On This Page:
- 9 Steps For Starting Your Own Moving Business
- How Big is the Moving Services Industry?
- What are the Key Segments of the Moving Services Industry?
- Who are the Key Competitors in the Moving Services Industry?
- What are the Key Customer Segments in the Moving Market?
- What are the Typical Startup Costs for a New Moving Business?
- Is Owning a Moving Company Profitable?
- What are the Keys to Launching a New Moving Business?
- How to Start a Moving Business FAQs
- Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates
Starting a moving business can be very profitable. With proper planning, execution and hard work, you can enjoy great success. Below you will learn the keys to launching and running a successful moving company.
Importantly, a critical step in starting a moving company is to complete your business plan. To help you out, you should download Growthink’s Ultimate Business Plan Template here.
9 Steps For Starting Your Own Moving Business
1. Conduct Market Research for Your Target Market
First, you need to do your research and assess the demand for your moving services in your area. Your local chamber of commerce is a good place to start as they may provide some business profiles on companies that operate locally as well as their key competitors.
2. Obtain the Proper Business Licenses
It is important to contact your local state or county government’s business licensing agency to ensure that you are in compliance with all federal, state and local laws. This will also apply to obtaining necessary insurance for your moving company.
3. Develop a Business Plan
A business plan is a roadmap for your company, laying out the framework with which you can find success. It typically includes company information such as where your business came from and why you started it, how to market the service you provide, what type of people will work for you and owners’ compensation. It also includes details about start-up costs, how you will monitor the success of your company and contingency plans for unforeseen circumstances.
4. Find Funding
No successful business can get off the ground without funding so it is important to plan ahead to ensure you have enough start-up capital to sustain your company until you are profitable. Many banks or lending institutions may be willing to provide start-up loans or lines of credit, but be prepared to offer collateral and a comprehensive business plan that shows realistic financial projections.
5. Hire Employees
Once you have done your due diligence and found the success you were hoping for, there will come a point when your business will outgrow its existing staff so it is important to start recruiting early. Ensure that anyone who works for you knows the type of work they will be doing and that you can provide them with a safe environment to perform their duties.
6. Make Sure You Have the Proper Insurance Coverage
Getting adequate insurance coverage is essential when starting any business, but it’s even more important in the moving industry because injuries and accidents are so common.
Outside of the normal business insurance, you will need to make sure your company has insurance for workers compensation, commercial auto coverage and general liability and cargo insurance policies.
7. Develop an Effective Marketing Plan
No matter how great your marketing may be, it means nothing if no one buys the service you are selling. Develop a smart marketing plan that will help you attract new customers and retain existing ones. Marketing can be as simple as putting up some signs and flyers, talking to your neighbors and offering discounts and specials throughout the year to keep your name in front of people’s minds. You could also invest in paid advertising, posting on Social Media platforms, and/or search engine optimization for your website.
8. Keep Good Records for Tax Purposes
Proper record keeping is the key to avoiding legal trouble, especially when it comes to taxes. Make sure you are recording every transaction your company makes so that you are fully compliant with tax laws.
9. Monitor Customer Satisfaction and Competitors
Customer loyalty and satisfaction is vital to your company’s success and will ensure you get repeat business, referral new customers and maintain a positive reputation.
Monitor the success of your marketing efforts by looking at website statistics, social media analytics and how many people visit your new office space. See what your competitors are up to and plan on staying one step ahead of them.
How Big is the Moving Services Industry?
The moving industry is a multi-billion dollar industry valued at $18.5 billion this year. Its annualized market size growth in the next five years is projected to be at 0.6%.
What are the Key Segments of the Moving Services Industry?
The moving services industry can be segmented into three key markets: residential, business, and government. Within these markets, there are a number of key segments that make up the overall market.
This market is made up of customers who are moving within their local areas, such as a city or town. The main segments within this market are relocation services and full-service moves.
- Relocation services are when a moving company only helps with part of the move, such as packing or unpacking.
- Full-service moving businesses help with everything from planning to packing to moving and even cleaning up. The moving services industry is made up mostly of full-service moving companies because they offer more services for the same price.
This market consists of moving businesses that help other businesses relocate within their local area, region, or nationwide. The main segments in this market are multi-family moves (moving within an apartment building) and commercial/office moves (relocating office space).
- Multi-family moving service companies specialize in helping landlords manage large numbers of people who are moving or out of his/her property.
- Commercial/office moving service companies help businesses relocate their offices, cubicles, or other workspaces.
Government moving businesses are designed to help government organizations manage the relocation of employees within their same department or agency. This includes military personnel who are being transferred to different bases, for example. Moving large numbers of people can be difficult and time-consuming, so this market is filled with moving businesses that handle these types of relocations on behalf of the government.
The moving services industry has a large market presence because it operates in all three major moving markets. Companies in this industry help customers move within their local or even across the country, so there are opportunities for businesses to be successful in any of these markets.
Who are the Key Competitors in the Moving Services Industry?
There are several major moving and packing services competitors within the United States including:
ArcBest Corporation (Includes: United Van Lines, Trans Advantage, UniGroup Worldwide, Allegiant Move Management)
ArcBest Corporation is the holding company for five independent operations, four of which are in transportation and logistics. Of these, ABF Logistics is the key player in the moving services market.
Atlas World Group Inc. (Includes: Atlas Van Lines)
The Atlas World Group is a family of businesses that employs 734 people and provides transportation and relocation services. Atlas Van Lines, the company’s flagship subsidiary, is one of the largest interstate motor carriers in the United States and offers household moving, storage, corporate relocation, international moving, government and military moving, as well as logistics.
Sirva Inc. (Includes: Allied Van Lines, Global Van Lines, North American Van Lines and Allied Pickfords)
Sirva Inc. is a worldwide moving company headquartered in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois, with operations in 177 countries. Allied Van Lines, Global Van Lines, North American Van Lines, and Allied Pickfords are some of the North American brands affiliated with the firm.
What are the Key Customer Segments in the Moving Market?
Businesses in the moving market can be broken down into two different segments: Residential Moving and Commercial Moving.
Residential moving customers
Moving customers in the residential moving segment are typically homeowners who require residential movers to move their goods from one home to another. They may engage moving companies because they are moving to a new home, require additional storage space or need to dispose of some of their goods.
Commercial Moving customers
The moving customers in the commercial moving segment may be office management, retail management, or other company staff that need commercial movers to move their business and office items from one location to another.
Commercial moving customers can include corporate real estate departments, businesses that are relocating offices, and manufacturers whose products need to be transported on pallets. Customers in this segment typically pay more than residential customers do since commercial customers tend to move larger volumes over long distances. This means commercial movers will often hire a professional moving company or truck for business moves.
What are the Typical Startup Costs for a New Moving Business?
The initial costs when starting a moving company depend on how extensive you want your services to be. If you only need the basics like boxes, moving blankets, packing materials like bubble wrap and packing tape, and furniture pads for moving heavy items, you could start with less than $500 in startup costs.
These are a few key costs that you need to take into account when launching a moving company:
- Moving Supplies: These include moving boxes, trucks, blankets, and straps. Getting the right equipment will help reduce dents, dings and damaged furniture and could save your employees from injuries during the move.
- Office/Storage Space: A standard local moving company would rent a moving office that’s close to the moving company’s working locations. This is because it would be too time-consuming to drive back and forth from an outside moving office. Also, some moving companies need storage for all their supplies on top of having an office space.
- Advertising Costs: This can include flyers, business cards, website advertising, and other marketing materials — anything needed to get new customers.
- Employee Costs: This will be needed for warehouse-type jobs where multiple employees are needed.
- Moving Liability Insurance: Moving companies need cargo and vehicle insurance because they’re transporting other people’s belongings, which can be expensive. This protects them from lawsuits they might face in the future when providing their services. This insurance is typically purchased annually.
- Additional Costs: These costs may include permits, vehicle maintenance, and tolls. The moving company must make sure all its moving equipment is up-to-date to reduce any potential problems or damages to your goods.
Is Owning a Moving Company Profitable?
The short answer is yes. Owning a moving company, if done professionally and ethically, can be a very profitable business venture. However, it takes hard work to get there.
What are the Keys to Launching a New Moving Business?
To launch a successful moving business, it is imperative to understand the important keys that will contribute to the success of your business.
Here are some tips that you can follow when starting your moving business:
1. Have a clear business plan for your moving business.
Moving business owners know the importance of having a written moving business plan in terms of using it to guide their business decisions. A moving business plan consists of your vision for your successful moving company, objectives, and strategies, and analysis of the market and competitors, financials (such as cost/expense projections), action steps (what is your game plan), and key milestones.
2. Develop relationships with movers in other moving businesses.
Moving businesses are part of a larger moving services industry; therefore, they should work together to promote better customer service when offering moving quotes. Moving businesses typically know which other business owners offer the best services and may be willing to refer to each other’s customers, especially if they are in close proximity.
Moving business owners can also partner with movers who own removal companies or transport cargo across the world. This will help you expand your customer base and think outside the box when it comes to marketing.
3. Utilize online moving company directories.
Online and local business directories are a great way for your moving company to gain exposure, connect with other moving businesses in your area, or both. The moving company directory allows customers looking for a successful moving company in their area to search by zip code and find out what moving businesses are available near them. Moving businesses listed on the directory receive free promotion via an email blast sent out to everyone who uses it as well as social media marketing opportunities through a company Facebook page and Twitter profile.
Some online directories that you can use are Google Maps or Yelp for Business to list your moving company and gain exposure through local searches and social media marketing campaigns.
4. Join industry associations related to moving services.
There are different moving associations all over the world that moving company owners can join to network with other movers, receive support from industry experts and learn about government rules and regulations pertaining to your moving company. Joining a moving association will also help you stand out as a legitimate moving company.
5. Increase brand recognition using social media platforms.
Moving businesses can utilize social media sites to increase their online presence. You should launch company Facebook pages, Twitter profiles, and YouTube channels. You can also create Instagram accounts (or hire someone who is good at taking pictures) to share moving photos with customers or include them on your website. Moving business owners who utilize social media marketing effectively can often see results in as little as a week, although it may take some time for the networks to grow with constant participation.
6. Secure your licenses and insurances.
When starting a moving company, you must have the proper licenses and insurance in place. Moving businesses often require local moving business licenses, DOT moving licenses (Department of Transportation), worker’s compensation insurance, and general liability insurance. Moving businesses should also carry cargo insurance if they transport valuable items.
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Starting a Moving Company FAQs
Yes, the following are some of the ways that you may be able to start a moving business without owning your own moving truck.
- Pickup Truck Rental: You can rent a pickup truck from locations such as U-Haul for smaller moves.
- Truck Rental: Moving trucks can be rented for short periods of time. Moving trucks may offer moving vouchers to inexperienced movers, which provide discounted rates on the first several jobs completed for new movers.
- Van Rentals: Moving vans can also be rented for short periods of time if customers do not want to purchase one.
- Act as Freelance Movers: Moving companies will sometimes hire freelance movers.
- Partner with Moving Companies: Contact local moving companies and inquire about becoming their partner, or hiring them for some jobs at least some of the time.
Financing options to start a moving company may include small business loans, credit cards, or personal loans.
Small business loans are available from the SBA, banks, and local community credit unions.
Credit cards may be used to fund working capital, which is needed for payroll, inventory, and other pre-opening expenses but note that they charge higher interest rates than small business loans and grants.
You can also contact close family and friends and make personal loans to add to your moving business financing, but make sure to have a repayment plan set up from the beginning.
When applying for a loan to start your own successful moving company, the following documents are usually required:
- Personal Resume
- Photo ID (Driver's License or Passport)
- List of Assets (Home/Rental Property/Bank Accounts/Other Liquid Assets)
- Loan Application Form
- Copy of Your Business Plan
- List of Companies You Plan to Use as References
- Copy of Your Personal Tax Returns (Federal and State) for the Past 3 Years
There is no definitive answer to the question of which trucks are the best to start a moving company. It depends on the specific needs and requirements of your business. Some things to consider include the size of your moving company, the distance you will be traveling, and the types of jobs you will be doing. You may want to consider purchasing or renting a moving truck, moving van, or box truck.
Moving companies may also choose to partner with a moving truck rental company or list their own truck for rent on websites like U-Haul.
The following are some of the benefits to owning your own moving company truck:
- Saves Money: Buying a used moving van, instead of leasing a new one, can save you up to 50% of the money that you would have spent.
- More opportunities: When your company owns its own truck, it gives you more options for jobs and the opportunity to gain more contracts. Being able to deliver items on your own schedule also makes you more competitive against other companies that offer similar services.
The following are some of the disadvantages to owning your own truck:
- Liability: When you lease a truck from a rental company, they usually include insurance coverage in case something happens while you're using it. Unfortunately, if you have an accident with your own truck, you will have to pay for all costs associated.
- Maintenance: If something breaks on your own truck, pay the cost of repairs yourself. In addition, if you decide to sell or trade-in your truck, you may lose money on it since most used trucks depreciate very quickly.