If you’re getting ready to make a cross-country move, or just a long-distance move (typically to another major city) it makes sense to explore all your moving options. One is a shared moving truck.

So, what exactly are shared moving trucks, and are they the right choice for your move? We’re Bellhop, full service movers at local and long-distance moves, and we know a thing or two about sharing a truck to make your move a budget move.

What are shared moving trucks?

Any moving truck can be a shared moving truck if they allow items for two or more moves on board. Shared moving trucks are typically used if you only have a small number of items to move (particularly a long distance), and you’re looking to save money in the process.

Once I used a shared moving truck when I moved a daughter in college into an apartment near campus. I was selling my home and downsizing, so it made sense to reserve a ‘partial’ moving van for her bedroom furniture and half my kitchen items. The shared truck added a few days to the schedule which we used for fun. (More about that later).

The idea behind sharing your moving truck is that by working with a full-service company that fills the truck with more than one move, you only pay for the space you need. That means you can cut costs during the move, which – let’s be honest –is helpful.

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How do shared moving trucks work?

Professional movers are logistics pros. And smart. They’ve noticed we’re down-sizing, decluttering, living more simple. That means less of your stuff to move. But they make money by moving bigger moving trucks efficiently. So more full-service movers are adding ‘shared loads’ as a service to compete.

Those super-big trucks you pass on the highway are most likely combining loads and saving on fuel and driver costs. Modern logistics systems help them assign loads for two or more moves on board. A typical move may pick up at your home, go to a hub for combination, then start. Or it may pick up another load midway to your destination. Say, in Richmond, on its way to Charlotte.

If a mover is already driving toward your location, they can unload or drop off your belongings at your home or business along the way, helping you to get your items quickly and at a relatively low price.

Long-distance moves always involve an estimate for a delivery date and time. Sharing a move means you’ll get an estimated ‘delivery window’ based on the logistics of loading and drop off. Other than that, it’s pretty similar to booking the whole truck.

How do you share a moving truck?

First, you’ll want to find long-distance movers that give you the option to rent partial space in a truck for moving and have an upcoming move that will go by your location. Not all movers offer shared trucks, so it’s important to ask. (You can also check out pickup truck sharing apps, U-Haul Truck Share, etc.)

If the option is not on the table with your preferred mover, check with another. There are still many more affordable ways to move across the country or to another state. (We’ll cover this below.)

Is sharing a moving truck the most affordable way to move?

That depends on the amount of space your items take up. All in all, taking up partial space in a moving truck can be the cheapest way to move. However, as with anything, there are disadvantages of shared moving trucks as well.

For instance, your items could go missing if they’re unloaded at the wrong location. They could also be delivered late if someone else’s move takes longer to load or unload than anticipated or if there are any issues along the way.

Five tips for sharing a moving truck for long-distance moves

Tip #1: Make a really good inventory list with photos showing the condition of items. I photograph the contents of a box, then number the box and edit the box number into the image. (Why? More on that later).

Tip #2:  Get insurance for your items before moving day so that they’re protected if something goes wrong.

Tip #3: Label your name on all boxes and containers so that they’ll end up in the right location. Always put the label on the same place on the box so the unloading crews get used to looking for it (and save time).

Tip #4: Print a form showing both the originating (pickup) address and the delivery address, plus two empty form spaces for writing the room it’s going to, and your box tracking number.

Tip #5: Use clean boxes without a lot of extra markup or advertising. On long-distance moves professional movers will print Barcodes specifically to your move for each individual box or container. Your boxes may be loaded and off-loaded at hubs enroute so you want as little chance as possible that one gets separated. If the barcodes STAND OUT it reduces that chance. While it may be a good idea to look for used non-moving boxes at your supermarket or liquor store, in this situation we advise against it.

Pros and cons of sharing a moving truck for a cross-country move


  • You save money
  • You save the hassle of driving it yourself. Face it, moving is exhausting, like running a triathlon (packing, moving, unpacking). You deserve a break.
  • Your stuff arrives. Sadly, some DIY rental moving trucks are stolen at overnight stops from motel parking areas along interstates. It’s possible to lose all your possessions, including priceless family photos and identification; (one reason we recommend you always carry these with you). I saw on TV news it happened a lot when families were coming to Seattle or military families were repositioning. These trucks are built cheaply without tracking or better security features. With a reputable cross-country mover in a big rig, this is less likely to happen.


  • Added time – sharing adds time.
  • A delivery window rather than a certain date.

This added time isn’t necessarily a bad thing. On one college move my daughter and I tacked on two days in Yosemite while we waited for the shared turck. We still talk about watching climbers on El Cap and our hikes to the waterfalls.

Tips for saving on a shared moving truck

Treat the move as an important relationship. (It is). Call the professional movers and setup an appointment, ideally at their central hub / office where your items will be combined in the shared load. Arrive with your list and inventory. I did and it was really fascinating. Just showing up signals you mean business.

Know thy stuff. Movers estimate as much on volume as weight. Your excellent inventory list and pictures will mean they need less ‘wiggle room’ in their estimate.

The Better Way to Move

Ask for deals. Sometimes they need to reposition equipment (like airlines). Professional movers have new and used boxes. Used are OK. Politely ask for a lower per-box rental rate. You just may get it. (If you don’t ask, you won’t.) I did and saved on their used box fees.

Ask how can I help lower the cost?’ Make this a team event. They may suggest one larger box rather than two smaller ones, for example. Ask how much does my California king mattress cost to move? Maybe it’s time for a new one anyway.

How to DIY your own shared long-distance move

Shared moves mean sharing miles in calculating costs. The best way to reduce travel costs the most is (1) to find other folks traveling to your same town destination (2) at about the same time and (3) who share your desire to save money.

How to find them. You can rely on the mover or do it yourself. Once you find the other families and agree to a shared move, you can agree to do it yourself, or take the ‘group’ to the moving company and present a larger load option.

One way to find others is on Facebook groups. (I joined the local Seattle ‘chapter’ of parents of UC students.) Nervous parents hang out there and it’s a natural place to bring up the shared move subject. Since kids have to show up at the same time, you’ve already solved one of the hurdles.

Students moving at the same time are a natural DIY group. Another may be among the armed forces , as units transition to other bases and assignments, families typically move too.

Some companies have forced entire departments to other locations after Covid. Or you are doing it alone. Your HR department may know folks who are similarly transferring.

If you’re adventurous, maybe post on Craigslist.

Other budget-friendly options for moving long distance

I once DIY moved on a plane a U-Haul’s worth of my worldly possessions from New York City to Seattle for a $350 tip to the baggage porters outside check-in. That was a big tip back when my Manhattan apartment just off Central Park cost $460 a month. (Really). The porters and that option are gone now. Today here are yours:

#1: Ship your items

If you only have a handful of items to send, shipping might be the fastest way to get your items to your new place. Talk to your local UPS, USPS, or FedEx to estimate the cost of moving your items. (It sounds crazy but flying yourself and paying to add a few extra moving boxes to your luggage fees still may be cheaper than this option.)

#2: Hire local or long-distance movers

Putting two families’ items on one truck doesn’t guarantee a cheap move. However, working with the right movers can help keep your moving costs as affordable as possible. Hire movers like Bellhop to get a guaranteed long-distance moving quote before your move.

That means no surprise fees–just great rates! This can help you to budget since you’ll know how much your move will be in advance. We also offer a dedicated truck that goes from point A to point B, with only your things in tow.

#3: DIY your move

It’s only fair that we mention this option if you want to save money on your move. Moving yourself is one of the most budget-friendly moving options. However, depending on whether you’re heading to your new home right now or at a later date can make a difference in whether this is actually cost-effective for you.

You may find that while moving yourself saves money, on the one hand, it can add up if you weren’t planning to make a trip over to your new house yet. Also, because shared moving trucks are generally used for small moves, you might find it easier to skip driving altogether, have your items delivered with a shared or dedicated moving truck, and even fly over. You’re never out of options.

If your DIY moves includes an overnight stop, be sure to buy one of those steering wheel locks that deters theft. And leave no keepsakes like family photos, legal papers or ID inside overnight.

More tips to keep costs low for your interstate move

Below are a few more ways to stay on budget during your big move:

Get multiple moving quotes

It can’t hurt to get an estimate from more than one mover, whether they have a shared or dedicated moving truck. That can help you keep costs down.

Move during the off-season

Another great way to save money besides paying for a truck share is to move in the less busy times of the year. That means October to April for most movers. Also, if you want to keep your costs even lower, try to plan your move out in the midday and between Monday to Thursday.

Reduce your stuff and buy replacements at your new destination

Decluttering is a good idea no matter where you’re moving, even just across town. The NYTimes recently noted that Gen Z is great at buying second hand on Facebook Marketplace (as their use of Facebook has waned). Maybe those watermarks your idiot X left on your coffee table can no longer be ignored. If you are a good thrift store shopper, sell and have the joy of starting over.

Good luck with your move

Ready to get your move on the road and don’t want to wait on shared moving trucks? Bellhop has reliable movers and dedicated moving trucks that can help things go as planned. Whether you need long-distance moving, local moving, apartment movingcommercial moving, or last-minute moving, we’re here to help you out.

Find movers near you today.

Warren Sly