2019 1-800-PACK-RAT Review

Bottom line: 1-800-PACK-RAT is a moving container company that excels at local moves for budget-minded customers.

Overall rating

3.0 / 5

Blue Chat Boxes



1-800-PACK-RAT is still open for business. In addition to supplying all locations with gloves and sanitizer, the company is offering special deals for college students (30 days of free storage with the promo code “COLLEGE”) and hospitals (two free storage containers each).

1-800-PACK-RAT is a container-based moving and storage company that delivers a rented, portable container to your home, where you pack it yourself. The company then stores your container or ships it to your destination. When you’re ready for your stuff, 1-800-PACK-RAT delivers the container to your new home, where you unload it yourself. You load/unload, and they drive, making container-based moving a hybrid of the classic DIY and full-service moving models.

Is 1-800-PACK-RAT right for you?

You’re the ideal 1-800-PACK-RAT customer if…

You’re moving locally.
1-800-PACK-RAT offers both local and long-distance moves throughout most of the contiguous United States. However, with more options and tools for local movers, that’s where they really shine.

You’re on a budget.
Like most container-based moving companies, 1-800-PACK-RAT is a lot cheaper than a full-service moving company. However, you’ll almost certainly pay more than you would for a truck rental.

You can do your own packing.
This is still a DIY move because 1-800-PACK-RAT does not do any loading or unloading from the container for you. That’s your responsibility.

You don’t want to drive a truck.
Driving a rental truck means worrying about the fuel, mileage, potential damage, and other stresses. You can avoid all that with 1-800-PACK-RAT.

Don’t spend money on space you don’t need. Check out our guide to 1-800-PACK-RAT’s moving container sizes to pick one that’s right for you.

Our in-depth review of 1-800-PACK-RAT

Between its two largest competitors, PODS and U-Pack, 1-800-PACK-RAT most closely resembles PODS. The main difference seems to be that 1-800-PACK-RAT emphasizes local moves, whereas their competitors concentrate on providing great long-distance moves. More on this later.

When you reserve your container(s), you choose between one of three sizes, depending on how much you’re moving. The containers are all-metal and weatherproof. They are loaded and unloaded using a hydraulic no-tilt system meant to your items from shifting unnecessarily. (Other companies load and unload without tilting, but use different means to do so.)

1-800-PACK-RAT stands out as a stellar company for local moves, but we wouldn’t recommend them for long-distance moves. Local movers who use 1-800-PACK-RAT have more flexibility with container sizes and more online features like My PackRat, an online management tool that lets movers schedule pickups/dropoffs, update addresses and payment options, etc. This will save you time and hassle, as well as those annoying waits on hold. Long-distance movers will be tied to the phone support staff for updates and changes.

1-800-PACK-RAT availability

It’s challenging to get a handle on 1-800-PACK-RAT’s availability. It’s clear that 1-800-PACK-RAT is available only in the United States (no international moves). Service is unavailable in several states, including Alaska, Idaho, Hawaii, and Vermont. Note that there may be other states where 1-800-PACK-RAT is not available, but the company would not provide a list.

The best way to check availability in your area is to enter your ZIP code—origin and destination—and obtain a quote. Unfortunately, as we’ll detail below in “customer experience, you must call a customer service agent after visiting the website to obtain the quote. In our opinion, getting a quote should be easy. Just checking availability with 1-800-PACK-RAT requires too many steps and too much time.

1-800-PACK-RAT move types

1-800-PACK-RAT is available for all types of moves, including the following:

  • Residential
  • Office
  • Corporate relocation
  • Military

How much does 1-800-PACK-RAT cost?

Prices for 1-800-PACK-RAT are comparable to what you would get from other container-based moving companies. The quotes we obtained put their prices almost even with PODS and a bit more than U-Pack for comparable container space going the same distance. As with all container-based moving companies, expect to pay more than you would for a truck rental and a lot less than you would for a full-service move.

Containers come in 8-foot, 12-foot, or 16-foot sizes, with the two smaller sizes reserved for local moves. Pricing is based on distance, destination, amount of container space, and time of year, so the best way to price your move will be to visit the site and get a quote. (Don’t forget: you’ll probably need to call to complete the quote.)

The quote you get from 1-800-PACK-RAT will be accurate, meaning that once you commit and give them your credit card number, you can lock it in without worrying about it changing. (Compared to the idea of non-binding quotes from full-service movers, this is a relief.) But if you wait to book your move, the price could change later.

Unfortunately, the numbers within that quote aren’t always easy to interpret. Your total price is produced by adding up charges for monthly container rent, delivery, relocation, and final pickup. The most important thing to know is the price for the monthly container rental, since this is what you’ll pay if you keep the container longer than 30 days. Be sure you know this number when talking with the 1-800-PACK-RAT representative.

The 1-800-PACK-RAT customer experience

The process for reserving a move, or even getting a quote, from 1-800-PACK-RAT usually requires a phone call, which may frustrate potential customers who just want a quick price as they shop around. If you start a quote online, you’ll need to call to get the actual price of your move. This has some benefit: it allows you an opportunity to ask questions and speak with a real person. But it can also create a high-pressure sales experience, which is especially annoying if you’re just shopping around. When we called for quotes, the phone agents invariably pushed aggressively to get us to book the move.

If you make a reservation with 1-800-PACK-RAT, they will take your credit card information over the phone and arrange a date for your container to be dropped off at your home. Five days before that date, they will charge the first $500 of your total fee. The rest is charged once your container has been picked up for transit.

It takes a whopping ten business days for your container to arrive at its destination, at a minimum. This is because 1-800-PACK-RAT will try to fit three containers on each truck, maximizing cost-efficiency. Whatever the total transit time, it will all be worked into your 30-day rental period, so plan accordingly.

Once you’ve unpacked your container at your destination and 1-800-PACK-RAT has picked it up again, you’ll be finished with the container and will not be charged for more days. If your total move time stayed under 30 days, you’ll only pay the amount you were originally quoted. However, if you go over by just one day, you’ll pay for another month, since 1-800-PACK-RAT charges by the month, with no prorating option.

To make a reservation, or if you have a question or problem during your move, you can reach 1-800-PACK-RAT’s customer service and sales departments by phone, email, or online chat. It isn’t available 24/7, but they have long hours, extending to 11:00 p.m. EST every day.

1-800-PACK-RAT’s liability coverage

For long-distance moves, 1-800-PACK-RAT includes $10,000 in coverage for your items and a damage waiver for the container at no additional charge. Such coverage is fairly standard across the industry. This will cover your items for any damage that is the fault of 1-800-PACK-RAT, but will not cover damage from normal shifting and bumping in transit. So pack your items well.

For local moves, you must purchase coverage separately. You can purchase only the container damage waiver for $9.99, or you can purchase a contents protection plan. Those plans include the damage waiver, cost between $29.99 and $139.99, and provide coverage between $5,000 and $75,000. (The website and the company’s own PDF do not agree on the amount of coverage you get for $139.99. One says $55,000, the other says $75,000. Read your agreement carefully to know what you’re getting.)

Claims process with 1-800-PACK-RAT

If your items are damaged en route and you believe it’s 1-800-PACK-RAT’s fault, you can file a claim based on your purchased liability coverage. While the damage report should be filed immediately, you’ll then have up to nine months from the delivery date to finish filing the claims paperwork. 1-800-PACK-RAT then has 90 days to approve or deny the claim.

1-800-PACK-RAT loses some points for not having an online claims process, which some competitors provide. If you need to file a claim, you must first talk to an agent over the phone. There is no phone number for a dedicated claims department, so you’ll first speak with a regular customer service representative about your claim. This means you’re rolling the dice, and you could get a rep who doesn’t know the claims process. The first rep we talked with about the claims process didn’t know anything about the claims process or timeframes mentioned above and we had to escalate to another employee to find information.

When packing and unpacking your belongings, document everything. Take plenty of photos, especially of valuable items and how they were packed. Save receipts from any repair work that was required due to damage in transit. The more documentation you have, the more likely your claim will be successful if you have to make one.

What additional services does 1-800-PACK-RAT offer?

1-800-PACK-RAT does two things: moving and storage. Many companies will offer additional services and products like packing supplies, furniture assembly, or cleaning services. 1-800-PACK-RAT offers none of these services. However, they will refer you to their website to a local loading/unloading company, using a third-party service called HireAHelper.

So, is 1-800-PACK-RAT right for you?

1-800-PACK-RAT came in third place in our best moving container companies ranking, behind its two largest competitors. While it has some strengths when it comes to local moving, its lack of options and flexibility in long-distance moving keep it at the back of the pack.

About Christa Baxter

Christa Baxter
Christa Baxter has worked as an editor for more than seven years. She leads the Move.org content team in producing whip-smart moving tips and recs. After relocating four times in the last calendar year, she’s got strong opinions about moving best practices. (Just don’t ever pull a Marie Kondo and suggest she whittle down her personal library.)
  • Cari Bower

    1-800-Pack-Rat is AWFUL!!! I ordered two containers from them and I based everything on the date that I needed those containers to be delivered half-way across the US. Upon realizing I needed a third container (too much stuff), I asked the Pack Rat rep MULTIPLE times if by ordering a third container would it slow up the delivery date of the first 2 containers. He swore up one side and down the other that it would not delay the first two containers and those first two would be delivered on schedule for June 15. turns out that was not the case and they HELD the first two containers for the third!! Mind you, I received NO discount for shipping three containers as opposed to just one or two containers. So now me and my family are sleeping on the hard floor without a pillow or a plate to eat off of. My stuff will not now get to me until June 21 for an unload date of June 22,,and you know what they offered me? $50 a day, that dloesn’t even cover the cost of a hotel in DC especially with 3 cats and 3 dogs. This company sucks, they have one mission, to move your stuff and they will fail and will not care. I had one week of leave to unpack and get settled before reporting to work and they have totally screwed me in that regard. I wish I had gone with ANY other company other than them. This company is as shit show, I would have been better off if I had driven my own household goods across country, In addition to their complete failure to deliver on time, the containers were full of holes and tears in the aluminum/steel so that if there was a single rain storm on the route, your stuff will get damaged. Go with anyone else, and I literally mean anyone else – prison convicts, your step—parents, the homeless guy down the street, anyone else! I’m drinking a bourbon to help adjust to the fact that I’ll be sleeping on the floor yet again with only a dog bed as a pillow…and I stink..FML and F 1-800-PatRack

    • Bill McClure

      Best review ever!

  • Annon E Mouse

    1-800-PackRat IS NOT CHEAP. You won’t save the money you think you will.

    Read the fine print. After they have your stuff in storage, they can raise their rate anytime they like. They raised mine twice in less than 5 months!!

    After they had my credit card number, they treated me like dirt. They wouldn’t pick up my container for a whole week, so it sat in the blazing sun baking my stuff inside. Then they raised their rates without even notifying me. (I found out by checking my credit card statement.)

    Never trust a rat!!! Take your business elsewhere. If you don’t believe me, check reviews about them and their competitors. I thought I would save $10-20/mo, but that didn’t happen. If you sign up for insurance, they will charge it even while your container sits in their warehouse. I insured just their container in case someone crashed into it, but they charged me every month, even though it was sitting in their warehouse where their own insurance covers it. Once I had signed up for insurance, I wasn’t allowed to drop it.

    I’ll say it again, NEVER TRUST A RAT!

  • pkt

    We cannot recommend 1800 PACK RAT after witnessing their complete disorganization and terrible customer service. Do not trust them with your belongings.

    48 hours ago, our Pack Rat container was scheduled to be delivered to our new home. At 8am of the day of delivery, the delivery driver called me and told me his ETA was 1pm. Great. At noon, I get a call from someone else at PR who says “actually, we don’t know where your container is, and we don’t know when we will be able to deliver it.” WHAT?? They told me hopefully someone would call me the next day with more information. I’ve called them back a few times since and no one can give me any information. We are beyond anxious, wondering if all our belongings (and some family heirlooms) are truly lost.

    The original delivery of the container was 2 weeks ago, which we postponed at 11am the day of when we found the house wasn’t ready. At the time, I was grateful that PR was so easy going about my changing the date. But of course, this means they had even more time to tell us that they LOST OUR POD and not leave us hanging with no information.

    We were already displeased with them before this. I got a quote of $4200 for moving from CT to CA. I was assured this was an all inclusive quote. When the bill came, it was $4700! They said this was because the price of diesel had gone up, but that’s a poor excuse because you can look up the price from trustworthy sources, and it had not changed very much in the few weeks since we got the quote. When we protested, they removed the charge. I do not appreciate that they tried to take advantage of us and squeeze an extra few hundred dollars out of us.

    It is SO unacceptable to treat people like this!!

  • Jay Clavell

    very bad service.. driver was very unprofessional and custer service was even wrost. at the end of the day i canceled the order and went with pods.