How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Truck?

Shipping a truck involves a more complex and usually more expensive process compared to regular cars due to the larger size and heavy weight. The cost of shipping a truck can vary quite a bit and is based on factors including the distance, type of transport (open vs. enclosed transport), and the specifics of the truck (e.g., if it's oversized, has exterior modifications, or is non-running).

Factors Affecting Shipping Costs

  1. Distance and Route: Longer distances generally cost more in total but less per mile. Routes that are more frequently traveled by transport companies may offer more competitive pricing.
  2. Type of Transport: If using open transport, you can be at ease as it is the most common and economical option, with lots of safety. Enclosed transport, while offering more protection from the elements, is significantly more expensive and is less commonly used for trucks unless they are high-value or require special protection.
  3. Truck Size and Weight: Larger and heavier trucks cost more to ship due to the increased space they occupy and the weight they add to the transport vehicle. Heavy-duty trucks may require specialized trailers such as flatbeds or lowboys, further increasing the cost.
  4. Service Speed: Expedited shipping services are available for an additional fee if you need your truck shipped faster than the standard timeframe.
  5. Fuel Prices: The cost of fuel is a significant and uncontrollable variable that will have impacts on the auto transport industry and, by extension, the you, the customer. Individuals have no sway over the fluctuating prices of fuel, which can vary widely across different parts of the good o' US of A. These fluctuations are a critical factor in pricing.
  6. Delivery Options: Door-to-door shipping offers convenience by picking up and delivering the truck directly to locations specified by you, typically at a higher cost compared to terminal-to-terminal shipping.
summer weather truck on beach

Peak Seasons and Off Season Price Drops

Understanding peak seasons and off-peak price drops is very important for anyone looking to ship a truck, as these seasons significantly impact the cost of auto transport. This industry experiences many fluctuations in demand throughout the year, which can either heavily drive up the costs during these "high-demand" times of year or offer huge savings during slower months.

For example, the auto transport industry sees a surge in demand during certain times of the year, notably during the summer months and the "snowbird" season. The summer blitz of cars is often due to individuals moving or taking extended stay vacations.

This is also known as snowbird season which caters to those retirees relocating to warmer climates in order to escape the cold winter chill. During this peak season, the demand for shipping services increases, leading to higher prices and limited carrier availability. The competition for transport services during these times means that customers may face highly elevated rates due to the increased demand.

Off-Peak Price Drops (Discount Pricing)

Conversely, the fall and spring months typically represent off-peak periods in the auto transport industry. During these times, demand for shipping services decreases, and customers may find more favorable pricing and greater availability.

Some auto transport carriers may offer discounts or lower rates to brokers so they can both attract business and maintain operations during these slower periods. Additionally, you may not have known that shipping during weekdays and mid-month can also result in lower costs, as demand tends to dip compared to weekends and month-end periods. And now you do!

Planning for Cost Savings

Customers looking to save on shipping costs should consider planning their truck transport during these off-peak times. It may not always be possible, of course, but you may want to hold on that truck purchase or relocation so it occurs during slow times.

Booking early can secure preferred transport dates outside of the high-demand periods, potentially avoiding price surges associated with peak seasons. Flexibility with pickup and delivery dates during the peak seasons can also lead to cost savings, as being open to a wider range of shipping dates increases the likelihood of getting a carrier at a more reasonable rate.

Cost Estimates and Examples

Shipping costs can range widely, but to give you an idea, here are some examples from different companies and routes:

  • Currently for 2024 we estimate $4.10 per mile for distances less than 100 miles and $1.30 per mile for distances less than 1000 miles for peak season and areas.
  • Let's say you are shipping a 2018 Ford F-150 from Chicago , IL to Los Angeles, CA it would cost about $1,425.

Additional Considerations

  • Insurance and Safety: Be sure the transport company offers enough insurance coverage for your truck during shipping. Most companies perform an inspection before and after transport to note any damage at both the pickup location and delivery. Be sure to pay close to the delivery inspection and sometimes drivers like to be in a hurry.
  • Prep: Remove all personal items and secure loose parts before shipping. Sometimes we advise on leaving only about a quarter tank of gas in the vehicle to help with weight.
truck car shippping quotes checking

Booking and Quotes

It's advisable to obtain quotes from multiple transport companies to compare prices and services. Be sure to provide detailed information about your truck, including make, model, year, and any modifications, to receive the most accurate quotes. Websites like uShip allow transporters to bid for your business, potentially offering more competitive rates.

When it comes to shipping a truck or any vehicle, time is often of the essence for many customers, leading them to opt for expedited or express shipping services. These services are designed to speed up the transport process, ensuring that the truck reaches its destination within a specified, shorter timeframe compared to standard shipping options. This convenience, however, comes at a premium cost.

What Constitutes Expedited or Express Shipping?

Expedited or express shipping means that your vehicle, in this case, a truck, will be picked up more quickly than with standard auto shipping service. Typically, this can range from within 24 hours to a couple of days after booking. The exact timing can vary depending on the trucking company that wants the vehicle and their time of operation . These services are especially beneficial for those who need their vehicles transported urgently, such as for a fast job relocation, a last-minute move, or to meet a strict deadline.

Costs Associated with Expedited/Express Truck Shipping

The costs for expedited shipping are inherently higher than those for regular car transportr. This is due to the additional resources and prioritization required to accommodate the faster service. Transport companies may need to select a dedicated car shipping carrier, re-route drivers, or bump other cars off to another truck, for example.

Opting for expedited car shipping or a guaranteed pick-up service, makes sure your truck is loaded up within a 1-2 business day window, can significantly increase the overall cost of shipping.

The added cost reflects the convenience and speed of service but can vary widely based on factors such as the distance of transport, the size and type of the truck, and the current demand within the transport network.

Planning and Booking Expedited Services

When considering expedited or express shipping for your truck, it's of utmost importance to always communicate your specific timeline with the car transport company. Obtaining a detailed quote that outlines the expedited service costs is essential for budgeting purposes.

If not working with us, It's also advisable to ask about any guarantees associated with the expedited service, such as compensation or refunds if the promised timeline is not met.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the cost to ship a truck is influenced by a variety of factors, including transport type, distance, truck size, and service speed. To get the best deal, compare quotes from several reputable companies, considering both cost and the level of service provided.

Carl has a decade of experience in the car shipping industry. He has worked in nearly every aspect of the transport business since 2014, taking charge of various roles in the company such as dispatching, sales, and customer service.

During those years, Carl amassed an invaluable amount of experience which has contributed to his writing of every article and and guide on NX since taking over content in 2015.