UPDATE: As of 2017, the Door to Door brand has been purchased by U-Haul. All Door to Door operations have been phased out and absorbed by the U-Haul U-Box service.
Door to Door Storage and Moving was among the first portable storage container companies when it launched in Seattle in 1996. While copycats have come along, Door to Door remains a west coast institution, at least when it comes to moving. (Storage might be another story.) The company prides itself on paving the way for others, saying,
"Over the years, some companies have chosen to copy our product as closely as possible, while others claim that they have a better container. In either case, they all struggle to match our industry leading customer satisfaction ratings and enviable record of protecting possessions."
While Door to Door has many large followings, famously including college kids moving in and out of dorms, those of you on the east coast have not heard much of it. In fact, 17 states do not have a Door to Door location at all. Others might have a location or two within their state, but they are spread out and cater to a niche group. As a result, this might be a decent option for those in the Door to Door sweet spots, but it's not readily available to everyone in the way of their competitors.
For the purposes of this guide, I planned a long distance move (1,100 miles) from a three-bedroom home from Fort Lee, NJ (New York City area) to Kissimmee, FL. (Orlando area).
In addition, my parents are moving from Fort Lee, NJ to Ridgefield Park, NJ, so I'll write about the company's local move services too. I tried to order the moving containers during busy season for movers (late spring to early summer). I tried to complete the order and later cancel it, but it didn't quite work out with Door to Door. (More on this later) Still, by keeping the particulars of the move roughly the same for each order, I've made it possible for you to easily compare.
Here are the specifics:
I live in a three-bedroom home with two large flights of stairs. In addition to the bedrooms, there are:
The quotes I received for the long-distance move are based on this info above.
Here are the particulars of my parent's move: They also live in a three-bedroom home and their apartment mirrors mine, so they have the same rooms with a similar amount of furniture, except they also have:
The quotes I received for the local move are based on all this information above.
After reviewing the website and services offered, I was ready to call customer service and get a quote. Yes, you have to call. Live chats and online quotes do not exist for their moving services, but they are available for storage. I also looked at the areas the company serves beforehand. Although there is only one Door to Door location in New Jersey located in Randolph( which is 50 minutes to an hour by car from my home in Fort Lee), there are locations in New York that are much closer.
For reference, The Door to Door Map indicates that it serves New York City, including Astoria, Bayside, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Elmhurst and more.
Fort Lee neighbors the Bronx. Yes, I have to go over the George Washington Bridge to get there, but it's still pretty close. To give you an idea, it takes me about 25 minutes to arrive from my door to the Bronx Zoo.
Upon calling, however, the kind woman on the phone informed me that they did not serve my zip code of origin (Fort Lee). I informed her about the vicinity of Fort Lee to the Bronx, and she said the computer says that Fort Lee is not covered, which meant neither was nearby Ridgefield Park for the local move.
I asked her about the Kissimmee zip code (34741), and she said that wasn't covered either. I was shocked because, according to the map on the company website, Orlando was covered. Kissimmee is literally kissing Orlando, so I was surprised it wasn't included. The woman informed me there have been some changes but did not elaborate.
The website indicates that Door to Door can help people move in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa, Fla. I thought things might be different for storage, so I tried to get a quote for storage in the Kissimmee zip code and I kept getting stalled. There was no message indicating whether the day was booked or the area was not among those served. But I could not get any date I had chosen through May and June. I feel kind of rejected to be honest. It's as if I went on a blind date, the guy saw me, and ran out without introducing himself. Now, I'm sitting at the table all by lonesome with a single red rose. It's kind of pathetic. Nonetheless, I have no prices to report.
There is absolutely no mention of insurance on the website. I even read the customer documents and saw nothing about it. This doesn't mean there is no insurance option. I just did not get to go through with the reservation process, so it's entirely possible you can purchase insurance with Door to Door. But most competitors at least offer some information about insurance - at the very least whether it's available - on the website, so it does not bode well.
As mentioned above, Door to Door does not provide services to the area where my parents currently live or where they were moving in our scenario. This makes perfect sense because it's a local move, so if one area was not served, the other likely wouldn't be either. Therefore, prices for a local move are not readily available.
I have no prices to ponder. But I did check out online reviews of the storage and moving options the company offers. Door to Door has three out of five stars on Yelp. Many of the most recent reviewers ultimately chose Door to Door because the price was significantly cheaper among the portable storage container companies. However, many had mixed feelings about the customer experience when discussing the move and storage, so the question of value is up in the air.
A common concern was damage done to the container. One was warped by move's end and the other had to be fixed after a forklift accident. The containers are moved using forklifts, which has its pros and cons. On the negative side, the forklift can be accident prone, especially if the professional handling it is new to this game. On the bright side, one reviewer, Suzanne S., who had moved from Berkeley to Boston, wrote the forklift was a lifesaver when navigating narrow, congested streets.
"The day of move in Boston was particularly crazy because the city had closed off our street for major construction. Door-to-door worked with me on the phone to help notify the driver and then he did some voodoo magic getting those pods from his truck that was parked on a neighboring side street that was one way the wrong way and to our front door… Mad props to these guys and their drivers."
On the other hand, college students who had used the moving service reported lots of back and forth because the company said it had "overbooked" and could not deliver their stuff to them on time. In the end, the students ended up paying movers to pick up their stuff and spent more than they had planned, according to a review posted by Hali M. in Stanford, CA.
"...Was told that even to pick up my things from the warehouse, there would be an extra $40 charge. So now I had an extra $40 charge, along with costs from having to hire a mover. Additionally, I was told that if we did not move out our things by Saturday (and they would not be able to deliver until Tuesday), there would be an additional $59 charge for an extra month of service.Because of Door to Door's original inability to deliver, we were suddenly facing all of these additional charges along with the hassle of having to transport our things from the storage unit (40 minutes away) to our dorm."
Certainly, every situation is different. Only you can determine whether a quote - and then an actual move - is a good value. But it's wise to be aware of the different sentiments among reviewers.
Obviously, Door to Door is best for those who live within the parameters that the company serves. It seems like many colleges also benefit from these moving and storage services, so college kids take note. "Door to Door's delivery areas vary by market, and may be limited by the local geography or topography of a given market," according to the customer document about doing business with the company. "Door to Door's standard delivery area typically includes the delivery zip codes within 25 miles of the market's warehouse facility. Additional Fees and Charges may apply for deliveries that extend beyond Door to Door's standard delivery areas."
I am a testament to the fact that if you are not in that radius, this is not the moving service for you.
One of the benefits of working with a smaller company that doesn't have a port in every city is that you should be able to get in touch more easily and get more attention. I did not have this experience, especially since I could not even follow through on the reservation process. But smaller companies tend to work harder to make customers happy as a means of competing with the big boys. Also, this company seems to be localized in each of the geographic areas it does serve, which indicates it knows each zone well. That comes in handy when navigating streets on moving day and offering tips to clients.
Yes, yes, I am a broken record. I stress this in every portable storage container review because it is the best upside ever for someone like me who hates driving and is terrified of hauling my giant stuff in a giant truck all by myself. Door to Door offers the option of storing your stuff at a facility and picking it up yourself (or having movers do it) or letting Door to Door transport the items.
As a veteran of the portable storage container industry, Door to Door knows how to navigate storage and moving. It's kind of their thing. For the last 20 years, the company has grown, which indicates the team knows its stuff. In addition, the company reports regularly improving the containers used to store and haul customer belongings. Frequently, its team members responded to reviewers with questions and concerns on Yelp. This indicates a keen awareness of the industry and attempts to use what they're learning from clients to improve services.
As stated earlier, I was not able to get a quote or make a reservation with Door to Door because the addresses I've been using for these reviews did not fall in Door to Door territory. But in reading the Yelp reviews, especially the recent ones, a couple themes emerged. One was that the prices were cheaper than competitors in the portable storage industry. In fact, some of the customers ultimately chose Door to Door for that very reason. Of course, everyone's budget is different, so this might not be the case for you, but it was for a number of the reviewers. Also, even if the cheaper price led many of them to opt for the service, they did not all find it to be a good value at the end of their move or storage experience, which is something else to keep in mind.
Okay, I get it. Door to Door does not serve the entire country in the way a company like U-Haul does, nor does it go abroad even to places, such as our neighbor Canada. That's fine. But the website suggested it did provide moving services for New York City and Orlando and their surrounding areas. Fort Lee, NJ, the starting point for this hypothetical move, is literally home to the George Washington Bridge, which links the Garden State to Manhattan. Manhattan and the Bronx, which is even closer to Fort Lee, are both listed as moving destinations for Door to Door. In fact, U-Haul was possibly going to make the warehouse for my stuff be its Bronx location. So, Door to Door seems small potatoes if it can't provide service in a part of northern New Jersey that is as close to NYC as my town is.
In addition, I asked outright about Kissimmee, which is considered Orlando because of its vicinity. And the customer service rep said moving services were not available for that zip code either. This is even crazier to me because Orlando is a popular destination, especially with young people. And it is one of four cities in Florida that Door to Door claims to serve. Then, there are also colleges that the company serves for students who are moving from dorm to dorm. Even with all those covered areas and living and moving to major metropolitan areas, I was not able to make even a fake move with Door to Door. It's a small group that can actually use these services.
People moving to and from tiny houses and small apartments might not be concerned when a portable storage container offers only one size container that fits about a room or a room and a half's worth of stuff. But those of us moving from larger homes must take this into consideration. Door to Door's standard moving container is 56 inches wide by 93 inches long by 77 inches tall on the inside. Its door opening is 46 inches wide by 74 inches tall. You can fit about one room of stuff in there, maybe a little more, according to the website. PODS has really spoiled people because it offers different sized containers. Now, I should mention that, according to the customer documents on the site, Door to Door also has an alternative wood container and an alternative metal container, which are at least slightly taller. But they are not available in every market and they are not highly publicized. I only stumbled upon them by scouring the customer documents, such as terms and services and an addendum about the specifics of the company offerings.
Using more storage units means spending more money. It also might require more drives back and forth either on the part of the company or you. That sound you hear is the swoosh of all the money being sucked out of your pockets. Still, I can understand how this option can be convenient and affordable for kids moving into the dorms and those in smaller homes and apartments. And I - as I've mentioned time and again - appreciate the thought of not having to drive this stuff on a huge truck. Yes, it's always worth repeating.
I don't want to harp on the issue of whether wood is sturdy enough. Much like other portable storage companies, Door to Door offers mostly wood containers and a weatherproof cover. Many reviewers had no issue with this fact. But a couple of the ones on Yelp mentioned warping and dents, nothing major. And it sounded as though Door to Door responded to fix problems that rested on its shoulders. But if protecting your stuff is of the utmost importance, then you might be more inclined to pick a metal container over a wood one. It's a matter of preference and priorities. In the case of Door to Door, which seems to put all the responsibility on the shoulders of the customer when it comes to the care of the stuff held in the container (read the terms and services) and has no visible insurance plans on the website, the type of container may be elevated in importance.
For selfish reasons, I was a bit relieved I did not have to give Door to Door my credit card number. If I failed to cancel the order at least a week before the scheduled drop-off date, I would have been charged. Yikes. If you cancel within that seven-day-prior period, you forfeit your deposit. If you cancel when the driver arrives at the initial location, you give up the deposit and delivery fee. Ouch. In fact, the FAQ on the site suggests you give as much notice as possible if you are canceling. Some competitors, however, allow people to cancel up to 24 hours in advance for a full refund.
The locations are limited and the age of the containers and fleet is not clear. "Some containers are new and some are older," says a customer service representative of the containers, who refrained from answering about the fleet age. But the company is operating a little more than 20 years and markets itself as constantly updating its offerings. I would imagine that includes the trucks and even the forklifts and not just the containers.
Door to Door, which is based in Seattle, claims to have "revolutionized the self-storage industry" when it opened in 1996 and introduced the world to portable, containerized storage. When reading between the lines of what is written by the company on the website, you might notice that Door to Door feels it set the standard for the portable storage container industry, and it might feel slighted about not getting as much of the glory as some of its competitors do.
Indeed, the company spends a significant bit of text explaining what makes their containers strong and durable. The storage containers are made of wood and prevent condensation, mold, and mildew and the cover resists weather, according to the website. It also touts the container's ability to fit into driveways and parking spaces and accommodate apartment and condo loading areas.
One of the draws to Door to Door - besides the colorful, cartoonish characters greeting visitors to the website - is the blog. It is chock full of useful information about travel to some of the cities it serves, spring cleaning tips, and even antiquing in various cities. I would read it without having to make a move. Seriously. Still, despite its pioneering history, the company only serves a limited public because of the limitations of its geography.
Offering special services to college students moving in and out of dorms - even if it is only a select group - is genius. That's a group of people constantly in need of moving services.
The family-owned Door to Door considers itself the first and foremost portable storage container business. And it has won awards for its customer service. Makes me sad I didn't get to give a full-fledged review.
The delivery was on time. One of the trailers had ant infestation in two of the boxes.
Door to Door went into bankruptcy while my containers were in transit from Austin, TX to Sacramento, CA. There was NO communication from them as to where my containers were and WHO would deliver them. I googled them to find out what the heck happened to them.......no one would respond to emails or phone calls. I spent 6 weeks tracking them down and finding out that UHaul had bought them out of bankruptcy! I had to physically walk the UHaul container yard to FIND my containers. This was the WORST moving experience ever imagined.
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