Moving out of state forces you to consider other things that you would not normally need to think about it if you were moving locally. Not only are the charges different, but you also have to plan ahead for the delivery as you do not receive your items on the exact day you want them 99% of the time. Long distance deliveries also work differently, because movers will transport your items in a tractor trailer rather than the box truck your items were most likely picked up with.
Problems occur at the delivery end of a move when the tractor trailer delivering the items cannot access the delivery location. This includes trailers that can enter the delivery location but cannot leave the location and can be become stuck. To avoid this, moving companies use what is often referred to in the industry as a "shuttle". A shuttle is just the term movers use for a smaller truck. Often times, using a shuttle incurs an additional fee, as movers have to rent the trucks from companies like Ryder, Uhaul, or Penske. On top of the rental fee, additional labor is needed because your items are being moved twice, once from the trailer to shuttle, and then shuttle to your home. It is always a good idea to plan for your delivery ahead of time and take the steps necessary to either avoid a shuttle, or at the very least prepare for the possibility of one.
Ways To Avoid a Shuttle Fee
There are ways to avoid shuttle fees. The absolute best way to avoid fees and prepare for this is by considering whether or not a tractor trailer can access the delivery location before you sign a rental agreement. If you do not know, you should always ask the leasing office. It is important to stress that it will be a tractor trailer (18 wheeler) needing access, and not the box truck that many leasing offices have in mind. If renting or buying a property that can accomodate an 18 wheeler is not possible, you may be eligible for a service known as a "long carry".
Most homes are on streets with an ample amount of space for an 18 wheeler. You shouldn't just assume that this will automatically be the case however. For example in Florida, there are many housing resorts built around golf courses and gardens with very narrow streets. While this may not be an apartment complex, these areas are still difficult to navigate with larger trucks. Resorts like these often have restrictions on the type and size of trucks they give access to, regardless of whther or not the roadways can accomodate them. Always check with the property management company to confirm that access for a trailer is ok.
Long Carry Charges
Long Carry charges are sometimes a better alternative to expensive shuttle fees. The reason why they are less expensive is because movers do not need to allocate extra labor moving your items from one truck to another. They simply must walk a little further than usual once your items are off the truck at your delivery address. All movers will have a set amount of feet from the back of the truck to the front of your door that is included with your move, and you will want to ask them about this before siging up for your move. At Eagle Lines, we include 80 feet from truck to door with your move.
Do I Need To Pay For Shuttle Fees At Both The Pickup and Delivery?
Most moving companies have a hub location where they have an abundance of different size trucks and moving vans. This gives them the ability to send a smaller truck for pickups and deliveries by their hub location. Usually, movers have hub locations at the origin only and deliver your items via tractor trailer. For example in Boston, Boston movers' hubs are located in and around the city, and they utilize smaller trucks on the pickups around the area, and transfer the household goods to a tractor trailer when they are getting ready to ship. Because smaller trucks are used, there is no shuttle fee for the pickup service.
At Eagle Lines, we always pick up your items around New England with a smaller truck. We have been operating in and around the Boston area for over 24 years now, and we know neighborhoods like the North End, Beacon Hill, and Back Bay are not trailer friendly. Because of our vast experience with long distance deliveries, we are also well aware of problems in other cities like San Fransisco, Chicago, and Miami.
If you run into a scenario where your being charged a shuttle fee for both ends of your move or even just the pickup portion, it is most likely because your mover is not from the area and is "piggy backing" your move off of deliveries they are making to other customers from out of state. This is a common practice in the moving industry because empty, unused space means the company is not making money and although gas prices have fallen drastically, expenses are still very high for transporting and logistics.
So What Is The Bottom Line?
As mentioned earlier, you should always ask your moving consultant about the possibility of needing a shuttle. Most consultants will go over your addresses with you (This is of course assuming you have them) and get a general idea of what the accessibility is there. If it makes you feel more comfortable, only accepts quotes that include the shuttle fees. Just make sure there is language inside the final contract that you will not be charged for a shuttle unless it is needed.
While shuttle fees and long carries add an extra expense to moving services that are already very expensive, sometimes it is unavoidable. And while some people think otherwise, shuttles are not liked very much by the moving industry either. Moves that require a shuttle slow down deliveries and add stress for customers who are understandably waiting on their items. It is important to note fees for shuttles also go directly to the driver for the rental truck and added labor, NOT to the moving company.
With this post, you now know everything you need to know regarding shuttles and how they affect deliveries. Eagle Lines offers more posts about moving through their blog. Moving consultants are standing by to help you receive an accurate moving quote for your upcoming move. If you do not have the time for a conversation, please consider our online inventory form. By filling out this form our moving consultants can analyze everything about your move and provide you with a timely quote driecrtly to your email.