Updated Wednesday, August 5th 2020
U-Haul is essentially the inventor of the modern-day DIY move, popularizing the concept of renting your own moving vehicle all the way back in 1945. Now, with the advent of moving container companies such as PODS®, U-Haul has pushed itself into the storage transportation business. This is where "U-Box" comes in.
In general, moving containers are the more expensive choice for those with bigger homes (read: lots of stuff). And U-Box, especially with only one container size available, is no exception. On the plus side, anyone intimidated by driving one of those big moving trucks can avoid that hassle altogether; U-Box has professional drivers deliver the boxes, pick them up, then ship them to wherever you are moving. (If you're cool with hauling the boxes yourself, you can also go that route.)
Also, a nice U-Box perk is that you can order more boxes than you need and return the ones you didn't end up using, free of charge. The moving containers are made of treated plywood and delivered with a cover that promises to be sturdy and weatherproof, but it's up to you if you want to entrust your belongings to wood.
Under 50 mi.
|U-Box Storage Container||7'11"||4'8"||6'11 ½"||257 cubic feet/one and a half rooms|
Author: Francesca Di Meglio
Updated: Wednesday, August 5th 2020
You book online, pick your specific delivery method along with any add-ons, then pay in installments. Here's how it breaks down.
To rent a U-Haul U-Box storage container, just head to their website. There, you can input where and when you plan to move. You will be prompted to describe whether you have an average amount of stuff, or lots of it. Then, you describe your home as being a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, etc. The tool conveniently spits out the suggested number of containers to rent.
The good news is you can rent more containers than you need because you only get charged for the number of containers you have anything inside of. But the bad news is that if you are moving a larger home, you will have only one size container from which to choose - and it's small. It fits the contents of about one and a half rooms in it. That means the price is likely to jump, and fast.
After you decide on the number of containers you need, you will be prompted to decide which of U-Box's specific delivery methods you want for your containers:
For my specific, local move, here are what these options were quoted to me as:
As is the case with most portable storage containers, you will be paying for the rental of the container for one month. That buys you some flexibility with pick up and delivery times. This option always comes in handy if you're not 100% certain about when you will be able to move into your new place. (A lot of people use the service simply for storage during a renovation or just because they need space.)
You choose whether to keep the containers on your property or in a U-Haul storage facility. The price is the exact same for either option. But still, you will be charged a monthly rental fee. Also, as long as you provide the storage facility staff at least 24-hour advance notice, you will be able to access your container for free.
Your mileage will vary depending on what's available in your area (literally).
Each container has a latch that can fit a padlock. If you do not have a lock, you can purchase one from them for a few bucks, depending on your store. Only you keep the key or combination to ensure the safety of your stuff.
On the day of delivery (or pickup) of your containers, you can start loading contents into the U-Box, with or without movers. Again, you can keep it all at your place for one month without being charged extra. However, when you input a long-distance move into the website form, U-Haul will provide you with a date for pick-up of the loaded containers for transportation to the final destination. You can pick a later date, but you will not be able to pick anything sooner.
You pay in installments, depending on the delivery service you pick. For full-service delivery, you may have to pay a large portion upfront, while with other delivery options you may end up paying a certain amount when you receive the U-Box, then the rest afterwards. Ask about your particular location's terms.
There are no major differences between planning a local or long-distance move with U-Box.
You still go to the website and fill out the same forms. In my case, I moved from Fort Lee, New Jersey to nearby Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, and I was unable to book a straight delivery. To have a U-Haul driver bring the container to my current home and final destination, the site urges you to hire professional movers through the company. This was nothing short of annoying. You can opt to have it delivered to your place and hire movers elsewhere, if you want to try and hack together a better price.
Also, choosing the option of delivery with pre-packaged help from U-Haul movers means you have to pay much of your bill upfront on the day you first schedule the rental. With all the other U-Box options, you pay nothing at first and simply provide your credit card as a placeholder until delivery or pickup of the storage container.
Obviously, the real difference between a local and long-distance move with these storage containers is the price. A big chunk of your budget will go toward paying for the delivery of the loaded containers, and the longer the distance, the more expensive the cost.
I planned a move from Fort Lee, New Jersey to nearby Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, both of which are close to New York City. You travel about five miles to get from one town to the other.
My move was for a 3-bedroom home with an attic and basement. I took the advice of the estimator tool on the U-Box website and rented four (4) portable storage containers. The load, delivery, and unload would all happen in one day. I opted for the “Moving Help™ Delivery” option because it was the only way to have a professional driver haul everything and emulate moves I'd get with other storage container companies.
Having only one sized container that fits one and a half rooms apiece is prohibitive.
My local move, U-Box estimate came to $1,718.75. Because I ended up choosing the delivery option that came with professional movers, I had to pay $973.95 up front when I signed up for the service. I would pay the additional $744.80 for the containers and trailer rental and delivery on the day of my scheduled move.
When will you have to pay your U-Box bill? Customers should carefully read the payment information on the screen. It clearly delineates how much you are paying for various parts of the service provided and the dates on which you'll have to make payments. Also, be wary of what you see. The original payment document I saw on the screen said the first month of rental was free, a deal that was available for the local move only, and showed a much smaller subtotal. However, that was not the case when I arrived at checkout. Also, the first month was included in the price and I was expected to pay the more expensive total. (This might have to do with the fact that I opted for the “Moving Help™ Delivery,” which seems to change the payment process.)
Again, there are no fundamental differences between planning a local or long-distance move with U-Box.
Your experience with U-Box - regardless of the kind of move you are making - begins at the website. You'll input your information and share details about your current address, size of home, and final destination to receive a customized estimate.
One important note is that for the long-distance move, I was able to pick a date for the delivery of the storage containers, aka the start of my move, but the date of drop-off of the loaded containers was automatically chosen for me. I could make it for a later date, but I could not get it any sooner. Of course, this is a result of needing the time to get my contents from northern New Jersey to central Florida. You'll have to work this timing into your planning.
Another difference is the fact that you will be dealing with two different U-Haul U-Box locations. The company has locations virtually everywhere, even out of country, so it won't present the same kinds of challenges as smaller competitors. But it could weigh into your decision about the delivery method. For instance, if the Orlando location is close to my new home, I might sign up to unload the containers at the storage facility and bring my stuff to my home myself. This option is free and could significantly bring down the total cost of my move. Afterall, flexibility with delivery is a big perk of U-Box.
My move from a 3-bedroom home with an attic and basement from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Kissimmee, Florida cost a total of $5,405.75. Again, I selected “Moving Help™ Delivery,” which meant at the time of checkout, I owed a big chunk of the bill, $949.95 to be exact. Like the local move estimate, you will see a clear breakdown of costs and due dates for various payments.
Prices vary based on the number of storage containers, distance, and other factors, such as the delivery option and insurance coverage chosen.
Pay close attention to the website to see if there are any deals or offers to get a discount. Unlike other companies, I was not constantly barraged with opportunities to call or chat with a customer service representative. I'm sure there is a way to ask about discounts, but it was not as obvious as with Penske or Budget, for instance.
My local move was on the pricey side. But I received no discount and I opted for the most expensive delivery option, which included professional help with the move. In addition, I am moving a big home, which requires renting four U-Box containers. The fact that U-Box containers come only in one size can be prohibitive for those with a larger home.
Here is the breakdown:
Like the local move, my long-distance move of a 3 bedroom home, with a basement and an attic, from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Kissimmee, Florida, near Orlando, was expensive. Again, having to rent four storage containers and professionals to help with the move and drive your stuff a lengthy distance adds up. Here is the breakdown:
The loaded containers were guaranteed to be delivered to the Orlando U-Haul location no later than 11 days from my move. U-Haul U-Box promised to provide a $50 refund for every potential day the shipment is late. While I have to pay $949.95 at the time of booking, I would not have to make the final payment until the shipment arrived at my new home.
U-Box offers a number of options for coverage. Refreshingly, they point out that you can use your own homeowner's or renter's insurance at no additional cost. (This is what I chose.) If you go this route, you must call the insurance provider to explain the situation and see if you need to include a rider. After all, you will be responsible for all coverage if you choose this option.
...(F)lexibility with delivery is a big perk of U-Box.
The insurance costs the same for a local or long-distance move. U-Box insurance covers damage to your goods inside the U-Box container while it is in transit and in U-Box warehouses, according to the website. Here are the options:
The price is just too high for someone moving from a larger home, especially if the move is long distance. Having only one sized container that fits one and a half rooms apiece is prohibitive.
Regional availability ended up being a con for my move. The inability to sign up for a professional U-Haul driver to bring the loaded containers to my preferred locations of either Ridgfield Park or Kissimmee was a drag. In order to have someone else do the driving, which I wanted, I had no choice but to sign up for Moving Help™ because the driver alone was not available in my area. This increased the price, even though I opted for the cheapest moving service offered to me in my starting area. Your mileage will vary depending on what's available in your area (literally).
The plywood material of each box is not as sturdy as some of their competition. This may or may not be a downside for you, but keep it in the back of your mind.
You can order extra containers without the fear of being charged. The biggest U-Haul trucks can fit five moving containers on them at one time. So, if you do need them, you should be able to get them to your final destination without a hassle. But the best news is that if you don't need all the delivered containers, you will get a refund for each unused one. Nice.
Furniture pads are included with the rental of the storage container. Most moving rental companies have customers pay an extra fee to rent furniture pads, so this was a neat surprise.
Many options for delivery is a differentiator. Other portable container companies have professional drivers haul the containers away and there is no other option. U-Haul, however, provides professionals as well as self-delivery of the containers, and even the chance to pick up your stuff at a U-Haul storage facility. These options can significantly bring down the cost of your move!
Those moving from a small place to a nearby location will get the most bang for their buck. This could include those in studio or one-bedroom apartments or dormitories. It is also a viable, practical option for those renovating or needing to store items temporarily. And if the other guys just don't have the locations you need, U-Box is the most likely of your potential options to come through.
If you prefer driving but want the convenience of portable storage containers, then this is the perfect fit. U-Box offers the opportunity to both lower the cost and get your drive on by allowing customers to haul the containers themselves. This is different than most, if not all, of the competition. While I wish I was not forced to hire professional movers to get a driver for my containers, I recognize this option will be a plus for many.
You might also consider it a perk to have 12 furniture pads included with the rental of each storage container. Most companies require customers to pay extra for this. It probably won't be a deciding factor, but it is a nice touch.
Some people might also prefer that U-Box containers are made of plywood, whereas competitors often provide metal containers. There are pros and cons to each, but some people think the wood allows for more breathing room and therefore fewer odors, especially to fabric items. On the other hand, some wonder if it is as durable as metal containers. It's a matter of preference.
Ultimately, the decision will come down to your budget and preference. For some, particularly those with a large home that they are moving a far distance - it will be far too costly. For others, knowing U-Haul is behind U-Box will provide comfort and flexibility - and that will be enough.
We were in a delivery window between 12 and 2 p.m. The driver called and said she would be there closer to 2:00. The movers were there at 1:00 and it cost me more money because U box did not start out in time to get here in their time window. I understand they ran into a problem on the highway; however, pro's should build in time for mishaps that slow things down. I had people waiting and it cost me an additional $200.
The U-Haul® image above is used solely for identification purposes and serves as the primary means of visually identifying the subject of this article and provides an illustration of the entity that is represented.
U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. HireAHelper, LLC has no affiliation with U-Haul International, Inc. and U-Haul International, Inc. has not authorized the use of its trademarks.
Moving Help™ is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc. HireAHelper, LLC has no affiliation with U-Haul International, Inc. and U-Haul International, Inc. has not authorized the use of its trademarks.