Part of the ABF® Freight System, Inc., U-Pack is the division of the company that provides consumer moving services. For those moving from small homes, studio apartments or dorms, U-Pack offers a container they call a ReloCube®, which is essentially a big steel box. But unlike other moving container companies, the Cube only comes in one size, which is 6'3". Those who are moving from a larger home will also have the option of renting space in a trailer from ABF. (For more information on trailer moves with ABF U-Pack, visit U-Pack's freight trailer profile page.)
If you choose a U-Pack container, in 3-5 days, someone delivers the ReloCube for you to pack (or you'll hire movers to expertly pack), then a driver comes and picks up the Cube and transports it to your unloading destination. Finally, U-Pack comes to pick up the empty container.
This service is more expensive than renting out a truck and driving it yourself, but the convenience factor just might be worth it. This is especially true for those of us who are a bit chicken about driving one of those big boy trucks.
|ReloCube||6'3"||7'||8'4"||305 cubic feet/studio size apartment|
|Trailer||28'||8'||9'||1,944 cubic feet/3- 4 bedroom home|
Author: Francesca Di Meglio
Updated: Monday, October 14th 2019
Renting a ReloCube begins in much the same way as for other moving containers.
Head to the company's website and fill out a form with the particulars of your move. Conveniently, U-Pack gives you an instant quote without having to call anyone on the phone. Here's the thing, though: If you're moving from a larger home, the quote will likely be for a trailer. But if you're moving from a small space, then it will likely be for a ReloCube. That said, the trailer quote technically includes the number of ReloCube boxes you would need, but it really doesn't make sense because of the much higher cost for the space you'd need. (One ReloCube fits a standard parking space, so you might not have a parking garage's worth of space a large move would require, regardless of budget.)
Conveniently, U-Pack gives you an instant quote without having to call anyone on the phone.
If you decide on the ReloCube over the trailer, you schedule the delivery date of the container. You will have three days to load your stuff into the box (or you can hire professionals to do the loading for you). Unfortunately, this is a far cry from the monthly billing cycles of, say, PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT. Afterwards, a professional driver will come and haul it to your next destination, or, you may also choose to use the ReloCube for storage. Storage fees vary by location, but for reference, I was quoted $150 to store mine in Kissimmee, Florida for 30 days.
Security-wise, all ReloCubs can be locked using a standard padlock. You can buy one from U-Pack, or just use one of your own.
U-Pack does not provide local moves. (For that, maybe try PODS.) If you're moving locally, then this is not the company for you. You can, however, move from state-to-state, so moving a few hours in either direction might not be a problem. Still, both ReloCubes and ABF trailers are not an option for local moves.
ReloCubes are a perfect fit for a long-distance move. You head to the website, and if you determine one or two ReloCubes will suffice over renting space in a U-Pack trailer, your next step is to schedule a delivery date. After it arrives, you will have three days to load it before a professional driver picks it up and drives it to your final destination. (Alternatively, you can have it stored at a U-Pack storage center for an additional fee.)
For my move of a one-bedroom apartment from northern New Jersey to central Florida, U-Pack recommended one (1) ReloCube box for $1,705.
It takes 3-5 business days to get your cube. One of the ReloCube fits into a standard parking space, so if I had needed more, I might have had to talk to the neighbors and maybe even check in with my local municipality to find out about parking regulations. After all, you're responsible for any tickets you receive. U-Pack suggests within the quote that you should secure safe, legal parking for each ReloCube.
For the ReloCube to be delivered onto my property, I was told an adult needed to be home to sign for the equipment. Although you don't technically have to be present when your loaded ReloCube is picked up, or when you call for the pick up of the empty container at the end of the move.
Prices vary based on the distance of the move and the equipment you choose (ReloCubes tend to be cheaper than space in their trailers). What really makes a difference is how many cubes you need for all your stuff to fit.
For my long-distance move of a 1-bedroom apartment from New Jersey to Florida, the cost is:
This price included:
You can save money by asking about loading at a service center, military discounts, and student discounts. For booking online, I received a $25 discount. It's not much, but it's better than nothing!
U-Pack does not provide local moves.
It's worth mentioning here that U-Pack only delivers in windows of time, not specific appointments. For an additional $255, I could have signed up for "U-Pack Guaranteed". This would guarantee the day of delivery for my stuff. If my stuff failed to arrive on delivery day, I would be eligible for a refund of 100 percent of the transportation charges. Of course, the reason for it being late would have to be the fault of U-Pack. (In other words, if a hurricane closed off the highway, and the driver brought my stuff to me two days later, I would still have to pay.)
"Standard liability" coverage comes with your reservation at no additional cost. This is otherwise known as "catastrophic liability", which covers items at $3 per pound, per piece, at a maximum of $7,500 per ReloCube.
Choosing to entrust your worldly goods with a leader in the shipping industry provides peace of mind you won't get from Craigslist.
But that only covers ReloCube fire, collision of the trailer, or theft of the ReloCube. Carrier negligence liability instead covers items at $0.10 per pound, per piece for loss or damage that are a result of carrier negligence. That isn't exactly insurance. In fact, the bill stipulates that ABF does not provide insurance for your goods.
Even if it isn't technically insurance, for an additional fee, you can still increase the amount of coverage.
According to the site, you do have to call an agent on the phone before the scheduled date of your trailer's arrival to request any of this additional coverage. Also, you should definitely check with your homeowner's or renter's insurance to see if you can add a rider or floater to your policy to cover goods while they're in transit.
You may be surprised by hidden costs.
Anytime you sign an agreement or sign up for this kind of service, you need to read all the fine print. I learned if you were to cancel within one week of your scheduled date, you'll be charged $50. And if you cancel on the day of the scheduled date, then you will pay a whopping $150. With other moving services, you get more time to cancel without getting charged.
In addition, you could be charged for the "gypsy moth quarantine," which is a problem if you're unpacking in California. The state wants to keep gypsy moth eggs, which could live on your stuff, out of its borders. (There is a law about it, so it's for real.)
The allotted time for loading and unloading can get you into trouble.
If you exceed the three-day timeframe, then you will be charged $50 per day, per trailer. However, if you don't take an immediate delivery of the shipment at the destination terminal, U-Pack will hold your stuff in the trailer for two days for free. But unless storage is arranged beforehand, subsequent days will cost you $50 per day, per trailer.
Also, your shipment will not be released at the destination until you have paid in full and you'll have to pay $150 per redelivery attempt if U-Pack has to bring the trailer to you more than once.
Pay attention to all the terms.
There is a lot of pertinent information about the ways in which your bill could grow when you read the fine print of your agreement. Be sure to go over every word, so you understand the extent of your responsibility. Use a magnifying glass if you must. Just don't skip over it because it could mean breaking the bank or not getting your container when you think you will.
Their container options are non-existent.
Traditionally, moving containers are all about flexibility, given they give you the power to do things at your own pace, order the sizes you need, and more or less be in moving limbo as long as you can afford it. None of these things are true with U-Pack. I had three days to load and unload it on either end, and going over that time would have given me daily fees. More crucially, their containers only come in a single size: 6'3".
Being a veteran of the shipping industry carries over to moving.
In an industry in which fly-by-night companies are all too common, having an enduring, industry leader like ABF U-Pack available was kind of a relief. Choosing to entrust your worldly goods with a leader in the shipping industry provides peace of mind you won't get from Craigslist.
You can't beat a professional driver hauling your life.
If you're like me, the thought of driving a big rental truck is terrifying. That makes the thought of a professional driver from a company with experience shipping things across the country all the more appealing.
There is a sweet-spot for people moving that should look into ReloCubes: anyone who is moving a fairly small place across a long-distance.
Because you aren't paying for customization or storage upfront, U-Pack might be more affordable than other container companies. And the company's reputation as a longtime leader in the shipping industry may give you peace of mind. For people moving a bigger home, it is far better to go with the trailer options that U-Pack offers, if they stick with U-Pack at all. Multiple single-size containers just aren't a great value. And finally, those moving locally will simply have to look elsewhere, as U-Pack does not offer it.
I chose UPack because the price was right. It was mostly fine; there's not really all that much you can mess up with picking something up, throwing it on a truck, storing it, and bringing it back. However, a couple of things were a struggle: First, but minor- I was away on a work trip when my ReloCube needed to be delivered, so I had given them a friend's contact information to call when they were about to deliver so she could point them to the right place. They called me instead, I didn't answer, and they left it at a less convenient drop off point. Not the biggest deal, but still annoying. However- on the other end, they delivered me the wrong ReloCube. Apparently the system (at least here in DC/MD) is that someone looks up your account and *hand-writes* the identifying number of your ReloCube at the top of your contract. The guy who delivered it did nothing wrong, as he found that one and brought it to me, but it was not my stuff and didn't match the number that was actually attached to my account. I had to wait around for an extra four hours while they solved the problem before I could go back to work. Again, frustrating, but overall my stuff still got there and mostly in one piece. I'm calling this average, so not sure what that says about me.
The cube was dropped off the day we were expecting it. We were able to load all of our things (although it was a bit tight) into the cube. The cube was meant to be picked up on a Monday so that it could make it to SF on time, however they pushed back the pick-up date until Wednesday. We were nervous about it arriving on time (as we had city permits secured for a specific date), but it arrived the morning we were expecting it. No trouble getting the permits or the pod where we needed it to be. It was perfect for our relocation from NY to CA! Would definitely use this company again!!
This is my 2nd time using ABF/Upack relocube. I absolutely LOVE using this company and have had amazing customer service each and every time. The team is very responsive via emails and the terminal ABS teams are outstanding! Cannot boast enough just how amazing this service is compared to others. Tom in Orange is a total pro at dropping off and picking up the cubes, and Suzanne is a rockstar and truly an angel. You can rest easy that this company and the affiliates that they use are going to take very good care of you and your things.
It was a case of terrible communications skills on the part of just about everybody. From the guy who dropped off the pods who said we probably would be able to set up our delivery for a Friday, but that's when the pods arrived in town. With no way to reach anybody to set-up a delivery, it's now five business days into this and we only know that the pods are supposed to be here sometime between 8:00 am and 8:00 pm. This makes it impossible for me to schedule the unloading crew until Tuesday morning. I have had to take off two extra days from work, so not only has this been a bad experience, it will end up costing me 1.5 times what I actually paid Upack. This company does not have its act together regarding moving peoples' belongings from place to place. Next time, I'm using somebody else. Pods would have been cheaper, less stressful, and less costly in the long run.
I've used this company before. We used a large trailer. They drop it off, you fill it, they pick it up and take it to your new location. Its important to pack you own stuff well so that it does not get damaged on the trip. We wrapped our furniture in blankets as well as shrink wrap. Boxes need to be sturdy, especially if on the bottom of the pile. By doing some or all of the packing or loading yourself, you spend less on the move. The large trailer comes with a ramp, so be ready to work with that as you load or unload. The trailer floor is about 4 feet off the ground. We hired loaders for most of the heavy lifting, but also did some of the work ourselves. When you learn which phone numbers to use for what, you can get all your questions answered and handle the details.
ABF was prompt on the delivery of the unit both at the origin location and the destination location. Both locations were also in constant contact during their respective legs of the journey. While some items did get damaged in transit that is no fault of ABF and is a reminder that if your items are not secured properly then you never know what can happen. I would gladly use their service again for a long distance move as the container was well constructed and they do not force you to pay storage fees if you do not need them.
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