Updated Wednesday, October 16th 2019
U-Haul is essentially the inventor of the modern-day DIY move, popularizing the concept of renting your own moving vehicle all the way back in 1945. Now, with the advent of moving container companies such as PODS®, U-Haul has pushed itself into the storage transportation business. This is where "U-Box" comes in.
In general, moving containers are the more expensive choice for those with bigger homes (read: lots of stuff). And U-Box, especially with only one container size available, is no exception. On the plus side, anyone intimidated by driving one of those big moving trucks can avoid that hassle altogether; U-Box has professional drivers deliver the boxes, pick them up, then ship them to wherever you are moving. (If you're cool with hauling the boxes yourself, you can also go that route.)
Also, a nice U-Box perk is that you can order more boxes than you need and return the ones you didn't end up using, free of charge. The moving containers are made of treated plywood and delivered with a cover that promises to be sturdy and weatherproof, but it's up to you if you want to entrust your belongings to wood.
Under 50 mi.
|U-Box Storage Container||7'11"||4'8"||6'11 ½"||257 cubic feet/one and a half rooms|
Author: Francesca Di Meglio
Updated: Wednesday, October 16th 2019
You book online, pick your specific delivery method along with any add-ons, then pay in installments. Here's how it breaks down.
To rent a U-Haul U-Box storage container, just head to their website. There, you can input where and when you plan to move. You will be prompted to describe whether you have an average amount of stuff, or lots of it. Then, you describe your home as being a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, etc. The tool conveniently spits out the suggested number of containers to rent.
The good news is you can rent more containers than you need because you only get charged for the number of containers you have anything inside of. But the bad news is that if you are moving a larger home, you will have only one size container from which to choose - and it's small. It fits the contents of about one and a half rooms in it. That means the price is likely to jump, and fast.
After you decide on the number of containers you need, you will be prompted to decide which of U-Box's specific delivery methods you want for your containers:
For my specific, local move, here are what these options were quoted to me as:
As is the case with most portable storage containers, you will be paying for the rental of the container for one month. That buys you some flexibility with pick up and delivery times. This option always comes in handy if you're not 100% certain about when you will be able to move into your new place. (A lot of people use the service simply for storage during a renovation or just because they need space.)
You choose whether to keep the containers on your property or in a U-Haul storage facility. The price is the exact same for either option. But still, you will be charged a monthly rental fee. Also, as long as you provide the storage facility staff at least 24-hour advance notice, you will be able to access your container for free.
Your mileage will vary depending on what's available in your area (literally).
Each container has a latch that can fit a padlock. If you do not have a lock, you can purchase one from them for a few bucks, depending on your store. Only you keep the key or combination to ensure the safety of your stuff.
On the day of delivery (or pickup) of your containers, you can start loading contents into the U-Box, with or without movers. Again, you can keep it all at your place for one month without being charged extra. However, when you input a long-distance move into the website form, U-Haul will provide you with a date for pick-up of the loaded containers for transportation to the final destination. You can pick a later date, but you will not be able to pick anything sooner.
You pay in installments, depending on the delivery service you pick. For full-service delivery, you may have to pay a large portion upfront, while with other delivery options you may end up paying a certain amount when you receive the U-Box, then the rest afterwards. Ask about your particular location's terms.
There are no major differences between planning a local or long-distance move with U-Box.
You still go to the website and fill out the same forms. In my case, I moved from Fort Lee, New Jersey to nearby Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, and I was unable to book a straight delivery. To have a U-Haul driver bring the container to my current home and final destination, the site urges you to hire professional movers through the company. This was nothing short of annoying. You can opt to have it delivered to your place and hire movers elsewhere, if you want to try and hack together a better price.
Also, choosing the option of delivery with pre-packaged help from U-Haul movers means you have to pay much of your bill upfront on the day you first schedule the rental. With all the other U-Box options, you pay nothing at first and simply provide your credit card as a placeholder until delivery or pickup of the storage container.
Obviously, the real difference between a local and long-distance move with these storage containers is the price. A big chunk of your budget will go toward paying for the delivery of the loaded containers, and the longer the distance, the more expensive the cost.
I planned a move from Fort Lee, New Jersey to nearby Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, both of which are close to New York City. You travel about five miles to get from one town to the other.
My move was for a 3-bedroom home with an attic and basement. I took the advice of the estimator tool on the U-Box website and rented four (4) portable storage containers. The load, delivery, and unload would all happen in one day. I opted for the “Moving Help™ Delivery” option because it was the only way to have a professional driver haul everything and emulate moves I'd get with other storage container companies.
Having only one sized container that fits one and a half rooms apiece is prohibitive.
My local move, U-Box estimate came to $1,718.75. Because I ended up choosing the delivery option that came with professional movers, I had to pay $973.95 up front when I signed up for the service. I would pay the additional $744.80 for the containers and trailer rental and delivery on the day of my scheduled move.
When will you have to pay your U-Box bill? Customers should carefully read the payment information on the screen. It clearly delineates how much you are paying for various parts of the service provided and the dates on which you'll have to make payments. Also, be wary of what you see. The original payment document I saw on the screen said the first month of rental was free, a deal that was available for the local move only, and showed a much smaller subtotal. However, that was not the case when I arrived at checkout. Also, the first month was included in the price and I was expected to pay the more expensive total. (This might have to do with the fact that I opted for the “Moving Help™ Delivery,” which seems to change the payment process.)
Again, there are no fundamental differences between planning a local or long-distance move with U-Box.
Your experience with U-Box - regardless of the kind of move you are making - begins at the website. You'll input your information and share details about your current address, size of home, and final destination to receive a customized estimate.
One important note is that for the long-distance move, I was able to pick a date for the delivery of the storage containers, aka the start of my move, but the date of drop-off of the loaded containers was automatically chosen for me. I could make it for a later date, but I could not get it any sooner. Of course, this is a result of needing the time to get my contents from northern New Jersey to central Florida. You'll have to work this timing into your planning.
Another difference is the fact that you will be dealing with two different U-Haul U-Box locations. The company has locations virtually everywhere, even out of country, so it won't present the same kinds of challenges as smaller competitors. But it could weigh into your decision about the delivery method. For instance, if the Orlando location is close to my new home, I might sign up to unload the containers at the storage facility and bring my stuff to my home myself. This option is free and could significantly bring down the total cost of my move. Afterall, flexibility with delivery is a big perk of U-Box.
My move from a 3-bedroom home with an attic and basement from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Kissimmee, Florida cost a total of $5,405.75. Again, I selected “Moving Help™ Delivery,” which meant at the time of checkout, I owed a big chunk of the bill, $949.95 to be exact. Like the local move estimate, you will see a clear breakdown of costs and due dates for various payments.
Prices vary based on the number of storage containers, distance, and other factors, such as the delivery option and insurance coverage chosen.
Pay close attention to the website to see if there are any deals or offers to get a discount. Unlike other companies, I was not constantly barraged with opportunities to call or chat with a customer service representative. I'm sure there is a way to ask about discounts, but it was not as obvious as with Penske or Budget, for instance.
My local move was on the pricey side. But I received no discount and I opted for the most expensive delivery option, which included professional help with the move. In addition, I am moving a big home, which requires renting four U-Box containers. The fact that U-Box containers come only in one size can be prohibitive for those with a larger home.
Here is the breakdown:
Like the local move, my long-distance move of a 3 bedroom home, with a basement and an attic, from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando, was expensive. Again, having to rent four storage containers and professionals to help with the move and drive your stuff a lengthy distance adds up. Here is the breakdown:
The loaded containers were guaranteed to be delivered to the Orlando U-Haul location no later than 11 days from my move. U-Haul U-Box promised to provide a $50 refund for every potential day the shipment is late. While I have to pay $949.95 at the time of booking, I would not have to make the final payment until the shipment arrived at my new home.
U-Box offers a number of options for coverage. Refreshingly, they point out that you can use your own homeowner's or renter's insurance at no additional cost. (This is what I chose.) If you go this route, you must call the insurance provider to explain the situation and see if you need to include a rider. After all, you will be responsible for all coverage if you choose this option.
...(F)lexibility with delivery is a big perk of U-Box.
The insurance costs the same for a local or long-distance move. U-Box insurance covers damage to your goods inside the U-Box container while it is in transit and in U-Box warehouses, according to the website. Here are the options:
The price is just too high for someone moving from a larger home, especially if the move is long distance. Having only one sized container that fits one and a half rooms apiece is prohibitive.
Regional availability ended up being a con for my move. The inability to sign up for a professional U-Haul driver to bring the loaded containers to my preferred locations of either Ridgfield Park or Kissimmee was a drag. In order to have someone else do the driving, which I wanted, I had no choice but to sign up for Moving Help™ because the driver alone was not available in my area. This increased the price, even though I opted for the cheapest moving service offered to me in my starting area. Your mileage will vary depending on what's available in your area (literally).
The plywood material of each box is not as sturdy as some of their competition. This may or may not be a downside for you, but keep it in the back of your mind.
You can order extra containers without the fear of being charged. The biggest U-Haul trucks can fit five moving containers on them at one time. So, if you do need them, you should be able to get them to your final destination without a hassle. But the best news is that if you don't need all the delivered containers, you will get a refund for each unused one. Nice.
Furniture pads are included with the rental of the storage container. Most moving rental companies have customers pay an extra fee to rent furniture pads, so this was a neat surprise.
Many options for delivery is a differentiator. Other portable container companies have professional drivers haul the containers away and there is no other option. U-Haul, however, provides professionals as well as self-delivery of the containers, and even the chance to pick up your stuff at a U-Haul storage facility. These options can significantly bring down the cost of your move!
Those moving from a small place to a nearby location will get the most bang for their buck. This could include those in studio or one-bedroom apartments or dormitories. It is also a viable, practical option for those renovating or needing to store items temporarily. And if the other guys just don't have the locations you need, U-Box is the most likely of your potential options to come through.
If you prefer driving but want the convenience of portable storage containers, then this is the perfect fit. U-Box offers the opportunity to both lower the cost and get your drive on by allowing customers to haul the containers themselves. This is different than most, if not all, of the competition. While I wish I was not forced to hire professional movers to get a driver for my containers, I recognize this option will be a plus for many.
You might also consider it a perk to have 12 furniture pads included with the rental of each storage container. Most companies require customers to pay extra for this. It probably won't be a deciding factor, but it is a nice touch.
Some people might also prefer that U-Box containers are made of plywood, whereas competitors often provide metal containers. There are pros and cons to each, but some people think the wood allows for more breathing room and therefore fewer odors, especially to fabric items. On the other hand, some wonder if it is as durable as metal containers. It's a matter of preference.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to your budget and preference. For some, particularly those with a large home that they are moving a far distance - it will be far too costly. For others, knowing U-Haul is behind U-Box will provide comfort and flexibility - and that will be enough.
The communication was excellent. The pod was delivered within the time frame quoted and picked up in the same manner. We had to delay delivery and there was no problem in their accommodating our request. Then, due to Hurricane Michael, we asked for the earlist possible delivery, which was granted, and pick up was request a day earlier and they again met our request.
ALL LOCAL STAFF WENT OUT OF THEIR WAY TO HELP AND DELIVER MY STUFF. I MOVED ORIGINAL DELIVERY DATE. THOUGH A FEW HICKUPS THINGS WERE DELIVERED 3 DAYS LATE. CALLING THE COOPERATE NUMBER WAS A VERY LONG 45 MIN TO 1 HR WAIT ON HOLD. ONCE OFF HOLD THEY TOLD CARE OF THE PROBLEMS BUT THAT WAS TOO LONG PHONE TIME
The Uhaul Pods where the way to go for me. I didn't know where I has going to purchase a home, so renting a truck, driving unloading into a storage unit and them reloading wasn't a good option for me. The Pods were delivered when they said they would be, everything has intact, nothing broken and they were delivered to my new home in the mountains. Both drivers at each end where very professional and knew what they were doing. I would use them again when needed.
For the price this was a great decision, 2 Ubox containers fit our entire 1 bedroom 1 study apartment. The only thing that keeps me from giving it an "excellent" reviews is that they are plywood boxes and although they have a heavy-duty locking mechanism, anyone wanting to get in only needs a saw to get through the plywood or a screwdriver to take the brackets off. Although nothing has happened to our belongings this is a little disconcerting to me. Otherwise, the price is right and our experience with the company has been pleasant and smooth.
If I were to rate just the personnel, this would be 5 stars. Joy was a great communicator and problem-solver, and her upbeat, energetic manner made her a pleasure to work with. I can see why they had her training a new person. We had a complex process, with Uboxes coming and going for a month, then going into storage until our new home was ready. The communication was fairly good, with us receiving phone confirmation for nearly every dropoff and pickup. The 4-star rating is due to the fact that several of the boxes had locks which did not have clearance for a heavy duty lock which we had bought specifically for the box. In one case, we had to have an empty box replaced because no lock could fit in, not even a lightweight combination lock. The Uboxes were a good option for us.
After PODS never showed up to deliver our moving crates, we contacted UHaul to see if they could help us with our move across country which was to take place the next morning. From that moment on, the move was smooth and stress free. They delivered our crates to our new home on the day they promised and even arrived earlier than their anticipated window. They did have to postpone the pick up of the crates when we were finished unloading them but it wasn’t a big deal as we had more than enough time to unload our belongings. UHaul really saved us when PODS become a huge disappointment. We could have avoided a lot of stress had we chosen them to begin with!
Everything was fine with the Uboxes until the day they were to be delivered at 9:00a and the driver did not show up until 12:30. The hire for help 3 guys showed up on time at 9:00a so I paid them for 3 hours to sit on my garage floor. Then had to pay another 3 hrs. I am having a hard time getting through to UHaul to speak to a manager to request a refund for the additional hours as it was Hector, the Ubox driver's fault.
The U-Haul® 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.
U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. HireAHelper, LLC has no affiliation with U-Haul International, Inc. and U-Haul International, Inc. has not authorized the use of its trademarks.
Moving Help™ is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. HireAHelper, LLC has no affiliation with U-Haul International, Inc. and U-Haul International, Inc. has not authorized the use of its trademarks.