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How to Make the Right Choice: PODS vs. Moving Company

Movers transporting sofa outside the front door of a building

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Sooner or later, all of us have to deal with relocation, be it a job offer, downsizing, or getting a better home in a new city or state, and get confused with various moving services available in the market. PODS vs. movers – what is the best solution for you? Probably, you’ve heard from friends or colleagues how much they paid to a full-service moving company and the amount impressed you, so you give a thought to a DIY move. Often recommended online portable containers seem a budget-friendly variant but there are some pitfalls though.

To make up your mind, scrutinize advantages and disadvantages of two methods: moving yourself or hiring movers.

PODS vs Movers

Having decided to move, you face multiple tasks and choices. You need to sort out when and how to move. As of now, moving containers (i.e., PODS or similar options) are popular and often asked-for. They are pretty affordable and offer maximum versatility in terms of a moving schedule. Yet still, lower pricing includes higher involvement and heavier workload in comparison to specialized full-service companies that promise clients seamless and stress-free experience. 

Renting a Moving Container

PODS offers its customers 8-, 12-, or 16-foot portable units to choose from. You select a required size, next – a container is delivered to the specified place (your current address), then you fill it; later, the company will redeliver the unit to your new location or keep it for a specified time (short- or long-term storage). PODS containers are suitable for both residential and office moves. 

PODS units represent an affordable variant for small-size local moves. As a case in point, moving a 1-bedroom apartment 500 miles will cost between $1,500 and $1,700.

Unfortunately, for longer distances, PODS do not seem inexpensive. Let’s say, to move 1,500 miles a 2-bedroom home for a family of three will cost around $8,300. The price is comparable to moving companies’ rates. Add here amounts you have to outlay on packing materials and efforts on packing the stuff, carrying and loading/unloading a portable container. If you don’t feel like doing the hard work, it’s more than likely that you will need moving assistants. As a result, total costs may exceed the flat rate of full-service movers.

The good thing is that you can cancel service anytime (a day before the scheduled unit delivery) and receive a full refund.


  • PODS containers provide freedom for planning and organizing a move 
  • PODS units are often used for storage
  • Inexpensive option for a DIY move or storage
  • NO-fee cancellation


  • There is no mobile app to reserve a PODS container
  • You should have enough space in front of the home (along with the building or homeowners association permission) for a container
  • It is complicated to choose the right volume of a container
  • PODS might be a costly option if you travel long-distance
  • Moving to a new home might take far more time

How Do Moving PODS Work?

The company delivers a movable container so that you can use the unit for storage or relocation. Later, you can schedule a pickup time and specify the re-delivery date to a new place. Once you’ve finished unloading the portable container, the service provider picks up the unit. This way you have much greater freedom within the frame of the moving timeline.   

PODS, a transportation and storage business, is headquartered in Florida but operates in 46 states as well as in Australia, the UK, and Canada. Actually, moving containers are used for DIY moves but PODS has a large network of moving partners (third-party service providers) so that customers can hire packing or loading assistants. The target customers are those who need to cut moving costs and can pack and load their stuff.

Note: If you live in a compound or apartment building, make sure that building rules allow using portable containers. The same applies if you have shared driveways — homeowners associations sometimes restrict placing portable containers next to your home. 

The company charges for storage units on a monthly basis. If you need PODS for moving, you will also be charged shipping fees, unit delivery and redelivery fees. The rates of renting a movable unit-container start from $149/h, and delivery fees depend on the total distance and start from $75.  In case of short-distance moves, the company bills a day before the unit delivery, and redelivery dates. In case of long-distance relocation, billing is divided into three parts with each one charged a week before the service. You can use the PODS online calculator to estimate moving or storage fees for your unique situation.

Another challenge is choosing the right size of a PODS unit. No one wants to get frustrated in the middle of the loading realizing that the chosen container isn’t large enough to fit all your stuff. On the contrary, competent moving companies provide pre-move estimation and select the right size of a truck. Besides, an experienced crew can use the space efficiently, and you don’t pay for air (empty space) transportation.

 Mover loads couch on van

Hiring Movers

A trustworthy full-service moving company takes care of all aspects of your planned relocation, from A to Z. Signing a contract with professional movers is the most efficient and least stressful way to move your house or apartment. Qualified and experienced staff will save your time and effort during the entire moving process. Moving companies perform an estimation of your move size, select the right size of the truck, and decide on how many movers are required in your unique situation. Additionally, all packing supplies are delivered to your place, and pros will pack all your belongings much faster than when you would do it on your own. Reputable companies are fully equipped for the job and use special pods to protect floors and dollies for loading/unloading the truck.   

Full-service movers provide the following services:

          Free in-person or virtual estimation

          Packing supplies and tools

          Packing and unpacking services

          Disassembling and reassembling furniture

          Loading and unloading a truck

          Discarding used materials after your stuff is unpacked

          Basic insurance coverage


  •         Movers execute all the physical work
  •         Full-service moving companies provide all required packing materials and tools
  •         Relocation takes less time
  •         Fragile items receive special packing and attention
  •         Relocation to a new home with full-service movers is less stressful than a DIY move.


  •         Moving services can be quite costly.
  •         You need to arrange and schedule all stages of your move with a selected moving company
  •         Potential hidden costs and all sorts of moving scams. As in any industry, you should be aware of scams and dishonest movers who announce rates without virtual or in-person estimation and require an upfront payment. Professional movers offer a free estimation of your move-size and provide their licenses and certificates upon your request.   

How to Hire Movers

First of all, plan your move, including minor details, in advance. Once you have decided to relocate, take your time, make a cup of coffee, and do thorough research. Based on available customer reviews, recommendations, and rates, select two or three moving companies. Nowadays, most professional movers have online calculators and offer free in-person estimation of your move. Customer service plays a vital role in making your move stress-free. Discuss the details of the move, such as schedule, special requirements, moving size, and costs, with a company’s representative.

Note that the moving industry has high and low seasons. In summer moving services are in high demand; hence, rates are typically higher (peak dates are usually at the end of every month and on weekends), and reputable movers can be fully booked. If possible, plan your move for the winter or spring months — rates are usually lower.

Final thoughts

Ok, the decision is up to you. Let’s reason: moving containers usually save you money in case of short-distance and local moves, but you should be ready for the hard work that awaits you in this case. Besides additional expenses on all packing supplies, including various types of boxes, pads, tape, labels, wrapping materials, blankets, etc., you are responsible to pack everything, then load and unload the storage unit, and later again unpack all things which you have carefully packed.

Obviously, a full-service moving company frees you from the headache and hard work associated with moving to a new place. Surely, pros save your precious energy and time, which you can dedicate to more pleasant and useful activities. As in any industry, professional services cost more than a DIY move.

Take time to weigh all the variants and get free online quotes from reputable moving companies prior to making the final decision.   


What is a moving pod?

PODS stands for Portable On Demand Storage. In other words, it is a movable container. Initially, PODS was founded in 1998 by Peter Warhurst as a part of a family storage business. Peter invented PODS containers and a hydraulic system for fast delivery and transportation of units.

Is it cheaper to use pods or a moving company?

PODS containers will be a cheaper option for short-distance local moves. However, PODS costs for long-distance, particularly interstate moves, are almost equal to full-service movers’ rates. Add here that with PODS you will be responsible (or have to hire an additional crew) for packing and loading/unloading.  

Are pods good for moving?

PODS containers are versatile: you are more flexible with the timeline because you can load them and use containers for moving to your new home or keep them as storage for your belongings. Sometimes people use PODS containers for storing things during a home renovation.

Are pods safe for moving?

PODS units are equipped with locking latches, built-in tie-downs, and locks with keys to ensure the safety and security of the stored items. As PODS states, units are manufactured from durable materials (steel and aluminum) and can withstand winds up to 110 mph. Clients also can follow the status of their orders via online accounts.