They say only two things in life are certain: death and taxes. Petition to add moving to that list.
People are always moving – they could be downsizing or recent empty nesters, they’re growing their family and need more space, or they’re being transferred to a new city for work… The world is always on the move. And movers play an essential role.
So, if you’re looking to start a new company and think “why not start a moving company?”, we’ve got you. Here’s everything you need to do to be able to start a moving company.
Start with research
The place to start is at the beginning, and that’s research.
You need to figure out what type of mover you want to be. Do you want to specialize in residential (helping people move homes), commercial (helping companies move offices), or both? Do you want to offer only local moving services (in your city only) or do you want to offer long-haul moves as well (across provinces or states, or to different countries)?
Once you know your moving specialty, you then need to do a bit of market research – that is, who are the biggest competitors in your market? What do they do well and what can they improve? What areas are they missing that you can help?
Lastly, do you want to start a brand new company (from scratch) or do you want to become a franchisee? There are pros and cons to both options, so spending time on this section is important so you can make an informed decision.
Learn the right skills
People who run moving companies need to have a lot of varied skills to be successful. You need to be organized and have incredible attention to detail. You need to be a great people manager since you cannot do this job alone. And because you’re dealing with people all the time, you need to have great interpersonal skills and be customer service-focused.
If you aren’t in a position to hire any support or office staff immediately, you’ll also need to learn some general business skills, like basic accounting skills, business management, marketing and sales. As the one responsible for the health and growth of your business, it’s important to learn how to manage these functions.
In the US, for example, the International Association of Movers (IAM) offers a professional mover course (the Canadian Association of Movers is the Canadian equivalent). There are other courses available as well, so again, researching and making sure the course is taught by a reputable organization is key. Remember, this is supposed to help you with your business, so learn from the best.
Plan your business
The next step in starting a moving company is to create a business plan.
Here’s a quick list of what that should include:
• Executive summary
• Company description
• Competitive analysis
• Sales and marketing
• Budgets and finance
• Launch timelines
If you’ve decided to go the startup route for your moving company, you’ll have to come up with a business name and logo, create a website, and think of what services you will offer (packing, storage, junk removal, recycling, sell boxes, etc), as well as where your business will be located (will you have a physical location or just a virtual one?).
A moving business also requires many up-front costs like insurance. Insurance can vary depending on where you’re operating as well as what services you offer. Basic moving and transportation insurance, including liability and loss (or damage) insurance, as well as insurance to protect your employees while on the job. Since this is physically demanding work, it’s important their health and wellbeing be protected as well.
The purchase of moving equipment is what will really set you back at first. But because these items can (mostly) be reused, it is an investment you’ll be making in your business so be sure to buy products that will last you a long time.
• Moving blankets
• Boxes of various sizes
• Specialty boxes (glass, mirror, TVs, etc)
• Mattress covers
• Stretch wrap
• Packing tape
• Furniture belts
• Padded covers, door jam protectors, elevator pads
• Moving straps
• Walk boards, ramps
• Much more!
You’ll also need a truck. Since the type of move you specialize in will determine the size of truck you need, the cost for these can vary. Some smaller companies that are just starting out will often rent the truck they need for when they need it, saving them a hefty investment at the beginning. Once your business has grown enough, you can then invest in one or two or a whole fleet of trucks.
Lastly, if you plan on offering storage services, you’ll have to buy or lease a warehouse. Again, this can be a service you choose to offer at a later time, but it’s important to consider all the options.
Sign up for software
Moving is the type of business that you can get by with a basic program like Excel. However, using more sophisticated software will help you be more organized and provide a much better experience for your customers and employees as well. So, what software do you need when starting a moving company?
You want to make sure you use software that can talk to each other so your team doesn’t have to manually input the same information in multiple places. Software that was developed specifically for moving companies, like Supermove, can help you do everything in one place. It can manage your customer moves from generating a quote to collecting a deposit, schedule and notify your employees, keep track of your fleet, and much more.
Scheduling and dispatch: Find a system that can keep you organized so you know how many employees are needed for each job. You can also keep track of everyone’s days off so you know when to hire extra help for the busier times of the year.
Accounting: When you use different systems, you have to ensure nothing gets overlooked. It’s easy to misplace a comma or add an extra zero when you have to manually input everything into different systems. Finding a system that syncs with your accounting software, and can collect deposits and payments, will ensure zero accounting errors, gets you paid faster, and is better for your customers too.
Communication: CRM software for moving companies will send estimates and reminders to your customers directly from the system. This helps ensure a consistent message every time no matter who is sending the email.
Sales: It’s important for every business (no matter the industry), to track where their leads are coming from. Whether it’s word of mouth, Google Ads, social media, or your website, having this information can help you and your team grow your business and track where your sales are coming from. And if you have a referral program, this is a great way to keep on top of it.
Contracts: Send virtual estimates and contracts to customers with the click of a button. This ensures everyone is on the same page (no pun intended), and allows your customers to sign virtually once they accept the agreement. You can also enable the system to let your customers pay a deposit (either a flat fee or percentage of the job), and they can also add supplemental insurance if they choose.
While you can absolutely use different apps to run your business, using a software that can replace all those other apps (like Google docs, spreadsheets, calendars, etc), will help you get organized and save your team time and countless errors.
Congratulations on starting a moving company!
Starting any type of company is a big endeavor. There are so many different considerations to make sure everything goes smoothly, and it’s critical you – as the owner and CEO – stay on top of everything.
You’ve done your research, you’ve learned the skills you need, and you’ve even created a business plan. But you probably have many more questions before you can actually put up that “We’re Open” sign.
• How much does it cost to start a moving company?
• What permits, licenses, and insurance do I need?
• What are the laws in my state or province for moving companies?
• When is peak moving season?
• What company policies and procedures do I need?
We’ve answered all your burning questions (and many more) to help you fast track your business. Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be answering these and many more questions about starting a moving business. Stay tuned!
Want to get you questions about moving software answered today? Book a Supermove demo to chat with one of our product experts about our industry-leading software for moving companies.