Freight Moving Companies

Using a freight moving company to transport your breakables on a semi-trailer has it's ups...and downs

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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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Price & Review Comparison


  • Avg. Review
    0
    5
    4.50
    Average Cost
    Local Move: $1,100
    Medium Move: Med. Move: $1,663
    Long Move: $3,038
    Positive Review

    Great pricing, with competitive rates across the board.

    Negative Review

    Time frames for deliveries are often as large as the entire day, making planning very inconvenient.

  •  

    Research In Progress

    We're busy gathering prices and reviews from real customer moves. Once we have enough to be reliable and helpful, we'll let you know!

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    Positive Review

    Negative Review

  •  

    Research In Progress

    We're busy gathering prices and reviews from real customer moves. Once we have enough to be reliable and helpful, we'll let you know!

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    Positive Review

    Negative Review

Freight Trailer Moving Companies


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.

U-Pack Trailer

ABF U-PACK ®


U-Pack Trailer

Locations

  • 250+

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 28'

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.

OD Trailer

OD Household Services ®


Old Dominion® Trailer

Locations

  • N/A

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 28'

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® Trailer

Estes SureMove ®


Estes® Trailer

Locations

  • 200+

Available Services

Sizes

  • Sizes: 28'

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.

Freight Space Size Guide


  • 600 sq. ft. or less
    Studio apartment

    Ideal For:

    • Aprox linear feet: 6'
    • Cubic Feet: 360
    • 1-5 Med. furniture items
    • Up to 120 medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • King size bed
    • Pianos
    • Gun safes
  • 1,000 sq. ft.
    Small home

    Ideal For:

    • Aprox linear feet: 7'
    • Cubic Feet: 432
    • 1-8 Med. furniture items
    • Up to 200 medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • Grand / Baby grand pianos
    • Studio apartments
  • 1,200-1,500 sq. ft.
    Medium home

    Ideal For:

    • Aprox linear feet: 13'
    • Cubic Feet: 864
    • 1-10 Med. furniture items
    • Up to 350 medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • Small homes
    • Studio apartments
  • 1,500-1,800+ sq. ft.
    Large home

    Ideal For:

    • Aprox linear feet: 17+
    • Cubic Feet: 1,152+
    • 10+ Furniture items
    • 450+ Medium boxes

    Not Ideal For:

    • Small homes
    • Studio apartments
Couch Couch

Freight Trailer Tips


While there are pros and cons to each company, there are also universal truths that unite them all. Here they are:

Clipboard

Staying on budget could mean controlling the size of your haul.


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.

Measuring Tape

Put your measuring tape to good 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.

Parking Sign

You are responsible for trailer parking at both locations.


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.

No Parking

Find out if you can even park the trailer in the first place.


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).

Eye

Look into guaranteed services if you need to know an exact delivery date and time.


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.

Prohibited Sign

Familiarize yourself with the prohibited items list.


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.

Moth

Get to know the gypsy moth if you’re moving to California.


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.

Recent Customer Reviews


  •   Summerville, SC

    7/3/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

      Summerville, SC

    7/3/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    This move was absolutely spot on with the company's description on their website. Calls were made before delivery and before pickup. All went smooth and for my needs, this option (U-pack trailer) worked outstanding!

    Move Details

    Distance 1,100 mi
    Cost $2,800
    Per. Mile $2.55
    SqFt. Moved 2,100

  •   Lafayette Township, NJ

    7/1/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

      Lafayette Township, NJ

    7/1/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    Smooth, efficient, and on time. Peace of mind knowing where your belongings were at all times. There was some small evidence of moisture in the trailer so not sure that it was completely watertight.

    Move Details

    Distance 150 mi
    Cost $3,600
    Per. Mile $24.00
    SqFt. Moved 4,100

  •   San Diego, CA

    5/27/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

      San Diego, CA

    5/27/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    We've moved with ABF before using a Relocube, and as a company we just think they're great. Helpful, on the ball, and they send you all the info and paperwork you need ahead of time. The trailer was definitely a different game entirely from the Relocube, as it does require more skill to pack and restrain everything to avoid breakage (thanks to HireAHelper we got great loaders who took care of that), and even with their fee factored in we're coming out way, waaay ahead of hiring professional movers. The reason I'm subtracting one star is because of the LOCK situation. To their credit, they do go to great lengths to indicate the specs of the lock you need to provide to secure the divider within the trailer -- the shackle needs to be at 2" tall and no more than 1/4" thick. Unfortunately, I'm yet to find a single lock that lists the shackle thickness on the package. Most look like they're right around 1/4", so you might buy one with a 2" high shackle assuming it's "the one they mean," but let me spoil the surprise: it's not. It's too thick. Any reasonable secure lock is too thick. We finally found one that worked at Target; it's basically an oversized luggage lock. At the end of the day, the trailer ITSELF is locked with a beast of a lock that only the driver can open, and I trust ABF, so I'm not too concerned, but I still wish they'd allow a heavier gauge.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,000 mi
    Cost $2,695
    Per. Mile $1.35
    SqFt. Moved 1,000

  •   Indio, CA

    4/26/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

      Indio, CA

    4/26/2017

    - Freight Trailer Review

    Rating:

    0 1 2 3 4 5

    I used an ABF UPack 28ft trailer to move from California to Georgia. Everyone is very professional at UPack and answered all of my questions and concerns. I was given an easy to follow schedule for delivery and pickup of the trailer. I was able to fit all my personal items onto the trailer with ease. Using ABF UPack Trailer was definitely the best option for me, I got the space I needed for a very fair price. I would definitely recommend UPack and use them again.

    Move Details

    Distance 2,500 mi
    Cost $6,000
    Per. Mile $2.40
    SqFt. Moved 2,500

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