Full Service Moving vs PODS Moving Services



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Full Service Moving vs PODS Moving Services

You will need to go for the best moving option that perfectly fit your needs and budget if you are planning to move either short or long distance regardless. You are most certainly looking for the most secure and stress-free solution to your local or interstate move while getting ready to relocate and at the same time making sure you didn’t spend beyond your budget.

When it comes to moving from one home to another, there are a number of options you can explore to achieve your goal of smooth and less-hassle relocation. Two of the moving options available to you are full-service moving services or portable moving containers services which are the most popular moving options today.

Portable moving containers can be called be several names such as PODs, mobile self-storage, minis, etc., depending on which company you choose. You will need to consider the following factors while weighing your options:

  • The volume of the household items
  • Personal time constraint
  • Your moving budget
  • Inventory of all your items, especially fragile items like a piano, pool table, hot tub, antiques, etc.
  • What tasks can you handle? Decide on any or all of disassembly/reassembly, packing, loading, unloading, etc.

Both your needs and the best solution to them will be determined when you consider these factors. This aims to look at these two options in a view to enlighten our esteem readers on the best option for their moving needs.

What are Full-Service Professional Moving Services?

Moving companies that offer a wide range and all-round service for every part of the relocation process are known as full-service national movers. Full-service national movers help you with packing, unlike pods where you do it by yourself. From packing, loading, transport, unloading to unpacking, most full-service moving companies help you out but at a cost. The total weight of your belongings and the distance to be traveled to your new home are usually the major deciding factors on how much full-service movers would charge you. However, there are pros and cons of this option. Let’s look into this quickly.


There are many benefits of using professional moving services for your move. Considering the stress of packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking, full-service moving service is an option to explore. Below are some of the pros of moving with a full-service moving company:

  • You won’t have to do any heavy lifting: It means you will not have to lift a finger on moving day when you hire a full-service moving company, as they are professionally trained experts in the lifting of heavy items. They will know exactly how to maneuver a couch through the door as well as carrying moving boxes down the stairs without damaging your belongings or scratching the floor.
  • Movers minimize stress: Hiring professional movers gives you a great edge to those who didn’t, as moving can be a very frustrating process. It is never an easy task to relocate. When it comes to reducing the stress of a move, your professional mover will do wonders provided they are pleasant, efficient, and reliable. You can let the movers handle the disassembly, lifting, loading and other stressful moving tasks as soon as they get to your doorstep.
  • Timely delivery: They will also be able to finish up your relocation job in a timely manner provided they are also trained on proper ways to handle both loading and unloading of a moving truck (this is not an issue when you hire the right moving company). This will give you enough time to take care of other personal things.
  • You won’t have to go through the stress of finding moving supplies: Moving supplies such as moving straps, moving blankets, dollies and others will definitely be rent or purchased by those planning a DIY move. Moving your electronics, appliances, and furniture necessitates the need to get these items. Your move could take longer time to complete, and your possessions are also more likely to get damaged along with the move if you do not have the appropriate moving supplies ready. Fortunately, all of these necessary moving supplies will be provided by the professional movers; so you have no cause to worry about getting them.


For every advantage of a service, there are also associated disadvantages or cons. While full-service moving service is a good match for many people, some factors make it no go area for some people. Below are some cons of hiring a full-service moving company:

  • You will have less control over your move: You will no longer have sole control over every part of the move when you hire a professional moving company. You will not be able to decide if things are being done to your liking or how your items are being loaded into the moving truck. You may choose a different relocation method if you are one of those people who prefers a DIY approach to things.
  • Hiring movers are pricey: The average cost of local move according to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) is $2,300 (for four movers at $200/hour). They also estimate that the average cost of long distance relocation is $4300 based on an average weight of 7,400 pounds which makes it cost even more than the local move because of the deciding factors which are the weight of the belongings and the distance to the destination home. Ensure you are ready to cover the costs of hiring professional movers before you set out for one.
  • You will have to vet movers first: You are basically inviting strangers over to your house and also opening up yourself to potential moving scams when you hire moving company. Hence, don’t just hire any company anyhow – ensure you check if the moving company is licensed and insured properly to avoid falling victim of rogue moving companies. Through the Moving Company Directory at Feedback Moving’s website, you can also check complaint history and Better Business Bureau ratings of moving companies.

What are Moving PODS?

Portable on Demand Storage which is commonly referred to as PODS is another moving options popular in the moving industry. The use of moving pods is one of the moving options that is making the waves lately. A portable storage container rented by the user who is either in need of temporary storage or getting ready for relocation is known as a pod. A pod is also known as the temporary storage used by those planning an international move to pack and store their possessions until the time the items are ready to be picked up by the moving company to their destination home.

Similar to the containers found in storage yards are pods. Pods come in different sizes from 12 to 16 feet in height. While you pack your things and load inside a pod, you can place it in your backyard or in front of your house. You can then call the pod company to have them pick the loaded pod up and then transport it to your destination home once you are ready. This is far cheaper than hiring a professional moving company; though comes with some disadvantages.


Some of the pros of using POD for your move include:

  • Moving containers can double as storage: Portable moving containers accomplish the expression of killing two birds with one stone. Storing of your items before, during or after a move is made possible by these useful moving containers, as they double as storage units. You only need to make arrangements with the relocation container company to pick it up after loading and deliver it to their storage facility of your choice.

You may also be allowed to store containers on your self-storage units company’s facilities. Storing of possessions for as long as needed and moving them when the time is right makes moving container exceptionally helpful for those moving to temporary housing.

  • You can move on your own timeline: Monthly charges are what most consumers incurred on keeping their hired containers. Meaning a customer can get an extra month to load and unload belongings with a moving container at will, provided they are ready pay the fees. Those relocating have control over their moving process with this flexibility.
  • You will save on moving costs: Hiring a full-service mover for a move could be considered costly than renting a moving container. Using pods for long distance move, for instance, starts from $800 depending on the length of the rental and distance of your move. However, your costs will vary based on some other factors. Rates for storing the container on the customer’s personal property start as low as $110 for a 12-foot container and $120 for a 16-foot container per month according to PODS. You will start to see a major difference in price when you compare the cost to the price being charged by a professional moving company.


Some of the cons of using POD for your move include:

  • You will still have to load the container yourself: Using moving containers for your move is just like a DIY move. You will have to enlist the help of friends and family or do it yourself without the help of a professional moving company. This includes strategizing your loading process, renting moving straps, dollies and other moving supplies all by yourself. A moving container company will pick up the loaded container and deliver it to your destination home; however, this is unlike a moving truck rental where the customers will drive the truck themselves. Moving container is still one of the easiest ways to handle a DIY move even though loading pods may be stressful.
  • Storage space is based on availability: You will need to reserve a spot if you are planning to store the moving container in a self-storage facility before, during or after the relocation. Most of the time, the closest storage facility is always full and may not be available at the time of need. In a situation like this, storing your belongings in a faraway facility is the only option, and this would make the already stressful relocation more inconvenient.
  • You’ll need a place to put the container: You will need a space to park the container in your house while loading and unloading. When trying to park their moving container, those living in an HOA community and/or share a driveway with other residents may run into a few problems with unhappy neighbors. You will have to scale through many hurdles to secure a parking spot for your moving container if you also live in an apartment building or a busy city. Ensure you check your HOA rules and/or local government restrictions when it comes to street parking before renting a portable moving container for your move.

Comparing Moving Containers with Professional Movers

Moving container companies work a little differently from professional moving companies. You will need to understand how traditional relocation companies’ work to determine which option is best for your move. The moving company will send an experienced moving agent to your home to do a physical survey and inventory of your belongings when you choose a professional moving company for your move.

They will decide on the best relocation plan to carry-out for your move and at the most affordable price in this way. If you find their recommendation unfit for your move or budget, you are not obliged to continue with their service as the in-home evaluation is done free of charge.

Based on your budget and needs, a professional moving company will work with you. They will also provide a full-service move for you if you want to delegate everything regarding the physical move. A full moving service includes the following:

  • Packing of belongings (most importantly odd-shaped and fragile items)
  • Disassembling and reassembling of the entire furniture
  • Free use of dollies, pads, moving boxes, shrink, wardrobe boxes and other complete moving tools or equipment
  • Loading and unloading of items into the moving truck
  • Provision of the perfect truck size for your belonging
  • Safely and efficiently transportation of your household belongings to your destination home

Every individual does not require the full-service move. Moving companies, in this case, offer the moving truck with movers, packing services only, moving labor only, storage and other varieties of custom services.

Costs of Professional Moving Services

A moving company will consider the following factors when calculating your moving cost:

  • Total weight of your belonging
  • The distance of the pick-up point to the drop-off point
  • Timing of your relocation such as peak seasons (summer months, start and end of each month)

Additional insurance cover for your highly prized possessions are optional. The most moving company provides only basic coverage which is $0.60 per pound.

Most professional movers will also provide flat fee quote for a long distance move. Moving companies charged fixed hourly rates on custom services such as moving labor for loading and unloading, and packing only which are based on the number of men for the job.

Which is better?

This is where your personal preference comes in. Hiring full service moving company maybe your best option if you do not have enough time and you need to outsource every task in order to have time for other personal things, or you want to avoid the stress and difficulties involved.

If you are moving a long distance, hiring a full-service moving company can be expensive and thus; makes it a turn off to those looking for a cheaper way to move.

For people who want to take their time as well as those who want to pack their belongings at their own pace, on the other hand, moving PODS can be a good option, as it’s much cheaper compared to hiring moving companies.

If you don’t have a place to put the pods on, however, it may not be a good option for you. It could also be a problem if you are living in an apartment or a condo. In addition, packing and having the leisure of a flexible schedule is not everybody’s favorite.

Top 5 Picks for PODS

For smaller moves, portable moving containers are generally ideal, as well as for those looking to store their possessions temporarily during the relocation process. We, however, recommend comparing and considering these five fantastic moving container companies if pods sound like a solution to your move:

#1. PODS

For those moving and/or looking for storage facilities, PODS is a well-known choice for portable containers that are weather-resistant and steel-framed. They provide containers equipped with tie-downs, steel locking latches, a lock and key, and ramp-free loading.

When it comes to varieties of container sizes that can accommodate a wide variety of moves, PODS containers are available in 3 different sizes as follows:

  • PODS’ largest moving container is the 16-foot container which can fit a 3 to 4 bedroom home easily. It offers roughly 857 cubic feet of interior packing space and measures 16 x 8 x 8.
  • For in-town moving and storage, PODS’ 12-foot container is available, having the capacity to hold 2 to 3 bedroom. It offers approximately 689 cubic feet of interior packing space and measures 12 x 8 x 8.
  • The 7-foot moving container is the smallest container offered by PODS. It is a popular choice for apartment moves and perfect for small-volume moving and storage. It offers approximately 385 cubic feet of interior packing space and measures 7 x 7 x 8.

A PODS containers can either be stored at PODS storage location or on the customer’s property depending on the customer’s choice. It costs $12 for storing a 16-foot container on your property and $110 for a 12-foot container per month. Depending on availability, duration, and location, monthly rental varies.

Website: www.pods.com

#2. ABF U-PACK ReloCubes

This company provides a weatherproof and metal moving container. For added security, U-Pack allows customers to use their own padlocks on the ReloCube. For those moving and/or looking for storage, U-Pack is a popular company for them because they can reserve as many ReloCubes as possible while only making payments for the ones they use.

U-Pack doesn’t request for advance payment or deposit according to the company’s website. You can pay by credit card for the number of ReloCubes you ended up utilizing after you are through with loading up of the container.

The ReloCubes from U-Pack comes in different sizes with the inside measuring 70 x 82 x 93 while each cube holds a maximum of 2500 pounds of belongings in weight. That amounts to a room of boxes and furniture. Use U-Pack’s Moving Space Estimator Tool to determine how many ReloCubes you will need.

You have three days to load up the ReloCube once U-Pack dropped it at your doorstep. The company will then pick up and return the ReloCube to a secure service center for storage. The company’s self-storage option is designed for customers who are relocating but will not be ready to move into their new home immediately according to U-Pack. U-Pack’s pricing for storage is based on per container/monthly basis.

Website: www.upack.com

#3. U-Haul’s U-Box Containers

Because of the company’s multiple deliveries and storage options, many people choose to go for their U-Boxes. These multiple options include:

  • Superior Convenience Option – The container will be dropped at your doorstep by U-Haul while customers are free to keep the U-Box as long as they require and later arrange for pick up once they are ready.
  • Availability of the Low-Cost Do-it-Yourself Option – With a U-Haul trailer, customer can pick up their moving container. This means they can bring the moving container back to U-Haul location themselves once they are done with packing. Customers can do everything at their own schedule with this affordable option.
  • The Most Cost-Effective Option – Customers are free to pack their belongings into a U-Box container at the U-Haul location if they are willing to bring it there. From there, they can decide whether to ship it or store the container.

The company’s U-Box come in a single size, and it measures 96 x 60 x 90, amounting to 257 cubic feet. The U-Box has the capacity to accommodate up to 2000 pounds contents. U-Boxes can accommodate about one room and a half of household belongings according to the site. To determine how many U-Boxes you will need to fully pack up your belongings, you can use U-Haul’s estimation tool.

The Company offers 24-hour access to its customers, and its storage facilities are climate controlled and secure. Customers can rent U-Boxes on a convenient monthly basis as there are no long-term contracts.

Website: www.uhaul.com

#4. 1-800-PACK-RAT

For those looking to relocate and/or store their possessions, 1-800-PACK-RAT’s portable containers are a well-known choice with its heavy emphasis on security and durability. Their containers are covered in steel walls, frames, and barn-style doors. The Company’s portable moving containers come in 3 different sizes which include the following:

  • 1-800-PACK-RAT’s largest container size is 830 cubic feet and measures 10 x 15 storage room which can accommodate up to 6000 pounds of household items or 3 to 4 bedroom apartment. This is the most popular choice for both long distance and local move according to the company’s website.
  • 1-800-PACK-RAT’s 12-foot container with 12-foot can accommodate 2 to 3 bedroom household belongings and furniture.
  • The company’s 8-foot container which is 404 cubic feet measures 8 x 8 and can accommodate up to 4000 household belongings or approximately 1 to 2 bedroom of furniture.

The portable moving container will be brought directly to your doorstep by this company. The option of storing it on your property or having the company pick it up and store in their secure storage facility is also made available by 1-800-PACK-RAT. Their storage facilities are equipped with video surveillance and they are climate controlled.

Website: www.1800packrat.com


Self-storage containers that measure 7 x 5 x 8 which can accommodate a one room and half full of household items are provided by this company. For easy access and convenience, the doors of the container swing wide. For packing and loading of Smartbox, customers are given all the time they need and pick up the container when it is ready. Free storage of up to a month is included in the price.

Website: www.smartboxmovingandstorage.com

Top 5 Professional Moving Companies

Professional movers will be in charge of every aspect of your move without you lifting a pen. This is the best for you if you don’t have time or you are not ready to stress yourself moving your items.

Find our top picks for professional moving companies below:

#1. United Van Lines

Except in Hawaii, this company has its presence in every state of the United States with 327 local agents in total. From the mover-network of all the van lines we examined, United has the largest. United took the first place in inspection results and a low number of complaints even though all our top picks excelled in both categories. The company has the fewest complaints and inspection of failures to boot, drives the most long-distance, and has the most moving trucks.

The customer service provided by United is also on point, and their representative we spoke to has a broad knowledge of the job and gives answers to all our questions with ease. The company is one of the few companies that allow a standard working schedule. Outside of Monday – Friday (8 to 5) work week, you can schedule in-home estimates with United.

Services offered by the company are stated below:

  • Local Moving Service
  • Long-Distance Moving Services
  • Residential Moving Service
  • Corporate Relocation Service
  • International Moving Service
  • Auto Transport Service
  • Government Moving Service
  • Full-Service Package
  • Storage Services

Website: www.unitedvanlines.com

#2. Atlas Van Lines

The company has a large presence across the country including Hawaii even though it is smaller than United. The search tool that let you filter by state and zip code is provided by this company. You will be instantly directed to your nearest Atlas agent when you request for a moving quote. The person you speak to will answer questions based on their mode of operation in that particular local area and won’t speak on how other local Atlas agents do their business.

Some of the moving services include:

  • Local Move
  • Long Distance Mover
  • Small Move
  • Government Move
  • Military Move
  • Moving Supplies
  • Packing
  • Moving Special Items
  • Auto Transport
  • Storage
  • Furniture Movers
  • Valuation

Website: www.atlasvanlines.com

#3. Wheaton World Wide Moving

This company has agents in all except 3 states even though it is the smallest of our top picks for full-service moving companies. Wheaton will coordinate with the unaffiliated relocation company to help you move in and out of states like Nevada, Wyoming or Maine. Wheaton’s ballpark estimate tool allows you to request for moving quote unlike having to call United and Atlas before you get it. Before taking time off at work to schedule an in-home estimate, you can get the idea of how much your move will cost by entering your information to get an estimated range.

The following services are being offered by Wheaton World Wide Moving:

  • Household Move
  • International
  • Corporate Relocation
  • Military
  • Specialized Moves

Website: www.wheatonworldwide.com

#4. All My Sons Moving & Storage

This company delivers quality service on both comprehensive relocation services they provide which are do-it-yourself through truck rental and professional relocation services. The company also offers the best help to make your relocation a stress-free and affordable one while taking their time to understand your moving needs. The company works as a team to solve customer’s relocation needs, and it is family operated. All My Sons Moving continues to make a wave in the moving industry day by day has been in the business of offering full-service relocation for over 20 years.

The company offers the following and more services:

  • Local move
  • Long-distance move
  • Commercial move
  • Corporate relocation
  • Packing services
  • Packing supplies
  • Storage facilities

Website: www.allmysons.com

#5. Moving APT

Since 1999, this company has been in business as a licensed interstate broker. All its movers are fully registered, licensed, bonded and insured by the Department of Transportation DOT. You can rely on Moving APT to provide you with the best interstate movers that will haul your belongings over a long distance safely and securely. Avoid settling for less since you can get professional movers at the best prices.

Some of the services offered by the Moving APT are listed below:

Website: www.movingapt.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use both moving pods and a moving company for my long distance move?

Yes, it is possible to leverage the benefits of both moving pods and a full service moving company when you are transitioning from one home to another.

Perhaps you are downsizing your living space and some of your possessions need to go into storage. Ordering a small moving pod may be helpful for this process, as you could load the items onto the pod and have it transported to a storage facility near your new home.

Then you could unload the pod’s contents into your storage unit. Meanwhile, a moving company could help with packing, loading, unloading and unpacking for the items that you are planning to move from your existing home to the new one.

How can I keep track of the contents that are going into each moving box?

When you pack items in a rush, you may forget to label the boxes properly. Not only does labeling help you get a general idea of what you have placed in specific boxes, but you can coordinate your labels to a larger list.

Within that list, you can write down every single item that has gone into your boxes. Then you can check the label on the box, match it with the relevant section on your list, and find out what is in each box.

Such a process is helpful if you ever need to find a specific item from your storage unit, as you won’t have to go through several boxes to find the item you need.

How can I fill up a box without adding more weight to it?

Some boxes that you pack may have a lot of heavy items, which is why you do not fill them all the way to the top. The issue is that with so much empty space, items may toss around each time you move that box.

An easy solution is to use cushions, pillows or similar soft items. They usually take up a lot of space, but are not that heavy. You can add a small cushion to the top of your boxes that contain heavy items to ensure those items remain in place during your move.

What if someone steals my moving pod or damages it while it is at my property?

Moving pod companies offer insurance policies for such events. If you purchase insurance that protects the storage container, it means that any damage or loss of the container is covered.

These policies protect you from events such as theft, accidents, vandalism, natural disasters and more. If there is a severe storm that damages your pod, or someone vandalizes it while walking on your street, you are protected.

Can I hire movers to load items onto my moving pod?

If you receive a moving container from the pod storage provider, you may not want to load everything onto it yourself. It is possible to hire independent movers to help you with packing and loading items onto the pod.

It is easy to find local labor for this process. You will have to agree to their hourly rate, and there is usually a minimum on the number of hours you must pay out for a single job. Ensure you are vetting these movers through online reviews or other means.

Hiring movers to load items is helpful if you are living alone and have a lot of heavy furniture. It is also helpful for those who are injured or disabled and cannot load heavy boxes onto a moving container for several hours.


In summary, full-service moving companies and moving pods are quite different. Your situation and which service is needed at a particular time is what will determine which one you go for. Using moving pods to get organized while leaving an old home for a new one has genuine value compared to full-service movers. However, if you live in a condominium or an apartment, moving pods are generally not a good option; meanwhile, full-service moving services are.

Whichever way you choose, ensure you choose the right company for the job. We have handpicked some top full-service moving and container services you can consider for the job. You can select from the above-listed companies. Don’t forget to share your view with us in the comment box!

Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.
Thomas Campbell
Thomas Campbell
He has a degree in literature from Stanford University and a profession in Mass Communication. Thomas is a member of the Moving Feedback research team, an expert in writing educative articles to help readers make the right buying decisions. He is well versed in moving industry matters to give the best advice on moving needs.

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