Category Archives: Long Distance Moving

Moving Out of State — What is a Shuttle Fee and Will I Be Charged?

What is a Shuttle Fee and Will I Be Charged During my Out of State Move?

Shuttle fees – one of the biggest moving scams in the world – can cost owners hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Most of the time shuttle fees are completely made up and unneeded and the most expensive of all of the “additional charges” moving companies and van lines can hit you with.

What is a shuttle fee?

A shuttle fee is a fee that a long distance moving company or van line will charge to put your shipment on a smaller truck to take it to a larger tractor trailer.  It is usually an hourly rate ( expect approximately $150/hour).  A normal three bedroom will take 6 hours or so.  Out of state movers and van lines will charge these fees if:

  • they think your residence is too far to walk from
  • they cannot park on your road or in your city
  • bad weather
  •  they are scamming you into paying more money – this is legal
  • narrow/unpaved roads
  • sharp turns
  • steep driveway or roads
  • overhead power lines
shuttle fee
What is a shuttle fee?

Here is a typical shuttle scenario involving a van line:

At the pick-up address, the driver will park his truck as close to the pickup address somewhere nearby.  A van line will hire a local origin agent to move the shipment with a  smaller truck and a two man crew to help load the items out of the origin residence onto the smaller truck at an insane rate around $150/hour. The smaller truck will than transport the goods to the over the road van. The driver and his crew of the over the road van will than transfer the household goods from the smaller truck to the over the road van. Depending upon the size of the shipment, this process could take several trips with the small truck. At destination, the process is reversed if there is a need for a shuttle.  Make no doubt about it, van lines want to charge shuttle fees because they make 20-30% off of each of these moves.

This is an opportune time for an out of state moving company or van line to increase their fees for your move.  These days there are private out of state movers that use smaller trucks for efficiency and you will never have to worry last minute that you will be charged a shuttle fee. Please note – even if you have a moving estimate, shuttle fees aren’t known until the driver actually arrives.  Check your paperwork, shuttle fees are legal to charge anytime!

Shuttle Fees for Out of State Moves – Be Aware

Most movers have impractical operation (or shuttle) provisions in their tariff which allow them to legally apply additional equipment and manpower charges to your bill of lading.

Most of the time, your driver will assess the situation but he can charge the shuttle fee at any given point. Even if the charges are not included on the original cost estimate.  Your out of state mover cannot charge a customer for shuttle service if they didn’t use any other equipment or manpower to perform your move.

Cities That Have the Most Shuttle Fees

In these cities you will find movers will charge shuttle fees in most cases:

  •  Boston
  • New York City
  • Denver/Vail/many places in Colorado
  • San Francisco
  • Los Angeles
  • Washington, DC
  • Philadelphia
  • Arlington, VA
  • Providence, RI
  • Portland, ME
  • Austin, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Atlanta, GA

Many smaller, walkable cities like Boston and NYC have laws preventing tractor trailers in many areas.  In NYC,  tractor trailers are not even allowed in Manhattan. Your best bet is to hire long distance movers that won’t charge these unnecessary fees.