Tag Archives: out of state 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.

How To Save Time and Money on an Interstate Move


Everyone likes to save money on moving – everybody.  Saving $20-$30 on a local in-state move is great but this how to guide could save you thousands on an interstate move – and hopefully many hours  as well. First off, this guide is for interstate ( or out-of-state) moves only.

Interstate Moving
Interstate Moving

Saving Money on Your Interstate Move


Saving Money on Packing for Your Interstate Move

  1. When you are moving state-to-state, your shipment is priced by the pound.  So, essentially you should find out how much “per pound” your shipment will cost.  Here are a few averages:

Movers Boston to FL or FL to MA $.75 per pound

Movers Boston to DC or DC to MA $.50 pp

Movers NYC to CA or CA to NYC $1.30 pp

Movers CT to FL or FL to CT $.70pp

Movers MA to TX or TX to MA $1.10pp

Now Having a slight idea of how interstate movers charge – you can go through all of your stuff and determine if  it’s worth keeping.  For example, if you have a statue that is 100 lbs it will cost about $100 to move from MA to IL.  Is the statue worth it?

2. Unless your interstate move is last minute, you should have a yard sale or donate everything you are not taking.  Use Craigslist for furniture.  Unless you have actual junk, there is no need to pay for a removal company to pick up your furniture, etc.  Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity will do this for free in most areas.  If you do have trash while moving, I suggest picking up a trash bag at Home Depot – they are like mini dumpsters that you can keep at your house until you call to get it picked up.

3.  If you don’t want to pack everything on your own, I will have to suggest hiring movers to pack ONLY the breakables.  Hiring an interstate mover that will pack by hour+materials is highly suggested over one that pays per box.  It will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Saving Money on Interstate Movers

When most people are starting their interstate moving company search – they likely go online and start filling out quote forms.  Most quote forms will be sent to as many as 10 moving companies who will compete for your move.  You will be inundated with hundreds of calls, emails, etc from movers offering prices.  I suggest staying away from these sites as the movers involved are not the best choice for saving time and money.  Here’s what you need to know:

  1. You need to find out what your shipment will weigh.  Here is a moving calculator that will do that for you.  It is really important to be as detailed as possible when you are filling this out to get an accurate weight
  2. Next, you will need to compare moving services.  If you want to save money in hotels, extra fees, damage etc on your move, you need to find a private moving company that will guarantee delivery and pick-up dates – also one that provides flat rates.
  3. Make sure your interstate movers offer full replacement coverage.
  4.  Your interstate movers should definitely give you a delivery day – staying in a hotel while you wait for your movers is likely to drive you crazy and can rack up your bills during your interstate move.


Saving Time On Your Interstate Move

  1.  Having a guide to help you compare movers is a great way to save time.  This list has a few quick but important questions for you to ask to swiftly eliminate poor interstate movers.
  2. Having movers pack your breakables will save a lot of time.  It usually takes a crew of 2 less than 2 hours to pack a large kitchen.
  3. Finding efficient movers that can have your shipment at its destination in a timely manner is key.  Nobody wants to be living out of a hotel ( or worse a family’s house) while waiting for furniture to arrive.
  4. Check your interstate moving company reviews!  If there are reviews of people having to wait for their shipment – it’s not a good hire.
  5. Label boxes.  The last thing you want to do when you arrive in your new state is search through boxes to find something you need.
  6. Make a necessity bin – TP, towels, paper towels, cleaning supplies, blanket, etc. so you can access these items immediately upon your move in.