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Truck Shipping

Truck shipping costs about $1,254 on average for a 1,500-mile open trailer shipment. Learn what to expect from shipping a truck and what affects prices.

From our #1 rated provider,


03/24/2024 07:11 PM

Your truck works hard hauling cargo day in and day out, but there are times when it needs to be hauled, too. Compared to driving it yourself, shipping a truck can make more financial sense and helps avoid putting excess wear and tear on the vehicle. On average, truck shipping costs a bit more than shipping a car, so it’s a good idea to shop around and get multiple quotes.

In this article, we’ll explain how shipping a truck works and where to find the best rates. We’ve also reviewed the best car shipping companies and will highlight our top picks for shipping trucks.

The Gist:

  • Trucks cost a bit more to ship than cars because their size and weight can limit the space available for other vehicles on the carrier.
  • It costs about $1,254 on average to ship a Ford F-150 from Los Angeles to Houston, which is about 1,500 miles.
  • Our rate data shows that Montway Auto Transport and American Auto Shipping are affordable options for open truck shipping, while SGT Auto Transport is affordable for enclosed shipping.

How Truck Shipping Works

Shipping a truck is similar to shipping a car, as you can see in the graphic below. In a nutshell, you’ll contact a few car shipping companies, get quotes, decide if you want open or enclosed shipping, and book your shipment. Let’s go through the details.

Compare Truck Shipping Quotes

The first step in shipping your truck is to compare multiple quotes from car shipping companies. Be prepared with your truck’s year, make, model, and trim. You can find instant quote calculators on many sites, while some companies respond with quotes by email or phone. 

Be aware that you’ll get better rates if you can plan in advance. Booking at least two weeks ahead of time will help you find the best deal. Some companies offer expedited pickup in as little as a day or two, but you’ll pay a hefty premium for that.

Decide Between Open vs. Enclosed Shipping

As you get quotes, you’ll notice you have two main shipping options: open or enclosed transport. Open transport is the cheaper car shipping option, but it leaves your truck exposed to the elements on a trailer with up to 10 other vehicles. The enclosed transport shipping process is more expensive but protects your truck on all sides. 

Either way, auto transport is a bit more expensive for pickup trucks because they’re larger and heavier than most other vehicles. This can limit the number of other cars an auto carrier can transport at one time since there’s a maximum weight limit.

Ship Your Truck

Once you find a price you like, you can book the shipment. Shipping companies typically offer cheaper rates for cash on delivery (COD). In this scenario, you’d pay a portion at the time of booking and the rest in cash to the driver at pickup. The alternative is to pay for the whole shipment up front.

Vehicle Pickup

Truck shipping companies can pick up your vehicle in a week or two unless you get expedited shipping. The pickup date will be set, but it’s not possible for a shipping company to set the delivery date because auto transport is an unpredictable industry and anything could happen on the road. 

Before the shipment, prepare your truck by removing all your personal items and leaving it with about a quarter tank of gas. On the day of pickup, you’ll meet the driver as they do a quick inspection of your truck. 

You’ll then sign a bill of lading that records the truck’s condition. The bill of lading can act as both a shipping receipt and a record of your truck that you can later use to file a claim against the company if the vehicle is damaged after transport. In this case, it’s important to get a copy of the bill of lading and take a few photos of your vehicle right before it boards the transporter.

Vehicle Delivery

The day before delivery, you’ll get a call from the driver with the truck delivery window. Upon delivery, you’ll do an inspection of your truck and sign the bill of lading again. You’ll also pay the driver if you opted for COD. 

Be aware that most companies offer door-to-door delivery, but this doesn’t mean the auto transporter will always make it exactly to your doorstep. The truck driver won’t want to risk damaging other vehicles to fit into a tight neighborhood or narrow city streets, so you might have to meet them at a nearby parking lot or wide street.

Can You Ship a Heavy-Duty Truck?

If you need to ship a heavy-duty truck like a Ford F-250 or F-350, most car shipping companies can get it done. If the online quote form doesn’t have a selection for your particular large truck model, we recommend calling and speaking to someone about your truck. In general, car shipping costs increase with vehicle size.

Can You Ship a Commercial Truck or Heavy Equipment?

Some carriers offer box truck, heavy equipment, and commercial truck shipping services. These shippers can move anything from a dump truck to large factory machinery. However, you likely won’t be able to get an instant quote for a shipment like this online. We recommend calling companies directly for this specialty service. 

Transport marketplaces like uShip can be a good option for commercial truck and equipment shipments. On uShip, you can connect with carriers who use specialized trailers that can accommodate oversized equipment. Once you post a listing, carriers can bid on your job. These carriers will use appropriate trailers like flatbeds, goosenecks, or lowboys to accommodate oversized trucks and equipment.

How Much Does It Cost To Ship a Truck?

The average cost to ship a truck 1,500 miles is $1,254 for open shipping or $1,933 for enclosed shipping. Our team got this average by comparing Ford F-150 truck transport quotes from three popular companies: Montway Auto Transport, SGT Auto Transport, and American Auto Shipping.

How does that compare to shipping a car? Shipping a standard pickup truck costs about 10% more on average than shipping a car with open auto transport. With enclosed transport, truck shipping is about 11% more expensive.

Open Transport Truck Shipping Cost

Open shipping is the most affordable way to ship a truck. On average, it costs about $1,254 to ship a truck about 1,500 miles with open shipping. Transportation costs from the three companies were all within a close range of $1,239 to $1,274.

Montway Auto Transport$1,239
SGT Auto Transport$1,274
American Auto Shipping$1,249

Enclosed Truck Transport Shipping Cost

The average cost to ship a truck 1,500 miles with enclosed transport is $1,933. However, costs vary widely depending on the company you choose. Our team found Montway and SGT were much cheaper than American Auto Shipping for enclosed transport. Below, you can compare truck shipping costs from these companies.

Montway Auto Transport$1,649
SGT Auto Transport$1,582
American Auto Shipping$2,569

Factors That Affect Truck Shipping Costs

How much you pay to ship your truck can vary quite a bit. Here are the main factors that affect truck shipping prices:

  • Time of year: Vehicle shipping is more expensive when people are moving in the summer. Certain routes can also be more expensive like moving from the Northeast to the Southeast during the winter.
  • Transport type: Open car shipping is cheaper than enclosed auto transport.
  • Delivery method: Shipping your car to a terminal (designated location) will be cheaper than shipping it right to your door, but it may be less convenient.
  • Pickup and drop-off dates: If you choose a pickup date that’s closer than two weeks away, you’ll pay extra for that tighter time frame.
  • Distance: Cross-country shipments cost more than shorter moves. That said, you pay less per mile with longer distances.
  • Price of fuel: Car shipping carriers tend to raise their prices when the price of fuel increases.
  • Vehicle size: Trucks are more expensive to ship than standard vehicles because of their size and weight. Even within the truck class, larger and heavier trucks like a Ford F-350 Super Duty will be more expensive to ship than something like a Toyota Tacoma.
  • Drivability: If your truck is inoperable, the carrier will need to winch it onto the trailer. This takes more time and work, so you’ll pay a little more for truck transport services.
A visual list of items that affect car shipping prices

How Truck Shipping Quotes Work

Shipping companies are brokers that post jobs to industry boards for vehicle carriers. The carriers are independent businesses. When you get a free quote, the broker will look for a carrier to do the job under that price. But, there are times when carriers will pass on a job if they can get a better rate elsewhere. If the broker can’t find a hauler, it may increase the price to secure one. This could bump up your final cost by a few hundred dollars in some cases.

Some companies like Sherpa Auto Transport provide price guarantees. In Sherpa’s case, the company will add up to $300 of its own funds to secure a carrier under its Price Lock Promise. Ideally, the shipping company’s quote tool can set a good price to get carriers, but this isn’t always possible when market conditions change quickly.

Shipping a Truck: Our Take

Shipping a truck doesn’t have to be difficult if you compare different rates and get to know the process of how to ship a vehicle. Although truck shipping prices tend to be more expensive because of the vehicle’s size, you can find affordable rates by shopping around. We recommend planning in advance and shopping for quotes at least two weeks before you have to ship your pickup.

Best Truck Shipping Companies

Our top recommendations for shipping a truck include Montway Auto Transport, Sherpa Auto Transport, and SGT Auto Transport.

Montway Auto Transport: Best Reputation

Montway Auto Transport is one of the largest car shipping companies in the country and our top pick overall. Montway offers any service you’d expect from a leading transporter: door-to-door shipping for a variety of vehicles across all 50 states with open or enclosed service. Montway works with over 15,000 vetted carriers and offers extended customer service hours.

Keep reading: Montway Auto Transport Review

Sherpa Auto Transport: Best for Locked-In Rates

As we mentioned above, Sherpa’s Price Lock Promise sets it apart from many competitors. Our research shows Sherpa’s initial quotes may be slightly higher than some competitors, but the price will stay the same. Beyond that, Sherpa also offers a Clean Car Guarantee. If your truck arrives dirty, you can get reimbursed for a car wash up to $20 if you get one within a week of delivery.

Keep reading: Sherpa Auto Transport Review

SGT Auto Transport: Best Price-Match Guarantee

SGT Auto Transport doesn’t offer guaranteed pricing but does offer a price-match guarantee. Under this policy, SGT will match a lower price from a direct competitor if you provide a written quote. SGT offers door-to-door transport with open or enclosed trailers across the 48 contiguous states and Hawaii.

Keep reading: SGT Auto Transport Review

Truck Shipping: FAQ

Below are some frequently asked questions about truck shipping.

How much does a truck shipment cost?

Our data shows shipping a truck 1,500 miles can cost about $1,254 for open transport or $1,933 for enclosed transport. Truck shipping is more expensive than shipping a car due to the truck’s larger size and weight.

How do you transport a pickup truck?

Vehicle shipping companies can transport your pickup truck to another state or even another country if needed. These companies work with networks of carriers to move trucks on open or enclosed transport trailers.

Can I ship my truck with items in the truck bed?

Some car shipping companies allow a small amount of personal items to be shipped inside a car, so you may be able to store some items in your truck bed if you have a locking cover for it. However, items can easily jostle around in transport, and most shipping companies don’t offer insurance for damaged personal items.

How We Rate Auto Shippers

Our review process aims to deliver consistent and unbiased assessments of car shipping companies. While there are multiple qualities that make an auto transport provider successful, our review team focuses on those we believe are the most important for consumers:

  • Cost: Cost can be difficult to compare between providers because so many factors impact auto shipping rates. To determine our cost score, we perform a secret shopper analysis for a variety of vehicles and routes.
  • Services: Our team of experts looks at the types of services available, as well as insurance coverage and the ability to guarantee pickup and drop-off dates. Ratings also take into account whether the transport company is a broker or a carrier.
  • Reputation: It’s important that a car shipping provider is able to deliver your vehicle in a safe and timely manner. Companies with a strong rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score well in this category. Established providers with a long history of reliable service also receive positive marks.
  • Customer Experience: We comb through consumer reviews on sites like the BBB to learn about customer experiences. Car transport companies with a low volume of complaints score well in this area.

*Data accurate at time of publication.