The philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”
After a lot of hard work, University of Washington accepted Alex to its philosophy PhD program—and that meant Alex needed help moving from his three-bedroom home in Minneapolis to Seattle.
Alex spent two weeks deciding between full-service interstate movers and moving container companies. After asking friends for recommendations and checking out the moveBuddha site, he decided PODS was the mover for him.
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Alex agreed to share every aspect of his move in exchange for a $500 stipend through the moveBuddha Better Moves Project. Get ready to hear about a fairytale of a cross-country move, courtesy of Alex’s ingenuity and PODS’ quality service.
Move day takeaways for PODS customers
- Communication: PODS impressed Alex with their friendly service and constant communication
- Pricing accuracy and transparency: PODS charged Alex exactly what was estimated
- Professionalism: All the PODS employees with whom Alex interacted were friendly, courteous, and helpful
- Timeliness: PODS always showed up on time!
- Loss and damage: Alex admits he wasn’t a great packer, but that didn’t matter — his belongings arrived 100% safe in Seattle
- Would Alex use PODS again? Yes, Alex would recommend PODS to anyone planning a long-distance move
Alex needed help moving from Minneapolis to Seattle
Alex got accepted into a PhD program at the University of Washington. Eager to start this next chapter, he spent six months planning the 1,709-mile move.
He needed to downsize from a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom apartment to a PhD student-friendly one-bedroom apartment. Alex also needed to transport four guitars and an antique record player, so wanted a moving company that would keep his stuff safe in transit.
Ultimately, Alex wanted to focus on starting his PhD program without worrying about the move. He wanted a mover that offered the most straightforward process with the least pressure.
Alex’s move at a glance
|Move date||August 15, 2023|
|Move size||Three-bedroom home|
Alex got quotes from three full-service movers and one container company
Alex carefully planned his move for six months before looking for a mover. From there, he spent two weeks checking Reddit, Facebook, and Google for leads. He even asked his friends for their recommendations.
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Ultimately, Alex found the moveBuddha website and read about the best moving companies. As a budget-minded PhD student, he especially liked moveBuddha’s advice on how to negotiate with a moving company.
At first, Alex got quotes from three full-service movers. He appreciated that they handled loading, but the price tag was a little steep, and he didn’t like how rushed everything would need to be.
|Company||Estimated volume/weight||Estimated cost|
|PODS||689 square feet||$2,836|
|Colonial Van Lines||5,000 pounds||$4,187|
|American Van Lines||5,000 pounds||$6,000|
|Safeway Moving||5,000 pounds||$5,000|
Alex chose PODS for their no-hassle experience
With school starting soon, Alex had enough on his mind to worry about. He chose PODS because of their three-day loading and unloading timelines.
PODS quoted Alex just $2,836 for a standard small container, so it didn’t hurt that it was also the cheapest option.
After selecting PODS, they called Alex approximately five times to clarify details and offer advice. They agreed on drop-off points and told Alex how to prepare his instruments for a long shipment in the container. PODS told him to use Humidipaks to protect the guitars during transit, which he appreciated.
Relieved to secure a mover, Alex turned his attention to the most difficult part of his move: downsizing. He spent weeks downsizing furniture and other items so they would fit in the POD — and in his one-bedroom apartment.
The only hiccup for Alex was that PODS didn’t tell him about parking permits. This is common in some cities, but regulations vary so much that it doesn’t make sense for PODS to tell you about these requirements.
Alex managed to get his parking permit well in advance, but he cautions anyone planning a move with a container company to look up regulations in the locations you are moving to and from.
When in doubt, check your municipalities’ laws before booking a container company. Local ordinances are tricky and change often, so you need to take responsibility for the permitting and not expect PODS to know the rules for you.
Moving day was easy as pie
PODS impressed Alex right out of the gate. PODS stayed in touch with him and did exactly what they said they would do. Before moving day, PODS told Alex where they would place the pod, shared recommendations on how to pack the POD, and told him which items couldn’t go in the POD.
On delivery day, the PODS driver called Alex one hour before arriving. The POD arrived on time at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, with a pickup scheduled for Monday morning. This was perfect for Alex, who wanted to use the weekend for loading.
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Eager to turn it into a bon voyage party, Alex invited several friends over, plied them with pizza, and got them to help him load the POD.
In hindsight, he admits he and his friends didn’t do the most professional packing job. Even so, they nestled fragile items like mirrors and a flat-screen TV in between other things so they wouldn’t jostle too much in transit.
It took just two hours for Alex and his friends to load the POD, say their farewells, and polish off the last of the pizza.
Delivery went smoothly
PODS picked up Alex’s belongings on August 7 and they arrived in Seattle by August 17 —right on time. Communication was sparse during transit, but that’s completely normal.
PODS emailed Alex the evening before the scheduled delivery date and gave him a three-hour delivery time window. The next day, the delivery driver called him an hour before arriving.
Alex couldn’t have asked for a better move. The move didn’t damage a single item, which is amazing, considering the quality of the amateur packing-and-stacking job.
Not only that, but the move didn’t cost Alex a dime more than the quoted $2,836. His guitars and antique record player made it to Seattle without so much as a scratch, and that’s what we call a win.
The only sticking point was that Alex had a lot of space left over. He sold furniture in Minneapolis only to buy replacements in Seattle. If he’d measured everything more carefully ahead of time, he could have avoided the fuss of replacing his belongings.
Our take on the move
Wow, PODS did a great job with Alex’s move!
First of all, $2,836 is cheap for a cross-country move. One upside to choosing a container company is that the estimates are often very close to the quotes — unless you need to buy more containers or materials.
Some people use containers to transport their stuff and hire local moving companies to load and unload. It’s less sweat equity, but this approach is more complicated and expensive.
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We love that Alex got the benefit of a moving crew for the cost of just a few pizzas. If you can, turn your move into a happy going-away party. This not only keeps costs low but also helps with the emotional side of moving.
The downside, of course, is the loading job is far from professional. The fact that Alex’s guitars and antiques arrived damage-free is a testament to PODS’ careful transportation.
PODS gave Alex A-plus communication every step of the way. Alex moved at the tail-end of the busy season, which is one reason communication was better than average.
While he wanted more communication while his stuff was in transit, it’s very normal to get updates every few days while the company shuffles your things around.
Alex also wished PODS warned him about moving container parking permits. Some cities require these, but it’s impossible for PODS to keep tabs on all local regulations. This is why it’s so important to educate yourself on the ins and outs of container moving before you take the plunge.
Alex also struggled with downsizing and replacing his items in Seattle. He had more space than he thought, which can happen if you book the wrong moving container sizes.
Before you downsize too much, get the dimensions of the container and the dimensions of the stuff you’re loading in the container. You can even do a practice run in your living room to see what will and won’t fit.
Looking back on his move, Alex says it went better than expected. The hardest part for him was packing and downsizing, which is a common issue we hear from Better Moves Project participants.
Alex cautions you to measure carefully if you’re planning a cross-country move with a container company. Those containers have more space than you think!
It’s also a good idea to check the permitting rules of your current city and destination. You don’t want a ticket, after all.
Alex would definitely use PODS again. The estimate was dead-on, the drivers were friendly and communicative, and all deliveries happened on time.
PODS saved Alex a lot of stress and time, so it was money well spent.
Here’s how Alex rated PODS’ performance on a scale of 1 to 5:
- Communication – 5
- Timeliness – 5
- Quote accuracy – 5
- Overall experience – 5
Do you have an upcoming move? Share your moving story with the Better Moves Project to earn a $500 stipend. Sign up now.
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