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relocation pods


gradorbust

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U-Haul has a pod service (U-Box) that we tried out last fall. It was very cheap (50% less than other pod companies) but the entire experience was a complete nightmare. Basically everything negative you might read about in the online reviews of U-Haul U-Box pod service came true for us. Maybe we were unlucky, or that the locations involved were just incompetent/poorly trained. But here are some details you could consider:

 

1. Distance: about 2700 miles from the eastern Canada to western USA.

2. Cost: $1500 for the move, plus $120/month to "rent" the pod (and insurance), plus small fees to get them to bring the box to you (or to rent a truck to bring your stuff to them). Our total was about $1800.

3. Estimated delivery time: 10-12 business days

4. Actual delivery time: 1 month!!

 

The problems we encountered:

1. We made the reservation with U-Box central office but the U-Haul location at our origin did not have the reservation info.

2. So, they did not have a Box ready for us (on our last day in that city) and no one available that was certified to move a box out of storage.

3. They had originally told us to come back another day (impossible due to travel and lease timelines) but after 3 hours, we finally convinced them to let us use the demo box they had on their front lot.

4. They screwed up the paperwork and the box was shipped 1 week late. I had to do my own research to give them the correct forms for this service (found on the U-Haul website).

5. U-Box uses a third party to ship the actual pods and their communication was very poor. When our box didn't arrive 10-12 days later, they had no idea where the box was and their 3rd party shipper did not return any of their calls.

 

We finally got our box about 2 weeks late (1 week late if including the late shipping). We had to camp in our new apartment for about a month. Fortunately, the location at our destination was very professional though and they CC'ed me on every attempt at communicating with their head office and the shipper and the manager even gave us his private number since all calls to U-Haul actually go to their call centre, which isn't very helpful. They also rented us the equipment to unload the box for free. This gives me hope that the whole service is not terrible but that the majority of locations have (not  yet) properly trained their employees on how to run U-Box.

 

Some other "pros" of using U-Box:

1. Cost is much less -- other companies quoted us about $3200+

2. Able to bring your stuff to a U-Haul location and load it on site. We didn't want them to drop off a box overnight in our parking lot / street where people could break into it. In addition, we lived in an apartment so there was no place that we were allowed to store a pod overnight in the lot. Also, this allows for more control (since we bring our stuff to them instead of waiting for U-Haul to drop off and pick up the box).

3. Easy online reservations (or so we thought) and clear transparent pricing / quotes.

 

Maybe you will have more options than we did if you are doing a move within the US. Our only other options were expensive professional movers or shipping via something like UPS (which is not as convenient as using a pod). Hope our story tells you enough pros/cons for you to decide what is best for yourself!

 

Personally though, if we had to do it again, it wouldn't have been so bad if we knew ahead of time the shipping would take ~1 month instead of 2 weeks. The worst part was not knowing where the stuff was at all and worrying about whether it crossed the border properly. But I guess you get what you pay for and we didn't really have another option on our budget.

 

At least we don't have to move cities again for a good while. However, in the future, I am hoping that whatever job offer I get will include moving expenses so that we can just hire movers to do it. We definitely do not want to have that experience again a few years down the road!!

Edited by TakeruK
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If you are only moving 300 miles you ought to rent a truck. It will be significantly less expensive and less can go wrong. If you are bound and determined to get a pod, I had a pretty good experience moving cross country with ABF UPack, it cost me about $500. It is worth finding out where the pod will be dropped off if you aren't planning to pay the premium for door to door shipping (in my city the cost was prohibitive because street use permits were required too). Our pod ended up about 1.5 hours from our home where land is cheaper for the freight companies, and was dropped off immediately before  a hurricane--because the storage lot was in a swampy area, several of the pods (although luckily not ours) were flooded. Also, some items were damaged by heat, since the pods are metal and fry in the sun. Be sure to itemize for insurance, the basic coverage provided with the pods is pretty minimal (a few hundred dollars per item, does not scale with actual value beyond $500) and won't cover replacement cost for anything big.

Edited by Usmivka
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Yea I decided to go with ABF Upack, a combined load up at one of their centers and a door drop off in my new location.   Only ends up being around 400 bucks.

 

I am under 25 so cant get a truck also this way I have an option of storing it for a month and saving a months rent if I want to.

 

Also I own nothing worth more than 300 bucks anyway so that doesn't bother me.  Need to try and sell off more stuff to make sure I get it down to one pod.

Edited by gradorbust
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Great thread! I may be moving from Vegas all the way to UConn, so I've been thinking of a Pod but the websites I stumbled onto were much more expensive.

 

I'll check out ABF U pack for sure. I'd be more than happy if they ship my crap across country for $500  :D I couldn't sell my furniture for more than $300 either, but replacing it all would be another story!

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If you are only moving 300 miles you ought to rent a truck. It will be significantly less expensive and less can go wrong. If you are bound and determined to get a pod, I had a pretty good experience moving cross country with ABF UPack, it cost me about $500. It is worth finding out where the pod will be dropped off if you aren't planning to pay the premium for door to door shipping (in my city the cost was prohibitive because street use permits were required too). Our pod ended up about 1.5 hours from our home where land is cheaper for the freight companies, and was dropped off immediately before  a hurricane--because the storage lot was in a swampy area, several of the pods (although luckily not ours) were flooded. Also, some items were damaged by heat, since the pods are metal and fry in the sun. Be sure to itemize for insurance, the basic coverage provided with the pods is pretty minimal (a few hundred dollars per item, does not scale with actual value beyond $500) and won't cover replacement cost for anything big.

What is your definition of cross country??? I just got a quote for $1900

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What is your definition of cross country??? I just got a quote for $1900

Seattle to Boston. About as far as you can go without a maritime leg. But each city is on one end of I-90. Prices go up significantly if you aren't going to/from one of their hubs. Also, as I mentioned above, I did not use door to door delivery, I loaded and unpacked at their warehouses. Another thing to consider, was the cost for your actual move date? If so, is your move date felxible? Prices double or triple around September when everyone else wants to move too--the service comes with a month of free storage, so there is no reason to fall into this trap. Finally, if you only have a few large items, I've heard from people that have had good luck shipping by Amtrak (they have a surprisingly affordable, but slow cargo service) or truck freight (you have to find and pack your own pallets in both cases). And if you are willing to get second hand stuff for $800, that is going to be much less of a hassle even if shipping was $300 cheaper (don't forget trucks and packing at each end!). You can probably even find furnished apartments or get stuff from other students in your program--folks in mine are always giving away stuff around September.

Edited by Usmivka
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