Real People: PODS vs. U-Pack ReloCubes

This post is part of our “Real People” series. Each post is written by a real person, not employed at HireAHelper, that actually used the service listed. These posts offer the inside scoop on the pros and cons of using moving equipment and services from companies like PODS, 1-800-Packrat, Penske Truck Rental, Budget Moving Trucks, U-Pack ReloCubes, and Uhaul. Today’s post is from Shiromi A. of Seattle, WA.

My husband was retired military so we moved seven times in four years and I can tell you it never gets easier. You’d think we would have the moving thing down by now, but I find each move has its own set of unique challenges to overcome. When we decided to move from Portland, OR up to Seattle, WA to live near the water, we knew this would take some planning. We called around a few interstate moving companies but it was pricey. We didn’t want to rent a truck because you pay by the day and that time crunch can be stressful. My husband and I quickly came to the conclusion that either PODS or U-Pack ReloCubes would be our best bet. Continue reading


Moving Secret #347: How to Eat Well and Exercise During a Move

Pack a Lunch


Moving is ranked as one of the top three most stressful life events. Here at HireAHelper, we want to prepare you for the different aspects of your move so it’s not as stressful! One such aspect that may not have crossed your mind is the issue of healthy eating and exercise during your move. But when you think about it, proper exercise and nutrition are two of the best ways to cope with stress! Unfortunately, pizza and beer are the age-old standard food groups when moving. Here are some ways to avoid the greasy cheese, eat well, and still have an empty kitchen when you leave.


Continue reading

How Much Does it Cost to Move?

TL;DR – A move in town can cost between $200-$400 to rent a truck and hire loading help. A move across the country can cost upwards of $3,000-$5,000.

I almost feel silly writing an answer to such a big question in just one blog post, but it gets asked so often and searched for so frequently on the web that I felt compelled to offer some sort of guidance (read our more specific guide to New York moving costs here). How much your move will cost depends mostly on how large your pile of stuff is and how far you’re moving it. So there’s a pretty wide range of answers to this question. The fact that we spend twice as much on moving as we do on ATM fees* suggests that most Americans are spending too much on their move, unaware of the cheap moving options available right at their fingertips (*ATM fee stat source in our moving infographic).

For example, moving a 2 bedroom apartment across town within Los Angeles can be done for $355 ($325 for 2 movers through HireAHelper for 5 hours of loading and unloading + $30 Budget moving truck). But if you’re moving out of town or out of state the price goes up. Or, if you’re moving anything more than a small apartment, the price goes up.

That said, this post looks at how much it would cost to move a specific sized home a specific distance. The cost of your move may vary from these estimates, but you can bet if your move is smaller or shorter, it should cost less and if it’s larger or farther, it will cost more.

This post is written to answer the following:

How much would it cost to move a 3 bedroom house (contents equaling 7,100 lbs) about 1,240 miles from Los Angeles, CA 90032 to Billings, MT 59101?


$3,700 (Option #1) Hire Loading Help + Reserve Professional Transportation

The cheapest way to move, a la carte, is also my personal favorite because it gives you more control over your stuff and more say over who’s doing the lifting, driving, and unloading (Oh, and I work for the most amazing loading and unloading help website in the world. So I’m a little biased). Hiring loading and unloading help through for a 3 bedroom house (about 7,100 lbs in stuff)  will cost about $940 (Breakdown: $470 for 4 helpers for 4 hours loading in Los Angeles and $470 for 4 helpers for 3 hours unloading in Billings, MT. Prices vary by location).

Reserving space on an ABF U-Pack Moving truck to move from LA to Billings is estimated to cost $2,791. You can also use a portable storage company like PODS or 1800Packrat to professionally transport your items across the country. Pricing might be even better through one of them, and they have some pretty amazing storage options in case you’re new house isn’t quite ready to move into.

$3,880 + gas (Option #2) – Hire Loading Help + Rent a Moving Truck

Similar to Option #1, this option is often called a “self-move.” hire local movers to load you through HireAHelper, but instead of having someone else transport your stuff, you’ve got to rent and drive a moving truck. You also have to fill it with gas. This option is more labor intensive on your part (long days driving, finding big parking spots, picking up & returning the truck, etc.) and costs more than option #1. The upside to this option is you are in direct control of your items at all times. You know exactly where they are at any given minute (because they’re directly behind you in the moving truck) and you have control over how long it takes. No waiting on delivery estimates from someone else. If your stuff doesn’t arrive to your new house on time, there’s only one person to blame.

$5,100 (Option #3) Full Service Mover or Vanline

The “simplest” way to go about moving across the country like this would be to call a big, national vanline. One with a long, reputable history as a pillar of the American economy. They’ve got agents all over the country and hundreds of trucks ready to move you anywhere, almost anytime. There are two GIGANTIC downsides to using a vanline for your move:

  1. Cost
    According to MoveSource’s moving cost calculator, a vanline move of this size is expected to run about $5,100!
  2. Damaged or Lost Items
    According to a recent J.D. Power & Associates study, almost 1 in 3 customers of full-service moving companies reported broken or missing items during their move.

All that to say, your costs may be very different from the ones in this post. But at least now you know there are a few cheaper options. And if you happen to be doing that exact move, from Los Angeles to Billings or vice versa, let me know in the comments, and I’ll get you a discount on some loading & unloading help. Otherwise, lets talk on Google +.

Summer Moving Infographic

If you’re moving this summer, it’s probably out of New York and into Washinton DC. How’d I know? Because I did a TON of research to put together this humble infographic crammed full of interesting moving habits and facts (below). So if you are moving this summer or even this month (May is National Moving Month after all) be sure you have your facts straight with our handy dandy summer moving infographic. Don’t be shy, check it out. And we won’t be mad if you want to share it with all your friends. (click the infograph for an interactive version over on

Summer Moving Infographic

Written, partly researched and designed by yours truly, Daniel Horning.

Wait, Don’t Move!

Laughing at a customer, while rarely good for business, is sometimes justifiable. It was once when I was working as a waiter; several times when I was a campus police officer (of course, the students are not exactly customers; they are something much much less). And once, just once, it happened when I was working as an operations manager for a storage and moving company.

‘Yes sir, we did receive your things,’ I said to the man. He sounded younger than me but calling someone sir can help head off a lot of problems – a concept synonymous with the moving industry. ‘When would you like us to deliver?’

It was mid-June. The board on the wall was already overflowing with work orders, most of the insidious triple-copy printouts crammed into the slots reserved for the last few days of the month.

Everyone wants to move in the summer. The kids are out of school, the weather is nice, and what better time to parlay your move into a road trip? Provided, of course, someone is doing all the heavy moving for you.

The outfit I worked for had the added privilege of doing military moves, code named G-2, meaning ‘drive two hours, pack and haul a ton of storage and get paid peanuts.’ And since our armed forces prefer nice weather as much as the rest of our customers, summer for us was, in a word, busy-as-hell.

Humans must have some innate proclivity for change in June. How else to explain the sheer number of people who get married, travel to Europe and move (sometimes all three) in June, far more than in any other month? Unlike weddings and flights to Frankfurt, move-out-day is almost always the last day of the month.

Cram all these factors together and you have the perfect storage and moving storm, an annual event we in the business prefer not to talk about.

‘Well,’ the man on the other end of the line said. ‘Can you deliver on June 30th?’

Photo credit to base77

Photo credit to base77

I looked over at the triple-copy monster growing out of the wall. I couldn’t even see the 30 anymore. We were going to be all over the road, the crew physically and me mentally. The only thing he had going for him was the small size of his shipment. Maybe I’d find an opening in the course of the day to get his stuff to him. I just needed him to be flexible.

‘And can you come about 3:00?’

This is when I started laughing.

‘We’ll see what we can do, sir,’ I said (once I caught my breath). ‘But I’ll be honest, I can’t say exactly when we’ll be able to get to you. We’re talking about the busiest day of the busiest month of the entire year, and it looks like we’re already booked pretty solid.’

Silence. Then stuttering indecision. This is what we in the business call the more agreeable customer response to getting laughed at.


‘Don’t worry, sir. We’ll definitely get to you on the 30th.’ At this I almost started laughing again. ‘But I really can’t promise a specific time. Best I can do is give you a heads-up once we see how the day is shaping up.’

‘…Okay, well…You have my cell phone number, right?’

What more could the kid do but hope for the best? I was the operations manager and I couldn’t do more than hope for the best. We still had almost two weeks for more end-of-month work to come pouring in. I only had so many trucks and so many guys (and so many guys with proper licenses to drive those trucks but certain niggling legalities can be ignored in a pinch). I could try to move a few jobs around, maybe piggy-back a couple to save some time. But jobs go longer than expected sometimes, and there are only so many hours in a day. And as the hours drag on those couches and dressers and TV sets start getting pretty heavy.

My advice in all of this, kind reader, is two-fold. Eventually a waiter or a police officer or an operations guy at a storage and moving company is going to laugh at you. Take it in stride, it just means that, like most people (this writer not included), you don’t understand the ins and outs of the business.

And second, unless you don’t mind sitting, eating and sleeping on the floor of your new place for a few days – or, more preferably, extending your road trip at the last-minute – do whatever you can to avoid having to ask your moving company to do something for you anywhere close to the busiest day of the busiest month of the year.

Still, if you find you have no choice, don’t despair.

We ended up getting that young man’s things delivered at the stroke of three o’clock.

So he’s probably still wondering why I was laughing at him.


About the Guest Author

Kevin Kato has in fact waited tables, patrolled campuses and managed operations for a storage and moving company. He’d rather not talk about any of it. Find more of his witty insights (along with the occasional introspective bit) on his blog, read about his travels on his website, connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. And check out his free, just-published e-book recounting his experiences in Japan after the big earthquake.