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
(4.45 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.54 out of 5)
Read Reviews
(4.43 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 $3,063 avg. $2,902 avg. $2,484 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

Ryan S
Chesterfield, MO
Wrote a review on 7/1/2020
ABF U-pack Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

I was very happy with my U-Pack experience. They dropped off / picked up exactly according to plan and the drivers were all very friendly. Nothing was damaged during transportation.

Distance: 850 mi
Cost: $2,440
Per. Mile: $2.87
SqFt. Moved: 1,800
Michael W
Encinitas, CA
Wrote a review on 6/9/2020
ABF U-pack Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

On-time delivery and pick up. Trailer was clean and in perfect condition. Drivers dropped the trailer exactly where we wanted, helped deploy the ramp. Drivers were very courteous and helpful. Would Highly recommend and use again if the situation comes up.

Distance: 1,000 mi
Cost: $6,500
Per. Mile: $6.50
SqFt. Moved: 2,000
Kenneth G
Litchfield, NH
Wrote a review on 12/7/2019
ABF U-pack Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

I think they're very good although I had some property which ended up being damaged. This may or not been cause by the trailer going over potholes, bumps, railroad tracks, ect.; however, the damages may have been the direct result of poor and reckless loading practices by the loaders of the company I hired to load the trailer.

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $3,900
Per. Mile: $3.25
SqFt. Moved: 1,600
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
Peri M
Las Vegas, NV
Wrote a review on 8/12/2019
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

First time using this company and was very pleased with them, they brought the truck when they said they would, they picked it up when they said they would and they sent another truck to pick up the dolly and the ramp since it would not fit in the truck. All with a smile on their face. Good communication and able to call which any questions. Very happy with this company

Distance: 2,000 mi
Cost: $4,100
Per. Mile: $2.05
SqFt. Moved: 3,000
Barbara B
Cape Coral, FL
Wrote a review on 7/10/2019
Estes SureMove Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Truck drop off and pick up was great. Our packers did not know how to put the ramp back and the driver was wonderful securing the load and putting the ramp up. He was so nice.

Distance: 1,400 mi
Cost: $1,300
Per. Mile: $0.93
SqFt. Moved: 1,700
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
Phil O
Brooklyn, NY
Wrote a review on 8/2/2018
Old Dominion Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Old dominion was communicative and delivered the truck on time. Finding a parking space was hard but if you have them come out on a street cleaning day its much easier.

Distance: 1,200 mi
Cost: $2,000
Per. Mile: $1.67
SqFt. Moved: 600
Cheryl H
Scottsdale, AZ
Wrote a review on 9/26/2017
Estes SureMove Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Estes was an hour late at original location, but was early at the destination. Time of transport from St. Louis to Phoenix was appropriate. The truck could have been cleaner. The drivers were polite. Using a freight trailor worked great for what we transported. It was a small load with mainly boxes. Some advice for customers with larger loads and delicate items is to have it professionally loaded as items will shift during transport more so that a professional moving company. We booked thru Move America, with Lauren. Everything went well. Lauren was great to work with. Accommodating our every need.

Distance: 1,500 mi
Cost: $1,100
Per. Mile: $0.73
SqFt. Moved: 300
John Z
Leander, TX
Wrote a review on 6/28/2017
Old Dominion Review
(4 out of 5 rating)

Second time using Old Dominion Trailers for a move. They are convenient for long distance moves. The OD staff keeps in good contact with you regarding when your trailer is to be delivered and is available at the destination.

Distance: 1,500 mi
Cost: $5,000
Per. Mile: $3.33
SqFt. Moved: 2,000
Robert B
Martinsville, VA
Wrote a review on 4/23/2017
Estes SureMove Review
(5 out of 5 rating)

Have used Estes before and found them very easy to work with. price and personal are excellent, the drivers are great. .Bob Brady , Virginia

Distance: 225 mi
Cost: $2,000
Per. Mile: $8.89
SqFt. Moved: 1,500
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

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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