2019 Zippy Shell Review

Bottom line: Zippy Shell’s free loading services and thirty days of included storage add convenience to your self-pack container move—if you’re near one of its warehouses.

Overall rating

3.3 / 5

If you want a portable moving and storage company that offers thirty days of free storage on all long-distance moves plus free loading services in specific regions, look no further than Zippy Shell.

Zippy Shell is only available in twenty-eight states, but the company partners with 1-800-PACK-RAT to offer you more locations and container sizes to choose from.

Read on to see which areas earn Zippy Shell an A+ and where we think there’s room for improvement.

Pros

  • Free loading services
  • 30 days of free storage on long-distance moves
  • $50,000 protection included on every move

Cons

  • Outdated, uninformative website
  • Only one container size

What services does Zippy Shell offer?

We’ll be honest: It’s hard to pin down accurate information about Zippy Shell. We struggled to get consistent answers about which services are available at which locations and which container sizes have been discontinued.

What we do know is that when you move with Zippy Shell, the company will pick up your container from a nearby warehouse, drop it off at your home, and give you three days to load up your boxes, furniture, and that lightly used elliptical.

After you load your container, Zippy Shell will take it to its warehouse at your final destination, where it will sit until you’re ready to have it delivered to your new pad.

Services Zippy Shell offers

  • On-site storage
  • Local moving
  • Long-distance moving
  • Mobile storage
  • Climate-controlled short- and long-term storage
  • Moving coverage
  • Loading and unloading services
  • Packing services
  • Moving blankets and boxes (for sale)
  • Locks and keys (included)

Zippy Shell container

Zippy Shell has a unique design compared to other companies in the moving container industry. It uses a steel-frame cage (a.k.a. a shell) to store your belongings. This shell is then fitted inside a larger moving trailer, which protects your stored belongings from the elements.

Zippy Shell’s containers are ideal for moving and storage alike since they’re easily transportable.

Zippy Shell cage

Zippy Shell shipping cageZippy Shell’s containers are made of metal, which is sturdier, more durable, and stronger than wood.

The open cages—which fit inside Zippy Shell’s portable trailers during transport—allow airflow to ward off any potential mold and mildew.

If your belongings require storage, the company will shrink-wrap and store your shell in a climate-controlled warehouse, so don’t worry about your antique mahogany desk getting damaged.

The cage has openings on every side, so you can easily tie down chairs, table legs, and other items too—this helps secure your furniture and prevent shifting during transport.

Zippy Shell trailer

When Zippy Shell delivers your cage to you, it comes inside a towable trailer. After dropping your container at your home, Zippy Shell will secure the trailer in place with a security hitch so no one can move it—nope, not even you.

The trailer is roughly the length of two cars, so make sure your driveway, street, or parking lot can accommodate the space (and plan accordingly if your street requires you to move vehicles during certain hours of the day).

Zippy Shell container size

Here’s an area where Zippy Shell has room for improvement. The company offers only 15-ft. containers, which is a major disadvantage if that size doesn’t work for your move.

The 15-ft. shell size works well for two to three bedrooms, but if you have a load that’s significantly smaller or larger, you’ll either be paying for unused space or cramming your futon into an overflowing container.

Although it’s not uncommon for moving container companies to offer a single container option, most companies start with a smaller size, allowing customers to rent multiple containers to match their loads.

But since Zippy Shell offers only a 15-ft. shell, you run the risk of having too much space if you rent a second container.

Heads up: Zippy Shell used to have 10-ft. containers, but though this size is still advertised on both its website and moving agreements, it no longer offers this option.

Zippy Shell container dimensions

Measurements
Container size15 ft.
Full container size 16 ft. x 7 ft. x 7 ft.
Inner shell dimensions 15.7 ft. x 6.4 ft. x 6.4 ft.
Square footage 100 sq. ft.
Cubic feet 680 cubic ft.
Weight limit 5,000–5,500 lbs.
Best for2–3 rooms
Container size
Full container size
Inner shell dimensions
Square footage
Cubic feet
Weight limit
Best for
Measurements
15 ft.
16 ft. x 7 ft. x 7 ft.
15.7 ft. x 6.4 ft. x 6.4 ft.
100 sq. ft.
680 cubic ft.
5,000–5,500 lbs.
2–3 rooms

One thing to note: Although the container itself measures at sixteen feet, the actual space inside the shell is slightly smaller.

Our guide to choosing a moving pod size makes it easy to find a container that fits.

Zippy Shell locations

Zippy Shell partners with 1-800-PACK-RAT, so smaller containers may be available at specific locations. You’ll just have to take a gamble on which sizes are offered in your area.

If you do use a 1-800-PACK-RAT container, though, you’ll pay two separate bills—one to Zippy Shell and another to 1-800-PACK-RAT.

The Zippy Shell representatives we spoke with didn’t give us a clear-cut answer on whether or not 1-800-PACK-RAT sizes are available at every Zippy Shell location and vice versa, so be sure to ask the person you’re working with about the specifics of your move.

How much does Zippy Shell cost?

Zippy Shell’s pricing is based, in part, on daily freights, which is essentially the rate it pays trucking companies to move your container. Containers are more expensive during peak moving season (summer) since the demand for freights is higher.

Zippy Shell uses a few additional factors to determine costs:

  • Container rental
  • Total mileage between origin and destination warehouses
  • Delivery fee
  • Any add-on services (e.g., loading and unloading)

To see these numbers in action, we got a quote for a 758-mile move from Salt Lake City, UT, to Portland, OR. According to the representative we spoke with, we were eligible for a free loading service promotion.

Unloading wasn’t included in the promotion, so we got two quotes to compare a move with unloading services and one without. Here are the rates we found for a long-distance move from Salt Lake City, UT, to Portland, OR:

  • With unloading: $2,749.18
  • Without unloading: $2,415.85

Zippy Shell’s prices are high in comparison to other quotes we’ve received from competing companies (in one instance, by about $500). But the company’s overall efforts to save you money, including discounts and promotional services, put a dent in your overall price. And that’s more than the majority of its competitors offer.

Light Bulb icon

JUST SO YOU KNOW

JUST SO YOU KNOW

Half of your total bill will be due two days before Zippy Shell delivers your container. The company will bill the remaining 50% once your Zippy Shell has reached its destination.

Getting a quote

Simply put, getting a Zippy Shell quote is not as efficient as we’ve seen elsewhere. The company doesn’t offer instant online quotes—you have to pick up the phone and talk to a real, live human (yes, we know).

Most top-dog moving container companies offer online quotes, so we consider this a ding against Zippy Shell.

To get a quote, you’ll enter some basic information on Zippy Shell’s website, and a representative will call you to complete your estimate.

Fair warning: If you plug your information into Zippy Shell’s quote generator, expect to receive a barrage of emails, plus a few phone calls. Although it wasn’t as ongoing as other companies we’ve worked with (cough cough, full-service movers), it was still overwhelming.

The good news? Once you lock in a reservation, the price you’re quoted won’t change. So if you make a reservation in March but need to push your move back to June, Zippy Shell will still honor the original quote. Just make sure you call ten days in advance of your initial move date.

When we were on the phone with our Zippy Shell representative, she also gave us a $90 discount for booking over the phone. Nowhere on Zippy Shell’s website do they list any sort of discounts. But hey, we’ll take it—advertised or not.

Get money

SOMETHING WE LOVE

SOMETHING WE LOVE

Zippy Shell includes taxes in its quotes, so the price you see is what you’ll pay after the whole thing is over (as long as you don’t opt for any add-on services like loading or unloading after you receive your quote).

Be aware of hidden fees

Zippy Shell, like most moving companies, may hit you with hidden fees. Luckily, we did some digging, so you can know what to watch out for.

Zippy Shell will charge a fee if your move involves any of the following things:

  • Stairs
  • Elevators
  • A distance of more than seventy feet from the front door
  • Extended loading or unloading time beyond three days
Little pin

THE MORE YOU KNOW

THE MORE YOU KNOW

After your free 30 days of storage on long-distance moves, each additional month you need to store your container at one of Zippy Shell’s warehouses will cost you $159.

Coverage options

For the possibility that your full-length mirror shatters in transport or your dining room table loses a leg during unloading, Zippy Shell offers two protection plans: standard coverage and full-value replacement.

Here’s the difference between the two.

 

Standard coverage

  • Cost: $0
  • Amount covered: $50,000
  • Deductible: $5,000

Premium coverage

  • Cost: $250
  • Amount covered: $50,000
  • Deductible: $1,000

None of this information was listed online—and the information on our moving agreement was outdated. We’ve already vetted the falsely advertised and missing information for you, but we still recommend you call Zippy Shell to work out the details of your move before you commit.

Zippy Shell protection plans

Incident type Standard coverage Premium coverage
Loading and unloading
Natural shifting of items while in transit
Vehicle impact
Insect, moth, rodent, and vermin damage
Vandalism
Malicious damage
Falling objects
Building collapse
Vehicle impact
Ground collapse
Fire
Smoke damage
Lightning
Explosion
Hail
Hurricane
Sleet or ice
Snow damage (weight of snow)
Windstorm
Tornado
Sinkhole
Incident type
Loading and unloading
Natural shifting of items while in transit
Vehicle impact
Insect, moth, rodent, and vermin damage
Vandalism
Malicious damage
Falling objects
Building collapse
Vehicle impact
Ground collapse
Fire
Smoke damage
Lightning
Explosion
Hail
Hurricane
Sleet or ice
Snow damage (weight of snow)
Windstorm
Tornado
Sinkhole
Standard coverage Premium coverage
Bullhorn

HEADS UP

HEADS UP

Neither of Zippy Shell’s protection plans covers water damage, theft, earthquake damage, or riots.

Zippy Shell offers easily portable moving trailers

Zippy Shell’s trailers can go places other moving containers can’t. Your shell is delivered in a trailer that has a license plate, making it a registered vehicle. Because of this, the company can park your container on busy streets or in parking lots.

Some cities don’t allow you to leave moving containers or dumpsters on streets, so Zippy Shell’s registered trailers offer you more freedom in where you can park the thing (which might also make loading easier).

Other things we love? The trailers are weatherproof. They also have barn-style doors and come with loading ramps, which make loading easy as pie. You can carry or slide your unwieldy lamps and bulky furniture right into your container.

Zippy Shell offers free moving help—sometimes

We read that if two of Zippy Shell’s movers can load your things into a container in under three hours, the company will come and handle the hauling for you—free of charge. All you’d need to do is make sure everything is packed up and boxed beforehand.

In reality, the specifics on this promotion were hard to nail down. For instance, one representative told us that free loading is available only at certain locations, but another said that the promotion is available everywhere.

Similarly, the first representative we spoke with told us this offer is exclusive to long-distance moves, but the second person we talked to said it is available for local moves, too.

Like we’ve said before, you’ll need to call Zippy Shell to get an answer. Ultimately, Zippy Shell offers this perk to ensure that it will get its trailers back from customers as quickly as possible.

Either way, we’re not complaining about free moving help, and it’s a service most moving companies don’t offer.

Zippy Shell offers 30 days of free storage

Zippy Shell includes thirty days of free storage on every long-distance move, which is not a bonus to be overlooked. Even some larger, nationwide competitors don’t offer this perk.

If your bed frame, couch, or dining room table beats you to your final destination, Zippy Shell will store your container for an entire month. And if your new home isn’t move-in ready when you thought it would be, that extra month of storage can really save the day.

This means you don’t have to scramble to figure out where to send your belongings or come up with the money to put them in storage.

We didn’t get a cut-and-dried answer on whether this deal is offered on local moves, but the representative we spoke with said Zippy Shell will consider it case by case.

Apparently, it all depends on availability at your local warehouse. If there’s space, the company will store your things; if there isn’t, free storage is probably out of the picture (unless you’re willing to pay for it).

To sum things up

As far as reliable, no-frills moving container companies go, Zippy Shell has a lot to offer—but because it doesn’t accurately advertise its services, it’s difficult to know what’s available.

Zippy Shell’s website and moving agreements are outdated, so don’t rely on them to answer your questions or provide current information. You’ll have to give the company a ring to discuss your options. Luckily, its representatives are knowledgeable and friendly.

We recommend moving with Zippy Shell if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • You live in a one- to two- bedroom apartment
  • You’re moving long-distance and you’re eligible for free storage
  • You’re moving long-distance and you’re eligible for loading services

We don’t recommend Zippy Shell if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have more than two bedrooms worth of stuff
  • You need more than three days to load and unload your belongings
  • You’re looking for the cheapest option available

Moved with Zippy Shell before? We want to hear about it! Let us know in the comments section below. And if you want more moving container options, check out our best moving container companies.

About Julia Campbell

Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell is a full-time writer who knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to planning a hassle-free move. Having moved seven times in the past five years, she draws from her own experience and industry expertise to help you avoid her biggest mistakes (like that time she thought she could get away with packing her dishes without wrapping them first).
  • Dan Taylor

    Zippy Shell is the absolute worst moving company you could ever pick!!!!!! I can’t say it enough. My daughter just had them move them across country and from the start they promised things that they never did. My daughters family was put on hold for several months, over charged, found broken and damaged furniture and the people at Zippy Shell were very rude to deal with. I would never ever use this company to move even a grain of sand 20 feet, they would find a way to ruin your life and charge you for doing it. Terrible company and I can’t say that enough !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Beware and steer clear of Zippy Shell, the only thing you’ll get from these guys is your life Zipped up and all full of grief.

  • Briana

    This is by far the worst moving company I’ve ever had to deal with – just as the previous review, much of my furniture arrived broken and damaged, many of the other goods arrived broken. To top it off, the driver hit several cars on my block when he came to deliver my shell. Do not use this company!

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