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3 Cheapest Moving Container Companies

If you’re looking to move into a new home without breaking the bank, you might want to explore moving container services. These services are among the most affordable ways to move both locally and long-distance. If you’re really hoping to save on your move, here are the three cheapest moving container companies that are worth considering.

Read on to learn more about:

  • The most affordable moving container services on the market
  • What you can expect when moving with a container company
  • Tips and tricks to reduce the cost of your move

Most Competitive Pricing

U-Pack

4.7
  • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
  • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

Best Long Distance Moving Container

1-800 Pack Rat

4.5
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Container Company
  • Storage On Your Property or at PACK-RAT Facility
  • Three Container Sizes (8', 12' & 16')

Most Convenient Service

PODS

4.6
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Can Store PODS on Property or Storage Facility
  • Three Container Sizes (7', 12' & 16')

What is a Moving Container Company and How Do They Work?

A moving container company is a unique moving option that is much more affordable than a full-service move. These services combine DIY labor with the convenience of having a moving company transport your things on your behalf. Though every company operates a bit differently, here are the basic processes you can expect:

  1. Get Your Quote: Before you schedule your date with your moving container service, you’ll contact the company to get a quote and book. You can usually select from multiple container sizes and rent multiple containers as needed. Some companies require you to speak with a representative before you can book, while others offer an entirely online experience.
  2. Load Your Container: When your moving date arrives, the company will deliver one or more weatherproof containers to your property. You will then load up your container with everything that you want to move to your new home. Depending on the terms of your contract, you may have a few days or up to a week to load your container with your household goods. While doing the labor yourself can help you save the most money, some companies will offer labor assistance through third-party providers.
  3. Pick-Up & Shipping: A truck will arrive directly to your property to pick up your container(s) and transport it to your new property. The only thing you’ll need to worry about is getting your family and pets to your new home.
  4. Unload Your Container: After the company drops off your container at your property, you’ll have some time to unload—typically at least three days. When you’re finished, your moving company will return to your property and pick up the container, returning it to the company as you finish your unpacking processes.

Many moving families who cannot hire a moving truck but need to keep their moving budget low elect to work with a moving container service. However, unlike full-service moving companies, moving container companies do not provide you with a team to assist in loading or unloading—though you are free to hire a third party for help. They also usually don’t provide additional services like packing, furniture disassembly, or crating. If you require these services, you might want to explore affordable full-service moving options.

The Cheapest Moving Container Services

Now that you know how these services work, let’s explore a few of the cheapest moving container companies to work with. Even though their pricing is extremely affordable, service quality is still high. These companies have strong reputations in the industry and years of experience in the industry:

U-Pack

Most Competitive Pricing

4.7
  • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
  • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

U-Pack is a long-distance moving container provider that wins our award for the most competitive pricing overall. Providing moves in all 50 states, U-Pack maintains an affordable and comprehensive moving system that can get you nearly anywhere in the country at rates that are more affordable than many competitors. U-Pack is also accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and maintains an A+ rating. This is the highest possible distinction that a company can earn with the BBB.

Another major benefit of working with U-Pack is the company’s instant quote system. In most cases, you’ll be able to get a quote from U-Pack and book your move completely online. This allows you to easily adjust your moving dates and container number and sizes to find the combination that’s perfect for your budget. You can also save your quote and come back to it later—an ideal feature if you want to get multiple estimates from competing companies before booking your move.

Pros

  • “Pay for What You Use” pricing policy keeps costs low
  • Can book your move completely online
  • Accredited by the BBB with A+ rating

Cons

  • Does not serve moves less than 150 miles

U-Pack Services

Here’s a quick rundown on services available with U-Pack:

  • Availability: U-Pack serves all 50 US states but is only available for moves of 150+ miles
  • Container sizes: 8’ ReloCube and 27’ Trailer
  • Labor Assistance: Available through partner Hire A Helper
  • Loading time: 3 days to load and unload
  • Storage: Short-term and long-term storage available at U-Pack facilities. You cannot access your items while in storage.

What Does U-Pack Cost?

Use the chart below to see what previous U-Pack customers paid for their moves with U-Pack. This can help you estimate what you’re likely to pay for your moving services.

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $600 – $1,600 $1,200 – $2,200 $1,600 – $2,600 $2,100 – $3,100
4 BR $800 – $1,800 $1,800 – $2,800 $2,800 – $3,800 $4,100 – $5,100

 

The best way to find out what your move will cost with U-Pack is to request a free online quote.

1-800-PACK-RAT

Best Long Distance Moving Container

4.5
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Container Company
  • Storage On Your Property or at PACK-RAT Facility
  • Three Container Sizes (8', 12' & 16')

1-800-PACK-RAT is an affordable moving container service that is available for both long-distance and local moves. . If your move totals less than 150 miles, 1-800-PACK-RAT can provide a similarly affordable move to U-Pack.

1-800-PACK-RAT is an excellent choice when it comes to long-distance moving processes because the company offers a range of discounts that you can use to limit what you’ll pay for services. This can be a major benefit for long-distance moves, which tend to be significantly more costly than shorter moves. 1-800-PACK-RAT offers exclusive discounts for:

Another benefit of working with 1-800-PACK-RAT is that the company is more open to negotiating prices than other moving container services we’ve seen. If you receive a quote over the phone, you can negotiate your price with your representative. When combined with a relocation package from your employer, this can save you a significant amount of money. 1-800-PACK-RAT also offers a price-matching policy on long-distance moves—which means that you might want to get your quote with them after you’re done exploring options available in your area.

Pros

  • Many discounts available
  • Price-matching policy for long-distance moves
  • High-quality, weatherproof containers
  • Negotiates with clients on moving expenses

Cons

  • Higher pre-discount pricing
  • Not available in MT, ID, ND, SD, or NE

1-800-PACK-RAT Services

Here’s a quick rundown on services available with 1-800-PACK-RAT:

  • Availability: Local and long-distance moving. Does not serve MT, ID, ND, SD, or NE.
  • Container sizes: 8’, 12’ (local only), 16’
  • Labor Assistance: Available through partner Hire A Helper
  • Loading time: Flexible loading and unloading times. Keep the container as long as you need.
  • Storage: You can store your container at your own property or at a Pack Rat facility. If at a facility, you will need to provide 24-48 hour notice to access your belongings.

What Does 1-800-PACK-RAT Cost?

We collected a few quotes from previous 1-800-PACK-RAT customers to help you get a better idea of what you might pay for your move. Use the chart below to explore the company’s average pricing:

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $800 – $2,000 $1,400 – $2,400 $1,800 – $3,000 $2,300 – $3,500
4 BR $1,000 – $2,200 $2,200 – $3,200 $3,200 – $4,200 $4,500 – $5,400

 

Start planning your move by requesting a free quote from 1-800-PACK-RAT. Be sure to ask about their many discount options!

PODS

Most Convenient Service

4.6
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Can Store PODS on Property or Storage Facility
  • Three Container Sizes (7', 12' & 16')

A household name in the moving industry, PODS is the best-known moving storage container service in the United States. Despite being one of the biggest names in the industry, they are also one of the most affordable, offering both local and long-distance moving services.

One of the best things about PODS is how easy it is to book. If you’re moving less than 50 miles, you can book entirely online. Though you’ll need to call for a long-distance quote, the booking process is fairly straightforward.

PODS offers a variety of moving container sizes, and every rental comes with 30 days of use. Your weatherproof containers are rented for a month, which means that you can truly relax during the loading and unloading process without rushing to avoid late fees.

Pros

  • Strong reputation for customer service
  • 30-day rental periods
  • Cancel with up to 24-hr notice with no fee

Cons

  • Longer booking process for long-distance moves

PODS Services

Here’s a quick rundown on services available with PODS:

  • Availability: Local and long-distance moving across all 50 US states.
  • Container sizes: 7’, 12’, 16’
  • Labor Assistance: Available through partner companies
  • Loading time: 30-day rental periods
  • Storage: You can store your container at your own property or at a PODS facility. If at a facility, you will need to provide 24-48 hour notice to access your belongings.

What Does PODS Cost?

To help you get an idea of what you might expect to pay for your move with PODS, we’ve collected and summarized data from previous customers’ moves. Here’s what we found.

<250 mi 500 mi 1,000 mi 2,000 mi
2 BR $700 – $1,700 $1,300 – $2,300 $1,700 – $2,700 $2,200 – $3,200
4 BR $900 – $1,900 $1,900 – $2,900 $2,900 – $3,900 $4,200 – $5,200

 

To find out exactly what your move with PODS will cost, request a free quote online today.

Moving Container Cost Factors

Knowing what factors will impact your cost with a moving container company can help you to plan and budget for your move. Here’s what you need to know:

The Distance You’re Moving

Though moving container services won’t need to cover all the expenses associated with a full team of movers, it still requires time, effort, and money to get your container to your new space safely. The further away from your current property that you’re moving to, the more you can expect to pay for your move.

The Type of Items You’re Moving

Most moving containers are quite spacious—but if you’re moving a larger home, you might find that you can’t fit all your things into a single moving container. Most moving companies can schedule multiple containers for your move. The more containers you need, the more you can expect to pay for your move overall.

The total weight of your shipment and the size of your home aren’t the only factors that will influence the price of your move. You’ll also need to really consider the items you’re moving and how much space they take up. Heavy furniture and other large, awkwardly shaped items will take up more real estate in your container than neatly stacked boxes, which can result in you needing to rent an additional moving container. This will increase the price of your move.

Any Storage Services Requested

Some moving container services allow you to schedule storage in addition to your transportation. Most moving companies offer the following storage options:

  • On-Site Storage: If you’d like a more leisurely unloading process, you may be able to store your container on your property. This allows the container to effectively serve as an onsite storage unit.
  • Professional Facility Storage: If your moving container is scheduled to arrive at your new property before your family, you might need to hold your container in a storage facility until you arrive. Most moving container companies can arrange storage placement on your behalf. Some moving container companies even provide their own climate-controlled storage facilities for their customers.

The longer you need to use your storage facility, the more you can expect to pay for your services. Storing at a facility may also cost more than storing on your own property.

When You’re Moving

Like professional moving companies, moving container services have days and times of the year when they’re busier. As a general rule, you can expect to pay more when you book your move in the spring or the summer, as this is the time when most moving container services are the busiest. Many moving container services also raise their rates on weekends.

How Early You Book Your Move

If you wait until the last minute to book your move, you might find yourself stuck working with the most expensive company you looked at because cheaper moving container companies are all booked. We recommend booking your move two to four months in advance to secure the best rates.

Tips to Lower the Cost of Your Moving Container Service

Moving container services are overall less expensive than full-service moving companies. However, this doesn’t mean that they’re cheap for every type of move. Depending on the company you work with and where you’re moving to, you could pay up to $5,000 or more for your container move. When you consider the fact that about one-quarter of Americans has less than $400 in savings, you can see that even an affordable moving service can potentially be out of reach.

Thankfully, there are steps that you can take to lower the total price of your move. Use the tips below to save money when moving with a container service:

Donate or Sell Large Possessions

Making the most out of your moving container is the best way to save money on your move. Though you can’t adjust the distance that you’ll need to travel to get to your new home, you can downsize as much as possible in anticipation of your move, ensuring that you use as few moving containers as possible.

First, walk through your home and pick out things that you don’t need to take with you to your new home. Focusing on large items that take up a lot of space (like pieces of furniture, musical instruments, and piles of old books) make the process easier. You can sell any items that you don’t want at a yard sale or through a website like Craigslist to earn a bit more cash before the moving process begins.

If you don’t want to go through the hassle of selling your items, you can explore the donation process. You can donate furniture, books, and clothing to your local thrift store, but you might need to find a specific place in your local community to donate items like pianos and power tools. Be sure to keep documentation on the value of the items that you donate—you can write off a portion of the value of any physical donations that you make to charity when you file your federal taxes.

Adjust Your Moving Date

If you have flexibility with your moving date, you may want to consider adjusting your moving date to fit into the slower seasons. Moving during the months of September through March can save money on your move and provide you with a wider number of companies to choose from when you book your move. Don’t have the flexibility to wait half a year to move? You can also save money by choosing to move on a weekday as opposed to a weekend when moving container services have more availability.

Find Free Packing Supplies

Places where you can find free packing supplies in your neighborhood are more common than you might think. Though it might be the first place that you think of, avoid packing and moving stores themselves. A roll of simple plastic moving tape can cost you around five dollars—this tape is around two dollars at any other hardware or grocery store. Cardboard boxes can be anywhere from one dollar to five dollars each. This might not sound like a lot of money, but small expenses can save up when you get your cardboard boxes for free.

In order to avoid this massive price gouging, go to your closest Walmart or Winn-Dixie, or whichever supermarket you prefer. If you simply ask to speak to a manager about taking excess cardboard boxes, most of the time they will be happy to give them away. The more recyclables you take, the less they have to pay the recycling company on pick-up day.

If you have a friend, family member, or even acquaintance who works in the public school system, you have found the jackpot. Where there are schools, there is paper, and where there is paper, there are paper boxes. Paper boxes are sturdy rectangular cardboard boxes with handles on each side. They stack nicely and are unlikely to break during lifting or transit. The handles make these boxes ideal for lifting and carrying safely, and the school will be happy you’re taking them off their hands.

How We Chose Our Recommended Services

After spending hundreds of hours reviewing dozens of companies across the country, you might be wondering what we searched for when deciding on the best affordable moving container companies to recommend to you. Here’s what we took into account:

  • Transparency. No one wants to be surprised with hidden fees when it comes time to move. When searching for moving companies to recommend, we looked for service providers that are transparent with their pricing, offering binding estimates before they arrive at your property on moving day. We also looked for companies that made it easy to get a quote, which allows you to compare multiple service providers before choosing the company for you.
  • Pricing and Cost. Many movers drastically underestimate the full cost of moving, which is one of the top reasons why homeowners choose to work with a moving container company at all. In our search, we sought out companies that made their pricing clear and that offered competitive rates for both local and long-distance moving processes.
  • Services Offered. There’s nothing more frustrating than finding a fantastic moving container service that perfectly fits your needs—only to find out later that the company doesn’t offer moves in your area. When choosing our recommended moving container companies, we prioritized companies that offered services across the country. We also looked for service providers that offered extras—for example, extended storage services to make unloading a less urgent process.
  • Overall Reputation. With the number of moving scams increasing on a seemingly daily basis, it’s now more important than ever before to do as much research as possible on your moving company before you book your dates. We used multiple third-party customer review resources to get an idea of the average experience that previous customers had with each of our recommended companies. We only recommend companies that have an overall positive reputation and that have a well-established history offering local or long-distance moves.

Get a Free Quote Now

The best way to secure an affordable move for your family is to collect multiple quotes from competing moving companies. Compare quotes to find the best rate for your needs:

Most Competitive Pricing

U-Pack

4.7
  • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Storage at Secure U-Pack Facilities Nationwide
  • Two Container Sizes (8' and 27')

Best Long Distance Moving Container

1-800 Pack Rat

4.5
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Container Company
  • Storage On Your Property or at PACK-RAT Facility
  • Three Container Sizes (8', 12' & 16')

Most Convenient Service

PODS

4.6
  • Local & Long-Distance Moving Container Service
  • Can Store PODS on Property or Storage Facility
  • Three Container Sizes (7', 12' & 16')

Moving Container FAQs

What companies are similar to PODS?

Though PODS is the most well-known moving container service, it’s far from the only name in the game. U-Pack and 1-800-PACK-RAT provide moving services similar to PODS.

How much does it cost to have a container moved?

The answer to this question will vary depending on the size of your home and the distance of your move, among other factors. After reviewing dozens of moving companies across the country, we’ve found that you can usually expect to pay between $600 and $5,000 to move with a container service.

Can you live in a storage unit?

No, you cannot live or sleep in your storage unit. Not only is it in violation of a number of federal and local laws, but it’s also a major fire hazard—if the storage container building catches on fire, you can quickly find yourself with no route of escape. Storage facility owners will evict anyone they catch living in a container.

Can you use a moving container for storage?

Yes, you can use a moving container for storage. Some companies will allow you to store the container on your property, while others will take the container to a secure storage facility.