Moving Day Stories: An Honest Customer Review of PODS

For the privileged few, hiring movers or storage companies to pack household goods every month takes nothing more than a phone call.  Others simply sell everything they own, opting to replace thousands of dollars’ worth of goods for whatever unspecified reason. For the remaining millions of British, Canadian, American and Australians who’d rather have quick access to storage for an affordable rate, there’s PODS.

Short for portable on-demand storage, I’ve used PODS for various functions from construction to moving several houses at once.  For consumers interested in utilizing the vast space and quick pick-up offered by PODS, I offer you my unfiltered personal review of the company, its product and its customer support.

Before the Sale

Initially, I engaged PODS.com for due diligence reasons.  Having been burned by some local movers, the quintessential ‘once bitten, twice shy’ applied to my search. Well-organized, informative and picturesque would be several one word descriptions of my initial overview. Slightly more at ease, I decided to phone their sales team.

Granted, I understand salespeople have their quotas and targets to hit for purposes of bonuses; the salesman I spoke with seemed more interested in putting me into something I didn’t need rather than taking the time to listen to what I did.  He finally backtracked to what I initially asked, gathered his composure, and found the perfect storage container (16’) for my massive load of landscaping timbers and miscellaneous equipment.  So I gave him my info, but when he entered my zip code, my city wasn’t a serviced area – a city of 52,600 people.  Doh!

A college town 40 miles west is where I decided I could stand to take delivery since the job was halfway between my job site and where the POD would be.  I decided 3 months would be sufficient time to rent, and the delivery was scheduled.  Price-wise, I believe you could have built a small metal shed and tore it down for nearly the same rate; my container hit the $220 per month rate with an oddball $305 initial charge for delivery and handling.

I was offered Container Protection, and immediately took it.  I also busted their balls about the $50 same-day cancellation fee, which they said they’d waive if there was a valid reason. Overall, the pre-sale phase wasn’t too bad, although two things stuck out: more zip codes should be serviced, and the purchase process should be shaved down considerably.

Taking Delivery

Perhaps the greatest reason I’d suggest using PODS involves their timeliness.  My crew and I arrived on the site, Menards arrived with our order, and PODS arrived with our container – literally all within minutes of each other.  I directed the driver where on the site we needed the door opening pointed, and he slid down the container.  Since the payment was due on delivery, my credit card was charged the day of delivery, so that was one headache I avoided.  I would advise against letting the driver leave without inspecting the container, folks, because what I discovered upon his departure pissed me off.

Upon opening the door of our container, we discovered an amalgamation of filth and dumpster funk that I’ll never forget.  Imagine your septic tank exploding in your house while mom is burning collard greens and liver on the stove.  We literally lost four hours of work because we had to rent several power washers and industrial fans to clean the container before we could use it.

Another issue I found intolerable was how both doors seemed to have bent hinges.  I’m not exactly Lou Ferrigno, but it nearly took his strength to initially get the doors opened.  We greased the hinges real good, and no further problems persisted. Overall, the driver was an upstanding guy, but whoever is responsible for inspecting containers epically failed me.

Size Does Matter

We double checked everything we intended on storing over a 90 day period, and our calculations were nearly perfect.  Although my crew thought 12’ would cover everything, 16’ left us enough room to store our concrete saw, all materials and we still had about 3’ to the door to spare. Ceiling to floor space was perfect. Floor seemed to hold nearly two tons of goods without being phased, so I was impressed with that.  Could have probably given us more space width-wise, but we were able to work seamlessly within tight confines, so I didn’t complain.

Ongoing Support

I was impressed with customer care, and I say this with an unbridled tongue.  When I had questions or needed to discuss something (or bitch, which I do admit doing frequently), I didn’t wait long for someone and each representative I spoke with was knowledgeable, compassionate and in no hurry to end my call.  It’s accurate to assume they were more patient than I was, especially when discussing the door fiasco and unacceptable odors.

When it was pickup day, again the driver dispatched was an incredible human being.  We joked a little bit, he admired the work we did, and inspected the inside of container for anything left behind.  He was happy we cleaned out our container and washed it again, noting that not many are returned in the same condition they left the yard in.

Overall, a B+

Because several other rentals from them turned out perfect from beginning to end, I’d slap a B+ on PODS overall product and company rating.  I would suggest to potential container renters that you take insurance to protect your goods, provide a secure lock on your own, inspect the container before the driver leaves and go as far as taking pictures if you feel the experience could potentially go south.

Price could be an issue if renting short-term, so I’d suggest agreeing to 6 months or longer if you intend on storing items for future use.  For construction use, I’d suggest no less than 90 days and be prepared to use the dickens out of it. As a one-off solution for moving, the price did make sense for me; taking into account what U-Hauls cost and the price of gas, PODS cut my costs by 28%, even with renting their padding. And unlike Uhaul, there are numerous Pods coupons available online that actually work. I found one that saved me about 7%.

Customer service will treat you like royalty, even when you’re in the mood to punch a wall.  Just explain your situation, and they’ll either handle your claim immediately or reimburse you for time lost.  Your mileage may vary, of course, but my experience with them on several occasions was flawless to the very end.

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