Updated 7/2/2018 6:34:29 AM
Go Mini's is not as well known as bigger moving container companies. But it has a certain charm. I had never heard of the company before tackling this assignment. And once I dug into the subject matter, I learned that Go Mini's locations are either dealerships or franchises. I also found out this meant long-distance moves were not always possible. The Go Mini's of Bergen County in New Jersey (which is the one in my area) would only be able to help me make a local move.
While this is disappointing for those looking to move further, the company has some strengths.
The staff, at least the one in my neck of the woods, is super friendly. They can really give you personal attention thanks to a smaller company size and knowledge of the area. And the price for a local move and storage is affordable. Keep in mind, my experience at Go Mini's in Bergen County, NJ may be very different from yours elsewhere, because that's how franchising works. Still, this profile should give you an idea of the offerings and pricing.
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), because those are two destinations with which I'm familiar. But Go Mini's is not capable of accommodating long-distance moves, so this info is mostly irrelevant.
However, my parents are pretending to move from Fort Lee, NJ to Ridgefield Park, NJ, so I can write about the company's local moving services too. I tried to order the moving containers during a point in the busy season for movers (late spring and summer). I completed the order and later canceled it. By keeping the particulars of the move roughly the same for each order, I've made it easier to compare companies and services.
Here are the specifics for my parent's fictitious local move:
I was able to input my information for the long-distance Kissimmee move using a quote tool on the company's website. But I quickly received an email explaining that the company does not provide long-distance moves at this time. I confirmed this fact on the phone with a customer representative, who explained that Go Mini's of Bergen County only provides moving services in the tri-state area (New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut). In the email, the company recommended I contact United Van Lines and offered its phone number. Apparently, UVL is in the same office building and neighbors Go Mini's of Bergen County in New Jersey. Still, other than this, I have no information to share about the pricing of a long-distance move.
Like virtually every other portable storage company, Go Mini's does not charge you until delivery day. Then, you are charged for the first month of rent for the container and the initial delivery. We opted for one 20-foot container, which holds five to six rooms. For this local move in New Jersey, my parents were going to be charged $322.88 for one month's rent and delivery. They would later be charged with the future transportation fee of $230.28 for delivery of the container to the new house in Ridgefield Park, NJ. The overall total for the move would be $553.16. But if my parents ended up keeping the container at the Fort Lee house for more than one month, they would have to pay additional rent, which costs $236 per month. "Charges do not include sales tax if applicable," according to the reservation emailed to me. So, of course, it probably would cost more than the total provided.
Go Mini's does not offer any type of insurance. Instead, when I asked about it, the customer representative recommended Online Moving Insurance. She added that the company has been referring customers to this insurance for years.
On the surface, the price is affordable for a local move of this nature. This is especially true when you consider that I had chosen a 20-foot container - the largest one available - for my parent's stuff. Unlike many of the other portable storage companies, this one offers steel-constructed as opposed to wood containers. So, this all seems like a great value. But that didn't stop me from worrying.
For starters, even after I made the reservation, I did not receive the total price; it still did not include local sales tax. That made me wonder if there would be hidden charges that I could not anticipate. The company does not offer insurance, which concerns me, though again, it did recommend a moving insurance company. Still, if I were to pursue that, I would certainly incur more charges.
One of the most disconcerting aspects of this was the push for having me store my stuff. The company does not offer the long-distance move for which I asked for a quote. But that didn't stop them from sending me emails suggesting I still use them for my storage needs. In addition, when I booked the local move, the customer rep would not schedule the pickup and delivery of the full containers to the new house. That led me to believe that the goal is to get you to hang onto the containers for as long as possible, in the hopes you extend past the one-month mark and have to pay additional rent.
Also, other companies send customers a more complete receipt of the reservation. It includes all the costs, info on cancellation policies and date changes, and the anticipated delivery and pickup dates. All this stuff should instead be spelled out in writing so you don't have to ask a lot of questions or anticipate worst case scenarios. Surprises are the last thing anyone wants when planning a move. Am I right?
A more minor gripe of mine has to do with the less sophisticated container size tool. Most portable storage companies have some sort of online tool to help you decide what size and number of containers you will need for the stuff you are moving. Go Mini's is no exception. But it is not as intuitive as others I've used. It has you check off items you plan on bringing. In the end, I just determined that the 20-foot container would be enough. If my parents were really moving, I would probably be more careful about my guesstimate. There's a chance the price could increase with the need for another container. Bam! That would have been another unpleasant surprise.
People who are planning a local move and prefer personal attention from customer service will appreciate Go Mini's. The staff is willing to do some hand holding, perfect for moving neophytes or "type As" who over-plan everything. Assuming there are no hidden fees, the price is affordable. And the steel constructed containers were more appealing to me than the wooden ones that some of the company's competitors offer.
Their customer service might be the best.
I've done a great many of these profiles already, and I never had a customer service experience quite like this one, in a great way. Usually, I speak to multiple people whose names I never learn and who view me as a number. Lisa, my customer service rep, was my sole contact at Go Mini's. I emailed and called her personally, and she responded immediately. I never waited more than 20 minutes for a response. And I got in touch a handful of times to follow up on my initial reservation. Since the company is small and handles moves that are limited to a certain geographic area, the customer service can be hands on. She really got to know me and what I was looking for in a portable storage company.
In the age of "Big Brother", Go Mini's began tracking me when I first started fiddling with the quote system a few weeks ago, before I was ready to make a reservation. I was just trying to get a feel for the company and learn more about it. But since I had filled out the quote tool, I began receiving emails directly from Lisa. I'm sure the emails were formulaic direct marketing campaigns designed to convince someone who had already showed interest. Honestly, it was still a nice introduction because I felt like I already knew her a bit when I did reserve the containers.
One of the complaints I have had about portable storage container companies is the limited space in the individual containers. When someone is moving from a big home - say with three bedrooms like mine or my parent's - then they have to invest in many containers. Go Mini's claims to be the only company in the market that offers a 20-foot container, which fits about five to six rooms worth of stuff. The two other options are 12- and 16-feet, respectively. Having this variety helps those planning moves from any sized house.
As always, I must preface this by reminding folks that I did not end up using the containers, so I do not have firsthand knowledge.But Go Mini's provides clients with steel-constructed containers as opposed to wood, which is a popular option with some of the competition. In addition, the company boasts that the containers are eight inches off the ground to prevent water and moisture getting inside. The floors are also pressure treated and moisture resistant, according to the website. Ventilation is supposed to also aid in preventing mold and the like. And Go Mini's makes a direct comparison to PODS: "Unlike PODS, our containers feature steel construction: welded frame, strong, and secure steel siding," according to the Go Mini's website. I have to be honest that the description and the fact that these containers are steel made me think they would better protect my parents' stuff.
You can cancel or make changes to the date and time up to 24 hours before your scheduled delivery/pickup. If you call the day of the delivery to cancel, you will be charged for the delivery, Lisa explained to me. This is fair and flexible, and it is in line with others in the industry.
I applaud this fact in every portable storage company's profile. Few things scare me more than the thought of having to drive a big rig with all my life's belongings on the highway. Any chance to have someone else do the driving is a huge plus for me.
Obviously, the biggest downside for me was that I would not be able to make the move to Kissimmee with Go Mini's. Honestly, if my parents and I really were planning moves of this nature at the same time, I'd probably go with a different company that could meet both families' needs. In general, smaller companies lack resources, so that's something to keep in mind, too.
Even after I reserved my delivery date with my credit card and shared my intention to use the service to make a local move, I still did not get a statement including sales tax. This was annoying to me because I prefer to have everything spelled out beforehand. Anyone who wants to plan a budget needs to know exactly how much this is all going to cost up front. Receiving this type of incomplete reservation makes me wonder if there will be other hidden fees.
For the purposes of these reviews, I usually try to book a weekend during busy season. Pretty much every weekend for the foreseeable future was booked already. So, I had to opt for a weekday. That wasn't the end of the world, but it could have been a real snag if my parents couldn't miss work. If your schedule is tight and you must move on a certain day, you should be prepared to plan ahead.
Yes, Go Mini's offered suggestions on where to get moving insurance. So, it didn't leave customers high and dry. But most other portable storage companies offer their own insurance. That makes things easier. For one, you only have to research and reserve with one company. Honestly, the thought of having to investigate the insurance company as I did this one would have been a real time killer.
There are 200+ Go Mini's locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. 79 franchise locations operate within the US. The location in New Jersey with which I would have been working has a relatively new flatbed truck, only dating back to 2016. This location was also anticipating the arrival of new containers.
This company sets itself apart in the portable storage moving business because of its franchise concept. The company first launched in 2002, but it converted to a franchise model in 2012, according to their website. he company is continuing to expand its franchising reach.
"Go Mini's recently expanded its franchise footprint via the dealership conversion process in Warner Robins, Ga., Dayton, Ohio, Little Rock, Ark., and Northern Indiana and has an aggressive plan to add new locations in California, Oregon, Washington and Colorado this year," according to a press release dated May 22, 2017.
Dealerships are often converting to franchises, and each location is somewhat unique even if they work under the same brand name. This has its pros and cons, but it's all interesting from a business perspective.
In 2017, Franchise Business Review recognized Go Mini's as a top franchise, and it took the No. 16 spot on Entrepreneur Magazine's 2017 list of best new franchises, according to their website.
The container met our needs.
Drop off and pickup of the container was on scheduled time and the driver was very courteous. Office was very helpful when we had to reschedule delivery date of the container also. Highly recommend using this service.
Everything was great! I would use them again.
The Go Mini's® image above is used solely for identification purposes and serves as the primary means of visually identifying the subject of this article and provides an illustration of the entity that is represented.