Tips to Start a Moving Company
Starting a Successful Moving Business
Written by Jason Farley for Gaebler Ventures
Wondering how to start a moving company? Did you start a moving business and now want to take things to the next level? This article, written by a moving industry veteran, offers some excellent advice on starting and growing a successful moving business.
What are the keys to starting and growing a successful moving business?
Based on my 15 years in the industry, I can tell you it is far less about moving and more about service.
Good service is the key to success. By far, the #1 growth factor is how a customer is treated. Far too many movers put an emphasis on moving only. Anyone can move something. Everyone will occasionally damage something. It's how you treat the customer before, during and after the move that really matters.
If you are starting a moving company for the first time, make sure you get the licenses needed to start a moving company. In regards to licensing and such, look at your state's public utilities commission for what you need to do for local/intrastate moves and visit the Department of Transportation (DOT) web site for licensing requirements for interstate moves.
As a start up or small moving business, stay with trucks under 26,000 GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight). If you go with bigger trucks, you will be much more regulated and so will your drivers.
As you grow a moving business, rentals are vital. Renting trucks is fine and can help you save on overhead. Most rental companies have a rep for accounts. Talk to them as they will give you the best rates. Expect to pay around $50 per day and 10 cents per mile.
Getting insurance for the moving company is very important. Talk to your insurance company and add rentals to your policy. If your insurer doesn't insure rentals, then I would suggest looking elsewhere.
Once your moving business is doing OK, consider buying a truck for the moving business. I would suggest buying a truck as early as you can. It is cheaper. You can get a nice moving truck for $12k-15k or $250 a month. The market is saturated with used moving trucks and there are great deals to be had. Spend the $200 and have the truck inspected before you buy.
Logo the truck and keep it clean as far more people will see your truck/billboard everyday on the road than will visit your web page or see a phone book ad. The truck is a marketing tool. Brand it as such.
Beyond the formalities of licensing and trucks, you need to know how to market a moving company. You can be a great mover but if nobody knows that, it really doesn't matter.
Remember, good service is the key. Be different than your competition in the moving industry. Stress service and mean it. The time and effort you put into how to gain a customer should be maintained going forward in keeping them as a happy customer.
Here's an example of how many movers don't think through what the customer wants and what's best for the customer. Most movers charge an hourly rate. Why? It's easier for the moving company.
But put yourself in the customer's shoes. Would you rather have an open-ended cost or an exact upfront cost? We all want to know the costs up front. Nobody wants their moving costs to be a surprise at the end of the move. That's why smart movers offer a fixed cost for moving to the customer.
I promise you, the ability to do this will give you a huge advantage over your competitor. There is good moving company software available to do this for you. I have researched many software products for moving companies and would lean toward Movepoint moving software. That is what I use. There are other options out there, as well. Check them out and decide what is best for you and your moving business.
I would also spend a lot of time on your moving company web site. For moving companies, their web sites are by far the single most important ad source for obtaining new customers.
It makes sense. This generation is web savvy. The web is impersonal but facts are facts, and you either promote yourself to your audience in the way they want or you fail.
When is the last time you opened a phone book? Exactly! A phone book is still relevant but at an ever decreasing rate.
But don't think just having a web page will do. You still need to direct traffic to your site. Learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or hire an SEO consultant to help you out.
How important is the web for movers? Here's a great true example from my company: My top three ad sources for 2009 YTD moving business are: 1,582 leads from "used us before" clients; 1,530 leads from referrals; and 1,478 leads from my web page. In other words, about a third of my moving company's leads come from the web site.
That speaks volumes to how important a good web site is for moving companies, don't you think? I've heard stories of other firms that are doing even better with getting web sites leads for moving companies.
The bottomline? When starting a moving company, don't be a commodity. Don't be exactly like every other moving company. Be image conscientious. Have employees uniformed. Public perception is vital. Be different and offer the very best service. Do this and you will gain business. I assure you.
If you are honest, your employees are honest and clean cut, you operate with integrity, and your price is competitive, then you will succeed as a mover.
Believe me, just doing these four things alone will help you rise above the crowd and make you different than most of your competition.
If anyone would like to chat about the industry or run some questions by me feel free to contact me at 614-785-9595.
Jason Farley is head of Business Development for Leaders Moving & Storage Company, based in Columbus Ohio.
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