For homeowners and renters, moving to new homes and apartments is rarely easy.
Renting a moving truck and going the DIY route isn’t for everyone, and many families don’t have big enough budgets to hire professional movers.
Thankfully there’s another option – moving containers.
But first, check out these helpful articles.
- Best Interstate Movers – The moving industry is full of shady players. With so much at stake, it’s worth hiring a top-rated long-distance mover with verified customer reviews.
- How much will your move cost? – Our moving cost calculator is a great resource. Just enter your move dates, origin and destination cities, and the estimated size of your move, and the magic algorithms will do the rest.
- Consider moving containers – It’s simple. You load and unload, they drive, and you save big bucks. These are the best moving container companies.
With portable moving containers, professionals handle the driving, and you won’t have to shell out big bucks for a full-service experience.
You’ll generally have to load and unload yourself, but many companies offer relatively inexpensive loading and unloading labor.
Translation – you can have your cake and eat it too.
Both U-Pack and Zippy Shell are worth considering for your next move, but in most categories, U-Pack is the clear winner.
But remember, with so many variables there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
In fact, you may find that Zippy Shell makes more sense in your particular situation.
Either way, we always suggest getting multiple quotes from the best moving container companies.
U-Pack at a glance
U-Pack has moved more than a million families since 1997.
As a division of ABF (one of the country’s largest trucking companies), U-Pack has the experience, facilities, and equipment to move household goods shipments of all sizes quickly, efficiently, and affordably.
Zippy Shell at a glance
Though Zippy Shell was founded in Australia, the company entered the US market in 2010 when the moving container business was growing by leaps and bounds.
A few years later they formed an alliance with 1-800-PACK-RAT which allowed the former competitors to streamline operations and offer more services while keeping prices low.
Zippy Shell and U-Pack – features, and benefits comparison
|Usually more affordable than full-service movers||Usually more affordable than full-service movers|
|Good option for family consolidations, young professionals moving between cities, and minimalists moving cross-country||Straight forward pricing with a no-hidden-fees guarantee (easy-to-use website provides instant quotes)|
|Customers can easily add labor for loading and unloading||Customers can easily add labor for loading and unloading|
|Containers are transported by professional drivers||Containers are transported by professional drivers|
|Equipment options include 10 and 15-foot containers||Equipment options include ReloCube moving containers and freight trailers|
|Zippy Shell containers fit in standard parking spaces, which means special permits generally aren’t required||Customers only pay for the number of containers and actual trailer space used|
|Services are available in nearly 30 states||Large national coverage areas including many rural areas and shipments can be tracked online|
|Three days each for loading and unloading||Three days each for loading and unloading|
What we’re not crazy about
|The outdated website that’s difficult to navigate||No local moving services (moves over 100 miles only)|
|No online quotes – you have to call and speak with an agent to get an estimate||Parking for moving trailers can be an issue due to their size and height|
|Customer service representatives sometimes provide information that’s contradictory to what’s on the website||Due to deck height, trailers are more difficult and dangerous to load and unload|
|Containers can’t be stored on your property, and storage may not be available on local moves||Spring-ride suspensions on moving trailers can damage fragile household goods|
|Limited 10-foot container availability and smaller national coverage area||Customer’s can’t keep containers on their property|
|Changing dates and services once your move is booked can be a hassle||Canceling within a week of your move means you’ll have to pay a fee|
|They may limit the number of containers customers can order at one time||Prices are generally higher than the industry average|
|Inflexible cancellation policy with high fees||Equipment availability can be spotty during peak summer months|
Zippy Shell offers moving and storage services
Option 1 – Moving
With Zippy Shell, customers can load at their home or apartment, or save money by loading at one of the company’s terminals or storage facilities instead of having door-to-door pick-up and delivery.
It’s important to note, however, that you may only be able to request one Zippy Shell container at a time, though they’ll deliver another if you need more space.
Labor can be added if you’d rather not load and unload yourself, but rates vary by location.
Once your container is loaded, Zippy Shell will have it shipped to your new residence, after which you’ll have up to three days (usually) to unload it.
Option 2 – Storage
Zippy Shell offers short and long-term storage at its facilities, but keeping your container on your property isn’t an option.
It’s worth noting that Zippy Shell may not store your belongings locally, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll have access to your items when they’re in the company’s possession.
For some customers, this can be a deal-breaker, in which case it’s probably better to rent a storage unit and move your items in yourself.
Zippy Shell storage charges are typically about $189 per container per month, but for storage, over 45 days you may need to make a big upfront payment.
Though free storage isn’t included on local moves it can be added, but additional charges will apply.
U-Pack does too
Option 1 – Moving
It’s hard to beat U-Pack if you’re moving over 100.
Customers can choose ReloCube containers or freight trailers, so their services work well on moves of all sizes.
If a trailer makes the most sense but you’re not sure how much space you’ll need, fear not, because you’ll only pay for what you use.
With trailers and containers, you’ll have three days to load and another three to unload, and labor can be added if you’d rather not do the heavy lifting yourself.
Option 2 – Storage
When storage is needed you can keep your items at one of U-Pack’s secure climate-controlled facilities for as long as you like, but rates vary by location, and storage charges can’t be prorated.
Storage is generally available on all long-distance moves, but it may not be in some areas if you’re moving barely more than 100 miles away.
Zippy Shell and U-Pack container size chart
|Equipment specs||U-Pack ReloCube||U-Pack 28-foot trailer||Zippy Shell 10-foot container||Zippy Shell 15-foot container|
|Internal Dimensions (L x W x H)||5’10″ x 6’1″ x 7’9″||27’ x 8’ x 9′||9’7″ x 6’4″ x 6’4″||15’7″ x 6’4″ x 6’4″|
|Volume (cubic feet)||305||1,800||385||625|
|Good for||College students, studio and 1-bedroom apartments||Single-family homes||Studio and 1-bedroom apartments||2 or 3-bedroom homes|
|Types of moves||Long-distance only||Long-distance only||Local only||Local and long-distance|
|Weight limit (pounds)||2,500||22,000||4,500||4,500|
|Container||Metal||Metal||Metal cage||Metal cage|
Check out this post for more detailed information on ReloCubes.
U-Pack and Zippy Shell price comparison
U-Pack pricing guide
|Local move||< 250 Miles||Cross country move|
|1 bedroom||Unavailable||$900 – $1,300||$1,500 – $2,500|
|2 or 3 bedrooms||Unavailable||$1,100 – $1,700||$2,400 – $3,900|
|4 or 5 bedrooms||Unavailable||$1,200 – $1,900||$3,500 – $6,600|
U-Pack isn’t the cheapest game in town, but the company does offer military, student, and corporate relocation discounts.
In addition, rates may be reduced by loading and unloading at one of their service centers.
Zippy Shell pricing guide
|Local move||< 250 Miles||Cross country move|
|1 bedroom||$190 – $240||$500 – $920||$1,800 – $3,900|
|2 or 3 bedrooms||$300 – $630||$730 – $1,600||$2,800 – $4,500|
|4 or 5 bedrooms||$350 – $750||$1,100 – $3,100||$5,200 – $7,000|
The first credit card payment (50% of total move cost) must be made two business days before your containers are delivered.
Final payment is generally due when your container arrives at its destination, though you’ll want to verify this information.
Reputations and reviews – how Zippy Shell and U-Pack match up
U-Pack generally gets slightly better reviews than Zippy Shell.
This isn’t surprising since U-Pack has been around longer and has more experience.
Online reviews are great vetting resources, but they should be taken with a grain of salt.
Always ask friends, family members, and coworkers for personal referrals before hiring a mover.
In addition, check out prospective companies with the –
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (for checking DOT numbers, safety records, and insurance information)
- ATA Moving & Storage Conference (formerly the American Moving & Storage Association)
Insurance options with U-Pack and Zippy Shell
Regardless of which company you use, you’ll want to discuss your move with your insurance agent to see what is and isn’t covered.
Zippy Shell offers various insurance options
Zippy Shell’s content protection plans include up to $50,000 of insurance.
Standard coverage is included with every move, though a $5,000 deductible applies.
Here’s a breakdown of Zippy Shell’s coverage options –
|Standard coverage||Plus coverage||Premium coverage|
|Cost (per month)||Free||$149||$399|
Please note that increased coverage levels only reduce deductibles and that natural shifting, water damage, and breakage occurring during loading and unloading aren’t covered.
Insurance options with U-Pack
U-Pack offers the following insurance options –
|Coverage||$1 per pound||$2 per pound||$3 per pound|
|Maximum liability||$20,000 per trailer or $2,500 per Relocube||$40,000 per trailer or $5,000 per Relocube||$60,000 per trailer or $7,500 per Relocube|
These options cover damage and/or loss from –
- Accidents, collisions, and rollovers
- Equipment theft
Insurance is subject to change, so ask about which options are available before booking your move.
The verdict – which company is better for your move?
U-Pack – the clear winner in a number of key areas
Booking a move is easier with U-Pack than with Zippy Shell.
In addition –
- It’s easy to get quotes and schedule your move online
- Customers can choose ReloCube containers or a 28-foot trailer
- Quotes automatically default to the most suitable equipment for the job
- Adding storage, labor, and other services is a snap
- Customers can order moving equipment and packing material like furniture pads, bubble wrap, shrink wrap, and tape
U-Pack pricing tends to be on the high side, but you usually get what you pay for.
Zippy Shell – another great option for families on the move
If you’re moving locally, from one major metropolitan area to another, or are just looking to save a few bucks, Zippy Shell may be the way to go.
On the downside –
- Online quotes aren’t available
- Their website needs some improvement
- Services aren’t available in every state
- 10-foot containers are scarce in some areas
- We had trouble finding the company’s cancellation policy on their website
Frequently asked questions (faqs)
Is PODS more expensive than Zippy Shell?
PODS is generally more expensive than Zippy Shell, but their prices are usually competitive.
Does U-Haul have portable moving and storage containers?
Yes, U-Haul U-Box portable storage and moving containers are available for customers who don’t want to drive a moving truck.
Are moving containers weatherproof?
Unless they’re damaged, portable shipping containers should protect your items from the elements and invasive critters like bugs and rodents.
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