PODS Review: Are Pods Right For Your Move?

PODS stands for portable on demand storage. The company has come a long way since its creation in 1998, but does this make PODS the best service for your upcoming move? Luckily, we’ve got a short answer and a long answer to help you decide. Read on to find out if PODS is right for you.

Overall rating

3.2 / 5

The short answer

PODS is a great option if...

  • You’re looking for a moving service that will save you from driving your belongings cross country.
  • You need long or short term storage between homes.
  • You want to pack and load at your own pace.

Here's what you can expect when it comes to pricing:

  • Moving distance, number of containers, and availability determine your PODS quote.
  • Your quote will look like this: Total = the cost of initial PODS delivery & liability coverage & a monthly storage fee & transit cost & a final removal cost & and tax.

When it comes to insurance...

  • PODS gives you two options: the Content Protection Option and a Container Only Option. We recommend going with the Content Protection Option.
  • With the Content Protection Option, you can add as much coverage as you like based on the value of your belongings.

The long answer

When you place an order with PODS, your containers are delivered to your residence. Because PODS work on a storage system model, you will be given thirty days to load and unload your container before you are charged for a second month of storage. The first month of storage is included in your initial quote (more on this in our pricing section).

PODS containers are sturdy in order to keep your belongings safe. They are made out of wood and covered in metal panels held up by a steel frame and a roll-up steel door. The containers are designed to be waterproof and they have a clear polymer material roof to help you see while loading. Containers will arrive at your home without a padlock, so you will need to provide your own. The benefit is knowing you are the only person with access to your POD—which is quite reassuring during a time of high-stress.

Here are the four things customers should understand about using PODS for a move:

Quotes

To get an accurate quote, you’ll need to call PODS, and a customer service representative will ask the details of your move. PODS will give you an estimate based on your moving date, the moving distance, and container size(s). The rep should ask you in-depth questions about the contents of your home to better advise you on the quantity and size of the containers you will need. You can also use this space calculator to give you an idea of what to expect.

Once you get your quote from the customer service representative, you’ll have seven days to call back and claim the quoted price. PODS keeps your name and number on file once you’ve been given a quote, so calling within the seven-day timeframe should ensure accurate pricing and information. If you call after the seven-day window, your price could go up depending on supply and demand.

PODS container sizing and estimated number of rooms per container

Container sizeDimensionsNumber of rooms
7-foot container7 x 7 x 81-2 rooms
12-foot container12 x 8 x 82-3 rooms
16-foot container16 x 8 x 83-4 rooms
Container size
7-foot container
12-foot container
16-foot container
Dimensions Number of rooms
7 x 7 x 8 1-2 rooms
12 x 8 x 8 2-3 rooms
16 x 8 x 8 3-4 rooms

When PODS says that a 7’ container holds one to two rooms, it is important to realize that it is literally one or two rooms of a home/apartment and not a one or two bedroom apartment. If you have a 3 bedroom home then at the very least you’ll need two 16’ containers or one 16’ container and a 12’ or 7’ container.

Space

After you figure out sizing and pricing, you’ll need to give clear instructions on where you want your container delivered. You can do this through PODS’ online portal, which they call an experience management toolbox. Each POD requires a space of at least 12 feet of width and 15 feet height when being delivered. If your container is being delivered to a parking lot, then you’ll need to set aside three parking spots to give your driver ample room to drop off and pick-up the container with PODZILLA (a patented lift system by PODS).

You don’t need to be home when your container is delivered, which is great if you want to avoid taking time off work or if you simply can’t be there during the estimated delivery time. However, we recommend you double and triple check that your delivery instructions are detailed and specific to avoid problems with container placement.

Transit and delivery

Once your container(s) is picked up, it will be taken to your closest PODS storage facility while arrangements are made for transporting your container to your new destination. When you initially make your order, you should be given a transit timeframe for your container. Then your container is loaded to a bigger (think semi-truck) freight vehicle and taken to a PODS facility near your new home and delivered by a local truck. This is why your container’s transit time will vary.

For example, for a move from Salt Lake City, UT to Mesa, AZ (about 700 miles) we were given a seven-day transit estimate. Transit time is affected by season (summer vs winter), distance, and the proximity of PODS facilities near both your current address and your new address.

Availability

PODS is in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia. In the United States, PODS services 46 states. Most PODS locations are only open five days a week, but this varies depending on the location, since PODS has many franchises. If a PODS storage center is not located near your area, PODS may still service your order at a higher rate than usual. We recommend using PODS only if it services both your current location and your destination to get the better pricing.

Like all moving services, PODS rates will increase dramatically during the summer months since that is when most people prefer to move. Availability may be tighter during the summer, so schedule your container ahead of time.

Move types

With PODS you can do several types of moves:

  • Local
  • Long-distance
  • Business moves
  • Military & government moves (military discounts available)

Pricing

PODS pricing tries to be as straightforward as possible. They don’t weigh your shipment like professional movers, so your container can be as full as you’d like without it affecting your total cost. Your quote should include the cost of initial delivery, liability coverage, a monthly storage fee, transit cost, a final removal cost, and tax.

Now you may be wondering why there’s a storage fee for your long-distance move. That’s because PODS technically considers the time the container stays on your property as storage time. Additionally, your container will be taken to a PODS storage facility right before it’s shipped so transit arrangements can be made.

You won’t need to make a down payment or give a deposit when you make your reservation, but PODS does require that you have a credit or debit card on file with them. Your payments will be split into three chunks:

  • Payment 1: Five days before your container is delivered, your card will be charged the cost of initial delivery, liability coverage, and for the first month of storage.
  • Payment 2: Five days before your container’s shipping date, you PODS will charge your card for the transit/shipping fee.
  • Payment 3: Lastly, you’ll be charged for the final removal of the containers, and if you keep your container for a second month then you’ll incur a second month’s storage and liability fee.

Contents Protection Option (CPO)

This type of coverage is not actual insurance. It simply tells you how much PODS could be liable for if your belongings are damaged while in their care. It also covers any damage to the container. Similar to the coverage offered by professional movers, CPO mainly applies if you can prove negligence on behalf of PODS, and it has limitations when it comes to natural disasters. Furthermore, burglary is only covered if your container is in PODS’ care, which means if your container is broken into while on your property, CPO would not cover your loss.

The most glaring deficit with CPO is its lack of water damage coverage. Although the containers are built to be waterproof, accidents can happen while the container sits on your property and rain, snow or sleet could unexpectedly seep through. We recommend carefully inspecting your container before loading and upon redelivery for signs of water damage.

On average, PODS will recommend you add a minimum of $10,000 in coverage, but you can select up to $300,000 in coverage depending on the self-declared value of your items. The higher your declared value for liability coverage, the higher your monthly cost (e.g. $10,000 of coverage is $49.95 a month and $300,000 worth of coverage would be $469.95 a month. See coverage levels here).

Container Only Option (COO)

If you choose CPO, then you can forego the Container Only Option because your container will be covered. However, if you don’t want to use PODS’ CPO then you can go with the Content Only Option. This covers any and all damage to your moving container in case of fire, lightning, vandalism, etc. PODS offers this for $10 a month, which is cheaper than CPO, but you may pay a higher price if your belongings are damaged while in transit. We only recommend using COO if you are planning on purchasing a third-party transit moving policy.

PODS container coverage

Claims process

The claims process for PODS is less than ideal. While other companies offer online claim platforms, PODS requires customers to call in to report a claim. This means there’s no online tracking for claims, which can cause a serious inconvenience when you’re on the road or still in the middle of your move.

Once your claim is filed, you’ll be required to draft up an inventory for your lost or damaged property. PODS does not require that you fill out and submit any type of inventory form before your container ships, but we recommend creating an inventory of your own ahead of time, just in case. In addition to providing PODS with pictures or recordings of your damaged items, you’ll also need to keep said damaged items for further inspection by your claims adjuster.

You should also be prepared to pay a deductible of $100 per loss or $2,500 if damage is caused by a “Named Storm.”

Additional services offered

PODS offers other services, in addition to portable moving options::

  • Long-term or short-term storage
  • Moving supplies
  • Referrals for trusted packing and loading services
  • BONUS: Useful and informative loading videos

The bottom line

PODS is the best service if you’re trying to combine the convenient elements of renting a moving truck (e.g. self-loading and flexibility) and hiring professional movers (e.g. someone else does the driving). Of course, like all moving services, PODS’ pros and cons will weigh differently depending on your moving needs. If portable moving containers fit your needs best, then PODS is an excellent choice. We highly recommend calling in to receive your quote, so that any additional questions specific to your move are answered by a customer rep.

Have you used PODS in the past or do you have any questions we didn’t answer? Leave us a comment below and let us know!

  • http://chadsuniverse.com/ Chadsuniverse

    I’m in Canada and moved to Vancouver, BC from Calgary, AB last year. Circumstances changed and now need to move back …on a budget! Feeling a bit lost, since the only move I’ve ever done on my own has been several blocks in the same city. So this blog TOTALLY helps! Thx!

  • Pingback: Best Local Moving Companies of 2018 | Move.org()

  • David

    I cant get a quote. Entered in all the info.???