How to Price Haulage Work

Although there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to calculating haulage rates for HGV vehicles there are a number of factors that will be important when offering a quote to clients.

Although there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to pricing haulage rates for HGV vehicles there are a number of factors that will be important when offering a quote to clients.

We have created this helpful HGV pricing guide to get you started and walk you through how to price a HGV load.


Different Factors to bear in mind when quoting for Haulage Work


One of the most important factors to bear in mind when setting a price for your HGV is how urgent the requested delivery is, and what capacity do you have at the time of the request. If for example it is 4PM in the afternoon and the client needs a truck into his customer by 6PM when they close then you may want to add a premium due to the late notice.

If you have just one truck without a job for the next day and your client wants to book a job that you do not particularly want to do then you may want to offer a higher price with the intention to make it worthwhile doing that job.

You may find that your client wants to book just ten pallets and all you can offer is an articulated truck with a carrying capacity of 26 pallets and if that was the case you may be able to charge the rate you would normally charge for the larger HGV vehicle.

The size of a load is the main factor in choosing which vehicle will be required and weight of the load will also be a major factor in your quotation. Below is a list of vehicle types and the weight they can carry:

Vehicle Types: 7.5 Tonne, 18 Tonne, 26 Tonne, 44 Tonne

If the load you are about to quote on can be collected locally to where you are based or where your truck is becoming empty then you could base your quote on the following chart per mile:

Vehicle Sizes and Prices Per Mile

7.5 Tonne - £1.50 per mile up to 200 miles

18 Tonne - £2.00 per mile up to 200 miles

26 Tonne - £2.25 per mile up to 200 miles

44 Tonne - £2.75 per mile up to 200 miles

If the journey is over 200 miles you could offer a reduction of 50% for each extra mile covered up to a maximum distance.

If your drivers are not in a sleeper cab and cannot stay overnight in the truck then you may want to offer a maximum distance of 250 miles in a day so that your driver can return to base within his normal working day (Need help understanding the HGV working hours regulations? View our simple but comprehensive guide on this here).

However if your driver can stay in the truck overnight then you should add an overnight charge of £50 based upon the proviso that you can find a return load the following morning.

You may also need to consider other charges such as toll roads or crossing charges over rivers as these are all factors that can increase the price you should charge for haulage work. The main factor that can bring costs down is flexibility by your client so if they offer you a few days in which to collect the goods and a few days to deliver then you may want to reduce the cost so that you can fit this load in with other work.

In the recent years transport companies have been able to become members of pallet networks or have been able to input pallets into a network through other hauliers who are members. This means that you can offer your clients a fixed price per pallet as you will be able to consolidate freight.

Competitive Overnight pallet Rates


For standard pallets to Zone 1 which covers most of the UK, but does not include outlying regions such as West Wales or North Scotland etc a standard yet competitive charge to ask would be somewhere between £50 - £60 per standard 1200 x 1000 pallet up to 1500 in height.

Oversized and Timed delivery slots


Aspects to look out for when pricing pallet work is oversized pallets which might take up two spaces on a trailer and therefore you could be charged more by the hub or the delivering depot. Also if there is a specific time allotted to the delivery then you should charge a deliver timed slot of between £10 - £15 approximately.

Pallets into Europe


For pallet deliveries into Europe (the main EU countries such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal etc.) you need to quote your client and base the delivery time on around 3 – 5 days depending on destination but if the delivery is urgent then you may want to offer a direct delivery service via a van. To quote for a long distance delivery on a van you will need to account for ferry crossing charges and toll roads on the continent.

Also you need to be aware of Bank Holidays in continental countries as these differ from the UK and some vehicles may not be allowed to travel on Bank Holidays.

Volumetric Weight Explanation


A volumetric calculation consists of Length x Width x Height and is often referred to as:-  L x W x H. Goods going to Europe are often described in metric rather than imperial and as a rule of thumb 1m = 3.3 ft and a standard pallet is 1,200 x 1,000 base size.

For example if you are quoting on a pallet of goods that weigh 880kg and measures 120cm x 100cm x 220cm your volumetric calculation will look like this:1.2 x 1 x 2.2 = 2.64. In this example the haulage costs will be calculated as if the pallet of goods weigh 880kg.

Most trailers both in the UK and on the continent are 13.6m in length and can carry 26 standard pallets on the floor. Many trucks have a second floor which comes down internally and some trailers can be double deck or even triple deck trailers in some cases, therefore as long as the weight is within the allowed limit which can be up to around 28 tons then you could potentially transport 26 pallets x 3 = 78 pallets on a single load.

The rule of thumb is that the more pallets you can transport on a single load the more profit you will make and the greater the opportunity to reduce the price per pallet to your client and therefore become more competitive.

Smaller rigid trucks like a 6 wheel rigid can carry 16 pallets on the bed of the truck and up to 16 tons in weight depending on the weight of the body unloaded.



Removals are a specialist business and general haulage companies do not normally offer a removal service. Specific types of lorries need to be used to do removals as personal items and furniture may need to be tied to the inside of the truck to stop them from moving around during transport.

In Conclusion


To reiterate the concept of haulage pricing and how to price haulage work:

There are key elements to consider when pricing a transport job and these are as follows:

  1. The type of vehicle which will be needed to transport the goods.
  2. The distance of the transport request.
  3. The urgency of the job
  4. The availability of your vehicles at the time of the request
  5. Where the load is going to because if your vehicle ends up empty in a remote destination you may have to travel miles to get a return load.

Let’s assume that you want to put a rate schedule together for a new or existing customer and the criteria is that the client gives you a minimum of one days warning of each job and that the job can be loaded on Day 1 and delivered on Day 2. This is a good way to work out what to charge:

Open a new spreadsheet and think how much you want per mile for each type of van or truck. Let’s imagine that for a transit van you need £1.50 per mile and for an 44 ton artic & trailer you need £3.00 per mile then you simply put the type of vehicle down one side of the spreadsheet and you put the mileage along the top of the spreadsheet.

So 100 miles for a transit van would cost the customer £150 and 100 miles for a 44 ton artic and trailer would cost the customer £300. As a rule of thumb the types of vehicles you could add into your spreadsheet are as follows:


  1. Small Van  (such as Belingo or Escort Van)
  2. Larger Van  (such as Short Wheelbase or Long Wheelbase transit)
  3. 7.5 ton truck  (Payload of around 3.5tons)
  4. 18 ton rigid truck   (Payload of around 10 tons)
  5. 26 ton rigid truck  (Payload of around 16 tons)
  6. 44 ton rigid truck  (Payload of around 28 tons)

Now to be sensible you need to think about certain parts of the country being more remote than others. For example if your customer asked for a price on a load from Reading to Manchester (around 200 miles) then neither destination is remote and therefore you should safely be able to get a backload via an online freight exchange such as to eliminate the dead mileage and you can take this into consideration on your rate.

However, if your customer asks for a price from Reading to Fishguard in West Wales which is a similar distance of around 200 miles you should not charge the same mileage rate because you will find it difficult to get any sort of backload from West Wales and may have to travel a distance in order to pick up a good return journey.

Therefore you need to zone your rate schedule and put areas in the UK which are more remote in a higher zone regardless of distance. For example Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds etc would be in Zone One but Fishguard, Penzance and Barnstaple might be in Zone Two or Zone Three.

As a general rule of thumb you should consider the return load charge as being around 60% of the outbound charge so for example if you priced a job on your rate schedule from Reading to Manchester as £600 for a 44 ton unit and trailer then you are assuming that your backload from Manchester area to somewhere around Reading would be somewhere between £320 and £380.

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