Search online for “cheapest way to move” and you’ll find a whole bunch of services that claim to haul boxes across the country for cheap. However, it can be tricky to know which of them to trust.
We’ve found one company, however, that’s worth a shot for the mover with no furniture. It’s more affordable than many other services and doesn’t require renting a truck or packing a pod.
The service is called Busfreighter, and it can ship a whole room’s worth of stuff from New York City to Los Angeles for about $160. That’s about as good as it gets.
How it works:
Busfreighter is a partner of Greyhound Package Express, a service that ships personal packages on Greyhound buses. You can ship any number of boxes with Busfreighter, but four or more will get you discount bulk prices: Busfreighter ships bulk orders for 70 cents per pound, whereas going directly through Greyhound costs nearly double the price at about $1.19 per pound, a phone representative told HuffPost. Other companies’ prices are even higher (more on that later).
To use Busfreighter, simply pack your boxes and drop them off at a Greyhound terminal, or have Busfreighter pick them up at your door for an extra fee (about $45 for five boxes, but it varies). Wait three to 10 days, and voila! Your boxes have been bussed to your new city. Visit a Greyhound terminal to collect them, or have them delivered to your door for a fee.
Who it works for:
Busfreighter is best for people moving with boxes only, as its weight and height requirements won’t accommodate furniture. In order to score the lowest pricing, you should also be willing to drive to your nearest Greyhound bus terminal and wait three to 10 days for delivery.
Why it’s good:
Busfreighter’s closest competitors are Amtrak Express Shipping and FedEx. To compare them, we got quotes for a shipment of five large moving boxes weighing 40 pounds each on three different routes: New York City to Los Angeles, San Francisco to Austin and Chicago to Nashville. Busfreighter won out for a number of reasons, including...
To ship five large boxes from NYC to L.A., Busfreighter quoted $161.60, Amtrak quoted $162 (a close second), and FedEx quoted $480.75. It should be noted that these Busfreighter and Amtrak prices require you to drop off and pick up your boxes at a bus or train station, whereas the FedEx quote is for drop-off at a FedEx location with the boxes delivered to your door (they also have an option for at-home pick-up, for an even higher price).
But even if we opted for the most expensive door-to-door service with Busfreighter, it would cost $258.80, which is still cheaper than FedEx.
More drop-off and delivery locations:
We couldn’t get quotes for Amtrak shipments directly from San Francisco or to Nashville, because Amtrak only ships from neighboring Oakland and does not ship to Nashville, according to a phone representative. Busfreighter handled it just fine: San Francisco to Austin would cost $145.94 and take five to seven days (compared to FedEx’s $416 in four days), and Chicago to Nashville would cost $124.34 and take three days (compared to FedEx’s $226 in two days).
Easiest to find a quote:
Getting quotes for Amtrak required a long phone talk with a representative. You can quotes for FedEx Ground online, though you’ll need to set up a free account if you want them to pick up packages at your door. Busfreighter quickly gave quotes online.
Do your homework:
You can also find online quotes for fancier moving services like Pods and U-Pack, which have higher prices but come with perks like more truck space and potentially quicker delivery. If you’re moving furniture or want your belongings to arrive ASAP, you may want to choose one of them. But for the low-maintenance mover... well, you know our pick already.