If you want to avoid the hassle of loading a rental truck and driving it to your new home, there’s another moving option to consider: portable storage containers.
In addition to offering storage services, portable container companies will deliver units directly to your new home, said Kyle Taylor vice president of the MI-BOX of San Diego.
“Portable storage companies have the ability to ship your items where they need to go,” he said.
Using a container to transport your belongings allows for greater flexibility during a move, said Riaz Karim, program manager for the PODS portable storage container company. Customers “can take as long as they need to load and unload. They can also keep their container on their property for convenient temporary storage, or we can store it in one of our storage centers.”
While containers offer convenience, they aren’t for everyone, said Ryan Carrigan, founder of moveBuddha, a moving costs and services comparison website. That’s because it’s typically less expensive to rent a truck to take your possessions to your new home.
Here is a list of pros and cons to consider when choosing between a rental truck and a portable storage container:
- There’s no need to drive a large vehicle. You won’t have to maneuver a truck in heavy traffic and you won’t have to worry about breakdowns along the way, said Taylor.
- There’s no refueling hassle. Rental truck outlets charge for the gas you use, making it necessary to refuel before turning them in to avoid extra costs, noted Amy Trager, a professional organizer from the Chicago area.
- You can avoid steep loading ramps. Rental trucks typically have ramps that require you to move goods uphill. In contrast, containers are loaded at ground level.
- They’re generally more expensive. While all moves are different, Carrigan says an in-town move using a portable storage container generally costs between $200 and $300. In contrast, using a rental truck typically costs between $60 and $120, including gasoline. A cross-country move with a container typically costs about $3,000, compared to about $2,000 when using a rental truck, including fuel costs, he adds.
- You may need a parking permit. PODS recommends that customers who want containers placed on streets near their homes first contact local governments and homeowner associations to make sure there are no restrictions regarding street parking.
- There may be additional restrictions. Some homeowner associations have strict rules about where portable storage containers can be placed on properties. Lawns and driveways may be off limits, Taylor said.
Rental Truck Pros
- They’re usually cheaper. The benefit of planning a do-it-yourself move is that it’s usually less expensive.
- You don’t need a permit. By using a rental truck, you can avoid the hassle of applying for a parking permit for a storage container, Carrigan said.
- You’ll pay only for the time you use. Since rental trucks generally rent by the day, you can avoid the minimum one-month storage fee that may be required by portable container companies.
Rental Truck Cons
- Someone must drive them. If you’re unaccustomed to driving a large vehicle, you may find a rental truck difficult to control.
- You’ll pay for any damages. You’ll be responsible for damage that occurs to the rental vehicle while you’re making your move.
- You may need to buy extra insurance. Depending on what your homeowner and auto policies cover, you may decide to buy supplemental insurance for your move, said Taylor.
Cost vs. Convenience
While containers often are easier to use than rental trucks, not everyone wants to pay the added cost, said Carrigan. The choice “almost always comes down to cost versus convenience.”