Do you want to start a moving company from scratch? If YES, here is a 22-step guide to starting a moving company with no money or experience plus a sample moving company business plan template. Moving into a new office or apartment might pose a challenge sometimes, especially if you look to take on all the responsibility without involving experts.

The moving and storage industry is a billion industry in the united states. About 42 million families each year use a moving company, or pay in some other way for their relocation. And international moving companies are growing as fast as domestic ones. Do-it-yourself storage during moves is a growing industry as well, now bringing in about $22 billion a year.

But how did this all get started? 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.

Industry operators often provide incidental packing and storage activities. The industry sure promises a good level of success when one diligently seeks to do what is required of them. It is no surprise that there are lots of people already making it big in this business.

22 Steps to Starting a Moving Company Successfully

1. Understand the Industry

According to the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) – America’s moving and storage industry is one of the most complex and diverse collections of businesses in the country. It consists of multi-million dollar companies and multi-thousand dollar ones; of large corporate organizations and “mom-and-pop” operations; of chief executive officers working in corporate suites and independent business people working in their trucks; and of van lines, their agency systems and independent movers.

Interesting Statistics About the Industry

America’s moving and storage industry is as diverse as the country itself. As the industry’s national trade group, AMSA represents all facets of the industry: agents, forwarders, independent carriers, international movers, suppliers and van lines.

The industry consists of 7,000 companies operating at 13,900 locations primarily providing moving and storage services for household and office goods. Major Names in this United States Includes van lines, van line agents, independent full-service movers, international movers, forwarders, and auto transporters.

The moving industry Employs 122,600 people with an annual payroll of $3.6 billion and is composed of mostly small businesses. Here are some other facts to be known;

  • 47.8% of industry companies employ fewer than 5 people.
  • Only 8.5% of industry companies employ 100 or more people.
  • AMSA members report operating a fleet of 50,000 trucks 32,000 tractor units for pulling semi-trailers and 18,000 straight trucks) regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation and state motor vehicle agencies.
  • AMSA consists of more than 4.000 member companies, including:
  • 150 companies in 85 countries outside the US
  • 200 companies in the industry’s supply chain

The services being rendered by the industry Include local and long-distance transportation of household and office goods; warehousing and storage services; packing and packaging services; process, distribution, and logistics consulting; merchandise sales and other services.

With the advancement of technology and the sole need for every individual is to live in a comfortable  house, the moving industry keeps souring high, and  As home sellers, buyers and renters prepare for 2016, hiring professional movers is likely to be on their moving checklists. It is anticipated that the five below trends will be prevalent in the moving industry in 2016.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and Psychographics percentage of individuals who need the services of the moving industry is centered on the residential and commercial platform, with the former taking over 95% of the annual percentage.

3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On

The moving industry has many niches just like any other known industry in the world. Individuals are sure needed to align the business process of a moving company, ranging from the individual who picked the call that produced a contract up to the drivers and carriers who perform the contract.

Listed below are the few job opportunities in the moving industry.

  • Global Data Center Server & Storage
  • Forklift Operator
  • Tractor Trailer Drivers / Truck Drivers
  • Haulage and Logistics
The Level of Competition in the Industry

In any blooming industry in this century, there must be competition but the question is “How fierce is this competition?” Americans spend billions on moving and junk hauling every year. They also share thousands of horror stories every year about unprofessional movers or slipshod operations. Moving industry has a low cost of entry — basically, muscles and a truck — and that encourages a lot of people to try to make a living offering the service, making the competition in this industry fierce and alarming.

Having just strength, Manpower or trucks is not all that is needed to strive in this competitive industry. Surviving and earning more in this industry requires an ideal cum sophisticated business plan and a well redefined expertise in the field. Many small Ventures and companies are blooming up in this industry and only a worthy moving company can withstand this business rumble.

4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry

Many companies have dominated the United States moving industry for the past two decades. The moving industry is not only present in the United States but in most countries because of the level of urbanization being witnessed in the world. Listed below are 10 well known moving companies in the moving industry.

  • American Van Lines
  • Xtreme Movers
  • International Van Lines
  • Long Distance Van Lines
  • Rolls Van Lines
  • Affordable Movers
  • Colonial Van Lines
  • Moving Squad
  • Molloy Brothers Moving
  • Adept Moving & Storage.
Economic Analysis

The Moving Services industry has lost operators over the past five years as a result of the housing market collapse and slow economic recovery. Housing starts and home sales slowed and demand for moving services came to a halt due to a lack of new homes on the market.

However, these factors have greatly improved in recent years and will continue to do so in the five years to 2022. In addition, metropolitan areas are expected to continue to be the most active areas for moving services, with large populations and shuffling tenants maintaining demand for services.

The Moving Services industry has a moderate level of capital intensity. Expenditure on wages accounts for a larger proportion of revenue than depreciation charges. In 2015, for every dollar spent on labor, industry operators are expected to spend $0.11 on capital investments. Capital expenditures are typically for the purchase of transport vehicles.

Labor expenses include the wages and salaries paid to truck drivers, mechanics, cleaners and administrative staff. Capital intensity has remained relatively unchanged over the past five years, as low demand caused operators to trim both wage and depreciation costs.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

Most establishments in the moving industry started from the scratch and are struggling to create a support for their business. Starting from the scratch in the moving industry requires patience, passion, enthusiasm and immeasurable risks but buying a franchise is a very quick way to own a moving business.

In the moving industry, buying into a franchise is far better than starting from the scratch because starting No matter how grand you’re opening, when you start your own moving business it takes time to build a client base and local reputation. When you advertise a known brand name in your new market, customers come ready-made, and the cash starts flowing faster.

Also, when you start your own moving business, you must learn all the basic things needed to strive on your own, with “rookie mistakes” part of the learning curve. Franchisors provide new franchisees with extensive training in every aspect of their new business, from receiving a call to the service end point. And many offer advanced training to help you stay on top of your business as it grows.

6. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)

There are many legal entities in the business world and it takes careful consideration to be able to choose one suitable for a particular spec of business. In terms of an individual looking to start a moving company, a Limited Liability Company is the best legal entity to start up with, because a limited liability company (LLC) provides the limited liability protection of a corporation, while avoiding the double taxation.

Because it is taxed like a partnership, it can be more flexible than a corporation and a sole proprietorship – Seems like the best of all worlds. However, many investors do not like to invest in LLCs. First, investing in an LLC can create unintended consequences under Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for pension funds who may have invested in the fund making the investment.

As a result, many funds are prohibited by their governing documents from investing in an LLC. Second, venture capital and other funds do not want to wait for a portfolio company to finish its own tax return and issue K-1s to its members before the fund can do its tax return and issue its K-1s to its investors.

And finally, there is a significant tax incentive to investors who invest in “qualified small business” stock, which requires that the company receiving the investment be a C Corporation. So to cut the long story short, it is recommended that individuals start a moving business as a Limited Liability Company and convert to a C corporation immediately before they receive substantial outside funding.

7. Choose a Catchy Business Name

In the moving industry, having a catchy name is sure important in other to attract the interest of customers. In name in the moving industry should buttress confidence and security in other to attract and keep customers. Names like those below are catchy for a moving company.

  • Lion Movers
  • Epoch Movers
  • Turbo Van Lines
  • Universal Moving Company
  • Moving TAP
  • AirMovers PLC

8. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

When you have good moving company insurance coverage, with adequate policy limits, it signals customers that you’re serious about protecting their cherished possessions. Prospective customers are likely to ask if you have moving company liability insurance. Coverage available under moving company liability insurance policies include General Liability Insurance, motor vehicle liability insurance and cargo liability insurance.

Most states have set certain minimum policy limits for liability insurance, so you’ll want to check with your state regulators to see what’s required. Customers often like to see, however, that you’ve gone beyond the minimum required for moving company liability insurance.)

Other moving company insurance policies that you will want to consider include business property insurance, which will cover your own business premises and the equipment located there. You can also buy motor vehicle collision insurance, which will pay for damage to your own vehicle if it’s involved in an accident. Motor vehicle liability insurance pays when you’ve injured someone else and/or harmed someone else’s vehicle or property.).

You’re required by state law to purchase Workers Compensation Insurance to cover your employees who are injured on the job. You may also want to consider group health insurance, group life insurance and group disability insurance to attract and retain good employees.

9. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

Intellectual property is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the Intellectual property system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish. In the moving industry, intellectual property rights protect Trademarks, industrial designs and geographical indications.

10. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

In the moving industry, having professional certification gives your intending customers the fulfillment that they are protected and that your worthy of their patronage- hereby giving you an edge in Business. Listed bow are few professional certification in the moving business

  • Certified Moving Consultant
  • American Moving Labor Professionals Association
  • The Certified Relocation Professional
  • The Voice of the International Moving Industry
  • Certified Packer/Loader
  • Registered International Mover
  • American Moving and Storage Association

11. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

In the United States, business owners planning to operate a moving company must first seek a license or permit. This is because a moving company must handle the personal property of customers and enter private homes, which could lead to a variety of issues.

Having an official license also helps differentiate a fly-by-night moving company from a professional and established operation that knows how to handle property, provide reasonable quotes and manage any customer claims.

Getting a moving business permit isn’t just as simple as filling out a form and paying the fee. Most states and counties will require that you have the appropriate insurance coverage and they also want to be sure you have worker’s compensation insurance. These documents may include

  • Vehicle Permits
  • Meeting minutes
  • Company Bylaws
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Online privacy policy
  • Apostille
  • Employment Agreement
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online terms of use
  • Commercial Invoice

12. Write a Business Plan

Business plans are documents used for planning out specific details about your business. Many entrepreneurs are intimidated by the idea of writing a business plan. The idea of writing such a detailed document may remind you of the dreaded days of school, or may just feel that you can better utilize your time elsewhere.

But, the business plan is a strong business tool, especially for the small business owner. It provides you with every detail about your business and allows you to review the hard, clear facts that are needed to make strong and successful business decisions, even if it means starting the business over.

A moving company business plan should be made up of a narrative section that includes a description of its services, short- and long-range objectives, discussion of the industry, business competition, marketing strategies, management team and capital required.

The plan should also contain spreadsheets with financial projections. A moving company business plan in order to attract investors should focus on these four parts: Superiority of Service, Marketing Plan, Discussion of Management and Financial Projections.

13. Prepare a Detailed Cost Analysis

There are several large factors that come into play when projecting how much money will be needed to start a moving business. The top six things you need to take into account are cost of sales, professional fees, technology costs, administrative costs, sales and marketing costs and wages and benefits.

All of these categories are equally beneficial and should all be taken seriously to correctly project the cost of your start up moving company. The price range for starting a moving business be it small scale, medium scale or large scale is within the cost range of $10,000 and above. The more money invested insures the amount of returns to be expected and more exactly define the size of the business.

  • Traditional Business loan
  • Cash advance against credit card income
  • Self-financing
  • Alternative small business loan
  • Loan for equipment purchase
  • Friends and Family
  • VC’s and angel investors.

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Location decisions are often important – to both large and small moving businesses. The location decision has a direct effect on an operation’s costs as well as its ability to serve customers (and therefore its revenues).  Also, location decisions, once made, are difficult and costly to undo.

The costs of moving an operation are often significant and run the risk of inconveniencing customers and staff. It is always best to get the location decision right first time. In the moving industry, many locations exist – Home based Retail, Commercial, and Industrial. In choosing a location in the moving industry one has to consider these factors listed below.

  • Style of Operation
  • Demographics
  • Foot traffic
  • Accessibility and Parking
  • Competition
  • Proximity to other businesses and services
  • Ordinances
  • Utilities and other costs.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

Like any professional, doing the job right means having the right tools. What carpenter is going to show up to frame out an addition to your house and then ask if he can borrow your hammer? How often are you going to run into a customer who just happens to have a hand truck and a couple of four-wheelers, maybe a reefer dolly in their garage?

To cut the story short, a good moving company should have advanced – technology redefined equipment in other to function to the taste of our modern society. Good equipment makes the work easier and lighter for the workers. These equipment may include

  • Furniture pads
  • Moving aids
  • Van and warehouse supplies
  • Cargo Controls
  • Walk boards and Ramps
  • Truck Tie-down Systems
  • Packing Supplies
  • Trucks
The Service Delivery Process of the Business

The service process of a moving company is the means and process ranging from the packing, storage, shipping / transit, to the delivery of belongings through the in-house teams and trusted partners. A customer just have to tell what they want to take, and then it lies on the movers to take care of the rest – everything from customs clearance to unpacking in a new home.

So, the moving process runs smoothly, no matter where they are moving to. That is what a service process in this field should be like and the systematic steps of a moving company is outlined below

  • The Survey
  • Quotation and Move Plan
  • Packing Services and protecting the customer’s Home
  • Transportation
  • Customs Clearance and Delivery
  • Unpacking in the New Home

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed with ideas & Strategies

In the digital era, having your business advertised is more important than ever for business growth. As word of mouth is getting challenged by the online communities, having a strong marketing strategy can boost your customer base and increase company revenue. These strategies may include:

  • Investing in a great website
  • Starting a blog
  • Be Social
  • Claim your profiles
  • Advertising on the Internet

17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products

One of the toughest decisions for a startup is how to price their product or service. The implications of the decision you make here are huge, defining your brand image, your funding requirements, and your long-term business viability. The revenue model you select is basically the implementation of your business strategy, and the key to attaining your financial objectives. Factors that can instigate a moving company get a right service pricing include

  • The service offering
  • Funding Mechanism
  • The Employee management system
  • The customer management system

18. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Business is a game and only the team with the best players will win. To beat the competition a moving business will require everyone’s collective effort.

  • Define your company
  • Choose a competitive advantage
  • Create a customer database
  • Excite your customers

19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

For any business that provides services to customers, the act of finding, targeting and obtaining new customers is always going to be among its top priorities. Customer retention is simply a byproduct of customer service and experience. Create a good experience, that’s consistent and predictable, and you have a shot at customer retention.

Here are few ideas on how to retain customers in the moving industry.

  • Understand and measure why your customers or clients are leaving in the first place.
  • Employee loyalty
  • Soliciting their ideas and suggestions
  • Offer a simple way to pay
  • Build the customers and not the price
  • Be quick to resolve issues
  • Thank your customers
  • Turning difficult situations into opportunities to earn your client’s trust.
  • Offer a reward
  • Stop telling customers what’s good for them — and LISTEN TO THEIR NEEDS.

20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

Let’s clear up the biggest misconception about brand strategy: Your brand is not your product, your logo, your website, or your name. In fact, your brand is much more than that — it’s the stuff that feels intangible. But it’s that hard-to-pin-down feeling that separates powerhouse and mediocre brands from each other.

So to help you rein in what many marketers consider more of an art and less of a science, here are few ways to boost brand awareness and create a corporate identity in the moving industry.

  • Purpose
  • Consistency
  • Emotion
  • Flexibility
  • Competitive Awareness
  • Loyalty

21. Create a Suppliers/Distributors Network

Various companies in their quest to meet a target for growth, companies often plan changes to their distribution networks to accommodate the anticipated increase in product volumes. Distribution refers to the steps taken to move and store a product from the supplier stage to a customer stage in the supply chain. Distribution is a key driver of the overall profitability of a firm because it directly impacts both the supply chain cost and the customer experience.

Good distribution can be used to achieve a variety of supply chain objectives ranging from low cost to high responsiveness. As a result, companies in the same industry often select very different distribution networks. Optimization of distribution networks are now the present trend being walked by modern establishments.

Things that have driven companies to optimize their distribution network may include merger or acquisition, business growth/downsizing, competitive pressure, increase efficiency, new market opportunities, change in customer’s base, increase in fuel etc. In other to optimize your distribution network in the moving industry, an entrepreneur must know and understand this few tips.

  • Customers
  • Services
  • Products
  • Financials
  • Process Overview
  • Tools
  • Challenges
  • Deliverables
  • Transport Geography
  • Looking Ahead

22. Tips for Running a Moving Company Successfully

To succeed in business today, you need to be flexible and have good planning and organizational skills. Many people start a business thinking that they’ll turn on their computers or open their doors and start making money – only to find that making money in a business is much more difficult than they thought.

You can avoid this in your business ventures by taking your time and planning out all the necessary steps you need to reach to achieve success. Read on to find out how. In other to running a moving business successfully, here are few tips and guidelines.

  • Get Organized
  • Keep Detailed Records
  • Analyze Your Competition
  • Understand the Risks and Rewards
  • Be Creative
  • Stay Focused:
  • Prepare to Make Sacrifices
  • Provide Great Service
  • Be Consistent