What is a moving company shuttle fee?

Quick Answer: When a moving company’s large tractor trailer can’t reach a customer’s house, the mover will use a smaller shuttle truck. The “Shuttle Fee” can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars depending on the size of the move.

Guess what? No one likes shuttles.

Moving companies don’t like shuttling furniture. It’s a lot of extra work.

Customers often feel moving companies are ripping them off with the added shuttle fee.

But shuttles are sometimes unavoidable when moving long distances. So it’s important to understand when a shuttle truck might be needed and how much a shuttle will cost.

moving shuttle truck country road

What is a moving shuttle truck?

For interstate moves, most moving companies are going to use a big ole 53′ tractor trailer to haul your furniture.

Now, depending on where you live, a mover can’t always pull the big truck up to your front door.

In that case, they’ll need to go rent a smaller truck to make the final delivery.

For the mover, this is a lot of extra work and for you, it means additional costs.

How much do shuttles cost?

Regardless of the type of moving estimate you’ve received, shuttle fees can increase your final cost.

Moving shuttle fees can run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. It really just depends on how big your move is.

Moving companies typically charge anywhere from $0.08 to $0.12 per pound with a minimum fee of around $200.

This means if your move is 10,000 lbs (typical 2-3 bedroom home) you could be looking at an additional $1,000 added to your total cost.

And if you need a shuttle at both your origin and destination location, you can multiply that fee by two.

Yeah, not fun.

However, just because you need a shuttle doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have to pay the fee.

Many companies don’t charge if you need a shuttle truck at the pickup location. Almost all companies will charge a fee if a shuttle is required at the destination delivery address.

Also, in major cities like New York or Chicago, where streets are tight, shuttles are always required and already built into every quote.

Some moving companies also pool money together to help cover the costs of shuttles to avoid charging customers additional fees.

Be sure to always ask your mover about the possibility of a shuttle and the associated costs.

Why is there a fee?

Like we said, movers hate shuttles.

It’s a lot of extra work and it’s basically a breakeven deal for them.

Don’t believe me?

Consider all the costs involved in providing a shuttle.

  • Cost to rent a small truck
  • Extra labor costs. Shuttling means you have to move everything twice.
  • Increased risk of damage due to double handling
  • Extra time needed to load the shuttle

Customers often think the mover is trying to pull a fast one on them with the shuttle fee.

This is almost never the case.

If a mover wants to be shady, there are far easier ways to charge you more money than a shuttle.

How do moving companies know if a shuttle is necessary?

Moving companies will sometimes send a representative out to see if a shuttle is needed.

moving company shuttle truck

Movers will also use resources like Google Street View to check out the roads and see if a tractor-trailer can fit.

If the truck can’t pull up within a reasonable distance, usually around 150-200 feet walking distance to the front door, then a shuttle will likely be needed.

Some typical scenarios where a shuttle is required include:

  • Streets with tight turns
  • Steep hills or inclines
  • Unpaved roads
  • Streets with difficult or little parking
  • Street with low power lines or tree limbs
  • Tight turns or corners

What if I don’t have a destination address yet?

Don’t know the exact address you’re moving to yet?

That’s actually a fairly common scenario.

And there’s no way for a mover to determine whether or not a shuttle will be required without an exact address.

The best thing to do in these situations is to get the destination shuttle quote beforehand.

This way you know exactly what you might have to pay if the scenario arises.

Most movers will offer up this information anyway, but be sure to ask for the pricing if they don’t.

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