ABF U-Pack Moving Containers Review
ABF U-Pack is yet another one of those hip new moving container companies all the kids are talking about these days.
Okay, it’s safe to say no kids are talking about it, but U-Pack is still pretty cool. Rather than make you choose between expensive full-service movers or driving a massive rental truck, U-Pack lets you pack your stuff yourself and then moves it for you. Our only real complaint is that U-Pack doesn’t do local moves.
How U-Pack works
If you’ve heard of other moving container companies, like PODS, then you might already have an idea of how U-Pack works. You tell U-Pack how many moving containers you need (or ReloCubes, as U-Pack calls them), U-Pack drops them off at your house, you load ‘em up, and U-Pack takes them to your new place.
That’s the basic moving container schtick, but U-Pack also has a couple tricks up its sleeve, like trailers and a stellar pay-for-what-you-use policy.
What you get with U-Pack
U-Pack is a nice middle ground between expensive full-service movers and bare-bones rental trucks. You have to load your stuff yourself, but you don’t have to drive it to your new house, and it’s super easy to put it in storage if you need to.
|Loading/unloading time period||3 days (each)|
|Guaranteed delivery date||Yes*|
|Pay only for what you use||Yes|
|Online reservations and quotes||Yes|
*Not included in initial quote.
Three-day loading/unloading period
U-Pack gives you only three days to load your ReloCube (or trailer) and another three to unload it. That’s not a ton of time considering competitors like PODS and 1-800-Pack-Rats give you up to 30 days. Heck, U-Box by U-Haul gives you outright unlimited time.
That said, if three days is long enough for you, then the timeframe is no big deal. And one thing we do really like is that U-Pack offers a “live loading” option.
Live loading gives you just a few hours to load your container and then U-Pack goes ahead and ships it. So if you live in a big city with limited parking and your neighbor Marv is side-eyeing you for taking up too much space, then live loading lets you get your stuff out and leave nosey Marv behind forever—all in a single day.
ReloCubes vs. trailers
A lot of moving container companies offer a few different container sizes to choose from. U-Pack has only one small one. But don’t let that size matter too much because U-Pack also offers a giant trailer.
Basically, if a ReloCube is too small for you (like if you need more than three of them to fit all your stuff plus your DVD collection in) then U-Pack’s trailer might be a better option.
U-Pack trailers are huge. U-Pack’s website likes to say the trailers are the size of a 26-foot moving truck and a 10-foot moving truck put together. (The actual dimensions are 28 ft. x 8 ft. x 9 ft.)
Trailers will fit 4+ rooms’ worth of stuff, but don’t worry if you don’t think you’ll fill the whole space. U-Pack doesn’t expect you to stuff the entire trailer full. It includes a wooden partition you can put up when you’re done loading your stuff, and you pay only for the space you use.
Good news! You don’t have to make any phone calls to get a U-Pack quote. Some other container movers pull a sneaky trick where they make you think you can get a quote online, but in the end, you still have to pick up the phone to get a price. U-Pack just gives you the goods.
When we said we were moving a three-bedroom house from San Diego to Seattle, U-Pack automatically suggested the trailer option to give us more space. And it didn’t even ask us for personal info, like our email or phone number. You just enter your email address if you like the quote and want to save it.
Pay for what you use
Most moving container companies work like this:
- You get your quote.
- You schedule your move with however many containers you think you need.
- You pay for your move (or sometimes you just pay a deposit.)
- You move, and if you use fewer containers than you ordered, you’ve either lost money or you have to submit for a refund.
U-Pack does things a little differently. First of all, it doesn’t make you pay anything up-front. You don’t pay until your stuff is actually on its way to your new house. Second, U-Pack charges you only for the space or containers you actually use for your move.
If you order four ReloCubes but you really manage to stuff your things in there, and you use only three of them, then you pay for only three. If you order 16 feet of space on a trailer, but your stuff takes up only 10 feet, then you pay for 10 feet. Easy peasy.
U-Pack includes what it calls “catastrophic liability” in any move you schedule. Basically, that means if the trailer catches on fire, the truck crashes, or someone steals your whole ReloCube, then your stuff has some coverage.
Catastrophic liability features
- $3.00/lb. per piece
- $7,500/ReloCube or $60,000/trailer maximum payout
U-Pack has a second option called carrier negligence liability that covers your stuff at 10¢/lb. per piece. If you want to feel a little safer, you can pay a little more for extra coverage.
|$75||$1/lb. per item||$20,000/trailer, $2,500/ReloCube|
|$125||$2/lb. per item||$40,000/trailer, $5,000/ReloCube|
|$175||$3/lb. per item||$60,000/trailer, $7,500/ReloCube|
This is an easy one: ReloCube ships everywhere in the US—even Puerto Rico. It also covers some parts of Canada.
U-Pack moving experience
Once you’re ready for your actual move, it’s just down to packing your container and deciding if you want to ship it right to your new house or put it in storage for a while.
Packing your container
Once U-Pack drops off you container, you have three days to pack it and get it ready to ship. You can stuff it as full as you want: just keep in mind there is a 2,500 lb. weight limit for ReloCubes, so heavy book lovers, beware. (Trailers have a $22,500 lb. weight limit, and even your vintage encyclopedia collection won’t put you over that.)
Once your container is all packed up and ready to go, U-Pack picks it up again and ships it off. Keep in mind that the ReloCube might be small-ish, but the truck that picks it up and drops it off is not, so don’t plan on using that parking spot under a bunch of trees and low telephone wires.
Storing your stuff
If your new house isn’t quite ready yet and your family will be sleeping on your Aunt Sue’s couch for a while, then U-Pack can store your stuff for you.
One thing we love about moving container companies is how easy it is to store stuff. It stays in the same container or trailer you packed it in the whole time. No moving things around or unloading and reloading.
Recap — Is U-Pack a good moving container company?
Overall, we think U-Pack is a good option. We like that you pay only for what you use and if you don’t need storage, then it’s nice that U-Pack doesn’t automatically include it in the price.
That said, if you want more than one container size (and you don’t want a trailer), or if you know you’re going to need storage and want it included, then other moving container companies—like PODS and 1-800-Pack-Rats—might be worth checking out.
- Containers: U-Pack has sturdy metal weatherproof containers and trailers that will keep your stuff safe during your move. It offers only one size of container, and if you need something bigger, you’ll have to go with a whole big trailer.
- Quotes: It’s super easy to get an online quote from U-Pack, and it doesn’t make you give your personal info right away.
- Moving: U-Pack has a relatively short loading/unloading time frame (three days for each). Some other companies give you 30 days or even unlimited time.
- Storage: U-Pack does offer storage, but it’s not included in your initial quote.
Have you used U-Pack or another moving container company for a recent move? Let us know about your experience in the comments!
1. U-Pack, “Liability Statement”