In the summer of 2023, Freddy finished his graduate studies in Athens, Georgia, and accepted a job in Chicago, Illinois.
The catch? Freddy planned to spend two months in Massachusetts in between the move, so he needed a mover who would not only transport his stuff, but store it in the meantime.
After taking his time researching moving container companies, Freddy decided U-Pack was the perfect fit for his one-room move. Curious to see how U-Pack handled Freddy’s cross-country relocation?
U-Pack gave Freddy an affordable, high-quality move that included both transportation and storage. There was a miscommunication about delivery, but Freddy still believes U-Pack was a great value for the money.
89% of users select this mover
Freddy signed up to participate in the moveBuddha Better Moves Project to share his experience with U-Pack. In exchange for a $500 moving stipend, Freddy shared the nitty-gritty of how he found a moving company, prepped for the move, and more.
In this post, we’ll look at how Freddy planned his move and share his advice for anyone planning a cross-country move on a budget.
Move day takeaways for U-Pack customers
- Communication: Freddy appreciated how easy it was to get a real human on the phone, although there was a miscommunication about door-to-door delivery
- Pricing accuracy and transparency: U-Pack quoted Freddy $1,438 and he paid $1,438, exactly
- Professionalism: U-Pack’s team was friendly, efficient, and helpful
- Timeliness: The U-Pack delivery partner’s truck broke down on delivery day, so there was a delay, but it didn’t really affect Freddy’s move
- Loss and damage: Freddy didn’t pack his stuff as carefully as he probably should have, so there were some losses in the move. This wasn’t U-Pack’s fault, though
- Would Freddy use U-Pack again? Yes, Freddy would use U-Pack again, but he would prefer more consistent communication
Freddy needed help moving from Athens, GA, to Chicago
Freddy completed graduate school in Athens, Georgia, and took a new job 800 miles away in Chicago, Illinois. As a student, he didn’t accumulate a lot of stuff, so he needed to move about two rooms’ worth of belongings. But he planned to spend a few months in Massachusetts before relocating to Chi-Town, so he needed a way to store his belongings.
Freddy thought about hiring full-service movers, but they were too expensive for his budget. Plus, he still had to worry about storing his stuff while he was in Massachusetts. Freddy decided a moving container company was the most economical and convenient option for his move.
Going into the move, Freddy wanted to find a company that would keep his stuff safe and communicate well. It didn’t help that he was moving to an area of Chicago known for its parking regulations, so he really wanted a mover that could navigate the complexities of a Chicago delivery.
Freddy’s move at a glance
|Move date||August 1, 2023|
|Moved from||Athens, Georgia|
|Moved to||Chicago, Illinois|
|Move size||One-bedroom home|
Freddy got quotes from two container companies
Freddy knew for about a year that he would need to relocate, but it wasn’t until he got a job offer that he knew he needed to move to Chicago. He had five months to plan his relocation, so he took a month leisurely researching movers and asking his friends for opinions.
Freddy started with Google and checked several Reddit threads. He stumbled upon the moveBuddha site and appreciated that he could compare multiple container companies in one place. He used moveBuddha’s container company guides to narrow down his list of potential movers to two companies: Zippy Shell and U-Pack.
Freddy submitted his information online and U-Pack sent him a quote via email. The quote was $1,138 for shipping, plus $150 per month for storing one U-Pack ReloCube. Zippy Shell estimated that Freddy would need more space and gave him a higher quote.
|Company||Estimated volume/weight||Estimated cost|
|U-Pack||308 cubic feet||$1,438|
|Zippy Shell||680 cubic feet||$2,000|
Freddy chose U-Pack for its affordability and reputation
Freddy went with U-Pack because it offered everything he needed at the best price. It didn’t hurt that his friend did a similar post-grad move with U-Pack and recommended the company to Freddy.
The quote was more than Freddy expected, but he knew U-Pack was still the best value for the money.
He paid U-Pack for the following services:
- Drop off
- Pick up
- Cube storage
- Damage coverage at $0.10 per pound of damage
Freddy chatted a few times with the U-Pack team over the phone. He found them very helpful and loved how easy it was to chat with a human being.
89% of users select this mover
U-Pack talked Freddy through the moving process and answered all of his questions. They let him know how many locks he needed to buy for the ReloCube and that he would need to be present for drop-off (but not pickup). U-Pack also asked Freddy to secure a parking spot for the cube before dropoff day so there would be no delays.
U-Pack told Freddy when they would drop off the container and gave him a phone number to call if he had any questions. U-Pack also provided an online dashboard to keep track of move details.
Meanwhile, Freddy prepped by packing for the move and planning how to organize the cube. He bought a lock for the unit, boxes, tape, and bubble wrap.
He didn’t want to paint himself into a corner, so made sure he had access to important items near the front of the ReloCube. Freddy didn’t have a lot of stuff, but he did ask a friend to help load two larger items. They placed these in the cube first, then stored smaller items next.
Freddy didn’t get a lot of additional communication prior to drop off, but he figured that was pretty reasonable, considering the fact that this was a storage container company, not a full-service mover.
Moving day was very quick
U-Pack scheduled a ReloCube delivery for June 25, but Freddy didn’t hear from the delivery crew. He called the number of the trucking company listed in the U-Pack dashboard and asked if there was a delay.
Unfortunately, the delivery truck broke down en route and said it would deliver the container in the morning. The delivery truck driver was very helpful and friendly and ensured the container arrived the next morning for Freddy to start loading.
Aside from the delivery snafu, container dropoff was easy as pie. The driver arrived and Freddy confirmed his information, signed a document, and guided the driver to the parking spot. In total, the process took 10 minutes.
From there, Freddy spent a few days loading his own items. In total, he estimates it took about two hours to load everything into the container. Gotta love that minimalist graduate school life, right?
Delivery wasn’t as effortless
It took 12 days for Freddy’s items to arrive at a U-Pack freight center in Chicago —right on time. He tracked its delivery location and progress in the U-Pack dashboard, which made it easy to keep tabs on its status.
Freddy relocated from Athens to Massachusetts for a few months. When it was time to get his stuff, U-Pack said he would need to gather his belongings at the freight moving company center. Initially, U-Pack said door-to-door delivery was an option, but the local U-Pack branch said that wasn’t possible.
Freddy rented a cargo van from Penske Truck Rental and drove to the freight center, where he received unloading instructions. The freight center employees were friendly and helpful and even gave Freddy and his buddies visibility vests for safety.
Freddy pulled up right next to the container, which made unloading much easier. From there, he drove the van to his new Chicago apartment and unloaded it.
He admits he didn’t know why U-Pack said door-to-door was an option when that didn’t turn out to be the case. Freddy understands that it’s tricky dealing with deliveries in Chicago, but he wanted to know that upfront.
This isn’t unusual if you’re moving during the peak summer months. Plus, U-Pack locations across the country have their own policies, so a rep at the national office might not have information specific to your address.
There was some damage during the move. The move damaged a bookshelf beyond repair and there was a dent in the table. If Freddy hired a full-service mover, he would definitely have cause to file a damage claim.
However, he packed everything himself, and U-Pack isn’t at fault for that damage. This is why it’s so important to learn the ins and outs of packing and wrapping your stuff before renting a moving container. Damage can still happen even if the delivery company does everything right —it’s up to you to wrap everything carefully.
Our take on the move
There were a few small hiccups in this move, but overall, U-Pack knocked this one out of the park.
Freddy found U-Pack by asking friends for personal recommendations. That’s a great idea, but always take these recommendations with a grain of salt. Unless you have a friend that completed the exact same move, there will be differences. Case in point: U-Pack’s Chicago team couldn’t offer door-to-door unloading.
If you’re moving to an area that’s strict on parking regulations, ask locals which container companies they use. Every area has its quirks and there might be an established container company in your area that’s better than the one you are considering.
Check out Reddit or Nextdoor to see which companies offer the service you need both in your pickup and drop-off locations. When in doubt, call the company’s local freight warehouse so you can speak to someone more local instead of the folks at the national office.
It’s also important to note that Freddy moved at peak moving season when U-Pack manages hundreds of moves a day. He did the right thing calling U-Pack when they didn’t arrive on time, so don’t be afraid to reach out if something doesn’t seem right.
89% of users select this mover
The fact that Freddy moved for under $1,500 is also impressive. Cross-country moves usually cost way more.
In terms of the damage to his stuff, this happens when you don’t use moving blankets. There is always a greater risk of damage when you opt for DIY packing. Freddy only used tape and bubble wrap, and you’ll need something more heavy-duty for an 800-mile move.
Freddy did a lot of things right with this move, though. He spent time researching moving container companies. He also carefully planned how to pack and organize his stuff in the container. We can’t tell you how many people accidentally pack away important items and have to unpack everything just to find one document.
Aside from one miscommunication about door-to-door delivery, U-Pack did a phenomenal job.
The cross-country move cost Freddy just $1,438, exactly what U-Pack quoted him. Many of our Better Moves Project participants pay more than their initial estimate, so it’s great that U-Pack was so accurate.
Freddy would use U-Pack again, although he recommends calling to get clear confirmation about the availability of door-to-door delivery in your area. U-Pack offered good value for the money, but if he had a bigger budget, Freddy would have hired full-service movers to manage everything.
Still, Freddy thinks a U-Pack move is a solid option for anyone who needs to do a big move on a small budget.
Here’s how Freddy rated U-Pack’s performance on a scale of 1 to 5:
- Communication: 4
- Timeliness: 5
- Quote accuracy: 5
- Overall experience: 4
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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