Zippy Shell® Moving Container Rental Review

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Zippy Shell®

Updated Thursday, December 12th 2019


  • Moving containers are highly convenient
  • You only pay for the containers you use, not order
  • Zippy Shell shrink wraps your stuff for you
  • Customer service could stand improvement
  • Like all moving container companies, it can be pricey for large homes
  • The booking process is more complicated than competitors

Zippy Shell® Company Overview

Zippy Shell is a portable storage and moving company based in Washington, D.C. that bills themselves as “the fastest growing franchise business in both the storage and moving industries.” Originally from Australia, Zippy Shell promises “the convenience of portable storage at the cost of traditional storage.”

This is pretty similar to competitors in the portable storage game, and in fact, a couple years ago, Zippy Shell merged with 1-800-PACK-RAT. As a result, local moves are pretty much exclusively conducted through 1-800-PACK RAT. Zippy Shell fulfills mostly long-distance moving and storage moves.

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Zippy Shell® Container Sizes

10' 7' 7' 420 cu. ft. 1 to 2 rooms
16' 7' 7' 680 cu. ft. 2 to 3 rooms

Zippy Shell® Services Offered

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  • Available
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Small Containers

Medium Moving Container

Medium Containers

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Large Containers

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Local Movers

My move with Zippy Shell®

Author: Francesca Di Meglio

Updated: Thursday, December 12th 2019

How does Zippy Shell work?

Your best bet is to begin at the Zippy Shell website. But you won't be there long.

Zippy Shell lets you click to get a quote and input some data, but you'll quickly be directed to call customer service for a price.

As a result, just getting an estimate can be a lengthier process than it is for other portable storage companies. (Although this makes sense, since phone calls are standard procedure for long-distance moves.) Once on the phone, the customer representative will walk you through the details of the agreement, should you get that far, and you'll verbally confirm the contract over the phone.

After it's all booked, you will be charged for half your bill two days before your scheduled delivery date.

Can you cancel your Zippy Shell?

If you need to cancel, you must do so 10 days before your scheduled delivery date or risk getting charged. If you cancel within the 10 days before the delivery, you may be charged $299. If you cancel on the day of the scheduled delivery, Zippy Shell will keep all the fees collected up to that point.

Once the shell gets delivered, you will have three days to load it. A driver will come to pick up the loaded shell and the cage will be taken out and put in shrink wrap to protect it from debris. Then, it will be sent to a warehouse near your home. Then, it will be sent to another warehouse close to your final destination until you call to deliver at your final destination. You will be charged for the second half of your payment once the shell arrives at the Zippy Shell warehouse or on the 31st day from your initial delivery date, whichever comes first.

How does Zippy Shell work with local moves?

Technically, Zippy Shell does not offer local moves. Recently, the company merged with 1-800-PACK-RAT, and that company handles local moves. Should you ask Zippy Shell about conducting a local move, you will be redirected to 1-800-PACK-RAT.

How does Zippy Shell work with long-distance moves?

First, you make your decision about the container size (they only have two, so this isn't too hard.) Then, you schedule delivery. That's literally everything, before moving day.

Your container will be delivered to the address you give them, and you (or hired movers) can load up your stuff. You'll schedule the delivery of that container to your final destination within three days of the drop off, and you (or your movers) will unload it there. Zippy Shell will come and take the container away for you when you're done.

You will pay half of the payment two days before the initial delivery. The second half of your payment will be paid either when your shell arrives at the warehouse or on the 31st day from your initial delivery date, whichever comes first.

Technically, Zippy Shell does not offer local moves. Recently, the company merged with 1-800-PACK-RAT, and that company handles local moves.

One difference between Zippy Shell and other container companies is the process by which your shell will get from your original destination to the final destination; it's not a direct route. First, your shell goes to a warehouse near the town you're leaving. Next, it goes to a warehouse near your final destination before being returned to you wherever you have moved. Something to be aware of, as some may be concerned about their belongings being transported and handled so much.

But to alleviate concern about your things, Zippy Shell shrink wraps the cage filled with your stuff. This protects it from debris and dust and helps with all that moving.

My long-distance move

The price for a long-distance move was on the expensive side. To move a three-bedroom home from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Kissimmee, Florida, I was charged $4,918.86. This includes two 16-foot containers, travel door-to-door, taxes, fees, and time in the warehouse. This did not include any type of storage. These containers were going to Kissimmee without any storage, even though I was entitled to a month of free storage, which is typical of moving container offerings.

How much does Zippy Shell cost?

Clearly, the price varies depending on the size of the container and length of your move. To move a larger home, this option, like many of the other moving companies, might be a little pricey. But it will be worth it to some, who don't want to drive one of those big boys or may need the storage space, too.

They didn't include an itemized breakdown of my quote for a long-distance move, but here is what is included in the total:

  • 2 containers
  • Travel for deliveries and pickups in New Jersey and Kissimmee
  • Taxes
  • Fees
  • Time your stuff spends in the warehouse
    • Total: $4,918.86

The total was a bit of good news for me because the customer service representative originally said I would be charged $5,036.67. When the price dropped, the rep explained it was because there was a warehouse closer to my home. He also suggested earlier in the conversation - and this is true across the board with moving container companies - prices are also cheaper depending on the season. (Everyone wants to move in the spring and summer, which is when it usually costs the most.)

Another plus is that I would not get charged for containers I did not use. So, if I found a way to fit everything in the one container, the price would decrease.

To lock in the cost you're quoted, you need to make a reservation, which requires putting your credit card on file. If you cancel, you have to do so within 10 days of your scheduled delivery to avoid being charged. Should I need to use storage, I would pay $159 per month. (But it would be free for the first month.)

How does insurance with Zippy Shell work?

You can pick a contents protection plan for added security. But first you should check your homeowners or renters insurance to determine what coverage you can get on your own.

  • Basic Plan - For $9.99, you can get a damage waiver, so that Zippy Shell assumes all responsibility for damage to its shell. This does not protect your property.
  • Silver Plan - This plan combines the damage waiver with protection for your property. The deductible is $100, which is low compared to the usual deductibles that are in the thousands. However, there is an exception. Damage caused by named storms (read: hurricanes) requires a $2,500 deductible.
Another plus is that I would not get charged for containers I did not use. So, if I found a way to fit everything in the one container, the price would decrease.

There is protection with the Silver Plan for when the container is in Zippy Shell's possession or at your property. This includes damage from fire, lightning, wind, hail, weight of ice, snow, sleet, vandalism, mischief, falling object, collapse of the warehouse, collision, overturn of truck, overflow of water, upset or overturn of the container, or burglary with evidence of forcible entry to the container.

There are a number of options in the Silver Plan:

  • $5,000 contents protection, $34.95 per month
  • $10,000 contents protection, $49.95 per month
  • $15,000 contents protection, $59.95 per month
  • $25,000 contents protection, $79.95 per month
  • $50,000 contents protection, $119.95 per month
  • $75,000 contents protection, $149.95 per month

Downsides of using Zippy Shell

Customer service could be better.

The agent on the phone repeatedly failed to put me on hold while trying to figure out how to do things on the computer and complete their insider-baseball tasks. That really wasn't a huge problem, but I've been on lots of similar calls and it's never happened, so I was surprised.

But what really struck me was the fact that there was no discussion of coverage even after I agreed to sign the reservation and hand over my credit card. I learned about coverage in the document emailed to me after our conversation was over and my reservation was confirmed. That's a pretty huge deal.

My cost was high.

Honestly, this was out of my budget. I prefer having professionals do the driving and all, but it costs too much to get my stuff from New Jersey to Florida in these moving containers for me. It never hurts to comparison shop.

You only get a few days to load and unload.

Unlike with PODS and other portable storage, you don’t get a monthly bill. According to Zippy Shell’s FAQ, you get “up to three days to fill it up” before they take it away to their storage units. Good incentives for procrastinators, but this lessens the flexibility you might otherwise expect from portable storage.

What I learned using Zippy Shell

Moving containers are always convenient.

Portable storage is easy to load and someone else moves it for you. If you need to store your stuff on your property or in a warehouse in between or after moving, here you go! And it makes it possible to practically have a Full-Service move for a fraction of the cost. Even if it's costlier than some of its competitors, pretty much all the portable storage companies are cheaper than a Full-Service move.

Zippy Shell pays attention to protecting your stuff.

While this company seems to move your stuff more than others, it goes out of its way to shrink wrap everything to ensure dust and debris don't touch your goods. It's a little effort that can go a long way to give you some peace of mind

You pay for what you use.

The customer rep suggested I order two containers considering the size of my home. In the end, I had nothing to lose because I only have to pay for what I use. If you are clever enough to fit everything in one shell, then you will pay way less. (And hey, that's what professionals are for.)

Should you choose Zippy Shell over other container companies?

There are certainly some people who will find Zippy Shell to be an optimal choice, depending on which moving storage company is nearer their origin and destination. Look it up.

Others, however, will find it on the pricey side, especially if they are hauling enough stuff for a large home across the country. Also, anyone who needs to go a short distance will find it easier to just call 1-800-PACK-RAT directly rather than take this circuitous route.

Ultimately, Zippy Shell is a smaller company than its competitors and despite the lengthier process for organizing the move, it demonstrates that it cares about its customers' property. That goes a long way in the moving industry.

Francesca Di Meglio

Contributing Author: Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio is a writer, editor, and moving professional featured on Businessweek and As a wife and mother of two little ones, she is always on the move.

Zippy Shell® Reviews

Ryan L
Chicago, IL
Wrote a review on 8/4/2014
Zippy Shell Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

N/A- Still in storage

Cost: $89.00
Per. Mile:
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Donald H
Charlotte, NC
Wrote a review on 6/28/2014
Zippy Shell Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Outstanding service and solution.

Distance: 3 mi
Cost: $200
Per. Mile: $66.67
SqFt. Moved: 2,800
Xell M
Elk Grove, CA
Wrote a review on 5/27/2014
Zippy Shell Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

They are friendly and effective, reliable. Definitely will recommends to our friends and relatives.

Distance: 123 mi
Cost: $245
Per. Mile: $1.99
SqFt. Moved: 2,400
Carrollton, TX
Wrote a review on 5/13/2014
Zippy Shell Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Zippy Shell is storing our furniture for a remodel / foundation work. They delivered the day prior to the movers arrival as expected and picked up the next day after we called them. Great Job, highly recommend Zippy Shell

Cost: $150
Per. Mile:
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Matt M
Bensenville, IL
Wrote a review on 4/28/2014
Zippy Shell Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

I would use them again.

Per. Mile:
SqFt. Moved:

The Zippy Shell® 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.

The Zippy Shell® image belongs to Zippy Shell® and can be found on their website here.

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