Have it in mind that a good number of business owners enjoy the relatively low barrier to entry that moving businesses provide. It therefore entails that a moving company is an option with low overhead and minimal requirements.
In addition, these types of services are always in demand. As people continue to buy and sell houses, moving into commercial spaces, and shipping their materials from one location to another, there will be a need for reputable moving companies. Since this demand is quite constant throughout the year, successful companies can avoid the “feast or famine” cycle typical in other industries.
Furthermore, a moving business can be as small or as large as you wish to make it. Notably, if you intend to only have time for weekend services, then you can do so and start to build a reputation. There is plenty of room to boost your business based on available time, resources, and desire.
If your entrepreneurial spirit is looking for an industry that is stable in any market, starting a moving company is a sound choice. Although you will need a few things to get started, the overall start-up costs are fairly low. And, since almost 80% of moves are in-town, the overhead costs are even lower. However, the job does require some heavy lifting, but interaction with clients and personnel ensures no two days are alike.
What Type of Business is a Moving Company
Companies in this industry provide moving and relocation services, including local, long-distance, and international trucking and shipping of used household, institutional and commercial goods, furniture, and equipment. Businesses in this field tend to also provide incidental packing and storage services.
If you have ever thought about how to start a moving company, you may have started brainstorming the exact type of moving company to start. Have it in mind that the options are as diverse as your personal interests, so there is plenty of room for creativity. Nonetheless, here are some of the most common or widely recognized types of moving businesses:
- Local services: Note that these businesses serve customers within one region or state, often within a set radius of 100 miles or less. Movers in this category tend to serve residential properties with families or individuals who have basic needs. This is the standard option for transporting furniture, boxes, fragile items, and storage materials.
- Long-distance services: Long-distance services will include moves within the same country or international shipping. In this business, you are expected to be familiar with federal transportation requirements, shipping dimensions, and overseas freight policies for this type of moving company. There are more complicated logistic and legal regulations involved.
- Commercial moving companies: Commercial movers mainly help other businesses pack up and change locations. Note that this involves substantially more staff and material than residential or small-scale moves. Complexities in this kind of moving company can involve the weight of materials, navigating professional office spaces, and working with other business owners.
- Automotive transportation companies: Also note that some moving companies specialize in the transport of cars and other vehicles, often across long distances. Automotive moves can be priced according to specialty, but this kind of moving company must have fleets and trained staff members to handle the job.
How to Start a Moving Company
There are few businesses that will always be in demand. A moving company falls under that category. Whether it’s across town or across the country, consumers hire moving services for packing and transporting their household items on a daily basis. Howbeit, to start up this business successfully, here are steps to take;
Choose Your Specialty or Niche
Ideally, you can take your moving company in one of many directions, but trying to offer various services when you start could prove to be too difficult to navigate. Therefore, instead of tackling several specialties at once, choose one and make sure you learn everything you can about it.
Have it in mind that your business specialty dictates how much money you invest, what types of equipment you need, and which legal aspects apply to you. It’s indeed crucial that you start here in order to follow through with big decisions down the line. Note that when you choose a niche, your future customers are also able to find out about your company more easily. Having a targeted focus makes your business more searchable and relevant.
Define Specific Business Goals
What do you intend to achieve with your new moving company? Is it just a side hustle that you plan to take full-time once the business is profitable? Or are you hoping to sell it to a potential investor or to a more established company after a certain number of years?
Note that considering all these questions can help you as you set personal and professional goals, and as you create key performance indicators (KPIs) for your moving company. Moreover, the more specific you are with things like customer acquisition, revenue goals, and a number of business contracts, the more flexibility you will be able to create for yourself. Have it in mind that setting specific goals in your moving business can also help you avoid:
- Getting sidetracked on additional products or services that aren’t your primary focus
- Losing sight of your company’s mission or its original value proposition
- Spending too much money on an unnecessary expense or investment
- Feeling burned-out and overwhelmed by the pressure to succeed in business
Plan Your Business Structure
In the United States, there are many critical steps you will have to complete in order to legally operate as a successful moving business that generates revenue. Note that one of those first items on your preparation checklist should be to formally set up your business. In the United States, there are four widely recognized business models that you can choose from. These include:
- Sole proprietorship: Offers the most flexibility to owners, but also includes the greatest amount of liability and personal responsibility
- Partnership: Involves two distinct options for a general and limited partnership, in which certain factors dictate who is responsible for business debts
- Corporation: Separates one’s personal financial obligations from the business itself, and protects owners from business losses should they occur
- Limited liability company (LLC): Creates corporate liability protection but may also come with higher legal, filing, and start-up fees than other structures
When starting your business, note that you may not be ready to consider your business as a corporate entity, but taking the needed steps indeed provides substantial financial protection. Ensure to consult a financial or business advisor for questions unique to your personal situation.
Complete Legal and Tax Documents
In this line of business, you have to check with your locality or state to understand the necessary filing and paperwork requirements. Have it in mind that various local jurisdictions have specific licenses that you are expected to acquire before you can legally operate. To avoid fees, always file this documentation before working with customers.
Coupled with obtaining a local or state business license, you should also make sure to establish your federal tax status. Note that this includes securing an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS. An EIN is what uniquely identifies your moving company and allows you to open business-related accounts, file taxes, and receive appropriate recognition.
If you intend to offer long-distance services, you will also have to ensure compliance with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Note that registration paperwork is required for hauling companies that cross state lines, and failure to report your services can result in hefty fines. Also, ensure to cover all of your bases in terms of licensing to avoid any interruptions or suspensions.
Know Your Competition
Owing to the demand for moving services around the world, there are plenty of businesses offering similar services as your moving company. Although you may not need to be concerned with every competitor when you are starting out, you should possess awareness about direct competitors.
Most times, this may include looking at the top local providers in your area. What services do they provide, and why do customers choose them for moving? Are there any ways that your business could offer something unique or exceptional?
Note that investing just a little in market research will provide insight into how you advertise services to local clients. This research may also influence how you price your own services to stay competitive. While you should never copy another company’s messaging directly, you can learn more about what specific things convince people to become loyal customers.
Acquire Adequate Insurance
Various moving companies encourage customers to secure their own forms of insurance to protect personal and valuable items during a move. However, as a business, you can also get different types of insurance to protect yourself from risks on the job. Some of the insurance policies you might want to get when you start a moving company are:
- Personal liability insurance
- Automotive insurance
- Commercial property insurance
- Workers’ compensation
However, although no one wants to have to use liability insurance, going without it could present a larger risk both personally and financially.
Make Business-related Purchases
In this business, have it in mind that you will need to make some initial investments. If your moving business starts out as a small operation, there aren’t too many overhead costs to take on. Some of the business-related purchases that you will want to make for your new moving company at the start include:
- Vehicle and gas
- Basic moving equipment, such as hand trucks, gloves, and trolleys
- Personal safety equipment
- Uniforms (optional)
- Insurance coverage
- Renting a moving truck
- Moving and packing materials available for customers
- Payment processing or accounting software
- Miscellaneous services like a business phone line or Wi-Fi
Advertise Your Services
Once you are ready to officially start your business, then you should start marketing your new moving services. You can get creative with this process and leverage a variety of tools and tactics. Some of the ways to market your small business include:
- Running paid ads on Google or social media
- Driving organic traffic with search engine optimization (SEO)
- Marketing your small business on social media channels
- Running local print ads
- Leveraging word-of-mouth and personal referrals
Regardless of how you choose to start talking about your business, always be proactive. Customers may not know that your services exist, but they may fit perfectly within your ideal customer profile. Depending on your budget and momentum, you may want to also hire an internal staff member or an outside consultant to handle some of the marketing needs on your behalf.