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Moving vs Freight Shipping: What's the Difference?

Resources > Moving vs Freight Shipping: What's the Difference?
On the surface, it doesn’t look like there’s much of a difference between moving vs freight shipping. Learn the differences and how you can choose the right service.
Published: November 5, 2020
Last Modified: August 28, 2023
Author: Ask Truckload

On the surface, it doesn’t look like there’s much of a difference between moving vs freight shipping. You’re trying to move a lot of stuff, really far and you want it done all in one day. Well, moving house is a big task, but it's nothing like freight shipping. For one thing, your household items and near and dear things are not products to be sold at a later date. Your possessions are not necessarily being shipped to a warehouse or store, are they? 

However, moving house is such a complex task, and often involves similar paperwork when it comes to regulations and moving across borders, that it can be confusing as to why it's not treated the same as freight shipping. You’re probably thinking, moving vs freight shipping, which one is better for you?

What is Freight Shipping?

what is freight shipping

Freight shipping is distinct from moving services because of the following things

  • A freight haul can weigh anywhere between 5,000lbs to 70,000lbs. 
  • Oversized loads and heavy haul trucking can weigh over 110,000lbs.
  • Freight shipping is about moving products very long distances, usually for business purposes.
  • It's also a service that requires a number of safety rules to be followed, such as warning signs of the kind of load being shipped.
  • Freight shipping is going from point A to point B, usually in 1-3 days
  • Freight shipping requires experienced drivers in the freight hauling industry.
  • Businesses are the main clients that use and or require this kind of service.
  • Can deal with hazardous material shipping.

What is liftgate delivery? This is an additional service offered by many freight shippers that makes loading and unloading freight easy.

How Do Moving Services Work?

how do moving services work?

Moving services are going to focus on private customers, such as individuals and families.

  • Moving house is the main task for this kind of service
  • They can also move furniture and or household appliances from stores to your home
  • They are usually only going to allow normal household items to be moved, i.e. they won’t tolerate hazmat issues.
  • Moving house requires little paperwork as compared to freight hauling.
  • Moving house is usually not time dependent although customers can set a time schedule if they want
  • The professionals working for the moving company will load the items on themselves. In freight shipping, the driver does not handle the load themselves, apart from securing it and making sure the load is safe at all times.

Wondering about the difference between freight and package shipping? Check out our article Freight vs Package Shipping: What's the Difference? to find out.

Can You Use a Freight Company for a Household Move?

can you use a freight company for a household move?

No, it's not recommended that you use a freight company to move a household. However, most freight companies won’t even entertain the idea. For one, their trucks are different and not designed for household appliances and furniture. They maybe cannot secure those items down the same way as their normal freight loads would be secured. 

Carrier liability and cargo insurance also prevents many freight companies from handling personal moves.

You can however use a freight company for white glove shipping needs. This can for things such as palletized appliances.  It needs to be secured and not at risk of being bumped by anything. 

Are you shipping furniture from the manufacturer or warehouse to a retailer? Learn more about shipping furniture by truckload.

How is Moving Service Different than Freight Service?


Moving services will handle normal everyday household items. A freight service will handle anything from car batteries, crude oil barrels, food, berverge, clothes, meat, wheat, vegetables and technology such as smartphones, to name but a few things.

A moving service will usually have a smaller area in which they can deliver your items. So if you live hundreds of miles away from your previous home, you may need to hire a special cross-border or cross-state company. A freight shipping service will usually be able to cross into different jurisdictions as their company is registered to do so with the regulatory transport bodies. 

Speaking of which, a moving service won’t normally need paperwork in order to cross over borders, whether state or national. However, freight companies are delivering commodities and or goods, therefore they will affect the local and or regional economy once entered, so they need a different kind of paperwork.

A moving company will interact with a customer directly. They will load your things, shake hands and get to know you. A freight shipping service is completely professional but without the direct physical contact (most of the time) and it will simply arrive, attach your load, and get moving towards the destination.

Do you need white glove appliance delivery for your business? See how a strategic freight partner can help.

Get The Info Needed to Move Personal Items with Ease

Do you need help moving personal items? Even though USA Truckload Shipping, powered by R+L Global Logistics can’t always move your personal goods, we can help get you the information you need.

Our freight experts have put together the guide you need to plan your next move, regardless of whether you’re moving a household or just shipping a few personal items. You can easily download this handy guide and get the information needed to move personal items. We can handle cross-county shipments when you need freight shipping from Vermont to California or take your goods down the East Coast with freight shipping from Connecticut to South Carolina.

We have a reputation that can be called upon as our customers have acclaimed our on-time delivery percentage rate of 99.5%. When you need freight services, let us be your expert. 

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