Using Moving Containers vs Hiring a Traditional Moving Company: Pros and Cons

In the past, unless you were going to move yourself, a traditional moving company was about your only other alternative. Today, you have another alternative with companies that offer moving containers. So, which alternative is best for you? There are pros and cons to any solution, so you’ll need to research the options and decide which one works best for you.

Moving Container Overview

A company that offers moving containers is a moving company, but they work differently than a traditional firm. Here’s how a moving company that uses moving containers typically works.

Container Delivery

You’d work with the company to determine the number and size of the moving containers required for your move. After that, the moving company delivers the moving container(s) to your existing home.

Container Loading

You are responsible for loading your household good into the container. Typically, you’ll have time to load the contents of your home at your own pace. You could also hire local labor to load the container for you.


When you’ve completed loading the container, the container company will pick it up, and transport it to one of two places.

  • Your container company will put your contain in storage if you need time between when you pack up at one location and unpack at another.
  • You container company can transport the container to your new home and leave it there for you to unpack. Once the container is empty, the company will pick up the container, and you’re done.

Pros and Cons of Using Moving Containers

Pros of Using Moving Containers

Flexibility and Control: If you need flexibility and control over the stages of your move, containers are the way to go. If you’re like many people planning a move, flexibility is key. You may need time to make decisions about which items you want to move and which items you need to donate or take to the dump. It can be easier to make those decisions as you’re packing up each room. Containers give you the flexibility to do that.

You’re not limited to traditional moving practices that require you to have made all those decisions, and then have all of your belongings loaded onto a truck in one day.

Some people need to remove a large number of personal items before they list their home for home staging purposes. Using a container will let you pack those personal items and store them in the container while your home is on the market.

Moving containers vs moversStorage. When you use a container, your household goods are already in a container that can be stored for as long as desired. It helps to avoid the chance of damage because your belongings are only loaded and unloaded once. If you use traditional storage, your belongings are loaded at your home, unloaded at the storage facility, loaded a second time, and then unloaded at your final destination.

Cons of Using Moving Containers

Cost. Container moving companies base fees based on a number of factors. You may find that if you need flexibility, you’ll end up paying more than if you used a traditional moving company. It’s important to obtain quotes for both alternatives, especially if you’re watching the budget.

Storage Access. While the container is on your property, you have complete access. However, if you need to store your belongings, you won’t have access to them once the container company moves it to the storage facility.

Labor. If you decide to do the loading and unloading yourself, you can save money. But, as you know, moving isn’t easy. You may find that doing the work yourself is more taxing than you anticipated. And, if you hire people to load and unload for you, you’ll need to do another round of evaluations to ensure you get the reliable help you need.

Space. If you use a container, you’ll need a place to locate it while you load it, either on your property or in the street. You may not have lawn space that is big enough to hold the container, and if you keep it for an extended period, you may kill the grass it’s sitting on. Sometimes HOA rules will prohibit you from placing the container where it’s visible on your property. You’ll need to make sure that HOA and local restrictions on street parking won’t prohibit you from using a container.

Pros and Cons of Using Moving Containers

Pros of Using a Traditional Moving Company

No DIY. When you hire a traditional moving company, they will load your belongings into the truck themselves. Moving is usually a stressful time, and having someone else do the heavy lifting might be just what you need. They may also offer packing services that will relieve you from the work of putting everything in a box.

If you have the mover pack for you, just be aware that they will typically pack everything they see. A friend of mine has a good illustration of this phenomenon. As her packers were at work, she started looking for the goodbye gift a neighbor had dropped off. It was a gift of fresh cut flowers in a vase full of water, and she finally found it in one of the moving boxes!

Full-service movers will also unpack for you. Just be sure to read the fine print describing that service. Some movers define unpacking as taking items from boxes, unwrapping them, and placing them on the nearest horizontal surface. I’m not sure if I’d want every horizontal surface in my new home covered with individual items for me to put away.

Access to Storage.  If you have traditional movers store your household for a period of time, you can usually gain access to individual items while they’re in the storage location.

Cons of Using a Traditional Moving Company

Cost. Traditional movers will generally be more expensive than if you streamlined your process for using a container company. For example, if you load and unload yourself, and don’t require storage, using a container company may be less expensive.

Less Control. You won’t have much control over things such as how your belongings are loaded into the truck, for example. However, when you hire a traditional moving company, you’re paying for their expertise, so giving up some control may not be a bad thing.

Choosing a Moving Company

It doesn’t matter if you’re talking to a traditional mover or a container moving company, you need to ask the same type of questions. Here are some examples:

  1. What licenses do you hold?
  2. Do you have experience with [my type of move]? Use this if your move has specific requirements such as moving a piano or moving long distance.
  3. What insurance coverage do you have and offer to customers?
  4. Do you offer a not to exceed quote?
  5. Any other potential charges?
  6. Can you guarantee timing?
  7. How much advance notice do you require?
  8. What happens if an emergency requires me to change dates?

Are you planning to move to or from Davie, Florida? If you are, make sure that you work with a local real estate expert who knows Davie real estate inside and out. The experts on the Teri Arbogast Team are well known as Broward County Realtors and can make sure your home sale or purchase goes smoothly. Call us at (954) 242-8030 or send an email today!

Remember – Nobody Sells Homes Like Teri!


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