Tuesday, July 8, 2014

PODS Moving Containers

Moving and storage containers are incredibly versatile.  One of the biggest advantages to mobile container based self storage is that the same storage units can be used for local or interstate moves.  Whether you are moving across town or across the county, putting your stuff in a portable storage unit is a great option.  For example, if you have a PODs moving container delivered to your home in Grand Rapids, you could have it shipped to Kalamazoo or Los Angeles or Orlando, or anywhere in between.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Portable Storage Providers In Grand Rapids

Are you looking for a portable storage provider in Grand Rapids or West Michigan?  Here is a list of options for you to consider:

Large Self Storage and Moving Containers

PODS Grand Rapids

- 12' and 16' storage units available
- 12' and 16' moving containers available
- Local moves or storage available
- Long distance moves available

Zippy Shell Portable Storage and Moving

- 15.5' storage units available
- 15.5' moving containers available
- Local moves or storage available
- Long distance moves available

United Moving and Storage Containers by United Mayflower

- 16' moving containers available
- Long distance moves available
- No local moves or storage available

Small Self Storage and Moving Containers

U-Haul U-Box

- 5' storage units available
- 5' moving containers available
- Local moves or storage available
- Long distance moves available

MyWay Mobile Storage

- 5' storage units available
- 5' moving containers available
- Local moves or storage available
- Long distance moves may be available

Monday, November 11, 2013

Where is My POD Storage Unit Stored?

So I saw this news article about a PODS facility that had a mini flood outside their warehouse.  The article is here for you to review and I will be quoting directly from this source a bit.

Obviously it is an awful thought for anyone who has their storage possessions get destroyed by flood or any other mishap.  And I feel for these PODS customers.  I would wish this on nobody.  So what can you do to prevent this from happening to you?  First, you must use common sense.  Second you must ask questions of your storage provider. 


Portable storage containers are all over the place, they come in all shapes and sizes and are constructed in many different ways.  If you ever happen to drive by the actual storage location, you will most definitely see many PODS staged outside.  Ask yourself whether those are full or empty.  Ask yourself whether you would expect your POD to be stored inside.  If you are in the market for portable storage, ask your provider very specifically where your unit will be stored.  Ask for an address.  Go look at the facility.  Ask whether your storage unit will ever be stored outside.  Then ask yourself if their answer is acceptable to you.


This linked article states that:

Customers are upset at PODS, a company that offers portable containers for moving and storage, which admits it left 52 of the units outside in a monsoonal rainstorm earlier this month.  

And that:

The containers flooded because they were left in the parking lot on Aug. 3 while the warehouse was being rearranged.

the PODS website advertises that "PODS Storage Centers are clean, safe and dry."


Which of the following scenarios is most likely?

A)   PODS needed to rearrange some things in the warehouse and therefore quickly moved 52 containers at 5,000 lbs each totaling over 100 tons of containers to the parking lot and had plans to move them all back inside the warehouse before the end of the fork lift drivers shift, but all of a sudden the heavens opened up and without any advanced notice there was 8 inches of water surrounding all 52 PODS before the fork lift driver could finish the rearrangement and move them back inside to safety.

B)   PODS stored the units outside for some period of time.

C)   PODS Storage Centers are always clean, safe and dry.

You be the judge… Whichever is true, you as a storage customer need to know where your things are being stored.  You need to read the contract that you are signing.  You need to know whether your things are insured.  You are storing your things because they are important enough to store and presumably you want them back safe and sound.  If you don’t know where your things are being stored, how can you be confident that they are safe?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


PODS Storage Unit Dimensions

PODS SIZE EVALUATION                        

Today’s world of instant information and ultimate convenience has spawned a large selection of portable self storage options.  What once involved numerous visits to a potentially scary and altogether industrial self storage facility has now become as simple as a phone call to a mobile storage provider and a delivery to your driveway.  There is just no question that portable storage containers are the ultimate in efficient storage and moving convenience for the do-it-yourself folks out there.  We can all thank PODS for creating a concept that is revolutionizing the storage and moving industry this way.  It’s clear that PODS was the first and is the largest, but many interesting alternatives have come in their wake and look to improve on the service.  The difficult question is how do they all differ, what sets each service provider apart.  Since there are so many variables to consider in the evaluation of a portable storage provider, the aim of this blog is to discuss them one by one so that you can have the facts you need to make an informed decision.

Looking for U-Haul U-Box dimensions instead?  Check out this post: U-Box Review

Today our subject is the PODS 16 foot storage unit.  If you are considering using a PODS container for storage or moving, you may be asking yourself, just what are the actual interior dimensions of a PODS 16’ unit.  I don’t blame you.  It’s a really good piece of information to have.  After all, you need to know how many PODS you would need for all your stuff.  Does PODS give you the internal dimensions?  Well let’s look.  Here is a graphic from their website describing the PODS moving containers and how much they hold: 


As you can see PODS claims that their 16 foot storage units are: 16’ X 8’ X 8’ (L*W*H) with a capacity of 3 – 4 rooms.  That’s all pretty interesting marketing.  But is any of it accurate?  Since I am a stickler for details claimed by such marketing messages, Luckily my neighbor recently had a couple PODS containers delivered so I decided to measure them.


I found that the overall EXTERIOR dimensions of the U-Box were fairly close to those generally those stated in the advertisement.

Measured Exterior: 16’1” long x 7’8” wide x 8’1” tall   

This includes about 6 inches of feet below the box.  The INTERIOR dimensions of the PODS container were as follows:

Measured Interior:    15’10” deep x 7’7” wide x 7’7” tall to the ceiling, 7’4” to ceiling beams.

The door clearance is 81.5 inches wide by 76 inches tall.

This is real world – get inside with a tape measure information.  This is not just an estimate.  The PODS advertisement for exterior dimensions has relatively little value to us unless we are trying whether one will fit in your driveway, not exactly something I am worried about.  Calculating the floor area results in an actual square footage of 120 square feet.  Multiplying that area by the interior height results in an actual interior capacity of 910.5 cubic feet ignoring the ceiling beams.


We see that PODS claims that you can 3 - 4 rooms in a 16’ container.  I find these kinds of estimates all over the place and I find them all to be rather worthless.  The fact of the matter is that all these estimates are relative to how big your rooms are, what type of rooms you have and how full you furnish those rooms.  In addition, it depends on how you pack the POD which is ultimately a function of the items that are going into it along with the skill with which you pack them in.  For example, if you have floor lamps in your living room and I don’t, I have a much better probability of fitting my living room into a storage container than you do.  It’s just that simple.  Do you have a 12’ X 16’ dining room stuffed with seating for 12 and floor lamps and a bookshelf and a hutch full of expensive china that will be packed in dish barrels?  That will take up a significant amount of space compare to a small table and 4 chairs from a starter apartment kitchenette.  Dining chairs are among the worst items to pack into storage – they take up an amazing amount of space. 

Large storage containers like the 16’ POD and other similar size products like United or Pack Rats or Zippy Shell’s container can pack much more into them than 2 or even 3 of the typical 5’ x 8’ boxes that U-Haul’s U-Box or Smart Boxes or MyWay Portable storage containers.  While an oversize couch may technically fit in a U-Box or these other small containers, you will be challenged to work around it in very tight quarters.  It is unquestionably easier to pack a variety of large things into a single large container than it is to pack those same items into several small containers.


As for the construction materials, let me first say that these storage units have evolved over the years.  Earlier versions were constructed of wood with an exterior skin but the new versions are a unique laminated metal structure.  There are still plenty of the wood versions around but I would image PODS is slowly phasing out the older models.  They are all structurally sound for the most part with the ceiling being the weak point.  Each POD has a plastic roof that is translucent.  This roof is bolted on and is not exactly water tight meaning there is no seal between the walls and the roof. 

Here are some pictures of the PODS portable storage units in Grand Rapids:





Monday, May 6, 2013


I cannot recommend the use of PODS since they have a less than stellar record of customer service and pricing that is just too high.  But while doing my portable storage container research I did find a nice promotional code if you are going to use their storage containers for 3 months or more.  You can get free local delivery for a storage of 3 months with the coupon code: BUNDLE.  Try it.  Let me know if it works for you.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

PODS Storage Container Dimensions

More recent measurements of the 16' PODS container are reported in a post here.

Many portable storage customers ask me what size a container is.  The sizes claimed throughout the industry are a bit confusing as all the providers offer fairly vague sizes or nominal dimensions.  PODS has two popular sizes of storage containers, a 12-foot version and a 16-foot version.  These sizes are a reference to the approximate overall outside dimensions of the container.  Outside dimensions probably don't matter to you unless you are trying to make sure you have enough room in your driveway for the box.  What really matters to you is probably how much stuff you can fit into the storage unit.  You care about the interior dimensions.  So here they are:

PODS 12-foot Storage Unit Dimensions

Advertised size: 

  • 12 feet long
  • 8 feet tall
  • 8 feet wide
Actual exterior dimensions:
  • 12.1 feet long (145.25")
  • 8.4 feet tall (101")
  • 7.7 feet wide (92.5")
Nominal interior dimensions (not considering structural members):
  • 11.77 feet long (141.25")
  • 8 feet tall (95.75")
  • 7.5 feet wide (90")
Clear interior dimensions
  • 11.5 feet long (138")
  • 7.5 feet tall (90.5")
  • 6.9 feet wide (83")

PODS 16-foot Storage Unit Dimensions

Advertised size: 

  • 16 feet long
  • 8 feet tall
  • 8 feet wide
Actual exterior dimensions:
  • 16.1 feet long (193.25")
  • 8.4 feet tall (101")
  • 7.7 feet wide (92.5")
Nominal interior dimensions (not considering structural members):
  • 15.8 feet long (189.5")
  • 8 feet tall (95.75")
  • 7.5 feet wide (90")
Clear interior dimensions
  • 15.5 feet long (186")
  • 7.5 feet tall (90.5")
  • 6.9 feet wide (83")

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Choosing a Portable Storage Provider

As a portable storage insider, I would like to offer you a roadmap for finding the best portable storage option in your area. The steps below offer an evaluation criteria, a decision making process, and a number of must ask questions to consider prior to making your decision.

There are a number of important factors to consider in choosing a portable storage provider but in general they boil down to a handful of simple concepts:

Price and Affordability - Price is the main objective. Affordability is the combination of all the costs and all your time and effort divided by the amount of storage space you need.

Container Size - Size matters. Different providers have different size portable storage containers. Make sure you compare providers on a per square foot or per cubic foot basis. Do not rely on how many rooms a certain provider claims that their unit can hold.

Security - Your stuff is important. You need to know how secure your container is, how it will be delivered and how it will be treated while in storage.

Customer Service - Honesty and a willingness to serve are important factors. Find out whether you will be well served or treated like another number. Research and references are the only way to find out. I could tell you, but not here...
Portable storage is a growing and evolving industry. There are a lot of variations out there. Its important that you spend a little time to make sure you understand your options before choosing your provider.

Determine Your Needs - First and foremost, you need to understand your situation, how much stuff you have, how long you need storage for, whether you need help with manual labor, how far you plan to move if at all, how accessible your home or apartment is, and whether there are any restrictions on PODS type boxes in your area.

Find Local Providers - Start looking for providers in your area. Search the internet using Google or any search engine. Check Google Places. Check YP.com. Ask around. Make a list of 3 to 5 possibilities.

Do Online Research - Check out each provider's webpages thoroughly and understand their system. Get on online quote if their page provides one. Search YouTube or DailyMotion for a video showing their system in action. Search for facebook accounts or other social media of the local franchise. Search review and complaint sites. Keep track of any promotions, discounts, or coupons you find.

Call Several Providers - After researching online and possibly weeding out a provider or two and possibly adding a couple more to the list, call them directly. Try to talk to someone local. If someone local can't talk to you, be aware of future poor service potential. Ask them lots of questions. Explain exactly what you are trying to do. Find out how willing they are to adapt to your specific needs. If they are rigid, be aware of future unwillingness to work through any issues.

Get Written Quotes - Provide your email address and get at least 2 or 3 WRITTEN quotes that include EXACT DETAILS of your expected services. Be careful to solicit quotes on a per container basis for future evaluation or provide the same size or quantity information to all providers so that quotes can be fairly compared later. These quotes should include EVERYTHING, initial rent, delivery, ongoing rent, future deliveries, taxes, fees, property protection and so on. If the written quote includes only an initial charge and a monthly rent, be skeptical about other charges that they may not be sharing with you yet. Most importantly, make sure you are very specific about your future delivery location as this has a potential for significant costs that are not commonly discussed up front during initial booking.

Compare Costs Per Square Foot - Once you have several quality quotes, establish a likely duration of your storage needs. Extrapolate each quote to that duration including all delivery fees. Then divide each total cost result by the square feet provided to get a total cost per square foot of storage. This is the best way to get an accurate picture of what you are paying and getting in return. You may find that the cheapest quote is not actually the most cost effective.

Final Evaluation - Now you understand the cost per square foot of each provider. After talking with them and doing online research, you understand how their system works, how secure their system is and how they stack up on a customer service perspective. Its up to you to weigh each of these factors in choosing your provider.


What is the interior size of your portable storage unit?
  • This is critical in determining how many units you will need.
  • Don't rely on estimates of how many rooms they claim to hold because their estimates are entirely subjective and unreliable.
  • You may also need to know the door size if you have some larger items.
  • Keep in mind that a single larger unit may be easier to pack than several smaller units, especially if you have large items.
  • If they can't tell you the exact interior dimensions of their units, then move on to another provider or do some research.

What is the ongoing monthly rental fee for the unit?
  • This is not always as clear as it should be. Be very specific and make sure you understand the recurring charges.
  • Get all quotes in writing and be specific about all of your intentions including your final destination location.

What are the delivery fees for the unit, including transfers and final deliveries?
  • Delivery fees can sometimes be buried in the quotes and difficult to determine.
  • Make sure you understand there are commonly 2 trips per delivery. Some providers charge per trip not per delivery.
  • Make sure you understand EXACTLY what the final delivery will be based on the location of your new home. Some providers include enormous fees if you move a certain distance or move to another franchise's territory. But they don't like to tell you this up front, only after they have your stuff and you want it back and they have your credit card number.

Are there taxes on the delivery or storage?
  • Some states allow use taxes to be paid when the storage provider purchases the storage equipment that you are effectively leasing. In turn, they do not charge you a tax when you lease the equipment. This saves you, the customer a significant amount and can vary from provider to provider in the same location. Make sure you know what the entire cost will be before you compare providers.

Are there any other fees that you haven't told me about?
  • Some portable storage providers have a number of fees and charges that they don't like to tell you about. They include such things as fees for snow removal and fees for placing a board under their unit to protect your driveway. Do you really think a customer should have to pay extra to have a company that is in the business of delivering something to your house actually charge you extra to not damage your property while doing so. I would think that a system prone to damaging property should not be considered. Be warned.

How much notice do you need to get my unit back?
  • When you want deliveries, you typically have a timeline you are working with. Your schedule is normally related to your job and getting time off to handle your transition. Or your schedule is more likely related to your real-estate transaction. Closing dates and occupancy dates mean something to you and are obviously very important. You need to make sure that your portable storage provider will be responsive to your schedule and to your needs. Some providers need a significant amount of time to arrange deliveries. Even then, some of those providers are not entirely responsive to meeting the schedules desired even after booking them with you. This can be a MAJOR inconvenience to you and effectively eliminates the value inherent in portable storage in the first place. Do some checking online for reviews and complaints about your possible providers and ask for recent references of actual customers to discuss this issue.

Do you pro-rate our final month?
  • In general, self storage is not pro-rated. If you are in storage a day past your anniversary date, you just bought another month. But it doesn't hurt to ask. But you have to ask up front, not at the last minute. My best advice is to plan your move-out a month in advance and inform your provider a month ahead of time and ask then about pro-rating. Your best result will likely be to get a 1/2 month pro-rated payment. Don't expect any better than that.
  • In addition to asking about pro-rating, be advised that some providers will bill you for the next month after your requested move-out date even if you requested to be moved-out but they couldn't deliver or pick up the container on your requested schedule. In other words, you end up paying them extra because they cannot stay on your schedule. Their delay costs you more money. Again research online reviews and check references for this problem.
  • Also you need to understand that you are not renting storage or paying for a storage service, you are leasing storage equipment. Your lease doesn't end on the day that your unit is delivered back to your home, it ends after you have emptied it and after the provider is scheduled to retrieve the empty unit. Do not assume that scheduling a delivery a day before your anniversary date, that you will not be charged the following month. If that "equipment" is in your driveway after your anniversary date, you are most likely going to pay for another month.

Is your facility heated? Air Conditioned?
  • Heated or air conditioned facilities can make a big difference to your belongings. However, don't assume that "climate controlled" means what you think it does because it probably doesn't. Climate control can mean keeping doors open to keep the space cooler in the summer. If you are looking for portable storage in Grand Rapids, Michigan, you probably care more about heat than keeping the doors open in the summer so don't be fooled into thinking that climate controlled means heated. Ask specifically what is done heat wise and ventilation wise in their facility. If you have concerns, ask to see the facility for your self.
  • Also, you should consider the storage unit container itself. There are a number of factors that can negatively affect your belongings. Air flow through your unit is advantageous because it keeps things from getting stale, musty, or moldy. Providers that offer fully enclosed steel boxes will have an issue with this. Although some claim that plywood construction allows the box to breath they can also be susceptible to mold and mildew because of the presence of moisture in the wood especially if the unit has been stored outside. Again, ask specifics about the unit construction and research online for reviews about this issue.

I hope this helps you make a good decision for your storage needs. If you have any more questions, just hunt me down, I'm always glad to help.