2023 is an exciting year for the moving industry. For starters, the rise of self-driving delivery vehicles has made it easier and more cost-effective to do business.
I’ve worked with several startups in the moving industry over the years and consulted for several large moving companies.
So if you’re wondering how to start a moving company, look no further than this guide!
What is a Moving Company?
A moving company, also known as a removalist, is responsible for safely and efficiently transporting goods from one place to another.
Moving companies use specialized tools, vehicles, and expertise to ensure proper handling of your possessions.
This process typically involves the following:
The safety and security of your items are the number one priority of a removalist when providing services.
To start a successful moving company, you will need to know basic business principles such as:
- Customer service
- Financial management
Additionally, you must be well-versed in the laws concerning operating a removalist business and possess experience in the industry itself.
You will also need to hire experienced staff skilled in packing, loading, and safety protocols.
Is Starting a Moving Company Profitable?
Starting a moving company can be profitable, depending on the market size and competition in the area. It is important to weigh the costs of running a business with the potential benefits.
Establishing a moving company requires an up-front initial investment in supplies, such as:
- Boxes and packing materials
- Equipment like dollies
- Tools and straps to secure items on a truck
- Vehicles such as cargo vans
- Other large trucks capable of safely moving items from one location to another
There may also be expenses associated with renting storage space for customers who require additional services beyond just transportation.
Additionally, there could be various marketing costs involved in promoting your business.
Starting a moving company can be very profitable as long as you provide quality services and competitive rates.
A great way to ensure success is to build relationships with local real estate agents and landlords who can generate referrals for your services.
What Permits Do You Need to Start a Moving Company?
Starting a moving company requires more than just knowledge of the industry. It requires having the necessary permits and licenses to operate.
Depending on your location, the specific regulations may vary, but in general, you’ll need to do the following:
- Secure a business permit
- Get a federal employer identification number (EIN)
- Register with your local tax department and maintain proper insurance coverage
You must also obtain licensing from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) or the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
These organizations require that your moving company be registered as an interstate carrier, meaning that you transport cargo between two states or move people from one state to another.
Your DOT number will be used for identification purposes on all documents related to interstate shipments.
Depending on the type of goods you intend to transport, you may need additional certifications, such as hazardous materials or temperature-sensitive items.
In addition, many states require that movers are licensed by the state’s Public Utility Commission or Department of Motor Vehicles before operating in their jurisdiction.
Finally, your business must have adequate liability insurance and workers’ compensation coverage, as well as any other additional policies needed based on your operations and services offered.
How Exactly Do You Start a Moving Company?
There are several steps involved in starting a successful moving company.
These steps are as follows:
- Step 1: Pick a niche
- Step 2: Make a business plan
- Step 3: Pick a name
- Step 4: Form an LLC
- Step 5: Register your business
- Step 6: Open a business bank account
- Step 7: Launch a website
- Step 8: Get the right insurance
- Step 9: Start marketing
- Step 10: Get great customer reviews
Step 1: Pick a Niche
First, you must decide what services your moving company will offer.
You’ll want to ask the following questions:
- Will you specialize in residential moves, commercial moves, or both?
- Do you intend to focus on local moves or long-distance moves? How about international relocations?
- Can you offer additional services like packing and unpacking, storage solutions, or furniture assembly?
Once you have a clear idea of the services you plan to provide, you can decide what equipment and personnel you’ll need.
This is also the time to decide if there are any specialties or innovations you’d like to focus on as part of your overall business model.
For example, an interstate removalist business could specialize in moving seniors or provide climate-controlled trucks for transporting temperature-sensitive items.
By clearly focusing on the services you offer and the customers you want to serve, it’ll be easier to create a business plan to help your moving company stand out from the competition.
Step 2: Make a Business Plan
Writing a business plan is an essential part of starting a moving company. A well-thought-out plan will help you focus on the goals you want to achieve and anticipate and set up for any potential problems that might arise.
When creating a business plan, it is important to think about all aspects of your moving company including:
- Market analysis
- Organizational structure
- Financial management
- Taxes and operating procedures
Starting with the market analysis aspect of your plan, it is important to understand who your target customers are and what sets you apart from other moving companies in the area.
You should also consider what services you will offer and how much competition there is in your local market.
Additionally, researching pricing trends and customer demand can be helpful when determining which areas of service to focus on.
Step 3: Pick a Name
Picking a name for your moving company may seem daunting, but there are several ways to simplify it.
First, consider the services you plan to offer and decide if you want your name to reflect this.
If so, you could use words that describe the types of moves you specialize in (e.g., long-distance, residential, etc.) or incorporate terms related to moving and relocation into your business name.
You could also choose a memorable and eye-catching name, such as an alliterative phrase or a pun on words related to your industry. You’ll want to choose a name that attracts customers and is easy for them to remember.
Whatever name you choose, make sure it conveys your unique brand and the services you offer.
Lastly, don’t forget to check if the domain name associated with the chosen business name is available so customers can easily find you online.
Once you have decided on a name, register it with the relevant government bodies so no one else can use it.
Step 4: Form an LLC
Forming an LLC for your moving company has plenty of benefits, but it’s important to understand the process and ensure you’re taking all the necessary steps.
An LLC, or Limited Liability Company, is a legal structure that enables the company to protect its owners from personal liability for business decisions and debts. It also offers tax advantages that make it easier to do business.
Forming an LLC involves registering with the state, creating operating agreements, obtaining necessary licenses and permits, setting up a corporate bank account, getting insurance coverage, and more.
When selecting a name for the LLC, it’s important to double-check that no other companies have already registered with the same name in your state; if they have, you’ll need to come up with another option.
Once you’ve selected your name, you’ll need to file articles of organization with your state’s Secretary of State office.
This document will include essential details about your company, such as its:
- Members or managers
After filing this paperwork and paying applicable fees (which vary by state), you can obtain any necessary licenses and permits for conducting business in your area.
Finally, you must establish an operating agreement outlining management duties and responsibilities and how profits or losses should be divided among members/managers.
By taking all these steps carefully when forming an LLC for your moving company, you can ensure that everything is done properly so you can focus on growing your business instead of worrying about legal issues down the line.
Step 5: Register Your Business
The first step in registering your business is to get an employer identification number (EIN) from the IRS.
This number will be used for filing taxes and other important paperwork for setting up your business.
Next, register with your area’s state and local government offices.
This can involve the following:
- Submitting incorporation records
- Filing for state taxes and business licenses
- Obtaining any permits or certifications, you may need
You will also need to consider whether or not your company needs to be registered with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) if it will operate across state lines.
Finally, ensure you’re up-to-date on all of the relevant labor laws in your area; this includes minimum wage requirements, overtime pay regulations, and other labor rules that must be followed.
Taking these steps before launching your business ensures everything is in order so your company can run smoothly.
Step 6: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start your moving company, opening a business bank account is essential. This will ensure that all your business funds are kept separate from your finances and that taxes are tracked properly.
Make sure to research the different banking options in your area to find one that best fits the needs of your business.
Some banks may offer discounted rates for startups or special services tailored to small businesses; make sure to ask about these options before signing up.
Once you have chosen a bank, you’ll need to provide information such as the following:
- Your EIN
- Proof of ownership
- Business address and contact information
- Articles of Incorporation (or similar documents)
A valid form of identification By taking these steps, you can ensure that your business finances are managed properly and make sure that you’re in full compliance with all relevant regulations.
Step 7: Launch a Website
In today’s digital age, having an online presence is essential for any business.
By launching a website or blog where you can provide information about your services, list contact details, and answer frequently asked questions, potential customers will have the resources they need to make informed decisions about hiring your company.
You should also create accounts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This will help you reach new customers and stay connected with existing ones.
When setting up these accounts, include a link to your website so that people can find more information if they need it.
Finally, consider creating an email newsletter to keep in touch with clients and promote special offers or discounts.
Step 8: Get the Right Insurance
It’s important to protect your business with the right insurance coverage.
For example, you’ll need cargo and liability insurance to cover any damage while moving items for clients.
You should also consider getting general liability insurance in case of accidental injury or property damage.
Workers’ compensation insurance is also needed if you plan on hiring employees.
Obtaining the necessary policies from an experienced provider ensures your business is fully protected against potential losses.
Step 9: Start Marketing
Good marketing strategies are essential for any business, and the moving industry is no exception.
There are a few key elements to consider when planning your marketing strategy. First, decide which medium to advertise online, offline, or both.
You can use online channels such as:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Social media
- Email marketing
Whereas offline channels include:
- Newspaper ads
When deciding which advertisement platforms to use, choose ones that will reach the right target audience and geographic locations.
Next, create an eye-catching design for your visuals if you are running any kind of ad campaign – this could be a logo or artwork illustrating your services/brand message.
Additionally, it is important to research what competitors in your area are doing in terms of marketing and advertising so that you can differentiate yourself from them.
Lastly, consider investing some money into professional help from a digital agency or freelancers specializing in copywriting or graphic design so that your ad campaigns look more polished and effective than amateur work could produce.
Step 10: Get Great Customer Reviews
Getting great customer reviews is a critical step to the success of any moving company, as word-of-mouth and online reviews can be invaluable sources of new business.
Establishing a system for collecting customer feedback at every stage of the moving process is important.
This should include tracking customer satisfaction surveys after each job, actively encouraging social media posts, and any other kind of customer review.
To ensure that customers are satisfied with the service provided by your moving company, it’s important to provide quality customer service throughout the entire process.
That includes the following:
- Addressing any complaints promptly
- Providing accurate quotes before each job
- Maintaining open communication throughout the move
- Following up on any issues that arise during the process
- Using professional movers who are competent in packing and transporting goods safely
Creating incentives for customers who leave positive reviews or referrals is also helpful.
These could range from small gifts or discounts on future moves to more elaborate referral programs that reward customers for recommending your services to others.
Launching a moving company can be a rewarding experience, but it does take some careful planning and preparation.
By taking the steps outlined above, you can ensure your business is successful and profitable.
Do you have any questions? Let us know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
The amount of money you can make owning a moving company depends on several factors, such as the size of your business, how many customers you have, and the geographic region you operate in.
To start a moving company, you should first decide on the services you want to offer, obtain licenses and insurance, secure funding or invest your capital, purchase materials and equipment, hire staff (if needed), create a marketing plan, and collect customer feedback. Finally, ensure you provide quality customer service throughout the process.
The tools you need to start a moving company will depend on the size and scope of your business. Generally, you’ll need a vehicle, packing materials, furniture dollies, straps and blankets for securing items in the van, and removal boxes for storage. You may also need an office space or home office setup if you’re providing administrative services. Additionally, having access to digital marketing platforms can help you promote your services online.