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There are plenty of reasons an RV owner may at some point choose pay someone else to haul their camper. You may be considering hiring an RV transport company for one of the following reasons:
- Perhaps you have purchased an RV in another state and don't yet feel comfortable driving it such a long distance.
- Maybe you've hired someone in another state to renovate your RV and can't make the trip to deliver it.
- Maybe you're living in a stationary RV, like I did for three years, and feel that hiring someone to move your “house” when you need to relocate is more cost effective than purchasing a truck of your own.
Where to Find an RV Transport Company
Where can you find a reputable RV transport service to safely deliver your camper to its destination? Here are some options which I'll cover in more detail:
- You could contact a local RV dealer to ask them to recommend someone.
- You could look online to find an RV transport company to hire directly.
- Or, you could use a website like uShip.com to hire an independent contractor specializing in hauling RV's.
Option 1: Ask for a Referral from a Local RV Dealer
RV dealerships frequently purchase RV's from auctions and private sellers in other parts of the the country and then hire RV transport companies or independent contractors to deliver the RV to their dealership to add it to the inventory on their sales lot.
Because their business depends on the safe delivery of the trailers and motorhomes they purchase, someone at a local RV dealership would be a good person to ask to refer you to the best RV transport services who regularly deliver to and from your area.
However, whether the RV haulers who deliver to your local RV dealer will be willing to take your RV to your chosen destination may depend on how near the place you're headed is to somewhere that has a lot of RV's for sale, such a major city in a warm climate, or the part of the country where most of the RV manufacturers are located. It never hurts to ask!
Option 2: Work Directly with an RV Transport Company
Another option for finding an RV transport company is, of course, to Google “RV transport companies” and see what comes up.
That was my first step a few years ago when my husband and I started looking for someone to haul our fifth wheel RV from Missouri to Texas. However, I quickly found that it wasn't as simple as one would think.
When I started reading Better Business Bureau reviews on the companies I was finding in Google, I realized that many of the companies whose websites were on the first page of Google were not actually RV transport services, but were “middleman” services that were marking up RV transport services and then outsourcing the actual work to contractors. The friendly sales people who I talked to on the phone had no relationship to the person who would actually end up hauling my RV, and no control over the level of service I would receive.
I decided that instead of paying extra to have one of those companies hire an RV hauler for me, I would rather find and hire one myself.
That was in 2017, and hopefully things have changed since then. I would still recommend doing a Google search for RV shipping companies to see if you can find one that has its own team of licensed drivers. Here's an one I found by Googling that I would definitely consider if I were in need of this service today: RVdelivery.com I don't have any personal experience with them, but their website indicates that their company is the one actually doing the deliveries and that they are taking responsibility for their customers' satisfaction.
I would suggest that if you choose to hire an RV transport service directly, you ask them if they can provide a few references–ideally happy former customers–or at least read some online reviews.
Option 3: Use a Service like uShip.com
Because I had such a hard time finding an RV shipping company to work with directly, I ended up deciding to hire someone to haul my RV through uShip.com based on the recommendation of someone I know who had successfully used that service twice to have her fifth wheel hauled across the country.
uShip.com is a website where you can create a listing about the thing you want to ship (not only RV's, but also cars, household items, large equipment, and even live animals) and haulers can bid on the job. After receiving multiple bids, you can select which one you want to work with.
Many independent contractors who haul RV's for a living and have their own licensed business look for extra jobs on uShip in order to make money on the return leg of a trip they're taking anyway. For example, an RV hauler who lives in Atlanta and has been hired by an RV dealer in Atlanta to go pick up an RV in Tampa may look on uShip.com to see if there is anyone in the Atlanta area needing to have an RV hauled to the Tampa Bay area. That way they can make money hauling two RV's in just one trip.
My Personal Experience with Using uShip.com to Ship My RV
I was extremely nervous the first time I hired someone from uShip to haul my RV. My biggest fear was that I was being scammed and that my RV (which at the time was my home and contained all my earthly belongings) would be stolen.
That didn't happen. My RV and all my stuff made it safely to its destination both times I used uShip.com.
I will admit that the first time we had our RV hauled, our experience was not great (I'll explain why below in more detail). But I learned from that experience and was able to pick a better RV hauler the second time, and our second experience having our fifth wheel transported restored my faith in uShip.com to the point that I have recommended the service to other RV owners.
Our First Time Shipping Our RV
The first time my husband and I shipped our fifth wheel was when we moved it from a mobile home park where we had been living stationary in Kansas City, Kansas, to an RV park in Aubrey, Texas.
Our plan was to have our RV picked up early in the morning, then drive in our car along with our RV to the RV park in Texas, arriving sometime in the afternoon. That was not how things ended up.
Let's start with the good:
- The person who delivered our fifth wheel was a legitimate RV transport driver, with the proper equipment and licensing and years of experience hauling RV's.
- RV was delivered exactly where we wanted it, and it was parked in the way we wanted it parked.
- None of our belongings were lost or damaged except for some wine glasses that slid off an under-cabinet rack and broke because I forgot to secure them properly (not the driver's fault).
And now the bad:
The person we hired didn't show up at the time we had planned to leave. We texted and left voicemails with no response. When he finally returned our call a few hours later, and he told us he was sick and that his son would be hauling our RV instead, and that he would let us know when he knew what time his son would be there. Hours went by and we heard nothing. Finally at some point in the afternoon we got a phone call that the son was on the way…but was coming from 4 hours away.
Our fears of being scammed intensified. We worried that we were making a huge mistake, and discussed the possible outcomes and what we would do if it turned out that we were victims of an elaborate scheme to steal our RV. We decided to go ahead and wait and see if the son showed up when he said he would, and we hid an iPad in the back of our RV's closet so that we could track its location using Apple's “Find My iPhone service”.
Finally, around 6 p.m., the guy showed up with big truck that had the name of an RV transport company on the side. Our concern that the guy was scamming us was put to rest. He hitched up our RV to the back of us truck, and we were off…12 hours later than we'd planned. We had to drive in the dark and stop along the way to spend a night trying to get some sleep in a hotel room with our cat.
The actual trip was fine as far at the RV was concerned except for one other issue: when he was backing our RV into its spot, the driver had to cut a sharp angle, and the corner of the toolbox on his truck bed punched a small hole in the fiberglass exterior of our RV. He offered to pay for the damage, but by that time we felt like we wanted to just be done with the job and move on with our lives, so we declined the offer. It's possible that uShip.com would have paid for the damage (their website says they'll cover up to $500 worth of damage), but we had too much going on in our lives at that point and chose not to mess with the hassle.
By now you're probably thinking, “What a terrible experience!” and wondering why I would ever think of using uShip.com again. But we knew from our previous experience with hiring independent contractors for tasks in our online businesses through websites like Upwork.com that any time you hire an independent contractor, you take a risk, and if you get a bad one, you write a negative review and do a better job vetting candidates next time.
Through this experience, I recognized some mistakes I made that contributed to my poor experience:
- Mistake #1: My listing was too vague in its requirements. My listing stated that I needed the RV to be picked up “either Saturday or Sunday”, and I agreed to accept the bid from our driver based on the general terms outlined in my listing and work out the details later. I should have been very specific in my listing about what time the RV needed to be picked up and delivered, because that was the contract recognized by uShip.com. Unfortunately since the requirements in my listing were vague, the person I hired technically fulfilled them.
- Mistake #2: I didn't create a paper trail. uShip.com has an internal messaging system that users are encouraged to use for all communication. By instead communicating over the phone, I had no way to prove to uShip everything that had happened.
- Mistake #3: I wasn't willing to pay enough. This one is somewhat subjective, as paying more doesn't always mean you get better service, but I believe that by picking one of the lowest bids, I “got what I paid for”. I can't remember the exact amount we paid, but I believe it was around $650 for a trip of about 500 miles. I learned from this experience that paying a few hundred dollars extra was more than worth it to me in order to work with someone who was more professional in their communication.
Our Second Time Shipping Our RV
Crazy or not, when we needed to have our RV hauled from Texas to Missouri, I decided to give uShip.com another chance. This time, I made the following changes to my approach:
- In my listing, I included the exact date and time that I wanted my RV to be picked up as well as the time I needed it to be delivered.
- I expressed in my listing how important it was to me that the person I hire be on time and extremely responsive to communication, and wrote that I would be willing to tip a driver who provided outstanding service.
- I communicated through the uShip app throughout the entire experience so that I would have a record of all communication.
- I chose a bid from a person who had multiple positive reviews.
Our driver for our second trip was fantastic. He showed up on time. He delivered our RV with no issues. He even told me about an app I could download that would let me track his location. This driver charged us around $800 for at trip that was 400 miles, and we tipped him an extra hundred in cash. I would hire him again without hesitation.
Our Third Time Having Our RV Moved
We actually had someone haul our RV for us on one other occasion: Our RV maintenance tech picked up our RV for us and hauled it to his shop for some work we needed to have done on it. Even though he generously did this for us for free, I wanted to tell about this experience as well because of a lesson we learned when he came to pick up our RV.
Since our RV had been sitting in the same place for about ten months prior to this move, we had never brought in our slides, and due to our lack of experience, it never occurred to us to check the tops of our slides before bringing them in. It turned out that there was a lot of mud and leaves on top of our slides, and one of them actually got stuck when I pushed the button to bring it in.
Thankfully our RV mechanic was there to help us get it unstuck, but that reminded me about the woman I knew who hired a driver from Uship.com to haul her fifth wheel across the country, because she told me one of their slides also got stuck when they tried to bring it in for moving after living in their RV stationary for several months.
The lesson I learned from this experience as well as the time our battery died and wouldn't allow our leveling jacks to be raised was this: It's important to perform a safety and maintenance check and take care of any repairs or maintenance well before the day you plan to have your RV picked up for transport.
FAQ's About Paying Someone to Haul Your RV
How much does it cost to ship an RV across the country?
The cost of shipping your RV will depend on variables like the distance of your trip, whether it requires overnight stops, and fuel prices. Since uShip.com takes a percentage of whatever price the driver bids, it may be cheaper hire an RV transport company directly, but on the other hand, you might find someone like I mentioned earlier who is looking to pick up a job for the other leg of a trip they're already planning to make and therefore would be willing to accept a lower price rather than earn nothing for those miles.
If you go to this page on uShip.com, you can see a list of what people recently paid to have their RV shipped including the pickup and dropoff location in order to get a rough estimate of the average cost per mile, but keep in mind there may be other factors affecting the cost of these trips.
Do I have to be there when my RV is picked up / dropped off?
You personally do not have to be present when your RV is picked up, but you or someone you authorize does need to be present to receive it at its destination in order to sign paperwork saying that it was delivered and verifying that the RV was delivered in good condition.
If you can't personally be there to send off your RV, it's a good idea to have someone you trust there to make sure things go smoothly and handle any issues that could potentially arise. If you're shipping an RV that you're purchasing, this could be the seller.
The first time we had our RV shipped, we were able to be present both when the RV was picked up and when it was delivered since we were traveling with our RV.
The second time we shipped our RV, we left a few days before it was scheduled to be picked up, making sure it was all packed up and ready to go. We asked the driver if he would be willing to carry our tripod stabilizer in the back of his pickup, and he agreed, so we left it and left our jacks down since the button to raise them was located on the outside of the RV.
This ended up causing a problem though, because unbeknownst to us, our battery was old and no longer able to hold a charge (we had only ever used our RV when hooked up to shore power). Our battery died before the RV hauler arrived and he wasn't able to raise our electric jacks. Fortunately, he was able to jump the battery, but if he hadn't been able to do that, we might have had to reschedule the trip.
That's why it's a good idea to make sure someone is there to handle any unforeseen issues that may arise when your RV is being picked up. Another person I know who traveled ahead of her RV when she had it shipped had a neighbor see her RV off.
What if my RV ends up being damaged or stolen?
Both of the RV haulers we hired provided us with a copy of their active insurance policy in the name of their business that covered any cargo they hauled, which included our RV and its contents. This policy should have covered any accidental damage. It would be a good idea to call your RV hauler's insurance company to verify that the policy is authentic and active.
As an added precaution, I called my own insurance company and verified that our policy would have covered damage, loss, or theft of our RV or our belongings should they have occurred while our RV was in transit.
In the unlikely event that someone you've hired to transport your RV ends up stealing it, you would need your own insurance policy to cover the theft and the cost of replacing your belongings.
If you go with uShip.com, they state on their website that they will pay up to $500 in case of damage or loss, which of course wouldn't cover the loss of an RV, but might cover the cost of your insurance deductible.
Does my RV need to be licensed and registered in order to be transported?
If the RV you're having transported doesn't have license plates (for example, because you purchased it from a private party and haven't yet been able to register it in your name), the driver will need to provide a temporary license in order to haul it legally.
Someone who hauls RV's for a living should know this and should also know how to obtain one in the state where they reside, but it's important that you communicate about this before you agree to hire them and that they verify in writing that they will be providing this license.
Can I ship an RV overseas?
Yes, you most certainly can ship an RV overseas. I once received an email from someone living in South America who shipped their RV to the United States for service by boat. I don't personally have experience with doing this, but I do know there are shipping companies that specifically mention shipping RV's on their website. You can read more about shipping an RV overseas in this article: How Do I Ship an RV Overseas?
Tips for Hiring an RV Transport Company
If you're considering paying an RV transport service to haul your RV, here are some tips to help ensure you have a good experience:
- Be very specific about your requirements for the job, including the exact pickup and drop-off time.
- Communicate in writing when possible so you have a record of exactly what was agreed to. If you have a conversation over the phone, send a follow-up message or email to summarize what was said on the call and ask the person to agree in writing as well.
- Make sure the person you hire has the proper licenses and insurance required in order for them to legally haul your RV.
- Make sure the person you hire has positive recommendations from former customers (online reviews or personal references).
- Look on UShip.com to estimate the cost per mile, but know this is just a starting point for negotiation.
- Plan for you or someone you trust to be present when the RV is picked up and when it is delivered to handle any emergencies that may arise.
- Call your insurance company before the trip and explain your plans to them to make sure your coverage would be adequate protect you in case of damage or theft.
- Consider hiding a GPS tracking device in your RV that will allow you to know its location at all times.
- Complete any needed maintenance and safety inspections well before the day of travel so you have time to fix any problems you discover.
Have you ever hired someone to haul your RV? Leave a comment to share your experience!