U-Pack vs. PODS Storage Units

There are two sides to the coin concerning moving your items from one place to another. On one side is U-Pack, a self-service moving company that offers quality moving container services and lets you pay for the space your items use up during transport. 

On the other side is PODS or portable on-demand storage. It’s also an excellent choice for self-service and container-style moving, especially for those looking for local moves and long-term storage of belongings.

Some people turn to U-Pack to help them with their belongings when moving. Meanwhile, others prefer the services that PODS offers.

To understand your choices, make sure to look into the differences between U-Pack and PODS. This guide will discuss how each company works, the services offered, the costs involved, and more.

How U-Pack works

U-Pack drops off a ReloCube (70” * 93” * 82” with 2,500lbs maximum weight capacity) at your doorstep. Then, it will give you as many as three business days to use its moving container to pack your belongings. After the time allowance, it will pick up the ReloCube and deliver it to your final destination.

It features a pay-for-what-you-use service. It allows customers to order as many ReloCubes as they want. You will only pay for the containers you use.

For example, you ordered 10 ReloCubes. If the moving company picks up the ReloCubes and you only used eight (out of those ten) containers, U-Pack will only require a payment that covers those eight containers.

Notable U-Pack features:

  • Offers service center delivery, facility storage, door-to-door delivery, long-distance moving, student moving, residential moving, military moving, senior moving, cross-country moving, and packing and loading services.
  • Features two container options: ReloCube moving container unit and 28-foot trailer.
  • $2,500+ for 1,500 miles on average; does not support local moves.

How PODS works

PODS drops off a moving container at your doorstep. And you can take as much time as necessary to load it up with all your belongings. Once your moving container is ready, inform the moving company so they can initiate a pick-up. From there, they will deliver your package to its new destination.

Unlike U-Pack, PODS requires payment for every moving container you order. If you end up ordering a container you will not use, the moving company will ask you to pay for it. On its website, you can find an online calculator to help determine which container size is appropriate for your move.

PODS also partners with Hire-A-Helper to offer moving labor services like packing (and unpacking), loading, and unloading. And PODS also offers long-term, climate-controlled storage for its containers with 24/7 security.

Notable PODS features:

  • Offers long-distance moving, local moving, business moving, residential moving, service center delivery, door-to-door delivery, at-home storage, cross-country moving services, boxes and moving supplies, facility storage, and packing loading assistance.
  • Features three container sizes: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet.
  • Average local move costs up to $549; the average long-distance move is about $999 to $2,999 (depending on availability, duration, location, and container size).

Similarities between U-Pack and PODS

Both U-Pack and PODS offer affordable moving containers for self-service moving. For years, they have had a reputation as trustworthy moving and storage service providers. And so far, customers have no complaints about their quality of service.

Here are the similarities between U-Pack and PODS:

  • Hassle-free move for customers – They provide moving checklists, packing lists, moving and storage calculators, and tips for packing and loading. They can also offer personalized recommendations that can make your move more effective.
  • Multiple protection plans – They want to give you the peace of mind of knowing your belongings are in safe hands.
  • Provide free quotes – They do not require upfront costs to book a container. This matters because one of the key considerations in moving is the cost. If a moving and storage company does not offer transparency (concerning pricing), it is only fair for customers to look for other companies.
  • Do not require an in-home assessment – You have the freedom to order as many moving containers as necessary. U-Pack and PODS will not evaluate your situation before you can order moving containers.
  • Cancellation policies – U-Pack can offer a full refund within 7 days of shipment if an item is in its original packaging. Meanwhile, PODS allows you to cancel orders by 4 PM (local time) the day before delivery. If you stay within the deadline, you can get a refund.
  • Available in more than 45 locations – U-Pack is available in 590 locations in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Meanwhile, PODS is available in 46 places worldwide. It has headquarters in the US, Australia, the UK, and Canada.
  • First-grade moving containers – Their containers are weather-resistant and steel-framed. And their containers can withstand heavy rain, strong winds, and other terrible weather conditions.
  • Positive reviews from trusted authorities – BBB or the Better Business Bureau have positive remarks about them. Notably, Newsweek awarded special recognition to PODS. In 2019, Newsweek recognized PODS as America’s Best Customer Service company.
  • No in-house packing or loading services – They can only provide you with containers. The labor is yours to shoulder. To compensate for this, they allow you to reach out to third-party providers for help with relevant services.

What to consider when choosing between U-Pack and PODS

U-Pack and PODS are two of the most common options for people who need help with moving. Most people use the online reputation of a company as the basis. They also look into website accuracy, customer-friendly discounts, BBB ratings, and customer experience.

And while those factors may be enough, keep your personal situation in mind when making a decision. So, when choosing between U-Pack and PODS, think about the factors below:

  • Services – Look at the services that U-Pack offers and pit them next to the services that PODS offers. You should only hire them if they provide a service that can  accommodate your needs 100%.
  • Availability – Review the network of both moving and storage companies. If they offer availability in locations convenient to you, consider them.
  • Insurance – Ensure they offer superior insurance plans. When you put your belongings in one of their containers, it is an indication of your trust in them.
  • Quotation process – Determine how U-Pack and PODS execute their quote process. Focus on how they set prices and see if they offer transparency.
  • Costs – Compare the rates. Find out which company offers a more reasonable rate.

U-Pack FAQs

Who owns U-Pack, and can I trust them?

U-Pack is a moving container service owned by an ArcBest carrier, ABF Freight. ABF Freight is a company with a focus on local and interstate travel. Because the BBB accredited it in 2001, you can trust that it offers quality service.

Do you need to order ReloCubes and book U-Pack services in advance?

No. You can go to its website and look for an available date. But, because its services are subject to availability, an advanced booking increases your chances of using its service.

Are U-Pack and U-Haul the same?

While they seem associated (based on their names), they offer different moving containers. U-Pack offers steel containers. Meanwhile, the containers of U-Haul are plywood.

What can you put in a U-Pack ReloCube?

Each ReloCube has a volume of about 308 cubic feet. This area can accommodate almost anything—a standard-sized mattress, average-sized bed, a sofa, and a table. The objects should be shorter than 83 inches.

What can you not put in a ReloCube?

Avoid loading your ReloCube with plants, perishable goods, hazardous materials, and important personal documents. U-Pack can help guarantee the safety of your belongings inside a ReloCube. But, you also need to do your end and not risk storing essential or fragile items for long-term storage.

How many ReloCubes should customers order?

The rule of thumb of U-Pack is customers should order one ReloCube for every room in their house. To help determine the exact number, customers can use the company’s estimator.

What modes of payment does U-Pack accept?

U-Pack accepts credit and debit cards. It charges the customer once it picks up the ReloCubes from a location.

Can U-Pack pick up the ReloCubes of one customer from multiple locations?

Yes. But, the customer needs to request this arrangement from a service center and pay an additional fee. A simple workaround is to consolidate the ReloCubes into a single location.

Can you request same-day services?

Yes. Generally, U-Pack allows three business days for the loading of items. But, if the customer is in a hurry to move the container, they can approach a local U-Pack service center and arrange for same-day service.

PODS FAQs

Who owns PODS, and can I trust them?

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan owns PODS. Since 1998 (the year it was founded), it has been in the moving and storage industry.

What can you put in a PODS unit?

  1. An 8-foot container is excellent for moving the contents of a studio or room that measures 500 square feet or smaller.
  2. A 12-foot container is ideal for the contents of a one-bedroom house or a space of 500–800 square feet.
  3. A 16-foot container can transport up to 1,200 square feet of the contents of a two-bedroom house.

Can you use different sizes of PODS containers for one move?

Yes. You can combine different container sizes for your needs. Remember, you can use the medium 12-foot container–it may be enough to fit most belongings.

Can you load a car inside a PODS container?

No. Unfortunately, you cannot load lawnmowers or any motorized vehicles in a PODS container.

Can you expect a date for the arrival of a container?

Yes. You will receive an email with your expected date, and PODS will update your account on the PODS website. Take note, the provided date for your PODS container arrival is an estimated timeframe—it is not a guarantee.

Do you have to schedule the delivery and pick-up of a PODS container in advance?

Yes. Because many people order PODS containers, PODS services are always subject to availability. And therefore, putting in an advanced notice is a requirement.

Can you reschedule an order for a moving container?

Yes. PODS offers flexible schedules for delivery and pick-up. Go to the PODS website, log in to your account, and manage your schedule.

Other options besides U-Pack and PODS

Inarguably, U-Pack and PODS are great moving and storage service providers. But, if you want to look into similar service providers, consider the list of reputable companies below.

  • 1-800-PACK-RAT – It provides weather-proof containers in three sizes: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. You can use it for local moves and long-distance transport.
  • COWs – Do you want to rent steel mobile containers for daily, bi-monthly, and monthly needs? Then, use the 8-foot or 16-foot COWS or containers on wheels.
  • Zippy Shell – It provides street-legal moving containers topped with wheels and license plates. If you are moving to a new city, why not order a 10-ft or 15-ft. container you can park on the streets?
  • Go Mini’s – If you want to rent a container on a week-by-week setup, use Go Mini’s. Approach the company and choose from one of its container sizes: 12-ft. containers, 16-ft containers, and 20-ft containers.
  • SMARTBOX – Like U-Pack, it offers only one container size (7’ * 8’ * 5’) and a pay-for-what-you-use policy. If you choose this company, you can order as many SMARTBOXes as you want and spare yourself from paying for unused containers.

Choosing the better moving service for you

Both U-Pack and PODS offer ideal moving and storage solutions. And based on many comments from their past customers, they both have superb services.

If you are one of those people who have no idea about how much space you need, U-Pack is the better option because of its pay-for-what-you-use policy. And instead of paying for the entire container, you can pay per square foot for a large moving trailer.

Meanwhile, if you value flexibility and want to choose from different container sizes. Then, go with PODS. PODS also has no minimum mileage for its moving services and offers short and long-term storage options as a bonus. 

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