1-800-PACK-RAT is a vibrant contender in the "you pack, they drive" marketplace. It offers clients a portable storage container to snugly fit all their stuff inside of. People can use the container just for storage (on their own property or in a facility), or have a driver drive it to their new home or apartment. Like PODS, 1-800-PACK-RAT allows customers to take as long as they'd like to pack and unpack, charged monthly. But because they have a slightly smaller reach, you might have a harder time finding a location in your area, which can raise the price of your move.
Under 50 mi.
Under 50 mi.
|16'||8'||8'||830 cu. ft.||3 to 4 rooms|
|12'||8'||8'||620 cu. ft.||2 to 3 rooms|
|8'||7.2'||7.8'||404 cu. ft.||1 to 2 rooms|
Author: Francesca Di Meglio
Updated: Tuesday, October 15th 2019
The process for either a local or long-distance move begins with searching on their website. There, you’re asked to input the ZIP Codes for your original and final destinations. For a local move, you’ll get a quote. For a long-distance move, you’ll be given a code to use when you call the company for a customized quote.
Either way, you need to determine the size and number of containers you will need and schedule a delivery date. After you book them, you will load up your containers to stay on your premises or remain in a storage facility until you’re ready to move to the next destination. (Or you can hang onto the container for storage if you’re, say, executing a home renovation or are between moves.)
Like PODS, 1-800-Pack-Rat allows customers to take a month to load and unload. They similarly charge you for storage on a monthly basis, so to keep your budget in check, you need to work diligently. (Also note: If you want the smallest container, you will have to call a customer representative. The 12’ and 16’ containers are readily available online, however.)
Protip: It’s always in your best interest to be home when the container delivery happens. You have to also check with your local authorities to find out about the rules and regulations of parking. If you break any parking violations, prepare for a fine. Also, you might want to alert the neighbors as a courtesy.
Organizing a local move with 1-800-Pack-Rat is actually pretty simple. You input your information on the website and choose a container sizes. Then, you schedule the delivery using an online calendar tool. Finally, your quote pops up and you decide if you want to proceed with the purchase.
Like PODS, 1-800-Pack-Rat allows customers to take a month to load and unload.
The container will be delivered and you will load it with your stuff. After that, you will schedule a pick up, and your container will be delivered to your final destination or placed in a storage center until you’re ready to actually make the move.
A local move is downright affordable. For me to move one town over, it would cost $474.10 with one 12-foot container or $506.20 with one 16-foot container. I was able to get this quote online in seconds simply by inputting a bit of info. It was a very different experience than the one I had booking the long-distance move.
The process of getting a container is virtually the same for a long-distance move as it is for a local one. The biggest difference is during the planning process. Once you enter the ZIP Codes of your move and delivery day, you are prompted to call a customer representative rather than simply getting a quote online. If your experience is like mine, you’ll be sent from a customer service rep to a moving liaison.
Together, you get to plan your move and get a customized quote. Once you settle on a container size and delivery date, you will get the lowdown. Just like in a local move, after the container is delivered, you load your stuff, schedule a pickup, unload your stuff at the final destination, and schedule another pickup.
Clearly, there was room for negotiation and a willingness to work with me to get the price down.
With a long-distance move, you have to consider the 1-800-Pack-Rat locations at both your original and final destinations. 1-800-Pack-Rat does not have as many locations as some of its competitors. As a result, you can’t always find locations close to both destinations. For a local move, on the other hand, you will likely use the same location for both destinations. This is important because if the driver has to go further to drop off or pick up a container on either end of your journey, so it will influence the price.
To get my long-distance move quote (about 1,100 miles), I planned to transport a 3-bedroom home from Fort Lee, New Jersey (New York City area) to Kissimmee, Florida (Orlando area), two places with which I’m familiar. I ordered the rental about two weeks before the move date. The price was $4,450, and it included the two containers, delivery and transport fees, two locks, blankets (20 per container for a total of 40), and coverage of any damage to the container and up to $25,000 on my stuff.
Of course, prices vary depending on the size of the home you're moving and the distance of the move. Although 1–800-Pack-Rat is cheaper than its main competitor PODS, it's still on the expensive side, compared to other DIY options.
My quotes for a short-distance single container move:
One way 1-800-Pack-Rat stands out is the ability customers have to use promos. For example, the agent gave me the chance to "unbundle," which meant lowering my included protection plan to coverage up to $10,000 and using my own locks and blankets (for protecting my stuff) to get another $100 knocked off the price, which would have made the total for the long-distance move $4,350.
The rep also assured me that if I decided I needed to keep my stuff in storage for another month, she would give me the discounted price of $169 per month per container as opposed to the full price of $199 per month per container. Clearly, there was room for negotiation and a willingness to work with me to get the price down.
This is convenient for storage and transport. Still, this was a more expensive option for a DIY, long-distance move than, say, rental trucks.
There are two options for insurance:
There's good news, though. If you book movers through HireAHelper to load and unload your container, your goods will be covered during normal transit by $0.60/lb. insurance, for free.
Fewer facilities can cost you.
Even though the customer service rep kindly did all she could to lower my fee, the price was higher than other DIY options. Northern New Jersey, where I live and would be the starting point of my move, has few 1-800-Pack-Rat facilities nearby, which meant the driver would have to go 50 miles out of their way to deliver my containers then pick them up, which also drove up the cost. However, with 60 or so terminals, you may be able to find ones closer to your destination, so check out your area.
The online experience needs improvement.
As a website, 1-800-Pack-Rat is … fine. It offers lots of information on how the service works, and all the basics, such as locations and company history. But there are no interactive dimensions other than the free quote. And that is really only for those who are seeking simple local moves.
If you book movers through HireAHelper to load and unload your container, your goods will be covered during normal transit by $0.60/lb. insurance, for free.
Long-distance move quotes are a hassle.
I hated being unable to get a quote online for the long-distance move. I like to be able to gather this kind of information ahead of a phone call, so I can ask more pointed questions when I'm talking to a person. I would be able to eliminate certain options from the start without having to reject a live human being, who will try to talk me out of my decision even if it's far out of my budget.
To top it off, there were not even online agents to answer general questions. You have to do everything on the phone. It’s so 1999.
Getting passed off to different agents isn't ideal.
I had a great experience with the first representative. After all, she helped me get discounts to lower the price! We scheduled the drop off of my empty containers and pick up of them once they were loaded. When I started asking about when I could expect the containers for unloading at my Florida address, I learned that I was going to have to do this with another agent known as a "moving coordinator." From then on, I would have to deal with this new person, who would be getting in touch with me soon. Annoying.
The intention is good because the company wants you to have a specific person to whom you can turn for help. But I saw it as one more step in an already long process when I had no time as it is.
Know the Cancellation Policy
The cancellation policy isn't bad, but you have to follow the rules. You have until 48 hours before the delivery of the empty containers to cancel without getting charged. After that, however, you'll be paying a rather large sum if you cancel! For me, I would have to pay around $250 plus that extra mileage because I live so far away from a facility, which would come out to nearly $500 per container. Yikes.
Ask for Promos and Deals
You should definitely ask about promos or deals or simply if there are ways to lower the price. Explain that you’re not sure if this is within your budget, and the rep is likely to help you find ways to bring down the cost.
Have a Schedule in Mind
Much like PODS, this service allows customers to load and unload their items at their leisure. You pay for every month you keep the containers. But unlike PODS, the customer service reps encourage you to set dates for delivery and pickup during reservation.
This was good because I could better plan my move with the set dates, but I had one setback. I had hoped to schedule the delivery of the empty containers for a saturday. It would actually have to arrive the day before - a friday - because there are no deliveries or pickups on saturdays or sundays in New Jersey, apparently. It was a minor glitch.
Who can complain about getting the containers a day earlier? Well, you would, if you couldn’t be there!
Moving containers are a great option for anyone who wants the convenience of a rental truck without having to do the driving. It’s also a fantastic option for anyone in need of storage, either because of a renovation, staging a home, or in between moves. This particular moving container company happens to be more economical than its largest competitor, PODS. However, 1-800-Pack-Rat only remains the most affordable if one of its locations is near both of your destinations. If yours is a long-distance move, you also have to like talking on the phone and getting your hand held during the process. Also, if you’re good at locating and employing promos and deals, then 1-800-Pack-Rat could be right for your move.
Overall, our experience with Packrat was excellent. There were a few problems with communication with the dispatch centers, but all the operators I spoke with at Pack rat did everything they could to help us out. They bent over backwards to get permit issues sorted and refunded for services that didn’t go as expected. I would use them again and have already recommended them to others.
The company performed as promised. Everyone was helpful and very responsive throughout the whole process. I chose Pack Rat because they did not charge extra for the multiple drop offs and pick ups of our three containers. The containers arrived on time and were collected on time. The company provided locks for each of the containers. That was a real plus for me. I appreciate the fact that I did not have to pay any storage fee although there were two weeks between the time I moved out of my old home and into my new one. A full service moving company would have charged me a daily rental fee beginning with a first-day rental of $2000+ which would have involved unloading my belongings, storing them and reloading again for delivery to my new home. I loved that once loaded into the Pack Rat containers and locked, my things would not be disturbed while out of my sight and supervision. A relative who had a protracted move with a full service provider had valuable pieces broken, I.e. a custom-made cuckoo clock and 3 irreplaceable and expensive oriental rugs lost or stolen. We DID; sustain a few instances of breakage: one inexpensive chest of drawers was severely damaged, two ornamental pieces on a metal birdbath were snapped off, one leg on a chest of drawers was damaged so that it didn't stand and one wheel of a cabinet is missing. I think these casualties were the result of the way these items were packed by the loading helpers, for example, the chest of drawers was stored on its side in the container.
RECOMMENDED After several glitches with scheduling errors and administrative errors, and fuzzy price quotes, working with 1-800PACKRAT was great. The drivers on both ends of my move were on time, polite and good at their jobs. Given the condition of my belongings when I received them, I would also say that the storage facility did a good job taking care of my things. The $3000+ price tag was hard to swallow, my negotiation skills need improvement; and because the unit was stored 32 days I had to pay an extra months rental. But I knew that cost going in. All in all I can recommend PackRat for long distance moving and storage. Just be sure to be vigilant in the scheduling and pricing process. The employees who answer the phones are more like salesmen than service providers. And different representatives give different answers to the same questions. Not enough training perhaps. Your “estimate” does not include price breakdowns for the various moving expenses incurred, and pricing as a whole should be MUCH more transparent. This is part of where the moving industry gets its bad reputation. The move itself was relatively stress-free thanks to the guys who do the actual work. Great drivers, equipment and container handlers. Shout out to Hire-A-Helper for recommending excellent movers on both ends. Anybody want to come help assemble a house full of new furniture?
Company is incapable of scheduling and of communicating changes to their schedule on time. - Instead of agreed 12 days of transport, pods were delivered after 19 days - pods are neither delivered nor picked up at the agree upon time slot (don’t book a crew to unload at the day that the pod is scheduled!) - the pods were not not delivered in the order that was agreed upon - Packrat has difficulty to reach their trucking companies, so you wait on the phone just to learn that they don’t know where the pod is - Packrat puts you easily on the phone waiting line for 20-30min and never checking in whether you are still on the line. - Re-imbursement for extra cost of staying longer in a hotel are rediculously low to non-existent. In summary, a company that is not organized and basically doesn’t care. There must be better options out there!
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