Moving Containers vs Moving Companies- Which One is Better for You?

By: Harrison Gough Last Updated: Sep 20, 2023

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Weigh the pros and cons of moving containers and full service moving companies to make smart relocation choices and ensure a hassle-free move.

Moving Containers vs Moving Companies- Which One is Better for You?

When moving, you need to decide on your relocation date, moving budget and how to transport your belongings. The sheer number of decisions to be made can be overwhelming.

Some people prefer DIY and to hire moving containers or moving truck rentals, while others rather hire full-service best moving companies to efficiently and safely transport their belongings. Since both have their own advantages and drawbacks, it is important to evaluate them carefully before making a decision.

If you are unsure whether to choose a moving container or a full-service moving company to transport your belongings, we’ll sort it out for you in this article!

In this article

What are Moving Containers?

Moving containers are portable storage containers available in various sizes that you can rent to move your belongings. The moving container companies deliver the container to your house, and you are responsible for the entire packing, unpacking, loading and unloading process.

The company is only responsible for transporting the container to your new location.

Here’s how moving containers work:

  • The moving container company will deliver the empty container to your current location.
  • You can pack your goods and load the container at your own pace. This feature allows you to organize and pack your belongings as per your convenience.
  • After you have packed the container, the moving company will transport your container to your new destination.
  • You can unload and unpack your belongings when the container arrives at your location.
  • After you have unloaded the container, the moving container company will pick up the portable container, and the move will be completed.

Pros of Moving Containers

  • Flexibility: Moving containers give you more control over moving as you can pack and load belongings at your own pace. The convenience of moving containers make it suitable for those who require more time for packing or have uncertain shifting schedules.
  • DIY Option: If you prefer a hands-on approach, moving containers let you control the packing and loading process.
  • Cost Savings: Moving containers are usually substantially cheaper than full-service moving companies.
  • Work as Storage: Moving containers can also be used as storage units if needed. It offers an excellent way to store your belongings while preparing for the move. Moreover, you can easily access your belongings while they are in storage.

Cons of Moving Containers

  • Physical Labor: If you opt for moving containers, then you have to do all the heavy lifting yourself. It can be physically demanding and potentially lead to injuries if you have many heavy or bulky items.
  • Packing Expertise: There is a higher risk of damage during transit if you are unable to pack and secure your belongings properly. It is especially so in the case of fragile items.
  • Loading Challenges: Loading the container can be challenging if you live in an apartment building or a neighborhood with limited parking space.
  • Limited-Service Options: Since moving container companies only focus on transportation, you won’t get the same level of service as a full-service moving company. Moreover, if you need help with packing, loading and unloading, you must hire separate service providers or pay additional charges.

What is a Full-Service Moving Company?

Full-service moving companies are professional movers offering comprehensive assistance throughout the moving process. Full service best movers handle every aspect of the move, right from packing and loading to transportation, unloading and unpacking.

Here’s how full-service movers’ work:

  • They are skilled in safely and efficiently packing your goods. The movers bring all the necessary packing materials and boxes and properly secure everything for transport.
  • After packing your goods, the movers will load your belongings onto the truck. They are experts in loading and handling heavy and bulky items.
  • Moving companies handle the moving logistics and plan the most efficient route to transport your goods safely.
  • Upon arrival at your new location, the moving company will unload and unpack your belongings.

Benefits of Full-Service Movers

  • Convenience: With a full-service moving company handling every aspect of the move, you can focus on other important aspects of your relocation.
  • Expertise: Professional movers have the skills and experience to handle your household items safely and efficiently. Their packing and unpacking services reduce the risk of damage.
  • Time-Saving: They can complete the moving process swiftly, saving you days or weeks compared to moving containers.
  • Reduced Physical Labor: Since the movers provide loading and unloading assistance, you can avoid potential injuries and physical strain of moving heavy items.

Cons of Full-Service Moving Companies

  • Cost: If you are on a tight budget, then hiring a full-service mover may not be the most cost-effective choice, as the cost to hire movers is higher than moving containers or DIY moves.
  • Scheduling Constraints: Securing your desired moving date may be challenging, especially during peak season, and you might have to be flexible with your relocation timeline to accommodate the moving company’s availability.
  • Extra Fees and Hidden Costs: Some full-service moving companies may add extra fees for services like packing materials, special handling of certain items, or navigating stairs and elevators. Make sure to request moving quotes, and inquire about any potential additional charges to avoid unexpected costs.

Are Moving Containers or Full-Service Moving Companies Best for You?

To help you make the right choice, let’s compare the two moving options:

Moving Containers Are Best When…

Moving containers are more suitable if you value flexibility, cost, and a hands-on approach to your move. You can pack your belongings and load the container at your convenience. This is particularly beneficial if you have a busy lifestyle or need extra time to sort and organize your items.

Moreover, moving containers can be more cost-effective, especially for local or short-distance moves or smaller households, as you only pay for the space you use.

If you prefer to be actively involved in the moving process and want control over how your belongings are packed and loaded, moving containers offer a DIY moving option that lets you manage every step of the move.

Moreover, moving containers also work as storage solutions. While some physical labor is involved in packing and loading, it can be a rewarding experience for those who prefer a more hands-on and budget-friendly approach to their move.

Moving Companies Are Best When…

Moving companies are a great option if you prioritize convenience, professionalism, and a stress-free moving experience. Hiring full-service movers means you can sit back and let the experts handle everything.

Professional movers handle every aspect of residential moves and commercial moves efficiently and with expertise. This is particularly advantageous if you have a busy schedule or are uncomfortable with the physical demands of packing and heavy lifting.

Moving companies have the necessary skills, experience and moving logistics to ensure your goods are packed securely and transported safely, reducing the risk of damage.

Additionally, they offer specialized services, such as furniture assembly and unpacking, which can save you time and effort during the post-move phase.

While full-service moving companies come with higher moving expenses, the convenience and peace of mind they provide make them a worthwhile investment for those seeking a smooth and hassle-free relocation.


What are the items that you cannot store in a moving container?

Things you cannot pack in a storage container include hazardous waste or toxic chemicals, bleach, cleaning solvents, aerosol cans, ammonia, paint, gasoline, propane gas, fertilizer, illicit drugs, batteries or acids or flammable liquids and materials.

Are moving containers available for long distance moves?

Yes, you can hire a container for local moves and long distance moves. The containers are available in multiple sizes, and you can choose the specific size based on your unique needs.

How well in advance should I book a moving container or a full-service moving company?

It is generally recommended to book at least a few weeks in advance to secure your desired relocation date and ensure availability. However, if you are flexible with your moving date or are moving during the off-season, you can book closer to your desired date.

How does the weight of my belongings affect the cost of a full-service moving company?

Estimating the weight of your household items is essential for determining the cost of hiring long distance movers. You can use an online moving weight calculator or request an in-home survey to get an estimate from the moving company.

How do I choose between moving containers and full-service moving companies?

Moving containers may be the best option if you prefer flexibility, have a limited budget, and don’t mind some physical labor. If you prioritize convenience, want professional assistance, and can afford the higher cost, a full-service moving company might be the better choice. The decision between moving containers and full-service moving companies will depend on your needs and budget.

Choose the Right Moving Service

The decision should depend on your budget, needs and preferences. Before deciding, consider factors like the distance of your move, the size of your household, your physical capabilities, and your budget.

Whether you choose the flexibility of moving containers or the comprehensive services of a moving company, it’s important to plan ahead and stay organized to make your relocation a smooth and stress-free experience.