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Forklift Freight Shipping

Everything you need to know about shipping a forklift

Shipping a forklift requires careful planning and professional freight shipping services. Costs are based on several key factors like weight, route distance, and any special delivery needs. The most common method is full truckload shipping - the forklift as the sole cargo. But for smaller lifts or shorter distances, less-than-truckload shipping can be more affordable by consolidating with other freight. Keep in mind that shipping prices vary and are dependent on the forklift dealer. We break down the basics of forklift transport to prep both dealers and consumers so there are no surprises along the way.

How forklift shipping rates are calculated

When preparing to ship a forklift, several key factors will drive the cost:

  • Dimensions & Weight The larger and heavier the forklift, the more difficult transportation becomes. More weight means more fuel burned, increasing costs.
  • Distance & Route Longer distances and complex routes add time and fuel expenses. Drivers need to get paid for their time and effort.
  • Fuel Surcharges Carriers add surcharges to account for fluctuating diesel prices. Rates can change frequently with the cost of fuel.
  • Residential vs. Commercial Delivering to a private residence costs more than a business. Residential often need specialized equipment like liftgates.
  • Special Services Additional fees for liftgate delivery, inside pickup/delivery, or guaranteed delivery times. Unique requirements mean higher rates.
  • Type of Carrier Paying a dedicated, full truckload carrier will often be more expensive than using a less-than-truckload carrier.
  • Seasonal Demand Shipping rates increase during peak seasons when more forklifts or flatbed truck commodities are being transported across the country.

Shipping rates fluctuate like other markets. However, being aware of these main factors provides a good idea of what to expect when preparing to transport your forklift.

shipping for used forklifts

Forklift Shipping Costs

The national average cost of shipping a forklift on a flatbed truck in 2023 is $2.62 per mile. The rate is heavily dependent on the factors listed above, but here is what you can expect to pay for shipping a forklift OUT of the respective region:

 RegionAverage Shipping Rate
  West $2.26/mile
  Southwest $2.48/mile
  Midwest $2.68/mile
  Northeast $2.46/mile
  Southeast $2.61/mile
regional forklift shipping costs

Every city and state is different due to regulations and the complexity of routes. The most popular routes and their average shipping rates are as follows:

Shipping RouteAverage Shipping Rate
Dallas to Chicago $1,800
New Jersey to Chicago $1,600
Charlotte to Houston $2,400
Elizabeth, NJ to Tampa, FL $2,500
Seattle to Denver $3,700
Seattle to LA $2,635
Seattle to New Jersey $5,650
Portland to Charlotte $6,200
LA to Atlanta $3,650
Charlotte to Portland $5,600
Chicago to Dallas $2,300
Houston to Atlanta $1,700
Green Bay to Memphis $1,750
Indianapolis to Denver $3,300
Denver to Billings, MT $1,400
Cleveland to Salt Lake City $4,000
average forklift shipping rates

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Forklift Shipping

A potentially affordable, though less common, shipping method is less-than-truckload (LTL). LTL carriers (i.e. XPO, Penske, Saia) combine multiple shipments heading to the same region, so your forklift shares truck space with other freight. By consolidating loads, LTL can provide cost savings over a dedicated full truckload. However, LTL has drawbacks. Multiple stops and cargo transfers can increase transit time across long distances. More handling also raises the risk of damage. There's no definitive answer on whether FTL or LTL is better - each shipment has unique needs.

Factors like budget, schedule, and required care determine if consolidated LTL trucking is a viable alternative to full truckload. Either way, working with experienced carriers familiar with transporting heavy equipment ensures your forklift arrives efficiently and safely. Discuss options with your dealer to see if LTL could potentially fit your shipping requirements and constraints.

We can ship used forklifts from our shop to anyplace in the United States. Contact us to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a mini forklift called?

Pallet jacks, also known as pump trucks, are smaller than forklifts. They are ideal for lighter loads and use in tight quarters.

Can you transport a forklift?

Yes. A common way to transport a forklift is to place blocks behind the forklift's wheels and secure the blocks to the platform of the vehicle being used to transport the forklift. Tie-down chains and straps are also a good idea.

How expensive is it to ship a forklift?

The prices of shipping forklifts can range from under $1,000 to $3,000 or more depending on the machine and how far it has to go. The best thing to do is contact us for an exact quote.

How much does a forklift weigh?

Forklifts can range in weight from 3,000 pounds up to over 30,000 pounds. The average forklift weighs close to 9,000 pounds.

How do you transport a forklift?

The most common methods for transporting forklifts is to use a flatbed or semi trucks.