U-Pack Review: A More Affordable and Convenient Moving Option?
There are many great benefits to moving that often get overlooked. For example relocating can be a great way to save money or may offer new job opportunities. At the same time there’s no getting around the fact that moving can be a huge pain. This reality has often led to a conundrum: do you pay handsomely to hire full-service movers or save money by taking on the stress of DIY options?
U-Pack aims to fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, offering affordability without the hassle of having to drive yourself. So how does it achieve that goal? Let’s take a closer look at U-Pack, their services, and how they could potentially help you save money on your move.
What is U-Pack and How Does it Work?
U-Pack is a moving services company that offers different options for long-distance moves. Staying true to their name that separates the ‘U’ from the haul, U-Pack allows you to load either a moving trailer or ReloCube container and have it shipped to your new address. That means you won’t have to worry about driving a big, boxy truck and can instead wait for your possessions to arrive at your door.
Once you book your U-Pack option, you’ll have up to three days to load your trailer or ReloCube. Then the company will pick up your container and start the moving process. Then, after your belongings arrive at your new home, you’ll have up to three more days to unload before U-Pack returns to take the trailer/ReloCubes away.
Something important to note is that U-Pack only offers service for long-distance moves and does have a minimum mileage requirement. Luckily you’ll know whether or not your move qualifies for the service when you complete your request for a free quote.
Obtaining your free U-Pack quote
Before you can decide if U-Pack is right for you, you’ll of course want to get a quote. Thankfully the company makes this fairly easy as you just enter your starting point, destination, the timeframe of your move, and the size of your home to get started. Unlike some moving companies, you won’t even be required to enter an e-mail address to view your quote — however I will warn that the quote will continue to display on the page when you visit the site thanks to a cookie it drops. If you want to save your quote or make changes, then you can provide an e-mail address.
When you receive your quote, there will likely be two main options for your move. Those are:
- Moving Trailers: A 28′ foot trailer (28′ long, 8′ wide, and 9′ tall) that you pack with your belongings. Despite the size, you’ll only pay for the amount of space your possessions occupy.
- ReloCube Moving Containers: These lockable, weatherproof containers may be a better option for those who can’t accommodate a 28′ trailer on their property. ReloCube’s measure 6’3″ in length, 7′ in width, and 8’4″ in height, allowing them to fit in a standard-sized parking spot. You can reserve as many ReloCubes as you think you’ll need as there is no charge if you end up not needing one or more of the reserved cubes — you’ll only pay for the ones you do use.
Scheduling your reservation
After you’ve done your research and you decide to give U-Pack a try, there are two main ways to make your reservation: online or on the phone. If you prefer to talk to someone, the company’s toll-free number may be a better option. Plus something that’s kind of cool is that the website will tell you how many consultants are available at any given time before you call.
For those who would rather stay online, clicking the aptly labeled “Click here to reserve” button will point you in the right direction. U-Pack’s online form will ask you for your specific start and end points, allow you to adjust the amount of space you’ll need in the trailer (which may affect your price), and schedule a delivery date. This will be the date your trailer or ReloCubes will be dropped off at your current residence.
Before finalizing your reservation, you’ll have the opportunity to select any additional options or services you’d like such as:
- Guaranteed Transit: While “Standard Transit” is included in your quote and provides an estimated date that your possessions will be delivered to your new residence, Guaranteed Transit options let you choose the exact date of arrival. These prices can vary, with shorter transit times coming at higher premiums.
- Monthly Storage: If you’d like some extra time to unpack once you reach your destination or have a gap between your move out and move in time, you can elect to purchase a 30-day storage plan. This will allow you to keep your belongings secure in the trailer at either your departure or arrival point.
- Liability coverage: This option covers damage caused by carrier negligence, but excludes damage that results from improper packing or loading. Coverage is offered at a rate of $1, $2, or $3 per pound. Note: your standard quote does include Catastrophic Liability coverage and carrier negligence liability coverage of $.10 per pound.
Finally, once you’ve selected all of your options, entered your payment information, and confirmed your pricing, just hit “Confirm Reservation” and you should be all set for your big day.
What Else You Need to Know About U-Pack
Not for in-town moves
As I mentioned earlier, U-Pack does have a minimum mileage requirement for their moves. As a result those relocating within their current metro won’t be able to take advantage of their services.
You’re responsible for damage due to mispacking
Although U-Pack does include Catastrophic Coverage for your items as well as some coverage for carrier negligence (coverage of $.10 per pound included with the option to purchase additional coverage), they do not offer any coverage for items damaged due to improper packing or loading. That means that you’ll want to be mindful when loading your items and ensure you’re doing your best to keep everything protected.
Due to the size of U-Pack’s cubes and trailers, you may find that your current or upcoming home will not offer a place to park these containers. If that’s the case, there are still a few options. For one you may be able to arrange an alternate location nearby where your container can be stored. In the event that you have some time available for parking but can’t leave the container for the full three days, U-Pack advises that you can arrange a “live load” where a driver remains with the equipment while you pack. Finally you may also have the option of bringing your belongings to a U-Pack facility and loading there. As an added bonus, this plan also includes a discount.
The “Do Not Ship List”
On their website, U-Pack warns that there are certain items you either shouldn’t or cannot pack. First they suggest not placing any antiques, photos, or other irreplaceable items in your container. Next, items such as firearms, ammo, cleaning supplies, hazardous liquids, and more are not allowed under U-Pack’s rules. Finally, while you can ship things like plants or food in your container, the company does remind you to consider how your move — including the length of time and potentially temperature — could impact these items.
Saving Money with U-Pack
The biggest savings with U-Pack comes from the direct labor costs. Since they are not a full-service moving company, the rates you’ll pay are typically much lower. That said, if you do need a bit of help loading or unloading, you can arrange to hire helpers for a reasonable fee through the company. You can book these helpers when you make your reservation.
Not only is driving a large truck awkward for those unaccustomed to taking the wheel of such vehicles, but filling the tank of these beasts can add up when you’re traveling long distances. Even if fuel costs are low at the time of your move, these large vehicles likely have low fuel efficiency, averaging fewer than 10 miles per gallon. What’s more, these gas costs aren’t typically included in the quoted price you receive from moving van rental services. Meanwhile, with U-Pack, you won’t have to worry about paying for extra gasoline (except for any personal vehicle you may be driving of course), leading to some major savings.
Another less talked about drawback that comes with moving truck rentals is that you may end up wasting space. This is to say that you might find yourself stuck upgrading to a large truck that you don’t end up filling. Unfortunately, in these situations, you’ll still likely have to pay the full price for the truck regardless. Meanwhile U-Pack only charges you for the actual amount of space you use in their trailers. Since the company simply charges by the linear foot (with a minimum of 5′) for trailer space, you won’t find yourself caught in between two truck sizes or spending extra as a result.
Beyond their base prices, U-Pack offers a few different discounts you may qualify for. In addition to military and student discounts, the company also offers special rates for corporate relocation. Plus they note that you could also save money by loading at a U-Pack service center. Last but not least I was surprised to find an “online discount” when I was exploring the booking page. This wasn’t a huge savings ($25 for the quote I was looking at) but is notable nonetheless.
Since talking savings is all theoretical, I figured it’d be fun to look at some specific quotes from U-Pack. In each of these cases I simply choose two metro areas at random and selected a different home size. A word of warning: each of these sample quotes is merely the base price without any extras — and keep in mind that quotes can vary for several reasons, so these may not match your results.
Quote #1: Los Angeles to Kansas City, 2-Bedroom Home
- Moving Trailer (13-feet of space): $2,944
- Relocubes (2 containers): $2,353
Quote #2: Denver to Salt Lake City – 3-Bedroom Home
- Moving Trailer (17-feet of space): $1,581
- Relocubes (3 containers): $1,642
Quote #3: Seattle to Phoenix – 1-Bedroom Home
- Moving Trailer (7-feet of space): $1,506
- Relocubes (1 container): $1,267
Final Thoughts on U-Pack
If you’re thinking about relocating and are looking for an affordable option, U-Pack is a good potential solution. Not only does the company offer reasonable rates that are often in line with what moving truck rentals might cost, but they also include the advantage of not having to drive or pay for the fuel. Plus the ability to pay for only the space you actually use could make a big difference if you’re stuck in between two truck sizes.
At the same time, if you are contemplating U-Pack, just be sure to pay attention to their “Do Not Ship List,” consider your insurance options carefully, and consult your homeowner’s association or apartment management about parking your container. Similarly those who will need their belongings on a specific day might also look into upgrading to Guaranteed Transit. As long as you do that, there’s a good chance the U-Pack could help you save money on your move while also reducing some of the stress.
Also published on Medium.