While full service moving has a number of indisputable advantages – great speed and efficiency, maximum safety, proper insurance, no strenuous efforts on your part, etc. – it may not always be your best option when moving house. You may have only a few large household items to relocate, a lot of people to help you organize, pack, and unpack your belongings, plenty of time to plan your relocation, little money to spare on moving services, etc. Under such circumstances, you will be probably looking for another cheaper and more flexible moving option. Freight service offers such an affordable and trustworthy alternative for shipping your household goods across the country.
Freight moving services
In case you don’t need full service moving and don’t want to risk a DIY move, you can use freight service to ship your household items and personal belongings to your new home. Have in mind, though, that freight moving companies will only transport your goods from the original location to your final destination – it will be your responsibility to pack your possessions, load them onto the moving truck, and unload the shipment upon delivery. You can request packing, loading, unloading, or inside pickup and delivery from your chosen freight movers, of course, but you will be charged an additional fee for the extra services. However, if you take care of all the manual labor yourself, you will only pay the costs for the actual transportation of your items (which automatically makes freight moving your cheapest relocation option). As an added benefit, you will not have to worry about rogue movers and fraudulent extortion schemes, as there is absolutely no risk of falling victim to moving scams when using freight moving services.
Types of freight services
A number of freight moving companies provide residential moving services from and to any point within the United States, as well as shipping to any international destination. You can choose from two types of freight service, depending on the size of your shipment:
- FTL freight – If you are moving the contents of a large household that require a full 48- or 53-foot trailer, you need FTL (Full Truckload) shipping. The freight moving company will drop off a trailer at your home about 24-48 hours before the move, so that you can arrange and secure your belongings inside. At the agreed time, the trailer will be picked up and delivered to your new home;
- LTL freight – If you are going to relocate only a few large items that won’t fill up an entire trailer, you need LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipping. In this case, the freight movers will consolidate your shipment with other people’s goods. The truck will have to make several stops to pick up and deliver the shipments of several different customers, so you will have to wait longer for your items to be delivered.
When using LTL freight services, you won’t have plenty of time to load your goods in the trailer. Therefore, it may be a good idea to get assistance in this laborious task, even if you have to pay a little extra for the additional service (the cost of an LTL shipment is quite low, so this shouldn’t be a big financial burden for you). Most LTL freight movers will unload your goods without an added fee, but will only bring them to your doorstep – it will be up to you to take your items inside your new home and unpack them.
What to know when using freight shipping services to move house
Even though freight shipping is a very convenient and cost-effective moving solution, it accounts for quite a different relocation experience, as compared to using regular moving services. There are certain specific aspects of freight moving you should be aware of:
Freight shipping rates
If you are considering freight services for your residential move, make sure you get quotes for both less-than-truckload and truckload shipping. Even if your shipment does not require an entire trailer, FTL shipping is safer and much more convenient. Besides, under certain circumstances, it may cost you just the same as LTL shipping. The actual freight shipping costs depend on:
- the distance to your final destination;
- the weight and density of your shipment;
- your items’ value and susceptibility to damage;
- the complexity of the job (handling ease).
The freight movers will need this information in order to determine your shipment’s freight classification and provide you with a freight quote. A rate table based on the actual distance traveled and the freight class of your shipment defines the final price of your freight move.
SEE ALSO: How to estimate the cost of moving
Packing for freight shipping
When shipping your household goods by freight, you need to confirm to certain packing standards – you will not only have to shrink-wrap everything, but will be probably required to crate or palletize your shipment as well. Make sure you use quality packing materials and don’t forget to clearly label the boxes with your name and the address of your new home, especially for an LTL shipment (otherwise, you risk your goods getting mixed up with another shipment). It is also a good idea to use colored shrink wrap, so that you can easily identify your items and know for sure if someone has been in your stuff (if something happens, the freight movers will replace the damaged shrink wrap with theirs, which is usually clear).
Bonus tip: Avoid shipping fragile or delicate items, as well as items of very high monetary or sentimental value, by freight because of the higher risk of damage to your belongings during transportation (freight movers specialize in shipping commercial goods, so they don’t have the specialized equipment and the extensive experience of professional residential movers).
Remember that it is your responsibility to load your items into the trailer and secure them properly when shipping household goods by FTL freight:
- Line the bottom of the trailer with blankets for extra protection against vibrations and shocks during the transportation;
- Put large household appliances and heavy furniture against the walls of the trailer;
- Arrange the moving boxes carefully, placing lighter ones on top of heavier ones;
- Provide sufficient cushioning between the items in the trailer with the help of moving blankets, large pieces of corrugated cardboard, etc.
Have in mind that the freight moving company may not provide a loading ramp when it delivers the trailer. In this case, you will have to rent one in order to ensure an easier and safer loading process.
Your chosen freight moving company will provide basic coverage for your goods, but it will be only $.10 per pound. Therefore, it is highly recommendable to purchase additional moving insurance for your items in order to ensure your peace of mind and provide the best possible protection for your belongings.
Remember to inspect your items carefully before signing the proof of delivery. If something is broken or missing but you don’t notice it until after you sign, you cannot hold the freight moving company liable for your loss.
Expect a large delivery window (up to 8 hours) when using freight moving services for your relocation and plan accordingly in order to be able to receive your shipment without any troubles.
One final piece of advice: When discussing the details of your move with your chosen freight shipping company, make sure you know exactly what services are included in their offer, as well as the costs for any additional service, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises down the road.