Find a great moving container company
We did the research, combed through 100s of verified customer reviews, and found the best moving container companies of 2019.
What is a portable moving container?
Moving containers are a simple concept. The container is dropped off, you cram everything into it, the company picks it up, and the container is stored until you’re ready for it to be delivered.
Moving with a container was originally created by the company PODS® in the late 90s. Container moving has continued to flourish since then, with over 30 companies now offering different containerized moving solutions.
You’ll need to consider things like parking access, delivery time frame, access to labor, insurance and more to determine if renting a container is the best way to move.
Luckily, we put together this container moving guide to provide all the answers.
- No driving
- Fast delivery
- Great for storage
- No double handling
- Limited available sizes
- Parking can be challenging
- Insurance is limited
- Labor not included
|1 Bedroom||2-3 Bedroom||4-5 Bedroom|
|<50 miles||$100 – $300||$300 – $550||$800 – $1,100|
|250 miles||$1,000 – $1,400||$1,500 – $2,000||$1,800 – $2,500|
|1,000 miles||$1,700 – $2,300||$2,500 – $3,500||$3,200 – $4,300|
|2,500 miles||$2,500 – $3,200||$3,900 – $4,900||$5,000 – $6,700+|
3 insider tips for saving money
We went deep undercover with moving container insiders and got them to spill the beans on how you can save money when you use a portable moving container.
Use the storage location
You can eliminate expensive container delivery fees by dropping your items off at the container company’s location and then have them ship it to another location.
Sometimes this can result in significant savings. You’ll need to weigh the savings against the added cost of getting everything to their location.
This can make a lot of sense for smaller shipments where a cheap van could be used to shuttle items.
Rental leases typically turnover at the end of the month causing spikes in demand on those last few days.
Avoiding the rush by moving in the middle of the month can often result in better pricing.
The closer a container company’s storage facility is to your residence the better pricing you can expect. If the company has to travel more than 50 miles to deliver your container the cost of the container will usually go up.
This can be a deal breaker for people moving long distance. You’ll need to make sure there is a location near your origin and destination locations.
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Compare prices on containers, to professional movers, freight, and rental trucks.
11 extra fees to watch out for
Container company pricing is pretty straightforward but there are still some fees you should be aware of.
Containers can require multiple parking spaces. Some municipalities require parking permits to place containers on the street. Check your city or HOA’s website for more details.
Sell, donate, trash items
Since you pay by the container, keeping your move to as few containers as possible will result in significant savings. However, there are no price breaks if you don’t fill up the entire container so make sure not to get rid of too much.
Hand trucks and dollies are typically available to rent. Prices and availability vary.
Weekend pickup & delivery
Drivers don’t like to work weekends. Most container companies prefer to operate within Mon-Fri and charge extra for weekend drop-offs.
Portable storage containers are a great option for long-term storage. Rates are usually competitive with regular storage units and because the container is portable, you can avoid having to pay for an additional move when you’re ready for everything to be delivered.
Additional valuation coverage
Most companies offer options to increase coverage levels in the event of an accident at an additional cost. Note, damage due to the loading or unloading of items won’t be covered.
Container cleaning fee
Be sure to sweep clean the container before final pickup to avoid a cleaning fee.
Live load & unload
If you can’t leave an unattended container on your street, you may need to coordinate for the driver to stay during the loading. The driver is simply staying with the truck, he won’t provide any help loading. The first hour or two is usually free and then an hourly rate will apply. New York City and other urban areas typically require live loading.
Military PPM(DITY) move? You can request weight tickets for an additional fee.
Blankets, straps, and pads
Some container companies offer free moving blankets and pads to sweeten the deal. Always ask to see if discounts or any free supplies are available.
Want your container delivered on a certain day at your destination? Most providers are willing to offer guaranteed delivery at an additional cost.
What’s included with a moving container?
There are over 30+ moving container companies nationwide and each company is slightly different.
Here’s typically what is included in the basic moving container package.
- Door-to-door transportation
- Fuel & tolls
- 1 month storage
- Security lock for container door
- Option for long term storage (monthly rate applies)
- Help loading or unloading (hire moving labor)
- Parking permits, if necessary
- Pads, straps, or blankets
- Dolly or hand-truck (sometimes available to rent)
- Insurance (coverage varies by company)
- Packing supplies such as boxes, bubble wrap, etc.
- Weekend pickup/delivery (sometimes available)
How do I find a great moving container company?
We did the research and created a list of the best moving container companies in 2018.
Hire a little help
If you don’t want to be the one loading the container now is the time to hire professional moving labor.
Don’t wait much longer or you may end up paying more!
Two weeks before the big move
Make sure you have gathered, bought, or rented all of the moving supplies that you’ll need such as blankets, pads, straps, and moving boxes.
You don’t want to be left empty handed on moving day!
The moving container company will need a place to drop off the moving container so make sure there is room for it!
You have up to three days to load it and request a pickup.
Delivery or storage
You can have the moving container company deliver the container to the next address or have them hold on to it for a monthly fee if your new place isn’t ready yet.
When you’re ready to have the container delivered make sure you have plenty of room for it at your new place.
You’ll have 3 days to unload it so you don’t have to feel rushed!
Moving container cost calculator
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Moving containers vs. professional movers
See how moving containers compare to professional movers.
|Moving Containers||Professional Movers|
|Storage||Container companies have very competitive storage rates and the container can be delivered to your residence multiple times.||Moving companies only offer storage-in-transit and it can get expensive if you need storage more than a few months.|
|Delivery||Container companies tend to have much faster and more accurate delivery windows than professional movers.||Moving companies tend to have less accurate delivery windows.|
|Prep Time||Containers offer open-ended load time so you have more time to pack loose items.||With movers you’ll need to be fully prepared before they arrive.|
|Pricing||Container companies offer flat rates based on container sizes.||Moving companies usually require in-home estimates and variable costs since their service offerings are more complex.|
|Labor Included||Containers provide no labor although it’s not hard to hire some help.||Movers will load and unload the truck including basic furniture assembly.|
|Insurance||Container companies usually don’t offer more than basic valuation coverage.||Moving companies tend to have more insurance options and better overall coverage for damages.|
|Materials||Containers provide limited moving equipment.||Professional movers will bring pads, blankets, dollies, and straps to make sure all items are properly secured.|
How much does a moving container cost?
Compare prices on moving container, professional movers, freight, and rental trucks.
Moving containers vs. freight
See how moving containers stack up against freight moving companies.
|Load/Unload Time||Containers offer open-ended loading and unloading.||Freight typically allows 3 days at loading and 3 days at unloading|
|Off-Site Storage||Containers offer affordable, long-term storage with on demand access to items.||Freight storage is costly, short-term and not easily accessible.|
|Loading||Containers rest on the ground and tend to have lower ceilings making loading a little easier.||Freight trailers require a loading ramp and have 9 foot ceilings making loading more difficult.|
|Partial Move||Containers make it easy to leave half your items in storage.||Freight trailers need to be fully unloaded at your destination.|
|Parking||Containers are smaller and tend to be easier to fit in the driveway or on a city block.||Freight trailers require around 40′ of parking space, clear of low hanging tree or power lines. Urban areas can be a challenge.|
|Space||If you need more than 16′ of space you’ll need to get a second container.||A single freight trailer can hold roughly the same as two and a half, 16′ storage containers.|
|Pay for What You Use||With containers you are limited to two or three different sizes.||With freight you only pay for the space you need.|
|Pricing||Container companies usually require calling for quotes.||Freight websites offer instant & transparent online pricing.|
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Moving containers vs. moving truck rentals
Compare two of the most popular do-it-yourself moving options.
|Moving Containers||Rental Trucks|
|Driving||Container companies offer door-to-door delivery so you can avoid doing any driving.||Rental trucks require you do all the driving yourself.|
|Built-In Costs||Containers include mileage, tolls, gas, etc. in their base price.||With rental trucks you’ll need to estimate costs such as mileage, tolls, gas, etc.|
|Storage||Containers offer great long-term storage options.||With rental trucks you’ll have to unload into a storage unit.|
|Delivery||You are reliant on the container company to deliver on time.||With rental trucks you have complete control over delivery times since you’re driving.|
|Car||Containers have no option for towing or shipping a car.||With rental trucks you can typically rent a car hitch.|
|Parking||Some areas have restrictions on leaving containers for extended periods.||Rental trucks are generally street legal everywhere.|
Get instant ballpark estimates
Instantly compare prices for professional movers, moving containers, freight companies, and rental trucks.