If you plan to transport loads of packages, heavy items, or merchandise, the best option is to book trucks. Booking a truck is not as common as booking an auto or cab. You cannot find trucks lined on the side of the road waiting for a customer, especially long-distance ones. However, technology has made it easier to book any transport that you prefer from the comfort of your home.

Generally, you can choose one among several logistics websites for booking a truck online in India: 

1. Type ‘truck booking near me’ in your web browser

2. Check the results and go to a logistics/packers and movers website

2. Provide your contact information 

3. Get a call-back and provide details for quote calculation

4. Get the quote 

5. Settle payment modalities 

6. Finalise the deal in minutes

 If you wish to book trucks for the relocation of personal goods, it’s best to hire packers and movers. They offer packing, loading, transportation and unloading services. 

How fast can you book a truck?

There is no shortage of these vehicles on Indian roads. According to Statista Research Department, the industry produced 246 thousand trucks in the country in 2021. In addition, thousands of logistic companies are in the country, and most have an operating web page for booking the service or contacting the team. Thus, you can book your truck within a few minutes.

Many customers also prefer using truck booking apps. PwC’s Logistics Industry Report states that lack of digitalisation is one of the main concerns in logistic companies. You can book your trucks in a matter of seconds with an app and track the vehicle on the go. But being an unorganised industry, things are yet to catch up to the standards of other progressive sectors. Other sectors have reaped higher benefits from digitalisation.

These methods apply if you choose trucks to relocate your house or office. Most of those who use trucks for transportation use their in-house team or friends and family to pack the things and load them onto the truck. However, the damage due to improper packing will be very significant in such a situation. Thus, people prefer hiring professional moving companies that provide custom trucks, apps, and other benefits.

Truck vs courier service

Several courier services in the country offer that same service as booking a truck. You can choose the courier services if you have a few packages. Most couriers propose to deliver the parcels within 3-5 days. However, if you have many items, say, while relocating house, it is practical to book a private truck instead of opting for courier services.

Cost of booking a truck

truck

A well-resourced truck logistic company would start its charges from a specific rate, say Rs.32/-. There will be a minimum charge for sure, though. If you are moving ten kilometres to a new home in another part of the town, then the cost will not be INR 32 x 10=320/-. The minimum charge for the smallest trucks (TATA Ace) will be INR 500/- for the shortest distances. 

The costs could easily vary between brands based on the location, type of truck, days of transportation (weekends vs weekdays), type of merchandise, and more. If you are transporting long distances (more than 1000 km), you can negotiate for better prices. This cost is flexible and varies from player to player. Moreover, booking a truck for intra-city transportation is cheaper from an ‘overall amount’ point of view but will be higher from a ‘per kilometre’ point of view. For longer distances, the economy of scale kicks in. A journey of 1000 kilometres will not be 1000×32=32000 for a normal truck but will be cheaper.

Elements included in the cost of hiring a truck are:

1. Fuel

2. NH toll

3. Driver and helper charges

4. National Permit, Road Tax, Goods tax, Insurance, Depreciation charges 

5. Broker charges (it happens in the backend even if you don’t come to know about it due to planned marketing)

6. Profit of the truck owner

Type of trucks to pick from

Apart from the truck’s size, there are several speciality vehicles to pick from, based on your specific needs.

Box Trucks (also known as Closed body/Container trucks):

These trucks are best suitable for transporting packaged goods, furniture, household appliances, electronic items, and more. It is ideal for business or house relocation, product transportation, and food transportation. Due to no-entry restrictions, these trucks are more popular for intra-city movement of commercial goods during the daytime in Indian cities. Boxed trucks are allowed to ply, whereas open body trucks are not permitted during the day (7 am to 9 pm usually) in any major city in India.

Flatbed Trucks:

These trucks have an open body suitable for heavy loads or large items like iron rods, sheets, etc. This truck is the right option if you plan to transport tons of products. A flatbed truck can carry upto 30 tons of weight on plains and upto 18 tonnes in hills. There are different types of flatbed trucks like stretch single drop deck, double drop, side-kit, extendable flatbed, and more. Hilly areas can accommodate up to 22 feet trucks only. No such restrictions are there for plains.

Refrigerated Trucks:

If you hire any packers and movers, they would not be open to transporting food items if they do not have refrigerated trucks in their fleet. This truck is best for perishable items, pharmaceutical products, medical items, and more. An air-conditioned truck is not the same as a refrigerated truck. The latter has a temperature monitoring system and can maintain up to -20 degrees F throughout transit.

Trailers:

These speciality trucks are for transporting bulky and industrial items. These are usually used in the engineering and manufacturing sectors, where large (ODC – Over Dimensional Cargo) size consignments are transported. They can carry upto 100s of tonnes of load per consignment. However, the requirement is mostly for upto 30-40 tonnes of cargo per consignment.

Mini-vans:

These are mini trucks for small volumes, best for delivering goods, home renovation, agricultural goods transportation, and more. Given the road congestion in India, it is the fastest option for intra-city transportation.

Tanker truck:

If you plan to book a vehicle for transporting liquid like fuel, water, oil, chemicals, milk, and others, you should choose tanker trucks.

VehicleLength Height Width Capacity UseNo-Entry Restrictions
Container truck32 feet10 feet8 feetUp to 16 tonsGeneric transportationNo
Tanker truck39 feet11 feet8 feetUp to 2835 litres of liquidFluid transportationYes
Mini-van7 feet5 feet5 feetUp to 2.5 tonsLast-mile deliveryNo
Trailers 53 feet8 feet8 feetUp to 100+ tonsHeavy load transportationYes
Refrigerated trucks22 feet7 feet7.5 feetUp to 12 tonsFood and medical products transportationNo
Flatbed trucks24 feet7 feet8 feetUp to 30 tons (plains)/18 tons (hills)Heavy load transportationYes

Table: Types of trucks available in India

How to choose the best truck Logistics Company?

Logistics

First, check and list the top truck logistics companies in the locality. Now, go through the online reviews and choose the ones with a good reputation. Lastly, here are the top features that an excellent logistic service provider should offer.

  • A large fleet of trucks with speciality trucks for your customised needs and budget
  • An app to book, track, and pay within seconds
  • Permit to transport goods throughout the country
  • A secure and protected payment gateway that allows multiple modes of payment options without intermediaries
  • At least three years of experience and a crew of experienced drivers
  • A precise quote with no hidden costs
  • A contract with clauses for all scenarios
  • Good customer service via app, web page, mail, and phone.
  • A transparent business operation
  • Registered business with license and permit
  • Services regarding procuring permits for transporting restricted items like liquor, firearms, flammable items, and more (if needed)

Remember that once you load the merchandise into the vehicle, you will have no access or control over it. Yes, apps track the location and find the estimated delivery time; however, there is no firm control over your products/deadlines, as roads are unpredictable. There could be delays due to elements beyond the reasonable control of the transport company. Thus, it is essential to choose a reliable service provider. The best way to find such a service is to ask for details about their past customers. Then, contact their past customers to learn what you can expect from them. It is also advisable to carry transit insurance. The usual rate for ‘All Risk’ insurance is 3% of the value of goods in the consignment. It is a general rule in Indian law that goods worth over INR 100/- should be insured during transportation.

For getting a head start with your shifting needs, read our article ‘What you should do two weeks before moving‘.