I hired 1800 PackRat to move the smallest container they offer from Washington DC to Sacramento CA. The drivers (Patrick in DC and Walter in Sacramento) and the managers at the PackRat facilities are quite helpful. The folks in customer service in NC are clueless about the process and provide incorrect information and are unwilling to offer any options for special circumstances. Be warned: they like to email everything and would like customers to print, sign and scan them back. I packed my printer for the move, so it was not convenient nor inexpensive to keep running to the local office store to download the documents they needed to have.
But the bigger problems are communicating after you have scheduled your dates. I was notified when the empty unit would be delivered, and the driver called in advance to say when he would arrive. Quite frankly, with better communication, we could have taken the 10 minutes to load right then and been done with it. But that isn’t the PackRat way. After I filled the unit, the pickup was a surprise! Weather fouled up the first pick up attempt. I did not know when the truck would arrive or when it was actually picked up. I called customer service, which involves working through their computer system, on the day scheduled for pick up and they knew nothing. In fact, the pick up driver just appeared without notice and picked up the unit. I managed to get the phone number for the manager at the Chantilly VA facility (this is like GOLD), and confirmed that the unit had been picked up and he provided a receipt, unlike the driver. I like having some type of proof that PackRat picked up the unit. It took contacting the manager to provide that.
The biggest issue I ran into was with scheduling delivery. I made it clear from my FIRST call to PackRat that I was moving my stuff to a storage unit. Well, PackRat needs a form filled out by the storage facility. No one bothered to tell me that and I spent two weekends visiting storage facilities to choose one. Had I known about the form, I would have had it with me. Instead, I was forced to make another trip to the storage place. How many days off does it take to do this?
The scheduler also scheduled delivery without knowing where the unit was in transit. Turns out that the December 12 delivery date, for which I hired helpers, scheduled leave, and made sure I was up early, was a no-go: the unit wasn't even in Sacramento until Monday, Dec 15. My scheduler was also adamant that regardless of how little I had packed in the unit, the truck would have to return a week later to pick up the empty unit. No storage facility would be happy about that. That would also mean more leave for me, and another trip to the storage yard to escort the pick up truck.
I was lucky! While the scheduler denied my request to have the phone number of the Sacramento facility, I got it anyhow. That's how I found out where my unit was. I asked the manager for delivery on a day that wasn’t available, according to my scheduler. I was done dealing with her.
Delivery day was another “waiting for the cable installer” –like day: no clue in advance whether it would be 9 am or 4 pm, (the robo call said “ANYTIME”) so again, I scheduled leave and had my helper on standby ALL DAY. At 2:30, I did learn I would have the unit between 3:30 and 4. Walter the driver showed up with the unit and being told otherwise before, he was able to wait while we unloaded the whole crate, which took all of 10 minutes or less. Walter spent more time leveling the unit and then packing it up again, which he did as soon as it was empty. So, yes, they CAN take the empty crate the same day! Remarkable. My stuff is all in fine shape, but a bit of water did get in the unit. Funny, that was the selling point over the competitor's containers which are not steel.
I would not recommend this outfit to a friend and regret I did not just rent a small moving truck and drive my household items out to California myself.