Thinking about using UPack for your upcoming move? Here’s everything you need to know about how UPack works and our own UPack reviews of our experience moving with them across the country. This post is sponsored by Upack but my opinions are my own.
Long-distance moves can be stressful and finding full-service movers and container companies can sometimes add to the woes. When it comes to moving service, it pays to research the best option for local and state to state moves.
We’ll talk about additional services and any extra cost that you may need to be prepared for with the u-pack service. Find out how many phone calls I had to make and how close my final bill was to my original quote. And I’m sure you’re wondering if my move date was on track since we were traveling across state lines! Read more to take a closer look at u-pack reviews and thoughts from our own personal experience.
Moving across the country is a huge feat. It’s stressful. It’s complicated. It’s definitely not fun.
I recently discussed all the different cross-country moving options and ways to save on moving across the country. If you are renting and moving soon, I highly recommend my moving checklists for renters bundle!
We looked into several different rental moving trucks, trailers, and pods and got several different quotes. In the end, we decided to use UPack for moving across the country.
We have never used a moving company that transports our stuff for us before. We had always used a company like Penske, UHaul, or Budget Trucks and hauled our own possessions.
However, having my husband drive the moving truck and towing our car, while I drove by myself in the suburban with three little kids, during our last move from Indiana to Texas, was not a fun experience.
It was stressful!
I sometimes have problems staying awake for a long time behind the wheel. Add in trying to take care of our now five kids’ needs in the car, by myself, and we didn’t want to do that again.
My husband hated driving the moving truck, too, as it maxed out at like 70 mph, so it took us forever to get to our destination, made us do extra hotel stays, and so on.
This time around, we really just wanted to worry about getting ourselves there quickly and easily and have someone else deal with transporting our belongings.
We looked into several different options, including Mayflower and PODS, and ultimately decided to employ UPack for our cross-country moving needs.
If you are looking into UPack and want a thorough UPack review about what to expect, if there are hidden costs, or whatever, then you’ll want to keep reading!
What is Upack?
U-Pack is a moving solution where you are responsible for all packing, loading, and unloading of your items onto a U-Pack ABF relocube or ABF trailer, and then they transport those goods for you, right to your driveway or street.
With UPack you have a lot of options for moving and saving costs. They are straightforward with their pricing and give you a ton of information so there are no surprises and you are well prepared for moving day. (This is really great to not have to be surprised by extra money or costs after a cross-country move!)
The best thing you can do, if you haven’t already, is get a FREE moving quote from UPack and see what you can expect for your upcoming move for their various moving options.
Here is what our Upack moving quote looked like (with personal details blurred out) for our move of over 1800 miles from Austin, TX to NY:
What my husband and I really liked about UPack’s moving quote was that it was SO straightforward! The price is the price paid. Period.
No deposits, fuel costs, taxes, driver, or storage fees tacked on top! Just this price listed, with a few options, clearly listed if we wanted to save a little or use more space. And the trailer ramp is included.
In contrast, when we called PODS for a quote…. they threw like five different numbers at us.
PODS seemed way more complicated, and expensive, as we had to pay for a month of storage, pay for how long it would be on-site, and then had to pay transportation fees, and delivery fees, all of which had different costs, especially if we did a trailer and a pod.
Ugh. Way too complicated and sounded extremely expensive.
With Upack you ONLY pay for the space you need! They give you an estimated cost based on how many bedrooms are in your home, but if you are an expert packer or don’t have a ton of furniture (for example), you can save even more.
If you don’t use the entire estimated 17 feet of the UPack moving trailer, they will remove the cost per foot from your total due!
Or, if you only end up using 3 Upack relocubes instead of the 4 relocubes they drop off, they will not charge you anything for that fourth cube! There are no extra fees or costs for having it there.
Or, if you have a lot of stuff, and need more space, that’s not a problem either, as they will just bring you another relocube, or you simply take more space on the trailer, paying a flat cost per additional cubit foot used on the Upack trailer.
We also liked that we didn’t even need to enter our email address to get an instant moving quote, but could enter our email only if we wanted to save the quote. You can even print the quote without an email too.
They also include some quoted loading and unloading cost estimates in case you need assistance getting your stuff onto the Upack Relocubes or Upack trailers!
So again, get your Upack quote and then come back to see what else you can expect from them.
If you’re shopping around for other quotes, make sure you have a FULL picture of everything it will cost you! UPack tells you upfront all the costs. There are NO hidden fees or expenses!
Upack’s estimated costs were anything but complicated, or expensive, especially when compared to the competitors.
Plus, we received the following email, saying there was a special deal we could take advantage of if we called them, so we did. That quick phone call saved an additional $461 off our initial quote for a moving trailer!!
They didn’t upsell us, they called us to save us more money!
How’s that for amazing?!
Our desired 17 feet of trailer space went from $3,382 to only $2,921!
Upack regularly offers discounts for corporate relocations, military members, and students!
They also provide you with a ton of details about what to expect, guides to help you move and pack, helpful videos, and more.
You can even save $10 off $100+ on moving boxes and supplies with promo code 10BOX. And all boxes and packing supplies have free shipping (so no having to run to Lowe’s, again, for moving supplies).
Every move will have different estimated moving cost estimates and they may not have a drop-off terminal location near you, and so on, so be sure to get your own individual and free Upack moving quote!
Terminal to Terminal Upack
One way to save money on Upack trailers and Upack relocubes, is to do terminal to terminal UPack services.
What this means is you take all your stuff and load it up at their terminal and you then unload your stuff at your destination terminal and then transport it the rest of the way to your home.
Personally, I think this sounds overly complicated and defeats much of the convenience of their trailers and relocubes, as it adds in so much additional packing and unloading, perhaps over multiple trips, or needing to rent a local moving truck for a day.
The savings was only $300 for trailers (in our quote), which doesn’t seem worth it.
But if you aren’t moving a lot of things, or are looking to make your move cheaper, it may make sense to do Upack terminal to terminal in order to save up to over $1700 for the relocubes.
But, keep in mind you will have to load up your own or a rented vehicle, transport it to a terminal, maybe 30+ minutes away, and then unload your vehicle and put it into the moving cubes. And then do that again on the backend of your move.
Upack Pods aka ABF Moving Cubes
Often called UPack Pods or ABF Moving cubes, the UPack Relocube dimensions are 6’3″ in length, 7′ wide, and 8’4″ tall on the outside. Inside, the size of the Upack relocube measures 5′ 10″ in length, 6′ 10″ wide, and 7′ 9″ tall.
They sit very low to the ground for easy loading and unloading and fit into a standard parking spot. There are also built-in tie-down brackets along the sides of the container so you can securely load your belongings.
Again, there is no charge for extra cubes you order, so if you think you’ll need more space, go ahead and order an extra one, packing each cube one at a time until full before loading the next one.
If you don’t use one, there is absolutely no fee!
ABF Moving Trailer
The most cost-effective Upack moving option is the ABF Moving trailer.
The ABF trailer cost is so much lower because they use the rest of the trailer space for commercial freight (never another residential home’s belongings).
This is ultimately what we ended up using for our move from Texas to New York.
UPack charges by the linear foot (which includes the full width and height of the trailer), which is what makes Upack so affordable. You only pay for what you need!
However, this is slightly misleading as there are not actually dividers (tie-down slots) at every foot increment in the moving trailer.
We had no choice but to go from the 17′ quoted to the 19′ mark, as the ability to put in the bulkhead dividers is more like every 2 feet apart inside the trailer.
We needed the full two feet, so it wasn’t a big deal, but if you go over just a little, you might have to pay for an additional two feet, instead of just one so pack accordingly. The less space you take, the less money you pay.
Upack Trailer Dimensions
The Upack trailer dimensions on the outside trailer are 28′ long, 8′ wide, and 9′ tall.
Internally Upack trailer dimensions are 27′ long x 8′ wide x 9′ tall.
The ramp comes out another 14′ from the trailer and is provided for you.
The trailers also sit 4 feet above the ground and need to be placed on a level, solid, non-inclined, surface, with 14′ clearance, and a total of 40′ to get the trailer parked and picked up.
These ABF moving trailers are big but not as huge as a regular semi-truck trailer that is 53′ long. They are about half that size.
How to Pack a UPack Trailer
In order to maximize the trailer cost savings, it’s helpful to pack your UPack Trailer really well, utilizing all 9 vertical feet of the trailer.
However, we found this to be very difficult. Nine feet is very tall. Stacking boxes well above your head is hard. We had to pull out stools and chairs and climb on top of furniture in order to pack items closer to the top of the ceiling. It is that tall inside.
We tried to pack heavier boxes toward the bottom, and lighter, smaller boxes toward the top, which is hard as small boxes often have heavier items (like books) and large boxes have lighter items like clothes or bedding, but we did our best.
On top of the stacked boxes, we placed miscellaneous small items, like small chairs, tennis rackets, camping chairs, and so on.
We used blankets to pack in and around furniture pieces, as well as used furniture blankets to help protect their surfaces and corners which are notoriously getting damaged during moves (and we still had some light damage – as a general rule, moving is hard on furniture, so it may be better to sell some things before you move if you don’t love them and want to keep them).
We used our mattresses and box springs to hold back a lot of the boxes and prevent more shifting during transport. We used our mad Tetris, I mean, visual-spacial skills and loaded it up as tight and as high as possible while also respecting our furniture and breakable items and boxed goods.
We also used tie-down as we went, along with bungee cables and cords to secure small items. We had some bigger sections tied down and as we moved forward to make sure nothing shifted.
We put our bikes in last, as we didn’t want spokes and wheels damaging anything, nor them jostling around and getting scraped up and damaged either.
(We also knew that the kids would want them first when we pulled up to the new house. Always planning!)
Upack Relocube Lock (And Trailer Locks)
If you get a UPack relocube or a trailer, you will need a certain lock. It has to have a long shank of almost 2″, like these locks.
You keep the keys. You do not give them to UPack. They do not have access to your possessions.
Because U-Pack is only responsible for damage caused by their negligence, not for any damage caused by improper packing, loading, or unloading nor for damage caused by any 3rd party labor or service providers, you may want to think about liability coverage for your goods.
U-Pack Insurance, which is already included in your U-Pac quotes at no additional charge, covers:
- Catastrophic liability (included in the quote at no additional charge). Covers your items at $3.00 per pound per piece, subject to a maximum of $60,000 per trailer and $7,500 per ReloCube for these specific events only: trailer or ReloCube fire, trailer overturns, trailer collision, or complete theft of the trailer or ReloCube.
- Carrier negligence liability covers your items at 10 cents per pound per piece for loss or damage caused by carrier negligence.
Additional coverage for loss or damage due to carrier negligence is available as follows:
- For a $75 charge, your coverage would increase to $1.00 per pound per item up to a maximum of $20,000 per trailer and $2,500 per ReloCube.
- For a $125 charge, your coverage would increase to $2.00 per pound per item up to a maximum of $40,000 per trailer and $5,000 per ReloCube.
- For a $175 charge, your coverage would increase to $3.00 per pound per item up to a maximum of $60,000 per trailer and $7,500 per ReloCube.
The good news is that your renter’s or home insurance may provide some additional liability insurance for your goods, so it’s worth calling them to find out what they do and don’t cover before your move.
Is Upack Reliable?
Many people wonder if UPack is reliable, as there are so many less than reliable moving companies out there.
UPack is on the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating and an average of 4 out of 5 stars based on 102 BBB customer reviews. They’ve been in business for over 22 years and accredited since 2001.
Additional Information about Upack
Due to federal regulations, you can’t move hazardous materials like gasoline, chemicals, ammunition, fireworks, and other flammable materials. You also can’t bring along household cleaners, house plants, aerosol cans, and propane tanks.
Items that use gasoline, like 4-wheelers, lawnmowers, motorcycles, and chainsaws, can be transported, but the gasoline tank needs to be emptied before transporting.
Right now, there is no option for towing or transporting vehicles or cars with U-Pack. You will need to make other arrangements for them.
Our Family’s UPack Review
When our ABF trailer was dropped off at our previous residence, he came right on time, right in the middle of our 4-hour morning window.
The ABF employee showed us how to open the trailer, place in the plywood dividers inside the trailer to separate our goods from other items loaded into it (explaining that no other residential belongings are loaded into the part of the trailer we didn’t use, only commercial goods), and showed us how to pull out and pack up the ABF trailer ramp.
The ABF trailer driver also told us that trailers full of items were a priority to be picked up and sent on to your destination and that they could come to get our trailer as soon as the day we called and said it was full and ready, or the next day at the latest (barring weekends).
UPack does not automatically come and pick up the trailers after the initial three-day window you are given online when placing your Upack order. You need to call and schedule the pickup.
The ABF Upack truck driver said empty trailers were a low priority to be picked up and could take a few days after we called and asked them to remove the trailer from our driveway after we arrived at our destination and unpacked.
This was definitely true for us, and we called several times after we unloaded the trailer for it to be picked up and it kept being pushed back, once because I was napping as I wasn’t feeling well. Once when I called, he told me they picked it up that morning, as I stared at it in my driveway.
But, each time I called, they were nice and called around to find my trailer or figure out when it would be picked up or delivered.
It was obvious that communication between dispatchers and ABF Upack drivers wasn’t always 100% clear.
None of our items were damaged, other than normal friction and bumps, all of which were because we didn’t pack our items well enough, rather than something UPack was responsible for.
Nothing was broken, and in fact, almost nothing shifted during the transportation, which is a huge testament that we packed things pretty well with our tie-downs.
Unfortunately, the UPack tracking was not that impressive, especially when our trailer got delayed, and no one told us what was going on, and sometimes it seemed they didn’t know where our ABF moving trailer was or what was going on with it.
Our ABF trailer broke after we spent a day loading about half our items in it. We went to open it the next day, and it was nearly impossible to lift the ABF trailer door above our knee caps! The cords that help move it up and down were broken.
We man-powered it up anyway and didn’t inform UPack about it. We just finished loading our goods that day, and carefully shut the sliding ABF trailer door behind us, as we jumped out of the way to safety as it hurdled down the track with gravity on its side.
We probably should have reported the issue when we noticed it, but we didn’t. I am not sure what they would have done? Would we have received a new trailer (and had to unload what we already so carefully packed) or would they just have a heads up at the ABF terminal so they could make sure to take care of it ASAP?
We didn’t report it, so it took a week for them to fix it (and they didn’t tell us until we called that they were fixing it) and then finally get it on its way to us in New York, which sucked, as we then spent our first week in our new rental home without any furniture or most of our belongings.
There was no compensation given to us for the hassle and week delay on our stuff arriving. My husband had already started work when our stuff finally arrived.
Overall, I’d say we’re very happy with our experience working with Upack to transport our possessions across the country. We didn’t have a perfect experience with our ABF moving trailer, or with their communication, but the cost was still a great value, the people we interacted with very helpful, and our stuff arrived all in one piece.
If our trailer door hadn’t broken, I’m sure our goods would have arrived within our estimated delivery window.
Be sure to get your own Upack quote and see if they’ll be a great fit for you and your upcoming move!
Lastly, I highly recommend my moving checklists for renters bundle!
We looked into several different rental moving trucks, trailers, and pods and got several different quotes. In the end, we decided to use UPack for moving across the country.