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 Moving Company Price & Review Comparison

Freight trailer moving is primarily for long distance moving. Price depends on the distance you're moving and the amount of stuff you have, but generally you will find the price to be about $2,000 with a range of $1,500 to $3,000

Companies ABF U-Pack Logo Logo Old Dominion Logo Logo Estes SureMove Logo Logo
Reviews
(4.46 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.57 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.44 out of 5)
Read Reviews
Local Moves $1,100 avg. $1,200 avg. $2,000 avg.
Medium Distance $1,679 avg. $1,175 avg. $1,600 avg.
Long Distance $3,037 avg. $2,890 avg. $2,346 avg.
Truck Sizes 28-foot trailer 28-foot trailer 28-foot trailer
Locations 250+ 225+ 200+
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What other stuff do I need to buy?

You can expect to pay about $2,000 or more to rent space in a freight trailer for a long-distance move. Local moves are estimated to cost about $1,500 or so, but they are not recommended and some freight trailer companies won't even provide the service. Staying on budget means controlling the size of your haul.

The price includes:

  • Linear feet your stuff takes up in the trailer
  • Mileage
  • Gas
  • Tolls
  • Driver
  • Ramp
  • Partition

Freight Trailer Companies

Freight trucking companies - you know, those giant semi-trucks on the highway that say "ABF uPack" and "Estes" on the side - can actually be used for your Hybrid™ Move!

Many of them allow you to rent out space by the foot inside their freight trailers. After which, a professional driver hauls your stuff to your new destination while they're on their route. The freight moving companies rent out any remaining space to other customers whose goods, or "freight", will keep yours company. (Don't worry, your stuff is kept safe behind dividers, so it won't get cooties.)

While getting a price for a local move is possible, the representatives at the companies themselves don't usually recommend it. In fact, these are not "moving companies", per se, but experts who haul goods across state borders.

To get an idea how much a freight trailer might cost for your move, fill out the form for a free estimate.

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ABF U-Pack®

ABF U-Pack ® is the distinct leader in the freight trailer 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. Discounts are often available, which is nice! But you have to be careful about accidentally going over budget, which is easy to do. 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 website is replete with interactive tools to make your move easier and the after-the-move, free housewarming party e-vites are 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 info, visit the U-Pack Moving101 profile page.

Pro

  • Great pricing with competitive rates across the board. Everything is delivered for you.

Con

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

OD Household Services®

Old Dominion has a reputation as a legacy line of freight trailers, so some may still be getting used to the fact that anyone can just rent a space inside their trucks for a personal move. If you're going to drive across the country anyway, why not make a service out of it?

In a nutshell, pay for only the exact amount of space you actually use on their truck, then a professional driver hauls it away for you.

However, if you choose Old Dominion for your move, keep in mind the risks; Freight trailers are traditionally less secure than moving trucks, so damages are much more likely. Furthermore, Old Dominion offers no additional insurance to your own. And the cost of a freight trailer and the potential for lots of fees also makes them a non-choice for local moves. But if you're the target demographic and you're willing to shoulder the risks, their online tool makes booking a spot on their trailers a cinch.

For more information, visit our Old Dominion profile page.

Pro

  • Pay only for the space you use. Easy to make online appointments. Everything is delivered for you.

Con

  • Local moves technically possible, but are not a good value. Extra fees add up quickly.

When should I reserve space in the trailer?

As with any moving service, you should reserve space as soon as possible. However, you are not as subject to the seasonal busy seasons of traditional moving services, such as with truck rentals or moving containers. You might be able to find more last-minute options, even during the summer.

Estes SureMove®

SureMove comes from the parent company Estes Express Lines®, the veteran freight trailer company of over 80 years. They now allow their 22 foot trucks for personal moves, which can be rented out in partitions. Pay only for the space you use inside their truck, and they'll wall it off from the rest. You get three days to load it, then someone from Estes comes and drives it to your destination for you to unload yourself.

As per usual, freight trailer moving comes with its own set of pros and cons, including lots of space and great long distance value, but too high of a cost for local moves and a higher than average risk to your items, albeit with some customizable insurance options that you can purchase for an additional cost.

Reservations can take awhile, so prepare in advance. Estes operates in 49 states (sorry, Hawaii) and are best contacted at their website.

For more info, visit the SureMove Moving101 profile page.

Pro

  • Straightforward pricing with a great Full Service-like value. Pay only for the space you use on the truck.

Con

  • Impractical for local moves. Takes at least a week upon reservation to hear back from a representative.

Freight Space Size Guide

600 sq. ft. or less

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.

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.

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.

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

Is Space in a Freight Trailer Right for Your Move?

Local Moves

Pro

  • N/A

Con

  • Freight trailers are typically not available for local moves

You might be able to convince a freight trailer company to provide you with an estimate for a local move, but it is not recommended. The strength of these companies is their ability to haul lots of stuff a long distance. Try moving containers or moving trucks instead.

Long-Distance Moves

Pros

  • A great cost-comparison alternative to Full Service Movers
  • Easier to book, demand-wise
  • Your items are in the hands of professional drivers

Cons

  • Statistically the most likely moving option to damage your items
  • Not as consumer-friendly booking as other moving options
  • Insurance is far trickier and not often available

Freight trailer companies have years of experience moving even delicate items to places far away. They can be a super cost-effective alternative to Full Service movers.

Their brands are well known, which is different from some of the fly-by-night moving companies you may encounter. Professionals do the driving, and you just have to worry about packing and loading and unloading the truck, usually with a three day window at both ends.

Versus Other Moving Options

Pros

  • Can potentially discover a better deal by comparison shopping
  • Often more flexible loading and unloading windows compared to moving trucks
  • Professional does the driving

Cons

  • Statistically more likely to have your stuff damaged
  • Not as easy to schedule
  • Less frequently a good value, unless compared to Full Service Movers

Renting space in a freight trailer for your long distance move is still a relatively novel idea. Some people are unaware this is even an option! The more traditional routes include:

  • Rental truck companies
  • Moving containers
  • Full Service moving companies

Also, 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, such as ammunition and dynamite. But I didn't realize that I could be breaking the rules if I packed up my nail polish, cleaning fluids, or charcoal briquettes.

Insurance

In general, freight trailer companies put the responsibility for your stuff on your shoulders. Your best bet is to find out whether you can add "moving floaters" or "riders" to your homeowners or rental insurance policies. Also, check with the freight trailer company to see what kind of coverage it provides, as some do allow customers to purchase additional coverage.

Paired With Movers

Pros

  • Movers' experience very helpful for packing a freight trailer
  • Easier to schedule movers around more flexible loading and unloading windows
  • Makes moving much less stressful - nice!

Cons

  • Increases the price on a potentially costly move option
  • Any mover insurance purchased not usually applicable to items when in-transit
  • Subject to local availability

The best news about renting space in a freight trailer is the ease with which you can hack a Full Service move. Someone else is already doing the driving. If you hire professional movers to help with the packing and/or loading and unloading of the truck, you have basically paid for a Full Service move without breaking the bank.

Are There Any Downsides with Freight Trailers?

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. That's obviously better than a rental truck, but not nearly as good as the month you get with most moving container companies.

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 doesn't sound as definite as it should be when you're doling out more cash. Storage is sometimes possible, but that's not a specialty of theirs, either.

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. (This isn't unlike moving containers, but freight containers can be way bigger!)

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. Also, big cities like New York City require a live load/unload, which means that the location does not permit overnight parking of the trailer. Keep in mind that you'll have to pay any parking violations incurred.

Freight trailers are statistically far more likely to incur damages to your things, compared to rental trucks or moving containers. For this reason, insuring your freight trailer move might be pricier.

Beware the gypsy moth. It's 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 California otherwise, so listen to the freight companies and free yourself of the gypsies!

Recent Freight Moving Company Customer Reviews

Mimi W
Tucson, AZ
Wrote a review on 11/15/2019
ABF U-pack Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

The container arrived at the loading end very dirty. The floor was covered with blue slimy liquid and absorbent gravel that had been thrown on it to try and remedy it. Two of us spent 2 hours mopping and chiselling it out before we could load. The dispatcher for ABF threatened to cancel the delivery when we complained which compounded the stress of the situation. UPack did reimburse us $100 for our trouble but we would have preferred to have had a clean trailer upon delivery. Other than that the move was fine and it arrived earlier than expected with no other problems.

Distance: 1,300 mi
Cost: $2,200
Per. Mile: $1.69
SqFt. Moved: 1,482
Michael K
Supply, NC
Wrote a review on 7/8/2019
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

If you are looking for a very cost effective alternative to a full service moving company, I recommend Old Dominion. You have 3 days to load, and 3 days to unload. Pick up and drop off of the trailers are scheduled beforehand and they were easy to work with to arrange the best times for me. Cost was very reasonable. I hired help on the front and back end to get it all loaded and unloaded.

Distance: 1,000 mi
Cost: $2,800
Per. Mile: $2.80
SqFt. Moved: 3,000
Kelly S
Fairburn, GA
Wrote a review on 7/4/2019
Estes SureMove Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Have the right expectations and you'll have a good experience. Maybe not an excellent one, but a good, cost saving experience. The people on the phones at Estes (all but one...) are incredibly friendly and helpful. Some things seem to get lost on the logistics side. You have three full days to load and unload your trailers. DO NOT try to plan moving help on the delivery days!!! DO NOT put money on getting your trailer within the delivery window they tell you. If you know this going in, your life will be happier. Some terminals are better than others. Apparently, Harrisburg, PA has some issues. We were supposed to have a trailer "swap" one day (take the full, bring an empty), but the driver didn't even know about it. When I called, they didn't even have one scheduled to bring. They did get it out that night, but we had lost that day of packing (because I planned on packing on trailer delivery day... don't do that!). I believe ESTES' main business is freight hauling. The drivers aren't all familiar with the "Sure Move" side of things. They just drop and pick up trailers. You might get wrong information from some folks. You've got to roll with it. We had 3 quotes from moving companies that were $17,000-20,000 to move our 3000 sq (packed) household, garage, and shed. It cost us just over $3000 for two full 28' ESTES trailers (included trailer swap fee). We used hire-a-helper and spent another $1000 on both ends for man power. Big bonus with Sure Move is that storage is available! We had a rather unexpected move and did not have a house yet. We were able to keep our things in storage for up to 90 days. It's a max of $500/mo. per trailer. Considering the cost of storage units, that's VERY reasonable... and you don't have to unload your stuff, then load it up again!

Distance: 800 mi
Cost: $3,100
Per. Mile: $3.88
SqFt. Moved: 3,000
Kimberly W
Batavia, IL
Wrote a review on 6/13/2019
ABF U-pack Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

quickly got us a 2nd truck when we needed it. Didn't know we had to pay to get a 2 hour guaranteed window. did end up paying the extra $50 so we could coordinate the 2 containers with movers. both containers can't be delivered on the same day

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $3,000
Per. Mile: $1.00
SqFt. Moved: 4,000
Lynn N
Loveland, CO
Wrote a review on 5/21/2019
ABF U-pack Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Knew what they were doing, no problems with transfer. Only issue is a few things got wet in the front of the trailer, luckily only some magazines were ruined. We had stored it in Colorado in the trailer for 2 months from Feb to late April.

Distance: 2,000 mi
Cost: $4,500
Per. Mile: $2.25
SqFt. Moved: 1,800
Chuck H
Troy, NY
Wrote a review on 1/21/2019
Estes SureMove Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Delivered on-time as agreed to, and actually picked up trailers earlier than expected sp they were not lingering around. Drivers were amazing and everyone very professional.

Distance: 700 mi
Cost: $3,000
Per. Mile: $4.29
SqFt. Moved: 3,200
Shelly P
Conway, SC
Wrote a review on 10/10/2018
Old Dominion Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Great option for a long distance move without spending an arm and a leg! We set up our move through U-pack movers. They dropped the trailer off and we had 3 days to pack it. We only paid for as much of the trailer as we used. I called when it was full and they picked it up and shipped it to our new place. We called to schedule drop off and then had up to 3 days again to be able to unpack. Call one last time to schedule pick up. Important information- make sure you have space for the trailer or storage pod to be able to sit for 3 days.

Distance: 600 mi
Cost: $2,500
Per. Mile: $4.17
SqFt. Moved: 2,000
Richard C
Navarre, FL
Wrote a review on 7/21/2018
ABF U-pack Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Everything made it through pretty much OK. The packers on the pick up side could have loaded better (just a couple things dinged up) but that was the packers and not ABF. ABF gets a A from us.

Distance: 850 mi
Cost: $2,300
Per. Mile: $2.71
SqFt. Moved: 2,000
Linda G
East Greenbush, NY
Wrote a review on 10/30/2017
Estes SureMove Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

All went as expected with this company with the exception of not including a hand truck or dolly as promised. They were extremely punctual every time!

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $4,000
Per. Mile: $3.33
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Candace B
Fuquay Varina, NC
Wrote a review on 8/18/2017
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Using a 28 foot trailer from Old Dominion worked out beautifully. They were wonderful with booking, drop off and pick up. We chose them on the recommendation of our movers. In their trailers you have the capability of building a shelf with plywood that gives you more room and enables things to be packed more tightly. I would definitely recommend them.

Distance: 650 mi
Cost: $2,100
Per. Mile: $3.23
SqFt. Moved: 1,900
Scott C
Seattle, WA
Wrote a review on 7/19/2016
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

OD was great. We did a live load in Brooklyn and our stuff made it to Seattle faster than we could have expected. We were still driving through the Midwest when it made it to the west coast. They were very accommodating and dropped off our trailer when we arrived almost a week later. I would recommend them for a cross country move. And they were affordable.

Distance: 3,300 mi
Cost: $4,300
Per. Mile: $1.30
SqFt. Moved: 1,100
Ben M
Little Elm, TX
Wrote a review on 8/31/2015
Estes SureMove Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Good service, easy to get in touch with a real human person. Their rate is a little higher than U-Pack, but their storage fees are MUCH cheaper. Good if you have a gap between homes. The drivers were both polite and helpful.

Distance: 750 mi
Cost: $2,700
Per. Mile: $3.60
SqFt. Moved: 2,000

U-Pack® is the registered trademark of Moving Solutions, Inc. U-Pack® is a registered trademark of ABF, Freight System, Inc.

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