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What To Expect When You Move With U-Pack (2024 Guide)

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Default Author Icon Written by Shane Sentelle Updated 05/16/2024

A full-service move is convenient because it often includes packing and loading labor, but it can be expensive. If you’ve decided to cut costs by making the small- or long-distance move yourself, U-Pack offers transportation and storage for your belongings. As one of the best moving container companies available, they provide excellent customer service and competitive pricing. In this article, we’ll share what to expect when you hire U-Pack for your move, how the process works, and packing tips whether you’ve opted for a moving trailer or ReloCube.

About U-Pack

U-Pack is a self-service residential moving and storage business operated by ABF Freight. The company’s moving services are available in all 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Canada. U-Pack offers exclusively self-service, long-distance moves via trailer or self-contained storage containers called ReloCubes. You load the trailer or cube, and U-Pack will transport it for you. As of 2024, U-Pack has accreditation and an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), along with excellent customer reviews. Check out our full U-Pack review for more information.

The Process

First, you’ll need to decide whether you want a moving trailer or one or more ReloCubes. Which one you need will depend on how much stuff you’re moving and how much flexibility you require. If you opt for a trailer, U-Pack will park the truck near your home so you can load it with your household goods. You’ll pay for the amount of space you use, from a minimum of 5 linear feet up to 28 linear feet. If you choose one or more ReloCubes, U-Pack will drop them off at your residence. Each ReloCube has dimensions of 6 feet by 7 feet by 8 feet and holds approximately one room’s worth of furniture.

Here’s how the process works from start to finish:

Receive quote: Estimate the amount of trailer space or number of ReloCubes you think you’ll need and obtain a free quote on U-Pack’s website.
Reserve container or trailer: Set your delivery, pickup, and drop-off dates.
Receive container or trailer: You’ll need to make space near your home for a 28-foot trailer or a ReloCube, which fits in a standard parking space. Someone 18 or older must be present to sign for the equipment.
Load container or trailer: U-Pack gives you three business days to fill your ReloCubes or as much trailer space as you need, either by yourself or by hiring professional movers. (The length of time can vary if you live in a major metropolitan area, such as New York City or Boston.)
Schedule pickup: A U-Pack driver will arrive at your home to transport your trailer or ReloCube to your new home.
Await delivery: U-Pack can deliver your ReloCubes to your door or to a nearby service center for storage.
Unload container or trailer: You’ll have three days to empty the trailer or cube.
Schedule final pickup: A U-Pack driver will return to remove the empty trailer or ReloCube.

Reserve Parking

As you prepare to move, don’t forget that you’ll need space to park either the trailer or one or more ReloCubes while you load. Keep the following rules in mind as you consider where to park your trailer or cube:

  • Park U-Pack trailers on any paved, level surface
  • There needs to be at least 14 feet of overhead clearance without tree branches or low-hanging wires

For homeowners with space on their property, this might not be a problem, but if space or parking is at a premium, you must reserve it in advance. You may need to contact your homeowners association or building management to find out what they’ll permit. In some locations, you must apply to the city for a moving permit several days in advance.

If all else fails, you can take your belongings to the nearest U-Pack service center and load them into a trailer or container there, but you’ll have to use your own vehicle to transport your items.

Preparing for Your Container

Remember to pack before U-Pack delivers your trailer or container to make your moving experience as smooth as possible. You’ll only have three days to load your trailer or ReloCube, so you should gather moving supplies and prepare as much as possible for your move date. Cardboard boxes may be sufficient if you’re moving, but if you plan to store your ReloCube for any length of time, clear plastic bins are usually the better option. Either way, make sure to clearly label all boxes or bins, and keep a detailed inventory of what goes into each one.

According to U-Pack.com, you must supply your own locks for the equipment so that only you have access to your belongings. For trailer moves, U-Pack will supply a lockable divider to keep your belongings separate from anything else on the truck. For this, you’ll need a bulkhead lock, similar to one you’d use on a trailer hitch, with a shank that’s at least 2 inches long and no more than 1/4 inch in diameter. ReloCubes have two spots for locks, one on each door, and locks should have a shank diameter of no more than 3/8 inches.

Packing and Loading Tips

If you don’t want the hassle of loading the trailer or container yourself, you can hire a moving company to provide the labor. U-Pack can refer you to a local branch of Moving Staffers, or you can hire your own service. You’ll pay for the labor, but professional movers can get the job done more quickly with less risk of damage to your belongings. You also won’t have to risk your own safety carrying large or heavy items.

U-Pack trailers have ramps for easier loading, but if you want other equipment, such as dollies or hand trucks, you must supply them yourself. You’ll also be responsible for moving blankets, tie-down straps, and other supplies. Packing a trailer is no different from packing any moving truck, but loading a container like a U-Pack ReloCube requires a few special considerations:

  • Don’t cram loose items into the container. Put as much as possible in boxes, bins, drawers, or other containers.
  • If you use multiple ReloCubes, make sure to write down which items you’ve stored in each cube.
  • Fill spaces between items with moving blankets, furniture pads, blankets, pillows, or other soft items.
  • The containers have interior tie-down hooks, so use moving straps or ropes to secure your belongings every few feet.
  • Tip large items like furniture up on their sides to load upright. You can even pack couches upright in most cases.
  • Try not to put the heaviest items at one end of the ReloCube. Instead, spread them out on the base layer of each stack of belongings.
  • Use as much vertical space as possible, stacking lighter items toward the top.

Preparing for Delivery

U-Pack offers both service center and door-to-door delivery. Once again, you’ll need space for the trailer or container, so be sure to reserve parking or get a permit as necessary. U-Pack will give you a delivery window for the drop-off, and once again, you’ll have three business days to unload. You can do it yourself or hire movers to unload for you. If you need a very specific delivery window, you can upgrade to U-Pack’s Guaranteed Delivery option for an additional fee.

If your plans change or your new home isn’t ready yet, U-Pack can store your ReloCube at a service center until you’re ready for it. U-Pack will assess billing for storage monthly and will start billing from the day your ReloCube arrives at the service center, not the day you pack it. Unfortunately, you can’t access your ReloCube while it’s in storage—you’ll need to schedule delivery. At present, U-Pack customers can’t keep ReloCubes on their property for on-site storage.

Returning the Container

Since you only have three days to unload, you’ll need to schedule a time for pickup in advance. However, if you finish unloading before then, you can always call the local service center and request an earlier pickup. You don’t need to be present when the driver arrives, but make sure you’ve emptied the container or trailer and removed your lock. U-Pack will charge a fee if they have to cut a lock off themselves.

Our Conclusion

U-Pack has some notable advantages over similar do-it-yourself (DIY) moving container companies. It’s excellent for small and long-distance moves, and it often offers lower prices than its competitors. However, its containers are on the small side, and you don’t have much time to load and unload. Check out our comparison of U-Pack vs. PODS and a look at the cheapest moving container companies for more details.

FAQ About Using U-Pack

What is the first thing you should pack when moving?

The first things to pack should be the things you use the least, like items already in storage, holiday decorations, and out-of-season clothes. Then, you can handle fragile items, guest bedrooms, and wall decor before packing the things you use more frequently.

Does U-Pack have hidden fees?

U-Pack has a reputation for being transparent during the quote process. Your moving quote will include all fees, and you won’t need to pay a deposit. However, there is a cancellation fee if you cancel within 24 hours of your delivery time.

What are some things to pack in a car?

When moving, it’s a good idea to keep your most important items with you and pack them in your personal vehicle. This includes things like important documents, valuables, spare keys, medications, living things like plants and pets, and a small suitcase with enough clothes to last until your belongings are unpacked.

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