PODS vs. U-Haul: Services
PODS specializes in the drop-off, pick-up, transport, and storage of portable steel moving containers. The company may be attractive to DIY movers who want assistance with some parts of the process—such as transport and delivery—but prefer to handle packing and loading on their own. It’s also a good fit for anyone who will need short- or long-term storage options before, during, or after their relocation. PODS can provide third-party moving crews at an added cost for those who want assistance with loading and unloading.
Similarly, U-Haul has portable containers available for rent through its U-Box division. Like PODS, U-Haul will handle drop-off, pick-up, transport, and delivery of its U-Box containers. But U-Haul’s Moving Help package allows customers to create a full-service experience—including loading, unloading, driving, and unpacking—at a lower cost than most major moving companies.
Both companies offer short- and long-term storage options. U-Haul’s indoor storage facilities are climate-controlled, a feature that varies for PODS facilities depending on location. PODS and U-Haul can each accommodate vehicle storage. PODS outsources its vehicle storage while U-Haul is a direct provider.
PODS has steel-framed containers, rented by the month, in three sizes: 8 feet, 12 feet, and 16 feet. For reference, a 16-foot container will usually accommodate homes up to 1,200 square feet or roughly the equivalent of three to four rooms’ worth of furniture and household items. Containers are delivered directly to your driveway or parking lot at ground level for easy loading. Once your items are loaded, you can schedule a time for PODS to retrieve your container and transport it to your new residence.
PODS serves 46 states and Washington, D.C. It is not available in Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, or Wyoming.
While the company does not offer any full-service moving options, it can recommend and connect you with professional moving partners who are familiar with PODS containers to assist with packing and unpacking and loading and unloading.
PODS’ standout feature is its City Service, specifically designed to meet the unique challenges of relocating within major metropolitan areas. PODS drivers will remain with your container as you load and unload it to prevent tickets, theft, or other issues and, in most cases, will handle parking and any permits or homeowner’s association (HOA) requirements for you. City Service is available in the following major cities: Boston, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Canada, and Washington, D.C.
PODS services include:
- Local moving
- Long-distance moving
- Interstate moving
- International moving
- Vehicle transport
- Optional liability coverage
- Moving supplies and blankets
- Container moving kits
- City Service
- Optional third-party moving crews
- Short- and long-term storage
- Online moving and storage calculators
- Moving checklist
U-Haul provides rental moving vehicles, including pickups, cargo vans, and trucks. Trucks are available in the following sizes: 10 feet, 15 feet, 17 feet, 20 feet, and 26 feet. A 10-foot truck is suitable for moving a one-bedroom or studio apartment, while a 26-foot truck is large enough for most three- to four-bedroom homes. All trucks come equipped with rub rails on three interior walls for tying down furniture.
Additionally, U-Haul rents cargo and utility trailers. Cargo trailers are enclosed and are available in four-by-eight feet, five-by-eight feet, and six-by-12 feet. The larger utility trailers have an open top, making them ideal for large or oddly shaped items that are difficult to load in a truck. All trailers come with security locks.
U-Haul’s portable containers, U-Box, come in one size and can typically accommodate about 1.5 rooms’ worth of furniture and belongings.
A notable service is Moving Help, an online marketplace—searchable by customer rating, cost, and services—that connects customers with local moving companies. Through Moving Help, customers can design a full-service move or add specific services such as packing, unpacking, and cleaning to their DIY relocation.
U-Haul also stands out for its multiple coverage plans. SmartMove and SafeTrip plans provide protection against most accidents while driving a U-Haul vehicle or towing a trailer, as well as coverage for items damaged due to collision, fire, windstorm, or overturned truck, and medical coverage for drivers and passengers. SmartMove Plus provides the items listed above with an additional $1 million supplemental coverage plan and extended accident protection.
Customers can also opt for supplemental roadside protection, which includes: battery jump-starts; locksmith, lost key, and fuel services; assistance with vehicles stuck in snow or mud; and help with trailer hook-up issues.
The “My Belongings Organizer” tool in the U-Haul mobile app can help you organize your DIY move. It allows you to log your inventory as you pack, including pictures and contents descriptions for each box. This functionality helps you keep track of high-value or fragile items as you pack and ensure their safety when you arrive at your destination. You can watch this tutorial to learn how to utilize this tool’s capabilities.
U-Haul services include:
- One-way truck and trailer rentals
- In-town truck and trailer rentals
- U-Box portable moving containers
- Climate-controlled (indoor) storage
- Ground-level drive-up (outdoor) storage
- Car, boat, and RV storage
- Standard van and truck rentals
- Standard trailer rentals
- Moving supplies
- Hitches and accessories
- Optional third-party hourly labor
- Inventory logging via the “My Belongings Organizer” tool