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Updated 11/19/2018 7:15:22 AM
PODS, which was the first in the portable storage category, is impressive to consumers for its convenience and services. Part of the “you-pack, they-move” group, PODS® delivers one or more of its containers to you to load and moves it to your destination or a storage facility. Then, you unload it whenever you are ready - be it the next day or the next year. The containers seem clean and durable, the idea of someone else driving them for you is appealing, and the ability to load and unload at your convenience – without the constraints of deadlines (yep, you really can take as long as you’d like) – has you hearing birds chirping and seeing the sun shining down on you alone. The only downside that gets in the way of all that is that PODS’ premium services - all that storage and convenience - is pricier than other DIY moving options, yet it can be combined with movers booked through HireAHelper for a Hybrid™ move, whether it be local or long distance, that acts as a full service moving hack that’s more affordable than a traditional full service move. Also, because it’s so popular with those on the move, you might have to schedule delivery in advance, especially in the spring and summer when lots of people are relocating.
For the purposes of this guide, I am planning a long distance move (1,100 miles) of a 3-bedroom home from Fort Lee, N.J. (New York City area) to Kissimmee, Fla. (Orlando area) because those are two destinations with which I’m familiar. I order the rental about two weeks before the invented move date. I try to reserve the rental for a Saturday, which is a popular moving day. I complete the order and later cancel it. By keeping the particulars of the move about the same for each order, I make it possible for you to more easily compare companies and services.
Here’s the particulars of my move: I live in a 3-bedroom home with two large flights of stairs. In addition to the bedrooms, there are two and a half bathrooms, a finished basement (which includes a bar and living area featuring a sofa that turns into a queen-sized bed), a laundry room (with storage under the staircase that includes boxes of holiday decorations), a kitchen, living room (with two sofas, including another one that converts to a queen-sized bed), formal dining room (with a very large and heavy china closet filled with delicate china and glasses for entertaining), and an attic (with some pieces that will eventually be used to convert my son's toddler bed to a queen-sized bed and my wedding dress packed in a special box for preservation). The quotes I received are based on this information.
Prices vary based on the distance of the move and the size and number of the containers you need. For example, for my invented move from New Jersey to Florida, I was going to pay $5,452.08 in three payments. The first would be for $1,352.07 (due 5 business days before the container delivery at my N.J. home), the second would be for $4,075.36 (due 5 business days before the shipment to Florida), and the final payment of $24.65 (due 5 business days before the pick up of empty containers at my Florida address). These payments include two PODS moving containers of the largest size – 8’ X 7’ X 7’(HWL), fuel, taxes, any prep of the containers in the PODS centers, one month of storage, and coverage of up to $10,000 (for damage or loss that is the result of fire, lightning, burglary, PODS negligence, etc.) You can pay extra for additional coverage. And you can keep the containers for as long as you’d like to load, store your stuff, or unload. But you will pay more each month for storage. You will be charged $399.98 for the second month of storage should you keep the containers that long, and you’ll pay $359.98 for any month after that (so about $150 & $155 per 16’ container). I paid an extra $8.50 each for two locks, one for each container. It would take PODS six days excluding Sundays and holidays to arrive in Florida from New Jersey once I was ready for delivery.
People with a bit of a bigger moving budget who are temporarily downsizing or need storage while moving locally or long distance will find this a delightful option. In those instances, the price is right and the convenience can’t be beat. You only have to load and unload once, rather than loading up a truck, unloading at a storage facility and then repeating the process again later. PODS® might also be a surprising alternative for those considering hiring full service movers. Don’t want to sound like a broken record, but you really can hack together a more affordable full service move with a container from PODS® and movers booked through HireAHelper.
The $5,000-plus price tag of the long-distance move of a 3-bedroom house was higher than the prices I was quoted by truck rentals and U-Pack ®, which ran around $2,500. So, I decided to investigate further for a local move. I input info to receive an online quote for a very local move (from Fort Lee, N.J. to the next town over, Englewood Cliffs, N.J.) of a smaller home. As to be expected, it was much more affordable for half as much space and 1000 less miles to move. It would cost $576.78, which includes one big 16-foot container, which has enough space to house three to four rooms. This leads me to believe that PODS is more likely the right choice for those making a local move or the move of a smaller place, but then again, as with any option, the price is going to scale up considerably with the size and distance of your move Still, if I am ever able to renovate my kitchen, a dream of mine, I would consider loading up my gadgets and the like in a PODS container and keeping it on my property for the duration of the project.
PODS has a lot going for it. There are major convenience factors, especially the chance to load and unload at your leisure and the ability to store your stuff on property while transitioning to a new home or renovating one. It is the most flexible company there is for its cancellation policy. The equipment sounds sophisticated and durable yet easy to use. And the customer seems to be at the forefront of the company’s priorities.
Unlike U-Pack ®, you don’t have a set number of days to pack up your stuff and get moved in. This is really convenient if you have to get out of one place but can’t quite move into the new one or if you are renovating a home. Storage for the first month that you have a container is built into your original quote. So for two containers, it would cost me $399.98 for the second month and $359.98 for any month after that (so about $150 & $155 per 16’ container. So, yes, you have lots of time but you’ll get the most bang for your buck by wrapping everything up within a month, which is still a lot of time and more time than U-Pack offers.
You have until the day before your scheduled container drop off to cancel the reservation and still get a full refund. Modifying the reservation can happen pretty much anytime, but PODS prefers you get in touch about five days in advance.
PODS containers have aluminum skin panels with a steel frame, and the company promises they are weather resistant and able to withstand 110 mile-per-hour winds when partially filled for those of you in hurricane country. There are translucent roofs that allow light to illuminate the inside of the container. A light-weight steel roll-up door makes it easy to open and close. If you can’t quite fill the container, you can turn to the eyehooks and tie-downs that are provided to secure the load, according to the Web site. I didn’t go through with the move, nor did I put the containers to the test with gale force winds, so I can’t confirm their durability. But they sure do sound spiffy and the photos look it, too.
You will immediately see customer testimonials on the site and links to the company’s pages on social media, such as Facebook. While the customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, there are a few people offering unfiltered information that will give you a better idea of what to expect. It’s always nice to read what real people think about a particular service before committing to it, and PODS puts that information out there for customers to easily find. You can also find more reviews about PODS right here in this guide.
You don’t have to worry about hauling your stuff in a big truck or driving that thing to far-away lands, such as Florida. Someone else does it for you, and it’s one less worry, which leaves you with time and energy for stressing about everything else move related.
There is no question that PODS offers a convenient service, but there are some trade offs. Costing more than $5,000 for a long-distance move of a 3-bedroom house, PODS is pricier than some other DIY options (yet still more affordable than traditional full-service options). Discovering that you need to book the move in advance to secure the dates you want can be a turn-off. Being unable to get a quote or reserve a long-distance move online is not as convenient as it could be in this digital world.
This was an expensive option, I think, because of the type of move I was pretending to make. I was going to have to rent two of the largest containers to fit in all the stuff that usually piles up in a 3-bedroom home. In addition, a PODS driver was going to have to travel a long distance from New Jersey to Florida to deliver my stuff to me. If I was moving to a smaller place and a shorter distance, this might have been perfect for me. And if that was all true and I needed storage to boot, I’m certain it would have been a match. The first month of storage is baked into the quote, after all.
Normally, when I call to reserve a moving truck or container service, I ask to be scheduled for about two to three weeks from the time I’m calling. And I choose to go on a Friday or Saturday because those are popular days for people to move. Usually, it’s possible. Sometimes, it means paying more money. This time, it wasn’t even an option. Weekends are secured a year in advance, said a customer service representative. I had to settle for a Monday delivery date that was a week later than I had hoped. But keep in mind that you have a month to load it up, have it transported, and unload it since one month of storage is baked into the cost. So, if you find yourself in this situation, just have it delivered the Monday before the weekend you can pack and load it. It might take a bit more planning, though. The online rep also warned me that spring and summer were the busiest time of year for movers and therefore PODS®.
When I input my info into the online tool for getting a free quote, I was given a phone number to call. I also could click to chat online with a customer service representative but only to ask general questions, which I did and received satisfactory answers. I had to work with a customer service representative via phone to get both my estimate and reservation. The agent was well mannered and did a great job of explaining everything. Clearly, he was well trained with a somewhat rehearsed spiel about the entire process, pricing, and all the rest.
Included in the price is coverage up to $10,000. This protects you in the event of fire, lightning, burglary, PODS negligence, etc. You can invest in more coverage if you’d like. For $59.95 per month, you can get coverage up to $15,000; for $69.95 per month, you can get coverage up to $20,000; for $179.95 per month, you can get coverage up to $100,000. You must purchase your additional coverage in advance of your initial container delivery date. This insurance does NOT cover any damage that happens to your goods during normal transit. It only covers your goods in transit if there’s an accident, like if the container were to get hit with by a tornado or broadsided by a semi-trailer. 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 our $0.60/lb insurance, for free.
There are hundreds of territories with 2-3 locations in each. Local offices maintain their own fleets of trucks and containers. Some of the trucks may be newer than others. PODS does not sell containers and seldom decommissions them. They are repaired by the storage centers, too, according to the response of an online customer service representative.
Born in 1998, PODS is the “inventor and leader of the portable storage category,” according to its Web site, which includes little information about the story behind the company. What is apparent is that the company offers service to more than 200 million people in more than 20,000 cities in 58 states, provinces, and territories throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia.
PODS supports a number of charities, including Habitat for Humanity, Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, and Salvation Army, through its franchise system.
PODS containers are built in the U.S.A. using recycled materials.
I can't get over how simple this process was! I can't imagine why anyone would use unreliable, sneaky moving companies (had a horrible experience with multiple ones where they show up, raise the price, and you have to get out so you're at their mercy- is this common practice?!?!) PODS was so convenient, on my timeline, inexpensive and the reps were so easy to talk to. I also discovered how flexible they can be when I needed a faster pickup of my empty container and I wasn't even home!
The transaction was smooth and very fast and efficient. The delivery driver was incredible. I cannot recommend him enough.
The coordinators were very helpful and delivery and pick up was prompt.
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PODS ® is a registered trademark of PODS ® Enterprises, Inc. (PEI). HireAHelper, LLC has no affiliation with PEI and PEI has not authorized the use of its trademarks.