Portable moving container companies have become a popular option as a cheaper alternative to traditional full-service movers. 1-800-PACK-RAT is a reputable name in the moving industry.
The This Old House Reviews team has investigated some of the best moving companies in the United States. In this review, we cover 1-800-PACK-RAT’s reputation, services, cost, benefits, and downsides and help you determine if the company is right for you.
Our Take on 1-800-PACK-RAT
1-800-PACK-RAT is our pick for the ‘Best Overall Self-Service Mover.’ The company offers competitive rates, a collection of user-friendly online resources and tools, high-quality moving containers, and a partnership with HireAHelper to easily supply moving labor. It also features positive reviews on popular customer review sites, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and TrustPilot.
Founded in 2001 in North Carolina, 1-800-PACK-RAT was conceived as an all-steel, weatherproof, portable-storage design. As a joke, it was referred to as a “pack rat” because of its ability to store everything.
From its three locations in North Carolina, 1-800-PACK-RAT grew to more than 50 locations across the United States in just two years. Unlike many other moving and storage companies, 1-800-PACK-RAT is not a franchised business. The goal of its corporate model is to standardize the experience for users across all of the company’s service areas.
Pros & Cons of 1-800-PACK-RAT
✔ Includes $10,000 in contents protection for long-distance moves
✔ Offers price-matching for PODS
✔ Provides a large collection of online resources, videos, tools, and a customer portal
✘ No online booking option
✘ Physical locations are limited to 30 states and Washington, D.C.
1-800-PACK-RAT provides its services within a 100-mile radius of each of its locations. The company also states that it can provide services for a move in the United States even if a local branch is not nearby, but we suggest you contact the company directly to see if this option is available in your area.
1-800-PACK-RAT features physical locations in the following states:
California | Colorado | Connecticut | Florida | Georgia | Illinois | Indiana | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Missouri | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | Nevada | North Carolina | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Virginia | Washington | Washington, D.C. | Wisconsin
1-800-PACK offers industry-standard self-service moving services with a user-friendly website that includes a variety of resources and an easy-to-use customer portal. The company also offers a flexible contents protection plan.
Moving Container Services
1-800-PACK-RAT is a local and long-distance moving container service. The company delivers your choice of moving container(s) to your point of origin for you to load at your own pace. Once your belongings are loaded, you notify 1-800-PACK-RAT that you are ready for pick-up, and the company handles all the transportation to your new home. You receive your moving container for 30 days total.
The company offers three sizes for its portable storage containers: eight feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. Each container sits on the ground for easy loading and features a weatherproof steel-frame body. In fact, 1-800-PACK-RAT is the only portable storage company with all-steel containers.
Read over the details of each container below:
- 8-foot: 404 cubic feet, holds 4,000 pounds, good for about 1–2 rooms of furniture
- 12-foot: 620 cubic feet, holds 6,000 pounds, good for about 2–3 rooms of furniture
- 16-foot: 830 cubic feet, holds 6,000 pounds, good for about 3–4 rooms of furniture
While a standard package includes possession of the storage containers for 30 days, customers can request an additional month for around $245.
Through its partnership with HireAHelper, 1-800-PACK-RAT offers a variety of moving assistance you can add to your self-service move. Your move can become either a partial-service or full-service move with options like packing, loading, unloading, and unpacking.
1-800-PACK-RAT offers storage solutions for short-term and long-term storage. The company’s storage facilities are equipped with climate-controlled units, 24/7 video surveillance, automated sprinklers, and warehouse doors. Customers receive access to these facilities either in their moving package or as a standalone service.
1-800-PACK-RAT offers a collection of moving supplies for additional purchase. Read over what moving and packing supplies the company offers here:
- Small boxes (16” x 10” x 10”)
- Medium boxes (18” x 14” x 12”)
- Large boxes (20” x 20” x 15”)
- Extra large boxes (23” x 23” x 16”)
- Kitchen dish boxes (18” x 18” x 22”)
- Wardrobe boxes with bars (20” x 20” x 34”)
- Frame boxes (28” x 4” x 37”)
- Large picture boxes (40” x 3.5” x 60”)
- TV box kit with foam protectors
- File boxes (15” x 12” x 10”)
- Textile moving blankets
- Mattress bags
- Moisture absorbers
- Disc locks
- Rope (100 feet)
- Rubber mover bands
- Bubble wrap
- Packing paper
- Stretch wrap
- Tape gun dispenser
- Forearm lifting straps
- Ratchet tie-down straps
Insurance Coverage Options
1-800-PACK-RAT offers two different plans for contents protection. Its Basic Plan acts as a damage waiver plan that covers damage to the container when it is in your possession. This means you are not responsible for any damage to the container itself, but it does not protect your belongings. This plan costs $9.99.
Its second plan, The Silver Plan, combines the Basic Plan with protection on your belongings within the container. The company offers a variety of coverage amounts that increase and decrease in monthly cost based on the maximum amount of coverage. Customers can have up to $75,000 of protection on their belongings while their container is in 1-800-PACK-RAT’s possession or at their home.
As an example, the company’s $10,000 contents protection Silver Plan costs $49.95 per month. There is a $100 deductible for all losses.*
*There is a $2,500 deductible for losses caused by named storms, such as hurricanes.
If you require vehicle relocation, 1-800-PACK-RAT works with Mr. Car Shipper and Reindeer Auto to provide auto shipping services. Both companies can accommodate a wide variety of vehicles ranging from recreational vehicles (RVs) to boats.
1-800-PACK-RAT creates its prices based on industry-standard metrics for moving container companies. Some factors that impact your overall price include:
- The overall weight of your move
- The total distance of your move
- The starting point of your move
- Any storage services required
- Any additional services purchased
1-800-PACK-RAT provided us an initial quote for a 16-foot container moving from Chicago to Houston in a month’s time for $3,239.76. This quote included all transportation during the move, delivery and pickup of the container, a no-cut security lock for the container, and $10,000 in contents protection coverage.
1-800-PACK-RAT Booking Process
1-800-PACK-RAT completes its booking process with a phone call. Similar to many other moving companies, you’ll fill out some brief information on 1-800-PACK-RAT’s website.
After you submit the information about your move, a representative will contact you to determine if you need storage solutions, additional services, and what container sizes you might need based on your inventory. This representative will also provide an estimate and help you schedule your container delivery.
1-800-PACK-RAT Customer Reviews
Though 1-800-PACK-RAT does not feature an accreditation from the BBB, it holds C+ rating.* It should be noted that some companies do not feature an accreditation because it comes with an additional cost.
Most negative reviews mention longer transit times than expected, so be prepared to be flexible if you choose 1-800-PACK-RAT.
Read over what previous customer had to say about their experience with the company:
“I moved long distance from [Tennessee] to [Arizona]. I took a 2.5-week vacation in between in [Texas], so I used the storage option. They were exceptional!! Anytime I called in, they answered me directly and quickly! The customer service team is outstanding. I called [three] different times with [three] different employees…all fantastic! Very reasonable pricing…they did offer [an] extra discount which was hundreds under their competitors. Thank you.”
— Debra K.
“The driver left Chicago on 3/31 so our container should have been here. It does not take more than [four] days to drive across the country. The $50 a day does not replace items that we have had to repurchase, the stress this has caused, or lack of belongings in our home. We are now about to start new jobs, etc., and have items in the container that we NEED!”
— Amanda S.
*BBB information accurate as of May 2022
1-800-PACK-RAT vs. Other Moving Companies
There are other self-service moving companies that offer similar services to 1-800-PACK-RAT but with more storage facilities and a higher level of convenience, such as PODS.
If you prefer to have a company handle every part of your move for you, then you might want to consider a full-service mover instead, like International Van Lines. Check out our recommendations for alternative companies to 1-800-PACK-RAT below.
1-800-PACK-RAT vs. PODS
PODS offers many of the same services as 1-800-PACK-RAT, but the company is readily available in 46 states. PODS also offers three container sizes, but PODS’ containers feature a roll-up door, which adds a bit more room for placement. While both PODS and 1-800-PACK-RAT offer an initial 30 days of loading time, an additional 30 days with PODS costs $149 per month. This is cheaper than 1-800-PACK-RAT’s $245 additional monthly fee.
We received a quote from PODS for a 16-foot container moving from Chicago to Houston in roughly a month’s time for a total cost of $3,494.08 plus taxes. However, PODS is a pay-as-you-go service, so the payments would be broken down into $487.95 for the first delivery, $2,867.13 for transportation, and a final payment of $139 for the final pickup.
1-800-PACK-RAT vs. International Van Lines
International Van Lines (IVL) is a full-service mover, focusing on long-distance moves. IVL offers local moves for customers relocating within the same state. However, it requires a minimum of a two-bedroom apartment for these smaller moves. It is available in all 50 U.S. states.
International Van Lines can provide packing, storage, crating, and other specialty moving services. Included in your services are disassembly and reassembly of basic furniture, moving supplies like blankets and protective pads, mileage, fuel surcharges, and any tolls during travel. You can also get basic liability coverage up to $10,000 with long-distance moves.
We received a quote from International Van Lines for moving a two-bedroom home from Chicago to Houston within a month’s time at a price of $2,015–$3,445. This includes the company providing loading services and transportation.
Is 1-800-PACK-RAT Best for Your Move?
We rated 1-800-PACK-RAT a 94 out of 100, and we named it ‘Best Overall Self-Service Mover.’ The company offers competitive prices with plenty of additional service options ranging from loading and unloading to vehicle transportation.
Though it features some limited regional availability, 1-800-PACK-RAT states that it can still potentially help with your move, and it price-matches with other services like PODS. The company also makes the moving process as user-friendly as possible with an easy-to-use customer portal and plenty of online tools and resources.
Our Rating Methodology
The This Old House Reviews team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and having the data to back up our ratings and recommendations. Our rating system for moving service providers is on a 100-point scale based on seven factors:
- Moving Services (30): Does the company offer its services for local, long-distance, and or international moves?
- Additional Services (29): What additional services does the company provide, such as packing and unpacking or loading and unloading?
- Coverage (10): Does the company offer any additional insurance plans, such as full-value coverage?
- Scheduling (7): Are customers able to schedule online, over the phone, or on both platforms?
- Trailers/containers (7): How many trailer or container sizes does the company offer?
- Additional Benefits (12): What additional benefits does the company provide, such as storage options, moving truck rentals, and financing?
- Reputation (5): What rating does the company feature on popular reviews sites like the Better Business Bureau (BBB)?
Our Reviews Team reviews reputable companies from all across the nation, and we have a full-time researcher who collects (and regularly updates) more than 100 specific data points from each company. We perform in-depth research and compare each company on key factors such as cost, services, availability, and trustworthiness.
To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at firstname.lastname@example.org.