Do you know what the best thing is about having a moving business?
There’s always work!
People are always moving. It doesn’t matter the time of year. Some people are moving across the city, some across the state. Others across the country. And more people are moving across the world. But they’re always someone moving, and that means there’s always the opportunity to put food on the table.
Owning a moving company may not be the world’s most glamorous job. And while it can be physically demanding, it’s actually pretty easy work, and gives me a ton of freedom.
But the best thing about it is that you work for yourself. You decide when to take on customers and you decide when you want to work, meaning that if your truck is your company, you can just work part time on weekends as a great way to make extra income.
I love having my own moving company, but it can get really competitive. It takes a lot of work to do it right. Being a strong guy isn’t enough, you also have to be a good businessman.
Fortunately, I already did the work.
So if you’re looking to start a moving company, you came to the right place.
How To Start your Own Moving Business
I’m gonna teach you everything you need to know about how to start a moving company in one short post.
You might wonder “what do I need to start a moving business?”
Or have questions like “how can I start a moving business?”
And those answers are in this article for you.
By the time you finish reading this post, you’ll be ready to take action and get started on owning your own moving company.
Step 1: Learn How a Moving Business Works
Running a moving business is a lot more than just picking up and delivering stuff.
You have to consider marketing and logistics. Track every single moving piece. And know exactly how long it takes you (or your drivers) to get from point A to point B. And how much it costs.
Basically, you have to have a plan. And the best way to build a plan is to go work for someone else for a little while.
Look, I’m not saying go be someone’s employee for the rest of your life. That defeats the purpose of this post, right? I’m just saying that before you invest in your own equipment, get a feel for what it’s like moving people around to make sure this is something you wanna do.
This helps you understand the business and decide on what style of company you want to have. If you’re working as a one man moving company, that’s fine. But maybe you want to have employees. Are they salaried employees? Or are they part time? Do they work on a commission/per job basis?
What about permits? Insurance? CDL licenses?
As an employer, you’ll have to pay taxes and need an Employer Identification Number. Do you know how to do that?
The point I’m making is that you can research all you like, but nothing is better for you than rolling up your sleeves and doing the actual work for a seasoned industry veteran.
Even once you know all the legalities of everything, you’ll still want to pick up tips from someone who has been doing this for years, and the best way to do that is to go work for them.
If you don’t understand how the moving industry works, you’re not helping your chances of success. So dig in with more than research, and start your company off right by really digging into how the moving industry works.
Step 2: Create a Plan
Moving companies are a little different than other companies. It’s not like your traditional store where people walk in, shop around, deal with a smiling employee, buy something and leave.
But one thing we have in common with every other business is you have to have a plan for your business.
The moving industry takes a lot of planning. You need to have an idea of the structuring and sales projections of your business. You can’t do this without a plan.
That’s what this article is for.
Below, you’ll find a layout of what needs to go into your plan. These are things like your earnings potential, location, service offerings, marketing plan, staffing plan, and more.
You need to really understand your target market and do an analysis of how to reach them.
Are you a residential mover? Or a commercial mover? Or maybe you see your business as a hauling company?
Regardless, understanding your market can tell you what equipment you might need. If you’re focusing on moving commercially, you might want to explore refrigerated trucks. And when it comes to finding those customers, where would you look?
This all needs to be figured out in detail before you do anything.
Really analyze yourself before you start your company. What’s your competitive advantage? Why should a client pick you over another moving company?
Are you faster? Cheaper? More reliable? Are you more experienced?
What’s your pricing structure look like? Flat rate per job? Per mile? Per hour?
You should create a business plan for your company before taking any action. Plus, if you’re financing your equipment or taking investors, they’re absolutely going to want to see a business plan to make sure you know what you’re doing before anyone gives you one single cent.
Do yourself and your new business a favor and take the time to think things out and create a plan before taking any action.
Step 3: Discover Earning Potential
One of the first questions everyone has for me is “how much money do moving companies make?”
It’s a good gig.
The American Moving and Storage Association reports that the industry is comprised of 7,000 companies with 13,900 locations in the U.S., employing about 122,600 people. According to IBIS World, their efforts to ease the process of moving for thousands of people generates about $16 billion dollars every year.
The fact is, 21st-century families are just constantly on the move. The millennial workforce no longer expects to settle down and stay in one job at the same company for the rest of their lives. And with more people choosing to rent than buy, it’s no wonder millions of people move each year.
The average starting salary for a truck driver is about $9.66 to $27.62 per hour or $20K to $57K per year, according to Payscale.com and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But you set your own schedule and work as much or as little as you want, so you can make way more than that if you’re a hard worker.
So if you’re thinking “Is now a good time to open a trucking company?”, the answer is hell yes.
To really figure out your earning potential, figure out how much you can charge.
Your prices should be affordable and negotiable. That way businesses and individuals can use your service, and you can have different price ranges for different category of clients.
Your bid has to be low enough to be competitive, but still high enough for you to make a profit. And to do that, you have to know your expenses, like maintenance, repairs, truck and trailer payments, fuel, and the cost of your work. Don’t forget to add your time and hassle in. Driving a moving truck through a city is a lot harder than down rural highways, and should cost more.
Step 4: Set a Budget
Setting a budget helps you know how low you can set your rates and how much profit comes in from each job.
You really have to know every expense.
So just how much does it cost to open a trucking company?
- Down Payment for Truck: $7,000
- Legal: $500
- Stationery: $300
- Licenses and Permits: $1,000
- Fuel: $11,000
- Insurance: $6,000
Now, that may seem like a lot of money. Okay, it is a lot of money.
But the good news is that you don’t have to have all that to get started. There are tons of financing options available to you as a trucker. You can finance your truck, which is your largest startup expense. Or you can lease it (but then you don’t own it). You can finance operations and even fuel costs.
Some top lenders for you to explore loans include:
When financing, make sure you’re taking into account your interest rates and payments.
Costs to consider:
- Truck payments
- Repairs and maintenance
- Washes and cleaning costs
To keep costs down, it’s vital to keep your truck running as efficiently as possible and avoid unneeded expenses. Also, use fuel apps, such as GasBuddy, to find the lowest fuel prices along your route
Step 5: Decide Which Products/Service to Offer
No matter what, you have to focus on meeting deadlines. No excuses.
When it comes to choosing what services you want to offer, that depends on you and your truck(s).
Different moving companies might focus on different areas.
- Selling moving supplies
- Moving goods and equipment locally, including office and residential moves with smaller trucks and vans
- Local and long distance movement
- Heavy duty equipment movement
- Construction equipment, like excavators and bulldozers
- Agricultural equipment movement
- Food service moving
Different industries have different needs, so if your focus is on servicing the restaurant and hospitality industry, you may need to invest more money into refrigerated trucks. But then you can also charge more for your services.
Figure out if you want to compete on price, service and reliability, speed, or something else. But you can’t do it all. If you’re the most reliable guy in the biz then you shouldn’t be the cheapest.
And if you’re the cheapest option, there’s probably a reason – so be careful not to underprice yourself when you’re setting your rates.
Step 6: Decide on a Location
Another great thing about the moving industry is that you don’t need a fancy storefront or shiny office like so many other businesses. But you DO need an office for your business.
Or at least somewhere to park your truck(s).
This depends on if you’re working alone, or if you have drivers working for you. If you’re by yourself, you can rent a space to park your truck. If you’ve got a lot of trucks, ranging from pickups to moving trucks and vans, you’ll want to lease commercial space (to keep costs low) with lots of parking for your vehicles. Look for access to water for being able to keep the trucks clean, and space to perform maintenance and repairs.
When picking a location, look for something easy to get to for your trucks, so you don’t have to fight through traffic to get your vehicles stored away. And check with your city to see if there are any regulations saying where you can and can’t keep your trucks.
Look for a place that fits your budget but still has everything you need. Remember, the majority of the time you will not have customers at your office, so don’t worry too much about a nice, expensive place for them. That being said, you should at least have a nice waiting room set up for those customers who do want to stop in, and for drivers to relax when they’re not on the job.
Step 7: Find Suppliers
Moving companies need different equipment than traditional businesses. And you’ll need to find and buy the right equipment before you get started.How many vehicles you have should depend on how much money you have to start your business. If you’ve only got a little money, start with one truck. Or start with multiple smaller trucks and do small, local moves, delivering anything and everything you can until you can scale up and buy bigger and better trucks.
For commercial trucks, remember that different types of cargo require different equipment. For example, if you’ll be transporting food, you require a refrigerated truck. If your cargo is oversized, you’ll need a flatbed truck.
You can find suppliers at:
You’ll also need to protect the goods you’re moving. For that, you’ll need
- Moving plastic
- Scissors/Exacto blades
- Dollies/hand carts
Some supplier options for these include:
Shop around and look for trucks and equipment with a blend of quality and pricing to meet your budget so your company is ready to roll.
Step 8: Promote Your Moving Company
Before you promote your company, you need to figure out who you want to promote it to.
Some options include:
- Merchants (importers, exporters, traders, suppliers, wholesalers, and dealers)
- Residential households
- Corporate organizations
- Small business owners
- College Students
Once you know who you want to talk to, figure out how to talk to them.
The best thing you can do is go talk to people in person. Whether that’s residences you see putting up for sale signs or companies which have regular moving needs, showing up shows them how much you want their business by investing your time in them. This doesn’t cost a thing other than a time investment, but it shows businesses and people you’re serious about handling their moves.
Regardless, your marketing starts with your website. So make sure it’s a nice site and easy to navigate. Some suggestions here would be rate calculators and appointment booking or scheduling features.
And then make sure everything you put out there matches your site, so your brand is the same across all platforms. And make sure you’re paying attention to everything online. Yelp, Google, and any other sites where your company is listed should get plenty of attention from you.
People check rating when picking vendors, so keep yours up and use that as a sales tool. A company may take a chance on a new moving company with a perfect rating on Yelp and Google if their current mover just isn’t getting it done, but if your scores aren’t good, and if people are leaving terrible reviews about damages and about lack of customer service, you’ll have a hard time convincing your prospects.
Step 9: Create a Staffing Plan
Technically, you can start a moving company on your own with your legs, a hand cart, and a truck. But if you want to grow your business, then you’ll need to recruit employees.
Do you know where you’re hiring them from?
Check out CDL certification schools for fresh faces you can bring on. This saves you the cost and time of having to hire movers and then pay and wait for their certifications.
Figure out how many drivers you want to bring on and make sure that number fits your budget.
Other than that, if you need office help like a secretary or office manager, you need a plan on where to hire that person (or people) and how to schedule your office staff. For example, if you’re only open M-F during normal business hours, you probably only need one secretary or office manager. But if you’re working across multiple time zones, maybe you want to be open during odd hours, and that could require another pair of hands so you’re not stuck paying overtime.
Have a plan for staffing in place to help you grow.
Step 10: Decide on a Style/Design
Your brand says a lot about you. Put some effort into deciding what your style is. It starts with what type of service you are. For example, if you’re going to focus on moving college students in a college town, your logo and brand may want to be more hip, clever, and funny.
If you get stuck, check out 99designs.com, you pay one cost and the designers compete for the money. You get a ton of options for a pretty small cost. Just make sure the style is the same across everything – biz cards, website, truck signs, etc.
If you’re struggling with what to name your trucking company business, here are a few ideas:
Reliant Moving Services Family Safe Moving
Muscle Men Movers Heirloom Protection Movers
Moving Right Along Point A to Point B
From Here to There Moving Solutions
Fresh Start Movers Heavy Lifting Helpers
Move with Ease Safely On Time Moving Service
The Movient Express We Do Stairs Movers
New Beginnings EZ Transitions
Step 11: Create an Accounting Plan
You can’t operate any business, especially a successful one without an accounting plan.
You need to track all your costs and all your income for a lot of reasons.
When tax season comes around, you can write off all your fuel costs and repair costs, so you want to track those properly. But other than just taxes, having an accounting plan lets you know how your profit margins look, which means you need an accounting plan to track your budget. Some good options include:
Step 12: Get Into the Moving Owners Community
One of the best things you can do for your moving business is to get involved in the moving community. Start by joining the American Moving & Storage Association.
You get to meet some really good people and you stay ahead of the newest strategies to keep your costs down and make more money. The AMSA has constant education and training opportunities both in person and from home.
You can also join some communities on Facebook and look for local meetups.
The fact is, you never know where a new client can come from, so get involved in the trucking community to give your business a leg up in the industry.
The Bottom Line
Opening (and running) a moving company is a lot of work.
But if you do it right, it’s a pretty great gig.
I’m my own boss. I work when I want to. And I remove the stress and hassle of the moving experience for all my customers.
Hopefully, you put this guide to use.
If this was helpful for you and you want to learn more about opening a moving company, startupjungle.com has a 21 point checklist for starting your new business. Make sure you download this if you’re serious about getting started.