Freight trucking companies - the ones that haul commercial shipments all over the United States - have gotten in on the D.I.Y. move (and of course, you can use them for a Hybrid™ move too). Now, some of them allow you to rent space by the foot in their freight trailers. Then they drive your stuff to your new destination. You only pay for the amount of space you need. The freight moving companies then rent the remaining space to other customers whose goods (or freight) will keep yours company, so they won't get lonely. Don't worry, your stuff is kept safe behind dividers so it won't get cooties.
You get a quote online or over the phone, book your reservation, and then the freight trailer is dropped off at your place. You have three days to load the trailer before a driver comes and picks it up to move it to your new address. Once it’s delivered, you have another three days to unload. If you take more than three days on either end, you’ll be charged an additional fee. You’ll pay for the number of linear feet your stuff occupies within the 28-foot trailer.
Prices are similar to those of the rental trucks, but you don’t have to drive, which is pretty much the whole point. To move a 3-bedroom house long distance from Fort Lee, N.J. (just outside Manhattan) to Kissimmee, Fl. (just outside Orlando), you would pay about $2,649 (U-Pack ®), $1,979 (OD ®), or $2,970 (Estes ®), depending on which company you choose. These are approximate prices because it all depends on how many linear feet you actually use. U-Pack and OD estimated that you would need 17 linear feet, while Estes estimated 20 linear feet, which is why its price is the highest. If you used less space than in the estimate, you would pay less. If you used more, you would pay more. Below, you can see average prices for each type of move, as well as get a quick intro to these companies, learn the best tips for making a freight trailer move successful, and figure out how much space you might need using our freight space guide.
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'I SAVED ROUGHLY $4000.00 based upon quotes from moving companies. -- Use plenty of moving blankets for appliances etc....You'll be fine' - K.C.
'I didn't like that for delivery they couldn't give me a time frame...it was an all day delivery...they would call about an hour before it gets here...' - M.P.
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The first fiddle in this arena is ABF U-Pack Moving, and it is so far ahead of its competitors that it’s hard to say there is even a competition. Playing second fiddle are Old Dominion (OD) Household Services and Estes SureMove. These companies specialize in long-distance or cross-country moves, although OD executes local moves, too. Still, you’re probably not going to call on a freight moving company to move your stuff to the house down the block or even one or two towns over. In fact, the value of these companies is their experience in driving stuff - sometimes delicate stuff - very long distances. These are not moving companies, but they are knowledgeable at hauling goods across state borders.
Still, since moving is not their thing, you might have to tolerate some inconveniences. For instance, there is no way to purchase moving supplies from one of these companies, nor can you rent a hand truck or furniture pads. They do, however, provide you with a ramp to load and unload. Making changes to your itinerary requires at least one week’s notice if you don’t want to pay any additional fees. You have three days to load and unload your stuff at each end of its journey. And you’re pretty much at the will of the company for delivery times. You can pay extra for a guaranteed delivery date and time, but it didn’t sound as definite as it should be when you’re doling out more cash (or at least that is how it seemed to me when reading the Web sites). I haven’t gone through with a move with one of these companies, so I can’t say for sure. Storage is sometimes possible, but that’s not a specialty of theirs either.
ABF U-Pack ® is the distinct leader in this category. Anyone who needs to ship an apartment or home’s worth of stuff a far distance in the United States and does not want to drive a ginormous truck should consider this option. For smaller places, U-Pack offers ReloCubes ®, a big, portable, steel container to boot. Discounts are often available, which is nice. But you have to be careful about accidentally going over budget. Read the fine print of your receipt very carefully to see ways in which you might garner additional fees, and avoid them like the plague. Still, the extensive Web site, replete with interactive tools to make your move easier and after-the-move necessities such as free housewarming party e-vites, is impressive. With ABF ® and its 85 years of experience behind U-Pack, it definitely has the chops to move your little ol’ house across the United States. For more information on U-Pack, read its profile page.
Old Dominion, with a 75-year history, also has extensive experience as a freight trucking company. Apps for iPhones and Android phones are a differentiating factor. An estimator on its site helps you determine how much space in the 28-foot trailer you’ll need, so you’ll have an idea of the price. Your credit card is used to make your reservation, but it is charged only after confirmation of the linear feet you used. You can also pay with money orders or cashier’s checks at the time your shipment is delivered to your final destination. It offers additional liability protection, but it only covers damage that is a result of OD’s negligence. It “covers your items at a higher rate than the standard coverage of $.10 per pound per item,” according to the Web site. You’d have to call a customer service representative by phone to purchase additional coverage. For more information, visit the OD household services web site.
Estes Express Lines ®, the parent company of SureMove ®, was founded in 1931 and is still run by the same family today. Again, experience is behind this relatively new sector of the company. Of the three freight firms, SureMove was the only one that estimated I needed 20, and not 17, linear feet to move a 3-bedroom home. It offered a few ways to save money, though. For starters, there was a message on my quote that read, “Reserve within 5 days and save $50.” I was also informed on the Web site that I could save more by moving during off-peak times, such as mid-week and mid-month, but I had to call a customer service representative by phone for details, which I did not do because I wasn’t going through with this move anyway. Liability coverage gets dicey with these freight companies, but Estes was more explicit on its site than the other two. Here’s what you learn, “SureMove’s maximum liability shall be either: The actual loss or damage not exceeding ten (10) cents per pound of the weight of any lost or damaged article; OR Customer may choose to increase their coverage by paying additional charges as follows: For a $50 charge, Customer coverage would increase to the actual loss or damage not exceeding $1.00 per pound/per item up to a maximum of $5,000 per trailer, or for a $100 charge, Customer coverage would increase to the actual loss or damage not exceeding $3.00 per pound/per item up to a maximum of $10,000 per trailer. Any additional coverage should be discussed with your SureMove agent. Some individual Homeowner’s Insurance Policies or Rental Insurance Policies have provisions or can add a rider or floater to protect a household move.” In other words, contact your homeowner’s or rental insurance firm before spending more money on coverage with one of these guys. For more information, visit the Estes SureMove Web site.
While there are pros and cons to each company, there are also universal truths that unite them all. Here they are:
If you can sell stuff at a garage sale or bring smaller items with you in your car, then you’ll take up less space in the trailer, which will save you money because you only pay for what you use.
Measure the amount of space for which you are budgeted and mark it off with masking tape at the start of your packing adventure. This way, you’ll know if you’re going under or, worse, over the estimate. You can make decisions about what to put on the truck accordingly.
This means that you must find out if it’s legal to park the trailer near your home or in your driveway. You should check with the local city hall for details on parking trailers in your town (both where you’re living now and where you’re moving to). As a kind gesture, you should also inform your neighbors that this big boy is going to be visiting for three days. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay any parking violations incurred by the trailer while in your possession for loading and unloading.
Cities, such as New York City, require a live load/unload, which means that the location does not permit overnight parking of the trailer. So, you have to allow the driver to wait for you while you load or unload the truck. Each company has its own rules of live load/unloads. For example, OD Household Services® gives clients one hour for a live load or unload. You are charged $96 for each additional hour, which is billed at 15-minute increments ($24).
All the companies offer this option for an additional fee. But the language about the rules and regulations of the policies is wishy washy, so really probe about how firm the date will be and what relevant charges you should expect.
These freight companies do not allow customers to pack up stuff that could be dangerous. Some of the items on the list are obvious. Ammunition, dynamite, and instruments of war are no brainers. But I didn’t realize that I could be breaking the rules if I packed up my nail polish, cleaning fluids, or charcoal briquettes. But I would be. The good news is that by not putting these prohibited items on the trailer, you’ll save money on space.
The freight companies have educated me on the gypsy moth, an insect whose eggs are often attached to outdoor equipment and furniture. California is so keen on keeping out the gypsy moth that it requires you to get your stuff inspected for the moth’s eggs and to fill out all the necessary paperwork to prove you did so. Your stuff won’t be let into the state otherwise, so listen to the freight companies and free yourself of the gypsies.
Allowed us to managed our move costs across coasts. Do not skimp on packaging your personals items and hire an experienced team to load properly to minimize anything shifting.
We moved from Connecticut in July if 2015, other than we knew we wanted to live in warmer climes we had no definite destination. We planned on living in our motor home until we found a place we liked. We got rid of large furniture but had a number of stationary power tools and over 300 boxes and bundles of stuff that we packed ourselves. Our stuff just filled a whole 28 ft long u-pack trailer, but we would have rented the entire trailer anyways. he provided loading ramp was convenient but despite being made mostly of aluminum it was heavy and awkward to handle. I managed to unload it once myself but it really needs two people to do it comfortably. The trailer was old and had obviously seen a lot of freight over the years, so I'd describe it as "beat up but reasonably clean" . After we loaded the trailer U-pack it was moved to the ABF/ U-pack secure yard in Enfield CT. Where it sat thru the CT winter. Storage was $395 per month, perhaps a tad high but much cheaper than unloading a moving truck into conventional storage and re-loading it again. Obviously this was not a climate controlled storage but we planned for that. When we found our new place to live in Florida, we called U-pack and had the trailer delivered, in June of 2016. All our stuff was there in the trailer just as we left it locked with our locks on it. On the day we planned to receive the trailer bad weather was moving in so we called and asked to re-schedule for two days, no problem for u-pack. We are only about 20% unpacked and so far found only 1 cracked glass plate, remember however that we packed the stuff ourselves- hard to blame U-pack for that. Others have pointed out that the u-pack trailers are not fitted with air suspension like many moving trailers, true, we just anticipated that. For us it was a convenient and economical way to relocate. U-pack customer service varied a bit from good to great. Occasionally the fact that you are dealing with a commercial trucking company (not a residential mover) came through but overall they were responsive and cooperative (sometimes the cooperative part needed a nudge) . We used hire a helper on both ends of the move.
Very efficient, with good communication. Several items were slightly damaged in transit, which I think was the result of the way that they packed the truck.
Great price to go from Florida to Tennessee. I would recommend hiring professional loaders to tie everything down and get it in the trailer for a move long distance.
U-Pack ® is the registered trademark of Moving Solutions, Inc. U-Pack ® is a registered trademark of ABF, Freight System, Inc.