PODs vs Moving Company: What is the Best Option for Your Move?

PODs vs Moving Company: What is the Best Option for Your Move?

Table of Contents

 

When moving house, there are a few key decisions you need to make in order to ensure the move goes along successfully. Before all else, you need to set a moving budget, lock in on a moving date, and decide how you plan to transport your belongings from the old house to the new crib.

These fundamentals are what your move will be anchored on and every other decision you make will virtually revolve around them in one way or another.

When it comes to shipping belongings from your current residence to your new address, the moving company vs pods decision is one you’ll need to make. That is assuming you do not plan to do the driving yourself.

In this post, we take a look at the pros and cons of using a professional moving company vs pods. Starting with the latter…

 

Movers Meaning: What is a Professional Moving Company and How Does it Work?

Moving is a big business in the US, and moving companies are at the center of it.

If you’ve relocated more than once like the average American, this is an experience you are most likely familiar with. Even if it’s your first time moving house, chances are you’re privy to a few names in the moving industry as moving company trucks are ubiquitous in most cities across America.

A professional moving company, by definition, is an entity licensed to provide moving services within a set geographical location. As such, you find that traditional movers (as they are also known) differ in terms of the jurisdiction they are legally allowed to operate in.

Local movers only provide services within the state (intrastate) while moving companies licensed to provide state-to-state moving services are known as interstate movers. Others (like us) offer a mix of both local and interstate moving services.

If you are planning to use a moving company, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone is who they say they are. This is why you want to be sure you’re working with a licensed interstate mover to avoid falling victim to a moving scam, which is more common than you might think!

One quick way to confirm if you’re dealing with a rogue or legitimate moving company is to check their license details. Local (aka intrastate movers) must have a license issued by the respective state’s Department of Transportation.

Interstate movers, for their part, need to be licensed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Interstate movers should be able to provide this proof in the form of a USDOT number which is unique to each moving company.

Once you’re sure that you are dealing with reputable outfits, go ahead and compare rates from different companies. The idea is to find a mover that plays within your budget. However, cost should not be the only thing you look at when evaluating moving companies. You also want quality service (obviously) and the cheapest guys in town may not guarantee that.

More than that, you also want to be sure that the moving company can accommodate any unique needs you may have. It’s worth noting that not everyone provides certain services, particularly when it comes to moving specialty items (this applies to legitimate companies as well).

For example, at SEKA, our list of specialty services includes moving things like pianos, pool tables, antique items, and fine art.

You will rarely encounter a mover that will say no to a job. As much as they may have trained personnel at their disposal, some specialty items require special skills and experience to move. Besides, there is little matter of mover’s insurance to also consider, should anything go south.

If the mover doesn’t provide, say, piano moving services, you would only be gambling with your prized possession.

 

See: What is a Certificate of Insurance for Moving?

 

Anyway, with your due diligence done, the moving quote received, and choice of moving company made, all that’s left is to get your stuff to your new place.

Who does the packing between the mover and yourself depends on what type of service you sign up for. For example, full-service moving caters to all aspects of the relocation for you, including providing packing materials, packing and unpacking, furniture disassembly and reassembly, and more. These perks do come at an extra cost, though.

Irrespective of the level of service you opt for, when moving day comes, the moving company will bring their truck and the moving crew loads your belongings onto the truck. This is the main distinguishing aspect between moving company vs pods, but we’ll get to that.

With everything loaded and ready, the onus is on the mover to deliver your items to the destination. If it’s a local move, this will usually be done within a day. In the case of long-distance moves, the delivery might take longer depending on the distance (even two weeks in some cases). This, however, should be communicated in advance so you’ll know what to expect.

The moving company will then inform you once the truck arrives at the intended destination. They will unload the truck – another pleasure you enjoy when using a moving company vs pods – before placing the belongings inside the house.

And that’s that!

  What are PODs and How Do They Work?

What are PODs and How Do They Work?

Now that we have described what a moving company is and how relocating with a traditional moving company works, let’s walk you through the pods moving service before we delve into the moving company vs pods pros and cons. First things first – what are pods for moving?

Well, a pod is… think of it as simply a moving container – which it literally is. In fact, a pod and a moving container are basically one and the same thing.

But since we’re here, perhaps it’s worth highlighting a few interesting facts:

  • PODS is actually an acronym for Portable On Demand Storage, the name of a company that provides containers for moving;
  • PODS as a brand was founded circa 1998, and is now owned by the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan;
  • The company operates not just in the United States, but also Canada, the UK, and Australia;
  • PODS is the most well-known moving containers company, but it’s not the only one. Many other moving container companies have since emerged to fill the needs in this space.

Before we get to the benefits and downsides of using a moving company vs pods, one key difference to note between the two is that there is less work involved with traditional movers. With a pods moving service, you’re virtually left to your own devices.

Moving using pods (and by this, we mean moving containers in general) basically works like this…

  1. Once you’ve made up your mind to rent a moving container to move house, identify a moving container company from the available pods moving companies in your vicinity.
  2. Select an appropriate container size based on the amount of belongings you will be moving. Most pods moving companies offer a range of container sizes, the most common of which include:
    • Small container – could be a 7- or 8-foot container that measures 7 x 7 x 8 feet or 8 x 7 x 8 feet respectively with a capacity of approximately 400 cubic feet. Ideal for spaces of less than 500 sq. ft. and suited for small apartment owners and students;
    • Medium container – a 12-foot container that comes in dimensions of 12 x 8 x 8 with about 690 cubic space of interior space. Equivalent to a 15-foot moving truck, a medium-sized container can generally hold the contents of a two- or three-bedroom apartment. It’s also suited for small office moves – assuming you’re not thinking of hiring office boy movers – as well as a moderately furnished one- or two-bedroom house (basement, attic, and garage not included);
    • Large container – a 16-foot container appropriate for moving larger homes. It comes in at 16 x 8 x 8 and provides about 860 cubic feet of usable space, enough to fit a 3- or 4-bed apartment or most two-bedroom homes. This container can also be used for office relocation or hired for home remodeling projects.
  3. With your container size selected, request a free quote from the moving containers company. The cost will depend on factors such as the size of the container, number of containers needed, how long you need the container(s) for, geographic location, and seasonality – in addition to optional services you may desire, including assistance loading the pod and delivery of moving supplies.
  4. Next, confirm your date of moving and schedule your move, along with your first down-payment for your pod to be reserved.
  5. The moving containers company will then deliver the pod to your door.
  6. From there, it’s up to you to load the container and prepare your things for shipment, a distinguishing feature of pods vs moving companies. Most pods moving companies will allow you as much time as you need to fill your container.
  7. With your container loaded, the moving container company (PODS or otherwise) will sort out the transportation for you, whether you’re moving across town or to a different state. Pets are an exception obviously, and you might also want to take care of smaller valuables such as jewelry yourself. In the meantime, you can store the container at your home (if you have space) or at a storage facility as you wait for the container company to pick it up as agreed.
  8. After your container arrives at the destination, it’s up to you to unload the belongings. When you’re done (whenever that may be) simply give the moving containers company a call so that they can collect their pod.
  Pros and Cons of Hiring Professional Movers

Pros and Cons of Hiring Professional Movers

Now that you know how a moving company vs pods works, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages associated with both, starting with the benefits of using traditional movers.

Pros

  • Minimal stress during the move – if you’ve relocated before, you’ll agree that moving can be a stressful experience. One of the biggest benefits of using a traditional moving company is that a professional mover can take the stress out of your move. However, keep in mind that all movers are not equal, so you want to partner with a brand known for their stellar customer service. At Seka Moving, we have carved a reputation for putting customer satisfaction first. Our team of professional staff is reliable, efficient, and a joy to work with;
  • You don’t have to stress about moving supplies – a traditional moving company brings all the materials and equipment needed to safely move heavy and sensitive items like furniture, electronics, and appliances. As such, you don’t have to invest in or hire these essential supplies separately, whether that be furniture dollies, moving straps, moving blankets, and so on;
  • No heavy lifting involved – another aspect that clearly differentiates a moving company vs pods is the amount of work involved. The beauty of hiring a professional mover is that a mover allows you to put your feet up on Moving Day. They will handle all the heavy lifting, and the importance of this cannot be understated particularly when you’re moving heavy and sensitive items. Relocating to a new home or different city may be exciting, but the thought of hauling heavy boxes, large appliances, or furniture certainly isn’t. Plus, having a professional crew handle the move for you minimizes the risk of damaging not just your items, but the walls and floors too;
  • Moving companies are ideal for moving sensitive items – if you’re planning to move sensitive and/or heavy items such fine art, pianos, or other high-value or fragile objects, it might be wiser to work with a moving company vs pods. Professional movers are trained to handle these types of items, plus in the event of damage, you’ll revel in the knowledge that your prized possessions are covered. At Seka, we offer specialty moving service for sensitive items such as pianos, pool tables, art, antiques, and more;
  • Low chance of accidents or damage to your items – moving is a process fraught with risk and danger, whether it’s human injury or damage to items or property. When you’re working with a professional moving company, however, this risk is drastically minimized. The last thing you want when relocating is for any of your loved ones to suffer an injury in the process. Or to damage a prized possession. Or to inflict damage on the premises, rented or owned. That’s why a traditional mover makes sense.
 

Cons

  • Difficulties in finding reliable movers – the moving industry in the United States may boast a profusion of service providers, but weeding out the grain from the chaff can be (in all honesty) WORK. While the list of licensed moving companies is long, the service differs by a margin. You only need to read about the negative experiences most people have had with traditional movers (licensed at that) to know finding a good mover isn’t always a given. You might be lucky to find a reliable company that ticks all the right boxes on the first try, but there’s also a chance you might go through a few rogue types before you unearth that gem. Just like in any other service sector really. This is why it’s important to vet your movers thoroughly first before signing up;
  • More expensive than renting a pod – the one notable downside of using a moving company vs pods is the cost involved. Hiring professional movers is costlier than using a pods moving service;
  • You will have less control over your move – while using a moving company allows you time to focus on other things (which is a godsend for anyone with a packed schedule) the downside is that you may not be involved as much as you may want in the move; or some aspects of it rather. This may not be considered a disadvantage by some people, however – unless you like to be on top of every little detail. Usually, though, working with a mover that accommodates your needs should resolve this, which underlines the need for proper vetting even more. Or you can simply avoid the whole headache by simply partnering with a mover with a reputation for taking customer concerns on board. Like us.
 

Pros and Cons of Renting a Moving Container

The advantages of using a pod vs a moving company largely revolve around cost and convenience.

Here is what we mean…

Pros

  • Moving containers can be used as storage – moving containers basically double up as a storage container. This eliminates the need to rent a storage unit to hold your belongings during, before, or after a move. Or when you want to take time with your move;
  • More flexible timeframes – speaking of taking time with your move, one obvious benefit a pods moving service offers over professional moving companies is flexibility with the moving timeline. Unlike traditional movers who operate within delivery windows and deadlines that you have to plan yourself around, pods allow for more wiggle room if you would rather do the packing and loading at your own pace;
  • Cheaper in some instances – when comparing a moving company vs pods, price is a big factor. Moving using pods may be noticeably cheaper sometimes than hiring a professional mover, but the trade-off is that there is more work involved on moving day. It’s worth taking the time to do a cost comparison between the two because sometimes the savings you stand to make with a container may just not be worth the effort and hassle of renting one, particularly if we’re talking about a local move.
 

Cons

  • Parking challenges – pods may have their benefits, but they do come with a set of challenges. One of the biggest disadvantages of moving using pods is the challenge of securing parking for the moving container, particularly if you live in an apartment complex, housing community, or urban area. It works better if you reside in a single-family home with your own yard or driveway. In other words, a pods moving service might make more sense if you live in the rural Midwest than in a busy city;
  • Storage space headaches – a moving container may be a storage unit in itself, but as we mentioned, it needs to be parked somewhere [safe]. In the event you have to store the pod in a storage facility during, before, or after the move (probably due to such challenges as mentioned in the previous point), you might have to contend with storage space issues. Not only do you have to reserve a parking slot in advance, but there’s also the likelihood that the nearest storage facility could be full. That may force you to find a facility a bit farther out, and that can be hugely inconveniencing;
  • Difficult to estimate container size – unlike professional movers who use a more accurate method to estimate the amount of space required to hold your belongings comfortably, there is always the possibility you may underestimate the space you need when renting a moving container, the general guidelines notwithstanding. That’s bound to elicit another headache: to rent a larger container or pare down your possessions.
  • The work involved – let’s be honest, loading and unloading stuff on moving day would not rank as a favorite to-do for most. Heck, it’s one of the main reasons most people opt to hire professional movers in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s something you have to put up with when using pod services for moving;
  • You have to purchase your own moving supplies – traditional movers absolve you of the need to incur extra costs in the name of sourcing moving supplies like dollies and the litany of tools and equipment necessary to facilitate a move. That is something you have to plan for separately if you intend to use a pods moving service.
  • Not ideal for fragile or temperature-sensitive items – if you are weighing up using a moving company vs pods, it’s good to remember that the latter may not be the best method for moving fragile items or anything sensitive to temperature. This could be anything from kitchen appliances to old furniture, wooden items in general, musical instruments, electronics, art and paintings, household plants, and more.
  PODS vs Moving Company: What to Choose for a Long-Distance Move?

PODS vs Moving Company: What to Choose for a Long-Distance Move?

When compared to hiring professional movers, the cost of renting a moving container sometimes may not be worth it if you’re relocating locally. The amount you stand to save may not be significantly much with all things factored in.

But what about a long-distance move?

It all comes down to cost vs convenience really. If you can swing it, a professional moving company tramples using a pods moving service every day of the week, and twice on Sundays.

Hiring traditional movers is less stressful than using a moving containers company, particularly if you opt for a full-service move whereby the moving company handles most of the aspects of the relocation for you; packing and unpacking included.

Movers also take care of the moving supplies aspect (boxes and wrap, for example), and they also bring their own loading materials and tools so you don’t have to purchase your own. What’s more, experienced movers like us can provide answers to questions pertaining to the move that you may have, quelling any doubts and ensuring you stay on top of things.

By contrast, moving with a pod means you get to do all the work yourself, barring transport.

The fact that the moving containers company sorts out the transportation is great when you have to cover hundreds or thousands of miles. For many people, though, that’s not the only concern.

When comparing a moving company vs pods from a cost point of view, pods win hands down. They are much more affordable, but more than that, a pods moving service allows you to move at your own pace.

However, if you desire a less stressful move, nothing beats a professional full-service moving company.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to how much you’re willing to spend on relocating and the amount of time and effort you’re prepared (or able) to put in. Overall, traditional movers are a much better option than using pods moving companies, but that – unsurprisingly – means you have to dig a little deeper into your pocket.

  Frequently asked questions on using PODs or moving company?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Using PODs a Good Way to Move?

Depends. If your primary goal is to keep your moving costs as low as possible, then pods will prove a great choice compared to hiring a professional moving team.

However, moving using pods means you’ll be left to your own devices, save for the part where the moving containers company takes care of the actual transport of your belongings.

That may not be ideal for most people, and circumstances themselves might not be suited to using a pods moving service. Not only are containers a huge inconvenience if you live in an apartment complex, HOA community, or urban area without your own driveway, but you may also be required to navigate a few hurdles to get a permit that allows for street parking.

Is It Cheaper to Use PODs or a Moving Company?

Yes, pods moving service is cheaper than hiring a professional crew. In fact, this is the biggest advantage of using a moving container over a professional moving company.

However, that’s not to mean cost should be the only factor to think about when evaluating between moving company vs pods options.

What Are the Best Moving Container Companies?

PODS (the company) may have been the brains behind the pods moving service, but there are many options available today for anyone considering using a moving container.

Some moving container companies to consider include U-Box, U-Pack, 1-800-Pack-Rat, SmartBox, and Zippy Shell.

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