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
(4.47 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 $3,046 avg. $2,891 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

Christian E
Chicago, IL
Wrote a review on 5/17/2019
Estes SureMove Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

I chose this company due to them having the lowest quote of any service. There are definitely add-on costs beyond the quote that might make them more comparable. I would use this service again. Some confusion over the Live Load and arrival time is why I only give 4 stars.

Distance: 800 mi
Cost: $1,300
Per. Mile: $1.63
SqFt. Moved: 600
Ben B
Santa Fe, NM
Wrote a review on 1/7/2019
ABF U-pack Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Excellent and courteous service and reasonable pricing. Made our move smooth by allowing for storage (with out need to offload trailer) at our destination while we found a place to stay. Will definitely use again.

Distance: 450 mi
Cost: $1,300
Per. Mile: $2.89
SqFt. Moved: 2,500
Ernie K
Saint Helens, OR
Wrote a review on 11/26/2018
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Very courteous and helpful. They replaced the trailer when I complained of difficulty with the door. And were spot on time with trailer delivery. Chose them because of a previous good experience,

Distance: 3,000 mi
Cost: $3,500
Per. Mile: $1.17
SqFt. Moved: 1,000
Shelly T
Afton, TN
Wrote a review on 11/19/2018
ABF U-pack Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Great option, lower cost than hiring a moving company to move you long distance. Just be prepared to be without your times for about 5 days. It worked well for us! Great communication and easy online portal, I changed my move date several times!

Distance: 900 mi
Cost: $1,700
Per. Mile: $1.89
SqFt. Moved: 2,200
Dave K
Los Angeles, CA
Wrote a review on 7/22/2018
ABF U-pack Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Some advice: 1) Get quotes from many freight-shipping companies and use those quotes to negotiate your final price. 2) Be sure to pack your stuff really well; the trailers are very tall so the stuff on the bottom has a lot of weight on it. 3) Use ratchet straps to secure your stuff; they're very valuable to keep all your stacked-up stuff from collapsing. 4) Get a long shackle padlock to lock the truck.

Distance: 2,000 mi
Cost: $3,500
Per. Mile: $1.75
SqFt. Moved: 1,700
Angela T
Magnolia, TX
Wrote a review on 6/29/2018
ABF U-pack Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Containers were they most economical method of transporting my items. Looked into trailers and PODS. They containers are a bit small and I required two, but my items were fine. They were banged up on the outside, but I inspected them thoroughly on the inside and didn't see any holes. Any damage that was done was due to the loaders not properly packing the containers and my items being tossed about the container and bumping into each other (as was evident by the disheveled condition of the container when the doors were opened). I would definitely ship using this method again for the distance. I also did a guaranteed delivery date since I needed my items by a certain date. This was also much cheaper than their competitors, but I really probably could have done without it since they were slated to arrive before I needed them. I just wanted to cover any events happening that would possibly delay delivery without a guaranteed date.

Distance: 1,469 mi
Cost: $3,079
Per. Mile: $2.10
SqFt. Moved: 888
Pamela C
Charlotte, NC
Wrote a review on 9/25/2016
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Drop off, pick up, delivery of the trailer and goods went incredibly smooth. Don't under estimate how much you can truly fit into a 28 foot trailer. We fit everything from our home and had a few feet to spare!

Distance: 650 mi
Cost: $1,400
Per. Mile: $2.15
SqFt. Moved: 1,875
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
Jerry S
Snyder, TX
Wrote a review on 4/29/2016
Estes SureMove Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Have used ESTES. They do exactly as they say. They are prompt, courteous, and professional and not just on time but ahead of schedule. I have used them before and would HIGHLY RECOMMEND THEM.

Distance: 1,350 mi
Cost: $3,000
Per. Mile: $2.22
SqFt. Moved: 1,600
Tom D
Granby, CT
Wrote a review on 7/25/2015
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Great company with great service. From the girls at the main office to the local warehouse where I stored my belongings on a trailer for 2 months, to the drivers that I dealt with, overall it was an excellent experience. And for a out of state or cross country move I highly recommend using OD along with local loading and unloading companies through Hire A Helper as a less expensive alternative to hiring one moving company for the whole job. OD provided the trailer and drove it to it's destination. They also stored my items on the trailer at a local warehouse near my new home for 2 months for a very reasonable price. The local moving companies did the loading and unloading on either end. So you're paying 3 different companies for their services- but I believe in the end you're getting better service for less money.

Distance: 1,000 mi
Cost: $2,700
Per. Mile: $2.70
SqFt. Moved: 2,500
Joseph D
La Jolla, CA
Wrote a review on 9/11/2014
Estes SureMove Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Esta sure move was very economical and got all my stuff they're in great condition. Couldn't be happier about the price I paid, the service, and how quickly and promptly my items arrived cross country.

Distance: 2,500 mi
Cost: $1,100
Per. Mile: $0.44
SqFt. Moved: 750

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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