If you have a fifth wheel, odds are you know how much of a pain it can be to move. In some cases, you may not want to move it yourself.
In those cases, you can hire a third-party company to move your fifth wheel for you. It can often be a smart financial decision to have someone move your trailer for you.
On average, you can expect to pay about $3 per mile to move your tractor-trailer for trips under 500 miles. Generally speaking, the longer the trip, the less you have to pay per mile.
Costs are affected by the pickup/drop-off locations, condition of the RV, and size of the vehicles.
There are a lot of things to consider when looking at fifth wheel costs. So we put together this comprehensive guide on things to keep in mind when moving your fifth wheel.
We will talk about factors affecting fifth wheel transport costs and provide specific examples of fifth wheel transport costs.
- What Is a Fifth Wheel?
- How Much Does it Cost to Move a Fifth Wheel?
- Shipping an RV Overseas
- Factors that Affect the Cost of Moving a Fifth Wheel
- Why Hire Someone to Move Your Trailer?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final Words
What Is a Fifth Wheel?
Fifth wheels are a popular kind of RV tractor-trailer that attaches to the back of tow trucks and other pickups. The term “fifth wheel” refers to the u-shaped couplings that mount the trailer to the truck.
The two parts connect using a pin-box design that is similar to the mechanics connecting semi-trailers.
Fifth-wheel trailers are popular because they are large, provide copious storage/living space, have great stability when towing, and have a variety of arrangements and layouts.
You can also unhitch the fifth wheel at your campsite so you have your truck for other purposes.
Fifth wheels are large vehicles and they usually require a heavy-duty pickup truck capable of towing ~20,000 lbs.
How Much Does it Cost to Move a Fifth Wheel?
If you don’t want to tow your RV yourself, you can hire a company to do it for you. The costs are fairly high, but it can be a viable alternative to towing the trailer yourself.
An RV transport company will move your RV from a starting location to the desired location. Generally, these kinds of companies charge a per-mile fee, though some may offer flat fees for certain types of moves.
It is usually less expensive per mile for longer trips than for shorter trips. The typical per-mile fee for RV transport is approximately $3 per mile for trips under 100 miles.
For trips between 100 to 1,000 miles, the typical cost is around $1.00 per mile. So for example, if you wanted to move your trailers 70 miles, you can expect to pay at least $200 in just moving charges, not counting fuel and other fees.
Trailer Moving Cost Examples
Here is an example of trailer moving costs. To move a class A motorhome over 30 meters long 1,914 miles from Oakland, CA to Houston, TX, would cost approximately $1.58 per mile.
Shortening that trip to Las Vegas 560 miles away changes the price to $3.48 per mile.
For a 43-foot trailer, a 143-mile trip in Oregon would cost just over $2.00 per mile. Conversely, moving a 43-foot trailer 30 miles would cost nearly $5.20 per mile.
For a 400 mile trip from Fredericksburg, VA to El Reno, OK, it would cost approximately $3 per hour.
If you want to know more about specific trips and pricing, this handy website has a list of recent transactions and lists fees based on item weight and pickup/dropoff locations.
Keep in mind that different shipping companies will have different service areas. Make sure that the company you choose ships to the area that you need.
Shipping an RV Overseas
If you have moved countries but want to keep your RV, then you can pay a company to ship it overseas for you. Shipping an RV overseas is very expensive and requires you to figure out a lot of logistics.
Depending on the size of the RV, you can expect to pay an average of $4,000, just for shipping costs. You also need to factor in the costs of transporting the RV to the pickup and drop-off locations, as well as any relevant taxes, fees, insurance, and handling.
You may also need to pay import taxes on your shipment, depending on the drop-off location. As an example, moving a 20,000 lbs. 43-foot Class A motorhome across the Atlantic would cost around $6,000 for the shipping alone, not counting costs for fuel and land transportation.
In many cases, shipping across seas can add up to $10,000 more to your transportation bill.
Factors that Affect the Cost of Moving a Fifth Wheel
All other things being equal, the larger the fifth wheel, the more expensive it will be to move it. Larger RVs require more fuel and time to move.
Larger vehicles may also have more complex connecting mechanisms.
The vehicle’s layout will also affect transport costs. If your RV has an unconventional or particularly difficult layout to move, then it will probably cost more to transport.
The type of amenities may also affect transportation costs.
Most towing companies charge per mile so longer trips will cost more. However, they may charge a reduced rate if your total trip is above a certain distance.
For example, a 100-mile trip may cost more per mile than a 500-mile trip. Truck moving is more efficient over longer distances so transport companies can afford to charge less per mile for longer trips. Traveling overseas will incur an extra shipping cost.
Number of trailers
Costs are also affected by the number of trailers that you need to ship. As you might expect, multiple trailers will cost more to ship than just a single trailer.
Condition of the trailer
If your trailer is in good condition and does not need repairs, it will cost much less to move.
However, if your wheels are damaged or there is some other kind of damage, it will cost more to tow and will probably take more time to get to the final destination.
Why Hire Someone to Move Your Trailer?
Don’t Have a Tow Truck
Not everyone who has an RV has the truck to move it. Many people buy an RV with no intention of moving it anytime soon.
For these kinds of people, the cost of periodic relocation is worth less than the monthly payment for a truck. On the other hand, if you plan to move your RV a lot, then you should buy the correct truck.
Transport RV from Dealership
If you buy the RV from a dealership, they may use an RV transport company to move the trailer to you.
You can also hire an RV transport company to pick your model up for you from another seller. Hiring a moving company can often be cheaper than driving across when you factor in food, gas, and lost time.
You may face an emergency and have to leave your RV. an RV transport company can quickly and efficiently deliver your RV back to your home while you deal with emergencies.
You can also hire an RV towing company if you do not feel comfortable operating such a large vehicle.
Driving a long distance to pick up an RV can take a lot of time; time that you may want to spend elsewhere. Hiring a company lets you focus on your immediate affairs while professionals handle your trailer.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to move a fifth wheel?
The exact cost will differ depending on your starting location, ending location, and specific trailers, but the average cost per mile is $3.00 for trips under 100 miles.
The average cost for trips under 1,000 miles is lower at $1.00 per mile. Transportation in larger cities and for larger trailers may be as high as $5 to $6 an hour.
Can I move a fifth wheel myself?
Yes, you can move a fifth wheel yourself and many people prefer doing that.
However, it can often be a better idea to pay someone else to move your fifth wheel. You may lack the truck to do so or you may be absent when the trailer has to be moved.
Is hiring someone to move my fifth wheel worth it?
Depending on the reason, it can be worth it to pay someone to move your fifth wheel for you. Paying a company to do the job can often cost less for you than fuel and food costs for the round trip.
Not to mention you can spend that time doing other things instead of driving back and forth from your destination.
Paying someone to move your fifth wheel is a relatively simple procedure and can be a smart way to get access to your trailer when you are otherwise incapable.
The costs of shipping your RV can vary dramatically depending on the size of your vehicle and the distance traveled, but it may sometimes be the best option.
There is no surefire way to predict the costs of moving your RV, so the best way is to ask a lot of companies and compare prices. The more companies you get quotes from, the better you can choose between options.