Zippy Shell Review: Costs & Service Options for Moving & Storage

Not sure if Zippy Shell is the right choice for your move? See Zippy Shell services, prices, pros, cons and more to help you choose the right moving solution.

The Bottom Line: Zippy Shell’s slightly smaller but street legal container can park just about anywhere making them the perfect choice for inner city moves. Zippy Shell also makes it easy to addon moving labor. Just be aware the company tends to have less availability than competitors.

See how Zippy Shell stacks up against the competition on our 2019 best moving pod companies list.

Zippy Shell     3.5 out of 5.0 stars

Zippy Shell offers some of the same services you’ll get with other container moving companies — namely, a cost-effective way to save money by packing your own stuff, but leaving transporting it to the pros.

Zippy Shell’s containers are slightly smaller than their competition. But their innovative container system allows the containers to be parked just about anywhere a car can without a permit. This is especially helpful for anyone moving out of a major metro like Manhattan or downtown Chicago where containers are mostly banned.

Zippy Shell also offers the ability to add loading and unloading to your order, which Zippy Shell then coordinates with a third-party, local moving company on your behalf.

But when it comes to flexibility, Zippy Shell falls short of its competition. It has a strict modification and cancelation policy with no refunds. In some areas, it also has limits on the number of containers you can order at a time. Zippy also has a 1-to-3-day limit to pack the container.

Overall, we rated Zippy Shell 3.5 out of 5 stars. Read on to learn why.

Zippy Shell Review: The Good and the Bad

Considering Zippy Shell for your move? Before you book, check out the features we loved, the ones we didn’t love, and all the pros and cons you should consider when planning a move.

The Good: It’s Easy To Add Help Loading and Unloading

Unlike many other container companies, which require you to do all your packing and loading yourself, Zippy Shell makes it easy to add that service to your order.

If you choose to add loading or unloading help, Zippy Shell coordinates with a local, third-party service that does the heavy lifting, so prices vary depending on your location.

It seems like Zippy Shell runs promotions pretty often that allow long-distance movers to get either loading or unloading included in their order free of any extra charge, so look out for that.

The Bad: A Lot of Logistics Are Lacking

The main thing we don’t love about Zippy Shell is that, logistically, the company doesn’t make it very easy to plan your move.

Let’s start with the Zippy Shell website. It’s pretty outdated, and when searching on it for essential information, like Zippy Shell’s cancellation policy or container dimensions, we had a hard time locating the information we were looking for.

There are no quotes given online — you have to call a service number to receive a price estimate for your move. Even though you can enter your moving information online, there’s no reference number given for when you call for your quote, so you’ll have to repeat all that information you already typed to a service agent on the phone — or wait until they start to call and email you based on the contact information you entered online. Prepare for an onslaught, because you will get a lot of calls and emails.

Zippy Shell Review: The Good and the Bad

Then there’s the availability of Zippy Shell containers. Zippy Shell is only in 28 states. The company partners with 1-800-Pack-Rat to offer container moving to a wider variety of locations, but that means the container types and sizes that are available to you might vary, depending on which company you’re actually working with.

Zippy Shell claims to offer both 15-foot and 10-foot containers, but when we called for more information, a customer service representative first said there are no 10-foot containers, and when pressed for more information, she said they’re only available in a handful of locations so she generally doesn’t mention them.

Compared to other container moving companies, we weren’t impressed with Zippy Shell’s lack of flexibility. While several other companies allow modification or cancelations to a reservation up to your scheduled container delivery day, Zippy Shell warns that you may be on the hook for a $300 cancellation fee if you don’t cancel at least 10 days before your scheduled move. And if you cancel within 48 hours of your scheduled delivery, Zippy Shell is entitled to keep everything you’ve paid so far, which could be up to the full cost of the move.

Additionally, with other container moving companies, you can keep the containers on your property as long as you need to — either as storage or to pack them on your schedule. Zippy Shell only allows you to keep the containers outside of one of its storage facilities for up to three days.

Zippy Shell Review: Other Pros and Cons

Those are our favorite (and least favorite) features that come when you move with Zippy Shell. But there’s more that you should consider. Here’s our full breakdown of Zippy Shell’s pros and cons.

Zippy Shell Pros Zippy Shell Cons
  • Generally less expensive than a full-service move.
  • It offers 30 days of free storage with every long-distance move.
  • It makes it easy to add loading or unloading services to your order, sometimes at no extra charge.
  • Someone else transports the containers, so you don’t have to drive a big truck or pull a trailer.
  • Zippy Shell containers are legal to park on the street and in parking lots where other containers may not fit or be allowed.
  • Website is lacking in information, and no quotes are given online — you have to call for a price estimate for your move.
  • Customer service representatives give information that contradicts what’s on the Zippy Shell website.
  • You can’t keep a Zippy Shell on your property indefinitely like you can with other container companies.
  • The cancellation policy is far less flexible than other container moving companies.
  • Availability can be limited

The 3 Zippy Shell Services

You can do more than just move with Zippy Shell. The company offers a few different combinations of services that might fit your moving plans.

Option 1: Zippy Shell for Moving

Zippy Shell’s moving process is very similar to other container moving companies.

You schedule a day to begin your move. Either Zippy Shell delivers the container to your old address, or you can pack it at a Zippy Shell facility if there’s one near you — this saves you the delivery fee. You can only request one Zippy Shell at a time — if you fill it up and need more space, the company will pick it up and then bring you another.

You can load and unload your Zippy Shell yourself, or you can add loading and unloading services by professional movers to your Zippy Shell order. Zippy Shell partners with local companies to offer this service, so it’ll coordinate the order, but prices and other details will vary by location.

Zippy Shell transports your container(s) to your new address, where you unload them (or they’ll be unloaded for you if you booked that service). Zippy Shell will then send a driver to pick up your containers on a pre-scheduled day.

Option 2: Zippy Shell for Storage

If you need to pack up your belongings and store them indefinitely, Zippy Shell offers that, too.

You schedule a day to have your containers delivered, then pack and load them. Then, a professional driver will pick them up and transport them to a secure Zippy Shell storage facility. They stay there as long as you need them to.

A few things to note: Unlike other container moving and storage companies, Zippy Shell may not store your belongings at a local facility. It also can’t guarantee you’ll be able to access your containers once they’re stored in a facility, even if it is somewhere local to you.

Zippy Shell charges a monthly fee for storage: around $159 per month. It may be more, depending on the region and whether the storage facility is owned or run by a third party. If you want to store your belongings for more than 45 days, you’ll be responsible for paying the entire balance of your planned storage time on day 45.

Option 3: Zippy Shell for Moving and Storage

If you’re moving but need to store your belongings in between places, Zippy Shell is a great option for this — you get 30 days of free storage with every long-distance move.

The downside is you don’t have any control over the facility where your belongings will be stored. It may be at the old address or the new one, or even somewhere in between. That uncertainty means you should plan on not having access to your belongings as long as they’re in storage.

For local moves with Zippy Shell, storage is not included. You may be able to add it to your reservation, but if there’s not a storage facility nearby, you’ll likely have to pay to have your stuff shipped to the nearest facility and back.

Zippy Shell Sizes and Availability

Zippy shell offers containers in two sizes: 10 feet and 15 feet.

At least, that’s what the website says. When we called to inquire about the dimensions and weight limits for the 10-foot containers, a representative of Zippy Shell said the company didn’t offer them. When we pointed out they’re listed on the Zippy Shell website, she said they’re only available in a small number of locations, and it’s easier to just say they don’t have them when customers ask.

10-foot 15-foot
Capacity Studio or one-bed apartment 2-3 bedroom home
Popular Usage Small, local moves Storage & moving
Types of moves Local only Local or long-distance
Storage available No Yes
Internal dimensions 9’7″x6’4″x6’4″ 15’7″x6’4″x6’4″
Cubic footage 385 cf 625 cf
Container material Metal cage Metal cage
Weight limit 4,500 lbs 4,500 lbs

Zippy Shell only operates in 28 states, and it partners with 1-800-Pack-Rat to serve more customers in locations where it doesn’t have its own branches. Our impression from speaking with a Zippy Shell representative on the phone is that different locations have completely different availability, and you’ll just have to call to find out what may be available for your move.

What is great about Zippy Shell’s containers is they’re more like small moving pods than full sized containers. They’re about the length of two cars, so they can be parallel parked or placed in spots on your property that might not be big enough for a large moving container like other companies offer.

How Much Does Zippy Shell Cost?

Zippy Shell only provides quotes over the phone. The cost of your move will depend on a number of factors, including:

  • How many containers you use
  • The total mileage you’re traveling
  • Whether you have the containers delivered or pack them at a Zippy Shell facility
  • How long you keep your containers in storage
  • The season, since shipping rates are based on daily freights, which go up during popular moving seasons like spring and summer

We’ve found the below prices to be averages for different sizes and distances of moves. But don’t count on these numbers to make your budget — you’ll have to call Zippy Shell for a quote to know exactly what your specific moving needs will cost.

1 bedroom 2-3 bedrooms 4-5 bedrooms
Local move $190 – $240 $300 – $630 $350 – $750
< 250 miles $500 – $920 $730 – $1,600 $1,100 – $3,100
Cross country $1,800 – $3,900 $2,800 – $4,500 $5,200 – $7,000

Zippy Shell only accepts payment by credit card, and collects payment in two installments.

First Payment Two business days before your containers are scheduled to be delivered, Zippy Shell will collect 50 percent of your total move cost.
Second Payment When your container lands at its destination, on the 31st day after delivery (whichever comes first), Zippy Shell will collect the remaining balance for your move.

Does Zippy Shell Provide Insurance?

First, see if your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy covers your belongings while they’re in transit or in storage. If not, Zippy Shell does offer a few different insurance options.

Each content protection plan Zippy Shell offers includes insurance for up to $50,000 worth of goods inside the container.

Standard coverage is included in the cost of every service and comes with a $5,000 deductible. You can also upgrade your coverage to reduce the deductible.

Standard coverage Plus coverage Premium coverage
Cost $0 $149 per month $399 per month
Coverage amount $50,000 $50,000 $50,000
Deductible $5,000 $2,500 $1,500

Note that none of Zippy Shell’s insurance options cover water damage, natural shifting of your belongings during transit, or any damage that happens during loading or unloading of the containers.

Zippy Shell Reviews: Are They Reputable?

Online reviews for Zippy Shell, like any moving company, are mixed (seriously, even the most reputable companies have some terrible reviews; check out PODS reviews and UPack reviews to see what we mean).

It’s even harder to get a gauge on how the company is rated online because people can leave Google and Yelp reviews and ratings for each individual Zippy Shell location. Our best advice is to look for your local branch online and read its reviews to get an idea of the kinds of experiences others have had.

Because each Zippy Shell location has different staff and seems to offer different levels of service, do a little research into your local branch and use your best judgment about whether people seem to have a lot of problems there, or if it seems like a professional and trustworthy business.

Is Zippy Shell Right For Your Move?

Zippy Shell is definitely for people who want to DIY part of their move and save money over hiring a full service moving company. Its small, street legal containers make it a great option for people who are moving to or from larger cities. And if you need a hand, Zippy Shell makes it easy to add loading and unloading help with just the click of a button.

However, if you’re going to use Zippy Shell, you need to be sure of your moving dates, because canceling or rescheduling could result in costly fees. You also have to be able to load and unload your containers within three days.

The customer service problems we encountered on the phone with Zippy Shell gave us a pretty serious pause. If they offer you a rate that’s much lower than other container companies and you’re willing to risk encountering some less-than-ideal customer service to save a few bucks, Zippy Shell is your choice. If poor customer service will add to the stress of your move, you may want to look elsewhere.

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