, as they yet do not offer long distance storage or deliveries. Upfront pricing is also a bit of an issue, as your grand total won't be shown to you until after your storage needs are completed. Check their site to see if Go Mini's is an option in your area.

U-Haul U-Box Container

U-Haul® U-Box® Moving Container


U-Haul U-Box Container

Locations

  • 15,000+ in U.S. & Can.

Available Services

Sizes

  • Size: 8'
  • One-Size Container
  • Delivery/Shipping
  • Storage
  • Packing supplies
  • Local Movers

Branching out from their famous (and orange) parent company, "U-Box" is the latest among U-Haul's relocation offerings. This time, the company is aiming to stake a claim in the container industry, claiming quick and affordable moving container options.

Positive features include a massive customer service presence, huge name recognition, and even live box tracking. In tandem with their online price estimator and the fact that they can deliver your container wherever you need it, U-Box can be an appealing option.

As with any large, corporate entity, however, there are issues. Unlike the competition, U-Box offers only a one-size-fits-all option for its containers (96" x 60" x 90"). The quality of this container is also a bit suspect, as they are made of plywood and come with a "weatherproof" cover, which depending on your location may not survive long stretches of storage. Plus, customer service is less than stellar, with potentially long wait periods between online and phone interactions, not to mention that all-too-familiar, cold reception to any issues you may encounter.

Check out U-Box's website to see if their prices are worth the potential downsides for your own move.

Container Size Guide


  • Small 7-8 ft.
    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 12 ft.
    1-2 Bedrooms 600-1,200 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 16 ft.
    2-3 Bedrooms 1,200-1,600 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 16 ft.+
    3-4 Bedrooms 1,600-2,400+ 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 universal tips when renting portable storage containers. We've learned the in's and out's of booking, dropping off, storage and even delivery. So read below to be prepared for 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


  •   Olympia, WA

    9/28/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Olympia, WA

    9/28/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    PACK-RAT containers are fantastic - They allow you to pack and unpack at your own speed. The containers are safely stored between moves and brought out on time as requested.

    Move Details

    Distance 88 mi
    Cost $1,000
    Per. Mile $11.36
    SqFt. Moved 850

  •   Lawrenceville, GA

    9/25/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Lawrenceville, GA

    9/25/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    No worries. Everything took place like clockwork. Pods delivered on time and taken away on time. Drivers were respectful and professional. Definitely the way to move.

    Move Details

    Distance 1,000 mi
    Cost $5,000
    Per. Mile $5.00
    SqFt. Moved 4,300

  •   Chichester, NH

    9/19/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Chichester, NH

    9/19/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    I had never used PODS before but would do so again in a heartbeat. It was easy peasy! Note the cost for transportation was for 2 pods and 4 months storage and insurance.

    Move Details

    Distance 20 mi
    Cost $2,600
    Per. Mile $130
    SqFt. Moved 2,600

  •   Colorado Springs, CO

    9/16/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Colorado Springs, CO

    9/16/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Company has delivered in a timely manner. The driver put the container exactly where I asked it to be. The container is spacious and accommodates my goods. The price is competitive and the hydrolic lifts make it safe and secure. I would recommend them.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,000 mi
    Cost $3,700
    Per. Mile $1.85
    SqFt. Moved 1,200

  •   Highlands Ranch, CO

    9/12/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Highlands Ranch, CO

    9/12/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    They need a better scheduling system. You know what day they will deliver, but nothing more. You get a call about 30 minutes before they arrive so you really can't schedule help for that day.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,000 mi
    Cost $3,500
    Per. Mile $1.75
    SqFt. Moved 2,500

  •   Crossville, TN

    9/9/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Crossville, TN

    9/9/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    A little costly, hard to get thru to on phone, did not come on delivery date, but ok over all and most items made it to our new home in one piece. I would use again because it is probably much cheaper than moving companies. JIM

    Move Details

    Distance 530 mi
    Cost $3,000
    Per. Mile $5.66
    SqFt. Moved 1,500

  •   New Braunfels, TX

    9/6/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      New Braunfels, TX

    9/6/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    PODS is truly the only way to go if you are going to need temporary or long term storage. this is our 3rd time using PODS and we have been very please with the experience every time. The most convenient way to move since it does not require the secondary effort of unloading into a storage unit. All the loading/unloading happens right there in the convenience of your own driveway. This is a brilliant business concept!

    Move Details

    Distance 275 mi
    Cost $1,500
    Per. Mile $5.45
    SqFt. Moved 2,300

  •   Irondequoit, NY

    9/1/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Irondequoit, NY

    9/1/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    The driver was on time and was quick at unloading the pod. It was easy to set up delivery and schedule a drop off time. I highly recommend and would use them again.

    Move Details

    Distance 20 mi
    Cost $300
    Per. Mile $15.00
    SqFt. Moved 500

  •   Lemon Grove, CA

    7/2/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Lemon Grove, CA

    7/2/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    This was the best option for our needs. We took delivery of our trailer on a Friday and had until the following Monday to load. We hired another service for packing and loading. We will take delivery at our destination after 8 days and then hire another service to unload. We have every reason to expect a great outcome.

    Move Details

    Distance 370 mi
    Cost $2,100
    Per. Mile $5.68
    SqFt. Moved 1,600

  •   Salt Lake City, UT

    3/3/2017

    - Moving Container Review

      Salt Lake City, UT

    3/3/2017

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Quick, responsive service on both ends of the trip - very flexible on adding more cubes if needed. Prompt delivery and pick up. I used 3 pods. The guys delivering the cubes did a masterful job of placing them to maximum advantage. Be sure you consider not just the width of your driveway but overhead branches wires, etc since the fork lift takes it up pretty high. Superb service all the way around.

    Move Details

    Distance 900 mi
    Cost $2,100
    Per. Mile $2.33
    SqFt. Moved 2,000

  •   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

  •   Emporia, KS

    12/14/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Emporia, KS

    12/14/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    ABF UPack dropped off and picked up the container as scheduled. I could contact them via phone at any time and they promptly and completed answered any questions I had. Drivers were courteous and helpful. Would highly recommend.

    Move Details

    Distance 725 mi
    Cost $1,700
    Per. Mile $2.34
    SqFt. Moved 925

  •   Venice, FL

    6/30/2016

    - Moving Container Review

      Venice, FL

    6/30/2016

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Aside from a one day delay in picking up the loaded pod and a one day delay in picking up the emptied pod, everything went well and it even arrived ahead of schedule.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,500 mi
    Cost $2,300
    Per. Mile $0.92
    SqFt. Moved 500

  •   Berkeley, CA

    6/27/2014

    - Moving Container Review

      Berkeley, CA

    6/27/2014

    - Moving Container Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Door to Door has been good (although I don't take delivery of the containers for a month or two). One wrinkle was that they had a breakdown of the hydraulic system on their truck when dropping off empties, and were backed up/delayed by about 3-4 hrs. They were a bit tardy on calling me, but offered to refund the $100 or so delivery cost as an apology (still waiting on this, but expect it will come soon.)

    Move Details

    Distance 400 mi
    Cost $1,700
    Per. Mile $4.25
    SqFt. Moved 700

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