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U-Pack Review

Long-Distance Moving Container Service

    Most Competitive Pricing

    Our Overall Rating88%
    Top Services
    • Long-Distance
    • Interstate
    Updated for June 16, 2021
    • Is Active Active
    • USDOT Licence# 2632086

    Relocating across the country can cost a pretty penny. Long-distance moves with a full-service company can run as high as $12,000, but hiring a storage container business is a great way to combat costs.

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    Most Competitive Pricing

    4.4
    • Long-Distance Moving Container Service
    • Portable Storage Service at U-Pack Warehouse
    • Negligence & Catastrophic Liability Coverage

    U-Pack is a highly rated storage container company famous for its low-cost moving cubes and its flexible services. In this guide, we’ll explain how U-Pack works and whether it’s the best option for your upcoming transition to a new home.

    For example, we’ll cover:

    • What you need to know about U-Pack and Relocube
    • Its transparency and customer service policies
    • Moving costs and fees
    • Available moving services
    • What past customers are saying

    If you’re on the hunt for a budget-friendly moving company, U-Pack provides a DIY option with rave customer reviews. We’ve done in-depth research to answer your questions about U-Pack service, what it’s like to use Relocube, as well as pricing details and helpful tips.

    Overview of U-Pack

    U-Pack is considered a long-distance moving container company. Instead of hiring a traditional team of movers with a truck, container companies give you the flexibility to pack and store items without the cost of the extra labor.

    While this may sound like a novel way to move compared to using a full-service company, U-Pack has been around since 1997. Here’s how it works:

    • U-Pack drops off a storage unit three days before your move so you can pack it up yourself.
    • Their partner company, ABF Freight, then swings by to pick up the filled container and head to your new home.
    • Once it arrives, you then have three days to unload the container before it is removed.

    While this does save money, packing a container by yourself is not for everyone. Here are a few crucial pros and cons to know about the company before we dive in deeper.

    Pros

    • $600 less on average than the industry standard
    • Highly positive reviews from customers
    • Flexibility for short and long-term storage
    • Ample liability coverage options
    • Available in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada

    Cons

    • U-Pack does not handle local moves — only those 150 miles away or more
    • Customers handle loading and unloading their storage container on their own
    • No long-term storage available on site

    U-Pack's Rating Breakdown

    Transparency
    Cost of Moving
    Services
    Reputation
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    Can U-Pack Move Me?

    Save time and get the answers you need right away with a free quote from our U-Pack.

    U-Pack Transparency

    It’s not uncommon to worry about scams when hiring something as important as a moving company. Luckily, U-Pack has received top marks for reliability, communication, and transparency about pricing.

    We’ll walk you through the free quote so you know what to expect.

    Getting a Quote

    One thing we love most about U-Pack is its easy estimate process. Enter your origin, destination, and the size of your home and U-Pack offers an estimate without even entering your email address.

    Once you start your reservation, you have the option to make a wide range of changes to your moving and the delivery process. Past customers have also reported success working on the phone with a representative for specific company offers.

    According to the site, once you lock in the price with a credit card, there are no hidden fees unless details change before your move date.

    Price Structure and Hiring Process

    Unlike a full-service moving company or truck rental, U-Pack is relatively clear about the cost of each detail for cross-country moves. Without add-ons like packing, supplies, and loading labor, you know exactly where your money is going.

    The reservation form breaks down your guaranteed price with precision. It includes:

    • Your contact information
    • Drop-off address
    • Moving date
    • Delivery date options and estimated arrival in business days
    • Container size or number of Relocubes
    • Add-on services like liability insurance and guaranteed arrival date

    Pay-for-What-You-Use Perks

    One of the best details about U-Pack pricing is that you only pay for the space and containers you use. If you overestimate the space you need and never fill a Relocube or part of the container, you won’t be charged for it. Use U-Pack’s space estimator to get started.

    You are only charged for your move after the designated ABF U-Pack driver picks up your container and confirms the space used.

    Communication and Expectations

    U-Pack’s straightforward pick-up and drop-off process means there are fewer opportunities for things to go wrong.

    However, since this is not a traditional moving truck company like U-Haul or a long-term storage company like PODS, there can be some confusion along the way if you don’t know all the details ahead of time.

    Quite impressively, U-Pack is an accredited company on Better Business Bureau with an A+ Rating. The complaints on the website have all been answered by the company, but do bring up some seemingly common issues. For example:

    • U-Pack Relocubes and moving trailers are not available in all cities
    • In the past, the container has been left in the wrong spot at the origin or final destination
    • In-transit time can take longer than originally expected

    Important Policies

    U-Pack appears to avoid the hassle of any complicated policies, but there are a few good things to know about changes or surprises during your move.

    Schedule

    Since timing is a bit more flexible than using full-service movers, U-Pack offers two options:

    • Estimated arrival of your container for delivery to your new home
    • Exact delivery date for an extra fee

    If you choose the second option and your container doesn’t arrive on the guaranteed move date, you are reimbursed a potion or 100% of your travel fees.

    Parking

    Customers must clear overnight parking with their city before the container arrives. There must also be at least a 40 X 10 X 14 foot space for the length, width, and height of the trailer and ramp.

    Storage

    U-Pack does not charge you for long-term storage unless you need it  — which is a huge plus. Add months of storage during your quote process either in a Relocube or trailer.

    The container cannot be kept in the original parking space, however, and it is instead stored at a local service center until you need it back.

    Do-Not-Pack List

    While pretty standard for long-distance moves, U-Pack includes a list of items to avoid when packing your pod. Items on the list are either flammable, combustible, explosive, or perishable. It also includes delicate items like antiques, plants, and of course, pets.

    U-Pack Transparency

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    Cost

    Even more so than other shipping container companies, it’s easy to break down the price of your move by just visiting U-Pack’s website. By altering small details throughout your quote, you can lower your final cost or add small details for convenience.

    U-Pack moves range anywhere from $700 to $5,000 based on the following factors:

    Size of Your Move

    When you start your quote, the website will initially ask you how many bedrooms you plan to move. In the next step, you have the choice to increase or decrease how much shipping storage you think you’ll need.

    Remember, you only pay for the amount you use, so there is no harm in ordering more space and leaving it empty.

    Moving Date

    Busy season or popular dates can raise the cost of your move. If your quote is high, call a sales representative to speak about the benefits of shifting it a few days in either direction.

    Distance

    Again, U-Pack only handles moves over 150 miles, but you will still pay more for further distances. In the final stage of your quote, switch to “terminal-to-terminal” delivery to have your Relocube or container delivered to a local service center for a lower price.

    Liability Coverage

    Basic catastrophic liability coverage comes with your plan for no extra cost at $3.00 per pound, per piece. The plan includes up to $7,500 per Relocube or $60,000 per trailer.

    You should note that this does not include carrier negligence. You are only covered if your cube:

    • Overturns
    • Catches on fire
    • Has a collision
    • Gets stolen

    For an additional fee, increase your plan to include carrier negligence for these amounts:

    • $75 for $1.00 per pound per item; up to $2,500 per Relocube; up to $20,000 per trailer
    • $125 for $2.00 per pound per item; up to $5,000 per Relocube; up to $40,000 per trailer
    • $175 for $3.00 per pound per item; up to $7,500 per Relocube; up to $60,000 per trailer

    Small Details

    The rest of your quote comes down to the small details that you can alter in the final stages. For example:

    • Transit & Arrival: Choose between standard transit of 5-7 business days or upgrade to guaranteed 3-day arrival for an extra fee.
    • Monthly Storage: Add 30 days of storage for $150 if you need to keep your packed items in a local storage center in between moves.
    • Certified Weight Ticket: For an extra fee, U-Pack can provide a weight ticket of your container, typically necessary for military moves.
    • Auto Shipping: Customers are contacted by a sales rep to set up this service with a trusted company.
    • Online Reservation: Save $25 off your quote when you reserve online.

    U-Pack Price Example

    We mocked up two quotes on their site to give you a sense of the final quotes:

    Los Angeles, California to Portland, Oregon

    • ~960 miles
    • One-bedroom home/Studio Apartment
    • One Relocube rental
    • September move date
    • Standard transit and no add-ons
    • Quote: $3,012

    Chicago, Illinois to Cleveland, Ohio

    • ~350 miles
    • Three-bedroom home or apartment
    • 17-feet estimated trailer use
    • May move date
    • Standard transit and no add-ons
    • Quote: $1,957

    Paying for U-Pack

    A credit card is required to hold your reservation, but you are only changed after the container is picked up. This allows the company to determine how much space was actually used.

    The charge itself can be paid with the original card or by Paypal and must occur before the container arrives at your new home. The company does not accept cash or checks.

    Extra Fees

    While the company is relatively straightforward, there are a few things that can affect your final price after receiving a quote, including:

    • Using more space than expected
    • Changing your date or move address
    • Parking issues or fees
    • Delayed pickup of the container by the customer
    • Misuse of equipment or leftover debris in the container

    Cancellations

    Cancel your move with U-Pack up to 7 days before your moving date. After seven days, you will be charged a $50 fee or $150 if you cancel on the day of your move.

    Who is U-Pack Best For?

    Based on their price structure, U-Pack is ideal for customers comfortable doing all the loading and unloading on their own. The company will recommend trusted packing or loading companies, but it is not included in the U-Pack price.

    For this reason, those looking to save money on long-distance moves will love U-Pack’s price flexibility.

    U-Pack Cost-Value vs. Competitors

    U-Pack
    Industry Average
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    Services

    U-Pack is not considered a full-service company. For services like packing, unpacking, and loading the truck, you’ll need to hire an extra set of hands.

    However, allowing the customer to pack and unpack a container themselves lowers the final cost, especially for long-distance moves. Here’s a layout of what U-Pack does provide and a bit more about how it all works.

    Broker vs. Carrier

    U-Pack is considered a broker simply because it doesn’t own its own fleet of moving trucks. The company pairs up with ABF freight to pick up the shipping containers and drive them to your location. It does, however, manage the whole process from start to finish, so you will work with U-Pack during your relocation.

    Long-Distance Moves

    U-Pack handles moves more than 150 miles from your first destination. As we outlined earlier, the price is based on the size of the shipping container you need. This provides lots of flexibility if you’re looking to save money. Downsize your home and your moving cost lower significantly.

    The basic service includes:

    • Drop-off of Relocube or storage container
    • Pick up three days later
    • Transport to your new home
    • Removal of container after three days

    Relocube vs. Trailer

    When you request a free quote, use the online tool to determine how much packing space you’ll need. U-Pack moving offers two main options:

    • The U-Pack Relocube: a sturdy storage pod that can fit up to one room of items
    • The U-Pack trailer: a sturdy storage trailer that can fit 3-4 rooms of items

    Rent multiple Relocubes or a large trailer depending on price efficiency and the size of your home.

    Long-Term Storage

    If you need to keep your items in storage longer than the moving window, opt for monthly storage options on-site at a service location. Storage with U-Pack costs $150 per 30 days per container in a non-climate controlled space.

    Add-On Services

    While U-Pack doesn’t offer extra moving services, there are a few perks to make your move stress-free. For example:

    • Door-to-door delivery
    • 3-day guaranteed transit
    • Monthly storage
    • Liability insurance
    • Certified weight tickets
    • Auto-shipping options (through a third party)

    U-Pack’s Strengths

    U-Pack knows that it really shines in the DIY moving market. It does not claim to offer help with loading or unloading your items or providing extra services like packing. However, its long-term partnership with ABF Freight means you don’t have to worry about unreliable transport of your items or unexpected costs along the way.

    U-Pack Services Ratings

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    Reviews

    U-Pack has been around for over 20 years and was founded around the same time as its major competitor, PODS. They’ve kept their system simple for years and as of 2017, had completed over 1 million moves.

    Since U-Pack does not own a fleet of moving trucks, it partners with ABF Freight, an award-winning trucking company that is highly trusted in the transportation industry.

    General Consensus

    While reviews will always vary from location to location, U-Pack has received an above-average number of positive reviews from past clients. It also received an impressive 4.16 out of 5 stars on BBB.

    The most applauded factors include:

    • Schedule flexibility
    • Attentive communication
    • Great quotes and value
    • Expert service

    Common trouble spots reported by customers include:

    • Last-minute pricing issues
    • Delivery delays after pickup
    • Damaged items due to carrier negligence en route

    We’ve included a few more detailed examples of customer reviews so you can get a sense of the varying experiences with U-Pack.

    Customer Service and Communication

    Several customers that tackled large-scale moves were pleased with their U-Pack experience.

    For example, one client from Yelp outlined a complex move from Florida. The Relocubes were easy to book, arrived on time, and made it to their new home in 14 days — the beginning of their predicted window. The customer was also able to track their process online from the quote to the moving day.

    It’s important to note that of the few negative reviews in the category, the most consistent complaint regarded last-minute cancellations.

    Value

    It appears that many customers are attracted to U-Pack for their cost-saving flexibility. Money does come up a lot in reviews, almost always in a positive light.

    For example, Alan S. on BBB reported, “Not only was the price a fraction of what I am used to paying, but the customer service was outstanding and the drivers I dealt with were first-class experts.”

    Other customers were pleasantly surprised to have their prices matched, lowered for making small changes, or significantly lower than its competitors.

    Efficiency

    Outside of scheduling issues — which we’ll go into more below — customers raved that U-Pack is:

    • Easy to book
    • Quick to drop off and pick up the containers
    • Ready to answer questions or address concerns

    Since the company does not handle packing or loading services, general efficiency doesn’t play as large a role in the reviews as other companies.

    Handling with Care

    It’s hard to find any complaints about damaged items that don’t involve third parties occasionally hired by U-Pack for certain areas of the country. In the majority of cases, reviewers were impressed that there were not damaged or disturbed items when the truck arrived.

    If you are concerned about fragile items or a particularly long move, the extra liability insurance is worth the cost for the rare instance of damage.

    Reliability

    The largest issue we spotted in the reviews was a delay in receiving packed shipping containers after pickup. Several customers on Google and Yelp mention that the driver missed the delivery window by several days.

    On BBB, we noted a customer complaining that their cube had yet to arrive. The customer noted, “I was told 3-5 business days to transport our belongings from St. Louis to Phoenix. It’s going on 8 business days and our belongings aren’t delivered.”

    In this case, BBB shows that U-Pack responded to the customers’ concerns with an update on their shipment and offered compensation for the missed delivery window.

    U-Pack Reputation

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    U-Pack FAQs

    Is U-Pack Cheaper than PODS?

    If you’re moving long-distance, U-Pack is a great way to save money. However, since PODS handles local moves at a comparatively low price, U-Pack will often recommend switching over if you don’t meet the mileage requirements.

    How Big is a Relocube?

    Relocubes measure 5’10” deep x 6’10” wide x 7’9″ high and carry up to 2,5000 pounds. The website’s FAQ section notes that Relocubes can fit:

    • One room of items
    • Any standard-sized mattress
    • Box springs
    • Chest of drawers
    • Dining room sets
    • Sofas between 83″ and 92″ depending on whether it can be stood on its side

    Can I park a Relocube in a city?

    Relocubes and trailers can be dropped off in any U-Pack-available city as long as you meet the parking measurement requirements. You should always check with your local parking administration, as in many cases in a city, you will need to purchase a permit for long-term parking.

    If you’re looking to cut costs of a cross-country move — and have the manpower to load and unload a truck — UPack is a dependable and time-tested business. Without the confusion of loading costs, you can significantly cut the final price of your move without sacrificing quality or customer care.

    Get a Free U-Pack Quote

    U-Pack is a solid option if you’re taking on a complex move. However, we always recommend comparing at least three moving companies to get the best quotes and service.

    Get your free quote so you can compare U-Pack with today’s top full-service movers and make your move budget-friendly and carefree.