Moving to a new place can be an extremely enticing prospect, and if you’re someone who has been waiting for this opportunity to start again, it will be all the more exciting! But, with moving comes a whole lot of figuring out and learning, after all, it’s not something we do every day.

No matter whether or not you hire professional movers to help you, we’re sure you’ve at least considered the prospect and done a bit of research about the same. You must’ve also looked at the wide variety of moving services available, from trucks to trailers.

If you’re thinking of hiring a freight trailer, then you must’ve come across the term ‘linear foot’ multiple times, which is why you’re reading this article today. If you’re confused and want information about it, you’re at the right place.

What Is A Linear Foot?

In simple terms, a linear foot is a form of measurement where 1 linear foot is equivalent to a foot (12 inches long) in a linear or straight manner, just like the term suggests. In other words, when you measure using a linear foot, you’re measuring 1 foot vertically or a manner of length. This is because linear always means ‘movement that follows a straight line’.

So, remember that you’re not measuring the width or breadth; you’re just measuring the length. To give you another example, if an item is 7 feet long and 25 inches wide, you’ll just consider the length and say that the item is 7 linear feet long.

Now that you know this, you also might have the following question –

What Is The Difference Between Linear Feet And Regular Feet?

Surprisingly, there’s no difference between these two terms of measurement! As we mentioned, a linear foot is equivalent to a foot. So when you say that something is 10 linear feet tall, it can also be said that it is 10 feet tall.

Why Is Calculating Linear Foot Important?

Coming to the important question of the importance of a linear foot, the reason is very simple and one that you might have guessed already. The term is used by movers to figure out how much space your belongings will take inside a freight trailer. Once they determine that, they multiply it with the cost per linear foot that they have set. By doing so, they can give you an estimate of how much the move will cost while also telling you about the size of the freight trailer you’ll require for all your belongings.

You might have noticed that not all moving companies use linear feet as a way to measure space inside trailers. This is especially true of full service movers who take the total amount of weight into account rather than the space that your belongings occupy.

What you can do by knowing an estimate of how many linear feet your belongings might occupy inside a freight trailer is start decluttering and reducing the number of belongings you have. While this is a part and parcel of the moving process, many of us keep it till the last minute and then pay to move items and furniture that we end up giving away or selling after moving.

Why wait and pay for that extra space? Instead, start decluttering and giving items away well in advance so that you can pay less and also start fresh once you move.

Also Read: Moving Companies which Offers Trailer Rentals

Did you know? Using a linear foot as a form of measurement also helps movers add or subtract money from the estimate when your belongings take more or less space in the truck than anticipated. Since the estimate is based on cost per linear foot, they can adjust the rates with exact accuracy.

Cons Of Paying By The Linear Foot

While paying by the linear foot comes with a great many advantages, you’ll notice that there are some pitfalls to it too. One of them is quite obvious – not packing properly. If you don’t pack your belongings properly, your belongings will end up taking much more space than required, and you’ll have to pay more money.

The same goes for bulky and light goods – if you have them, it doesn’t make much sense to measure by the linear foot, because you’re just paying more for hardly anything! There’s another disadvantage to paying by the linear foot which is that it’s not the best for local moves. It turns out to be more economical only when you’re moving cross-country or internationally.

Good to know: You can minimize the total linear feet your belongings occupy by hiring professional packers who know the ins and outs of packing any and every kind of item. Packing efficiently will make a considerable difference in the final amount that you have to pay.

The Linear Foot Rule

Ever heard of this? Now that you’re acquainting yourself with the term ‘linear foot’ and considering it’ll likely be used to estimate your final moving cost, let’s also take a look at a rule that’s followed by everyone in the transportation industry. It’s a standardized method that movers will use to charge customers for the move.

According to the linear foot rule, if your shipment occupies 10 linear feet or more space than that inside a freight trailer or truck, you’ll be charged for 1,000lbs per linear foot. This rule only applies to less-than-truckload shipments which are also known as LTL. If this rule is violated, you might be forced to pay hefty fines as a penalty.

Did you know? LTL or less-than-truckload shipping means that your goods will be sharing space with another’s. It’s a very common and affordable way to ship your belongings, especially if you don’t have enough to fill up an entire trailer or truck.

How Is Paying By The Linear Foot Better Than Other Methods?

This is one question we’ve seen many people ask since different moving companies have their own way in which they calculate the estimate they give you. As we mentioned above, while a majority of full service movers charge based on the total weight of belongings being moved, you’ll also find some that charge for the entire truck or container. This is irrespective of whether you use all the space inside or not!

In such a scenario, you’ll end up spending much more than required, paying for space inside the truck or container that you’re not even using. So, when freight moving companies have measurement via linear foot as an option, it’s best to go with them since you’ll only be paying for the space your belongings take.

Also See: The Average Cost of Moving Truck Rentals

How Are Linear Feet Calculated?

You now know what a linear foot is and why it’s important. It’s now time to look at how linear feet actually get calculated when you place your items in a freight trailer. To calculate linear feet, you’re usually given a guide by the moving company that will be moving your belongings. This guide will usually have a table that gives you an average of how many linear feet one room of belongings might occupy.

To give you an example, a freight moving company’s guide might state that one room’s worth of belongings might occupy 7 linear feet in a trailer. You must remember though that this is usually an average which means that your belongings might take up more or less space which you have to be ready for. But, the guide will give you a basic idea of how much space your items will take and how much they will end up costing, so make use of it!

Ways To Save Money When You Use The Linear Foot Rule

When your freight moving company uses the linear foot as a measurement to give you an estimate, you’re already saving big time on total costs. But, there are various techniques you can use to reduce the linear feet that your belongings occupy inside the trailer or truck. We’ll give you some of these below:

1. Look At How Your Moving Company Wants Goods To Be Loaded

Sounds strange? It’s really not. Many freight moving companies have a specific way of how items should be loaded, especially those that are heavy or bulky. These items will be handled differently, which is why it’s essential you ask your freight company if they have a different method, and specify the size and weight of your item. Not doing so in advance can result in you being forced to pay additional money at the last minute.

See Also: How to Pack and Load a Moving Truck? | Find Nearby Last Minute Movers

2. Measure Accurately

See to it that once your goods are loaded onto the freight trailer, the shipper takes accurate measurements. This is because you’re being charged per linear foot, and if your goods take up more space than previously estimated, you’ll have to pay adjustment fees.

Many times shippers give inaccurate measurements of how much space your goods take because they don’t have proper knowledge of how and what needs to be measured. They don’t do it intentionally, but it can affect how much you pay.

Good to know: If your goods are going to be placed on a pallet, don’t forget to include the size of the pallet in your estimate too!


How Many Linear Feet Is 100 Square Feet?

To find out how many linear feet a certain number of square feet would be, you just have to multiply the number of square feet by 12 and then divide this by the size of your floorboards. So, if your floorboards are 5 inches wide and will take up 100 sq.ft., in this case, the number of linear feet needed would be 240 which is (100 x 12) / 5.

What’s The Difference Between Linear And Lineal?

Linear is more along the lines of straight lines, whereas lineal is more to do with ancestry where the word refers to deciding from a particular ancestry.

Is Linear Feet The Same As Perimeter?

No, in fact, both terms have no relationship whatsoever. Square foot is used to measure an area of space and measure a two-dimensional space. Linear foot on the other hand just measures how long a line is.


You might never have worked with anyone who has used linear feet as a way to measure anything before, and that’s okay. It’s just like other methods of measurement and can give an accurate reading of the space your goods occupy. In the end, try your best to reduce the number of goods you have before the move so that you can spend less. At the same time, trust your shipper to carry out these measurements, but just remind them to do it twice for confirmation!

Read also: Top Moving Truck Rental Companies