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Portable Shipping Companies Can Ease Moving Pains

Getting ready to move somewhere can be a major hassle. Consumer Reports looks at the latest craze in moving one's possessions.

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About 40 million people move every year. In fact, the average American will move at least 11 times in his or her lifetime. For most people, the cheapest way to move has been to rent a truck, but there is another option worth checking out.

Marty Joyce is using a portable container instead of loading a rental truck to make his move a little easier.

"All I have to do is pack it. They'll take it away, and it'll be in Florida a day after I am," he said.

Shipping container companies are trying to change the way people move. They remove one annoying aspect of do-it-yourself moves.

"These services save you the headache of having to drive a rental truck. Once you've filled the pod, a professional driver comes and picks it up and delivers it to your new home," said Amanda Walker, of Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports looked at two shipping container companies -- ABF ReloCubes and PODS, the company that introduced the concept.

"Both companies say they'll save you a bundle. If you rent their container, for example, you save the cost of fuel and insurance," Walker said.

To see if shipping containers can save you money, Consumer Reports compared the cost of moving a three-bedroom house for nine short- and long-distance moves. The price comparison included renting containers from ReloCubes and PODS as well as moves with U-Haul and Penske truck rentals.

Prices varied significantly. But in general, Penske truck rentals cost less for most short moves while ABF ReloCubes did better on longer moves than PODS.

"PODS was always the most expensive, for both local and long-distance moves. That's probably because they're a series of franchises and have to pay another company to move the containers," Walker said.

Consumer Reports said if you move, containers are worth looking into. But because the cost depends on the moving date and distance, you will have to do your own price comparison in order to determine the best deal.

Another way to save money on moving is avoid making the change at peak times -- the beginning and end of the month and during the summer.

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