The Cheap Alternative To Uhaul: Freight Shipping!

Instead of dealing with the possibility of Uhaul’s messed up reservations and callous customer service, not to mention their high price for long-hauls, embrace the power of freight truck shipping.

We don’t have the numbers, but especially if you’re moving to another state, it’s much cheaper to use a freight truck shipping service. We used Roadway to move from Colorado to New York and it was great and, being car-less, mad less expensive than any other option. They send a van to pick up your packed boxes, take them to a depot, load them on a pallet, and stick em in a big truck.

Getting your body there is another story. If you don’t have a car, you can go ghetto Greyhound and hang out with recent parolees and child runaways, find a bargain airline ticket, or hook up on a Craigslist car-share type service. — BEN POPKEN

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Edit Your Comment

  1. fastm3driver says:

    I have used ABF several times with no complaints.

  2. xanadu1979 says:

    That sounds great for boxes, but what do you do about the furniture? Do you have to put your couch in a box?

  3. zero_o says:

    I have used ABF quite a few times as well, they cannot be beat (except maybe by roadway I don’t know) for price. The it is ABF UPACK, highly recommended, just make sure you pack your stuff good and tight, and don’t send anything real fragile without bubble wrap because they don’t necessarily use air ride freight containers.

  4. zero_o says:

    @xanadu1979: Upack will drop of a small semi trailer and you load it up and then put a retaining wall in and they fill the rest of the trailer up with commercial goods, or they drop off a “POD” like container that you fill up and then they pick that “POD” up and slip it into the back of a semi trailer

  5. myrall says:

    Speaking as the wife of a former truck line employee, employees are often offered major discounts should they need items/freight moved.

    Check around within your circle of friends to see if any buddies work for one of these companies. You could get your move done really cheaply – especially if you’re going ‘cross country! Look for companies that do LTL (less than load) if the shipment won’t fill a whole tractor trailer.

  6. Kornkob says:

    How much is ‘cheap’? I mean– there’s that Pod company— I think it’s a couple grand to get that pod moved from one side of the country to another.

  7. niccernicus says:

    Better yet, find someone with a freight shipping account, and enjoy their lovely discount.


    1,000# from Chicago to LA (Roadway)
    Normal person: $1350.00 (ish)
    My Acct: $350.00 (ish)

  8. markheddaeus says:

    Make sure you get quotes from the full service movers too (they pack, load and unpack everything). If the company has more trucks coming into your area than going out, they will often give you a really good deal.

    We moved from South Florida to North Carolina in March 2006 and the full service move from Mayflower was less than renting a U-haul and was competitive with ABF’s UPACK service.

    Although we didn’t use ABF, one of the perks was that, if you got the whole truck, they didn’t care what you put in, so you could ship a car if you wanted to, which makes the total cost less expensive than Mayflower (but it was worth the extra to have them pack and load everything!)

  9. zero_o says:

    The POD company was 3 times as expensive as Upack, I used one POD container, I didn’t have a whole lot of stuff, the equivalent of a 1 bedroom apartment. And i moved from Boca Raton, FL to Columbus, OH for $700.00 bucks. My friend used it coming down to Florida from Ohio and she used half a semi trailer (small trailer like the ones they use to run tandem) and she had a lot of stuff and it cost her like $1400.00 These moves with both in ’05

  10. eross says:

    Re: “If you don’t have a car, you can go ghetto Greyhound and hang out with recent parolees and child runaways.” I know it was an attempt at humor, but that’s a disgusting, elitist comment.

  11. Andrewjh says: works great for saving money on moving too. You can bid to take people’s stuff in your truck and get paid, or put up a request for bids on shipping items you need moved. I’m not explaining it well, but the site explains it better.
    My dad used it to offset the cost of a cross-country move, dropping things off for people along the way from Massachusetts to California.

  12. shaunirving says:

    UPack from ABF Freight is definitely the way to go. If you’re super-cheap they’ll even let you haul your stuff to their yard, pack it in an 18-wheeler trailer, then meet it and unpack it on the other side. Basically you get 5-6 feet worth of truck which you can pile as high as possible with your stuff. You then put up a bulkhead wall to hold it all in place. I moved a small apartment full of furniture and an insane amount of heavy lead type halfway across the country for about $800. You can pack the truck however you want (loose couches or box everything nicely) as long as you stay within your space.

    The downside is you basically have to pack and unload a moving truck three times. For an extra $400 they’ll bring the truck to you on both ends.

  13. WNW says:

    @eross: but accurate?

  14. Ben Popken says:

    @eross: Except for the fact that I rode the Greyhound from Denver to New York City. There was the conartist trying to operate on the other passengers. There was the guy at one stop pointing to some crime headlines about three perps involved in a robbery, with two aprehended and the second at large; he mentioned that he was the third guy. Then there was part of the last leg through Philly, shared with 30 freshly released parolees. It’s just the facts – greyhound is cheap and you don’t have to reveal your identity to get a ticket.

  15. pestie says:

    @eross: Someone’s vagina has sand in it today!

  16. joeblevins says:

    Honesty and Experience combine for a very un-pc world…

  17. eross says:


    Hearing your comment was experience-based, I can’t fault you.

    I’m hardly PC. I’ve traveled greyhoud a few times too. Most passengers were simply poor and smoked a lot, not obviously different in any other way.

  18. Ass_Cobra says:

    I’ve used ABF twice and it’s worked out well both times. I don’t agree with the advice of the poster who said you can pack it however you want. The Bulkhead is more of a divider than anything, it won’t hold back an avalanche of furniture and heavy objects sloshing around. And if your stuff knocks down the bulkhead, they ding you for having to reload and repack. Just remember to make sure you get all the permissions necessary before they drop off your trailer and make sure that you have adequate clearance to get it as close to your house as possible.

  19. Baronzemo says:

    eross, hell I ride Greyhound to hear the stories of the parolees and child runaways(you left out psychos-the gal we kicked off the bus in Willows. CA for licking the windshield while on the I-5 stands out, but the naked guy wrapped in the blanket laying a deuce in Portland’s Union Station drinking fountain came close)-but the best(saddest) ones are the wives, babymama’s riding cross-state for visiting day

  20. sub-culture says:

    I’m in the process of a SF -> NY move right now and will probably go with ABF as well, based on the research I’ve done.

    They’re competitive in price with Door-to-Door movers (who my friends used and were very happy with). NYC governance doesn’t allow leaving those boxes for ANY amount of time (In SF it’s $100 for a permit) so Door-to-Door will include movers in their quote to get stuff from your box into your residence (or vice versa). ABF will not help you, but, for me, the slightly bigger box and quicker travel time (about 1 week quicker at this time of year (rush move time)) was the better option.

    Full-service movers, I found, were slightly more expensive for the amount of stuff I have (studio apt), but they generally have a minimum weight policy. Also, I’m on a pretty tight timeline and the full-service movers I talked to will not guarantee a drop-off date for a small amount of stuff because you’re essentially sharing space in a semi with a bunch of other people. ABF and Door-to-Door both offer guaranteed delivery dates. PODS, another pod company, was priced way higher than the others.

    I found some decent tips on the forums of .

  21. lisbet says:

    I was just quoted a price of $7600 for a really reputable mover to move me from Providence to Chicago. Lovely. I don’t have that kind of money, to be sure. So here I am trying to figure out cheap alternatives. Anyone have a recommendation for a company that will load and unload the Pod/U-Pack truck? (I would like this service, just trying to save some money on it & not have anything get stolen in the process.)

  22. mathew says:

    We went with Door-to-Door to move from MA to TX. It all worked very well.

    One thing that I really liked was we could just leave the stuff in storage and pay regular storage fees until we were ready for it. In the event, it took us 4 months to sort out a house, so that saved a lot of effort. Also, we could unload over the course of a weekend, locking the crates up overnight and paying a minimal per-day fee.

    If we’d gone with U-Haul we’d have had to drive the truck, unload everything into storage, rent another truck 4 months later, load everything up again, drive the truck, and then unload one more time.

    Oh, there are some photos of the crates at

  23. mathew says:
  24. ElizabethD says:

    @Ben Popken:

    What Ben said. I rode Greyhound from NYC to Indianapolis two years ago. Yes… it was a “slice of life” experience, to say the least. Some of the trip was good and interesting: driving into midsized downtowns where I would otherwise never have ventured; seeing all the pretty farmland roll by; sitting next to a friendly young Chicano who worked in NY as a house painter, on his way to south Texas to see his family for the first time in 6 months… great kid and good travel companion for this ol’ mom.

    My tip to anyone traveling long distance on the silver dog: Sit up front near the bus driver. Those back of the bus folks can be really freaky, and LOUD. Mine was an overnight trip, but sleep was not in the cards for me. 8-(

  25. improfound says:

    Broadway Express is very good. I moved a 1.5 bedroom apartment from SF to Boston last summer during high season. Cost me $2400. I had to pay people to move my stuff from house to truck, and truck to house, but since you can get people for 30/hr, it’s still way, way cheaper. You can check out detailed reviews of Broadway Express and ABF, and a bunch of other companies at It also has lots of information on which full service companies are good/bad/scammers.