How Much Does It Cost To Ship A Tractor? Everything You Should Know
If you need to ship a tractor from one farm to another, you may be wondering what your best option is. If you’re sending your tractor more than a few miles, chances are that you’ll need to hire a heavy equipment shipping company to send it to its destination on a tractor-trailer.
But how much does it cost to transport a tractor? How will your tractor be shipped? How should you prepare your tractor for shipping on a truck? In this guide from A-1 Auto Transport, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know.
How Are Tractors Usually Shipped?
Tractors are usually shipped on a flatbed trailer. This is the best way to ship a tractor that’s traveling domestically, since it can often be driven on and off of a flatbed. Typically, tractors are shipped in one piece, though some larger tractors may have to be disassembled or require the removal of some attachments before shipping.
It is possible, in some cases, to ship smaller tractors in enclosed trailers. However, this is more expensive and it’s usually not necessary – tractors are not delicate and are meant to be exposed to the elements. It may make sense to ship a luxury car in a closed trailer, but this is not really necessary for heavy machinery like a tractor.
How Much Will It Cost To Ship A Tractor?
It usually costs between $2 and $3 per mile to ship a farm-grade tractor, but this can vary widely. There is no set price for a tractor shipment, because there are so many factors that can affect the total price you’ll pay. Among others, this includes LTL (Less Than Truckload) vs FTL (Full Truckload) shipping, oversized load requirements, the distance your tractor must be sent, the population density near the destination area, and more.
Let’s explore these factors in a bit more detail now.
- Weight and size of your tractor – The average farm tractor can weigh up to 20,000 pounds or more, and depending on the machine and its attachments, a tractor can vary wildly in length, width, and height.
As a rule, the larger the tractor is, the more it will cost to ship per mile, especially if it qualifies as an oversized load. Oversized loads require additional permits and may require pilot cars, which adds to the cost of shipping.
- LTL vs FTL shipping – Large farm tractors will need to be sent with FTL (Full Truckload) shipping, meaning your tractor will take up all of the available space on a truck flatbed, and you’ll pay for shipping accordingly.
In contrast, smaller tractors can be sent with LTL (Less Than Truckload) shipping. In LTL shipping, you can share a flatbed with another shipment going to a nearby destination – For example, if your tractor is 12 feet long and the flatbed is 48 feet long, you’ll only take up about 25% of its capacity – and the truck can carry other shipments, too. This reduces the cost of shipping, though it does make the process a bit more lengthy and complex.
- Distance of shipment – You’ll be charged per mile for shipping your tractor, so a longer trip – say, from Maryland to Colorado – will cost more than a local shipment that’s within your state.
However, the cost per mile actually tends to be lower if the distance traveled is higher. Though you’ll still pay more for a long-distance shipment – because it must travel many more miles – you’ll actually be paying less per mile that your tractor is being shipped.
- Population density near the destination – Tractors are often sent to rural areas that are far away from population centers. If this is the case, you may end up paying a bit more for your shipment.
This is because the driver will have to “deadhead” after dropping off the tractor. “Deadheading” is a term used to refer to driving without carrying cargo. If there are no customers near your location that need to ship cargo, the driver may have a long distance to pick up their next cargo shipment. If you live more than 200+ miles from a major population center, expect to pay a slightly higher rate because of this.
How Should I Prepare A Tractor For Shipping?
Before you ship your tractor, you should document its condition, remove loose items from the cabin (if applicable), drain away any excess fuel, remove attachments, and ensure you know how it will be loaded onto the truck when it’s time to ship your tractor. Your shipping company will provide you with any additional instructions you may need.
- Document the condition of your tractor – Taking photos and video of your tractor will ensure that you can look out for any potential damage that may be caused during the shipment process, and gives you peace of mind.
- Remove loose items – If you have any personal items in the cabin or any items that may move around, remove them. Loose, unsecured items could shift and cause damage during the shipment process. Any valuable electronics or personal items should also be removed to reduce the risk of theft during the shipping process.
- Drain excess fuel – Some fuel may be needed to drive the tractor on and off the semi, but it’s a good idea to drain most of the fuel from your tractor. This reduces its loading weight, and also helps improve safety.
- Remove attachments – In some cases, it may be wise to remove tractor attachments from your tractor and ship them separately.
This is particularly true of tractors that would otherwise count as an oversized load. In most cases, the cost of partially disassembling the tractor or removing attachments will be much lower than paying for the costs associated with oversized load designation.
- Develop a loading strategy – You’ll need to work with your shipping company to determine the best way to load your tractor. Most tractors can be driven onto a flatbed normally, but some large tractors or tractors with oversized wheels may need to be lifted onto the truck using a crane. Note that this may require additional specialized equipment, and incur additional costs.
Need To Move A Tractor? Work With A-1 Auto Transport To Get The Help You Need
At A-1 Auto Transport, we know how important your farm equipment is for your livelihood, and we understand that shipping a tractor can be a complex process. So we’re here to help. As a leading broker for heavy equipment transportation, we can help you find a trustworthy, reliable, and reasonably-priced shipping company near you.
Ready to get started? Contact us online, use our heavy equipment shipping calculator or give us a call at (800) 452-2880. to speak to one of our representatives right away, and get the tractor shipping services you need. No matter where you are in America, we’re here to help!
Written By:Joe Webster
Joe Webster began his journey in the auto transport field by attending the University of Southern California (USC), where he graduated with a Bachelor of Business Marketing.
After college, he started his career in the auto transport industry from the bottom up and has done virtually every job there is to do at A-1 Auto Transport, including but not limited to: Truck Driver, Dispatch, Sales, PR, Bookkeeping, Transport Planner, Transport Manager, International Transport Manager, Brokering, Customer Service, and Marketing. Working with his mentor Tony Taylor, Joe Webster has learned the ins and outs of this industry which is largely misunderstood.
With over 30 years experience in the industry, we've been helping people ship their vehicles, motorcycles, RV's, heavy equipment, household goods and more across the country or overseas without a hitch. Ask us anything.