How to Start a Successful Moving Company Business in 2022

Part-Time Moving Business or Full-Time

The reality is that 80% of moving jobs are for small items or furniture pieces. Unfortunately, many people feel they have few options but to call the major moving businesses to move one piece of furniture, such as a desk. However, what if these customers could call a small, locally owned small moving company for a minimal fee?

Anybody with a truck or van can start a small weekend moving company to supplement his or her income. And you would be surprised as to how much money stands to be made from even a few hours of hauling furniture items around town. Individuals stand to make enough to supplement their luxury expenses. This can help to improve their overall standard of living in a down economy.

You can dive into the moving business part-time or full-time, depending on your availability and how well you market yourself. More on that in just a bit. We’ll show you exactly how to get the phone ringing with customers ready to hire you. Read on for details on how to start a moving company and make good money.

Step 2: Hone Your Idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a moving company, it’s a good idea to hone your idea in preparation to enter a competitive market.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research moving companies in your area to see what they offer. Are there services you could offer that other companies don’t? Perhaps there are no “bargain” movers and you could provide a low-cost alternative. Or you could go to the other end of the range and offer a whole suite of specialty moving services, which might include packing and unpacking or securely packaging valuable items such as art and antiques.

What? Determine your products or services

To increase your revenue, you can add services beyond just moving, such as:

  • Packing and unpacking
  • Long-distance moving
  • Relocating businesses
  • Junk removal
  • Valuables packaging and moving

How much should you charge for moving services?

The average hourly price for a local move is between $80 and $200. In the beginning, you may need to be at the lower end of the range until you build brand recognition. For long-distance moving, you could charge $250 per hour or more. The average price for packing up a home is $1,000, but of course varies widely.

Who? Identify your target market

Determine your target market based on your services offerings and desired brand. Do you want to be a bargain or high-end mover? If you choose to be a bargain mover, your target demographic is likely to be college students and young professionals. You might market to them on Instagram and TikTok, rather than Facebook.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you could keep costs low by running your business from home, assuming you have a place to park your truck. But as your business grows and operations intensify, you’ll likely need to hire workers and rent out an office or warehouse. Find commercial space to rent in your area on Loopnet,Craigslist, Crexi, and Commercial Cafe.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed

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Step 7: Find Suppliers

Moving companies need different equipment than tra

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.

3. Set up your online profiles

Once you’re officially approved for business, you can start thinking about building your online presence. Every day, consumers use search engines, social media platforms, and Yelp to find trustworthy movers. If you want to ensure that your small business is front-and-center, you need to be where potential customers are looking.

Along with creating a professional website, set up business profiles on platforms such as Yelp, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

When you claim your Yelp Business Page, you’ll appear in searches for local users who are ready to book services that you provide. In fact, one study shows that 97% of people make a purchase after visiting Yelp

Claiming and customizing your page— uploading pictures of your logo, moving truck, and packing materials—is the first step to building trust on the platform. 

Similarly, creating social media pages for your business on platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn can help you increase your visibility. You can use these platforms to engage with potential customers, announce your launch, and continue building relationships over time.

Get a free Yelp Page Promote your business to local customers. Claim your free page

Keep Track

You’ll need to keep track of all of your expenses and profits. These are vital for tax purposes, keeping track of your goals, and also internal accounting.

If this seems overwhelming and like too much work, you can always outsource accounting. No matter how big or small your business is, outsourcing this aspect can save you time and stress.

Moving Company Pros and Cons

You will want to weigh up the pros and cons to opening a moving business before you become a commercial mover. The benefits of starting a moving company include low barriers to entry, minimal government regulations, and constant demand. If you have a truck, the proper insurance, and working muscles, you can be in business. The Canadian government imposes no licencing requirements on moving companies.

The demand for moving services is strong, particularly in populated areas where dozens of homes are sold each day, and hundreds more people move in and out of rental units and office spaces. At the same time, operating as a residential or commercial mover means you get to meet new people all of the time, so there is a big social aspect to this line of work. There is also a lot of freedom and flexibility, as you can control your own schedule and the jobs you take on.

The biggest drawback is that the low barriers to entry invite a lot of competition. Peruse Craigslist and you’ll find plenty of folks with pickup trucks offering cheap moving services on the weekends. Keep in mind, though, that many of these movers lack insurance and proper training. Therefore, if you make the right moves to stand out from the competition, then you may be able to sidestep this downside when finding large or small moving jobs.

Starting a moving company: Ideas

To start a moving company you don’t need to buy those big trucks and rent a warehouse. In most big cities 80 percent of the moves are small, local moving jobs for which you don’t need storage facilities or big trucks. Many people are also looking for in-house moving help that only requires manpower to move a bedroom worth of furniture. Thus, you can easily start your new moving company with a smaller van. Many customers today prefer to call a small moving company because usually is less expensive and still quality moving service. This though does not mean you won’t be making a profit. Moving is a hard labor and it is not cheap.

There are some differences types of moving companies for you to choose from. You should decide if you want to provide moving labor services only or become a full-service coast to coast mover. A few general and mandatory steps will get you started on how to open a moving company business.

Draft a business plan

You can’t start a business without a business plan. No matter the size of your new moving company you will need a plan of action. Writing a business plan for starting a moving company is necessary, just like when starting any other business. A business plan will help you answer the question how to start a small moving company. A business plan is vital for running a successful business. It will help you forecast business development, allocate resources and markets, focus on key points and opportunities and prepare for possible problems. You need to include some standard elements, but you have to consider components that make it work for your new moving business. More importantly, a business plan will help you think about how to set your company apart from the rest. Since today the moving industry is flooded with movers, it is essential that you consider offering a variety of services or, even better, something new.

Moving and transportation permits

Permits are legal authorizations you need to start a moving company in any state. Since you want to open a legal business, you will need to apply for certain permits depending on what type of moving company you want to start. For more information contact your local state regulatory authority or go to The US Department of Transportation to get information on registration and licensing.

Please note that in every state requirements for moving companies are different. Here is some more information if you are about to found a relocation business in California. Also here is a full list of government agencies that regulate household goods transportation companies by state.

Get Business Insurance

You should really get business insurance to protect your company. Especially if you have employees, you might be required to have workers’ compensation insurance.

Speak to a lawyer or insurance agent in your area to see what’s required.

Making a Profit in Your Moving Business

Profitability in any type of business is never a given. In fact, it often requires hard work, dedication and troubleshooting to get there. 

When you want to generate a profit in your moving business, adhere to the following practical tips:

  • Reduce costs and overhead: As a successful moving business owner, you must learn how to calculate overhead in your moving business. Overhead expenses are those associated with running your normal operations in the background. When you trim recurring costs and cut monthly expenses, you can increase your bottom line to generate higher profits.
  • Develop strong lead generation tactics: Acquiring new leads is the process by which your company will generate a steady stream of new clients. While this is an essential step for staying profitable, it rarely happens on autopilot. To make a decent profit, you’ll want to think critically about your customer funnel and marketing methods.
  • Knowing your value and primary selling point: When you first begin, you may want to lower your rates to get more clients. Undercutting the value of your services for an extended period of time, however, can be detrimental to profit margins. When you offer exceptional, high-quality value to your clients, you can feel confident in your pricing structure and in the value of what you offer. 

Why Should You Start a Moving Business?

Starting a moving business is a safe way to enter the world of having your own company. Many business owners enjoy the relatively low barrier to entry that moving businesses provide. This simply means that a moving company is an option with low overhead and minimal requirements to get started.

Additionally, these types of services are always in demand. As long as people are buying and selling houses, moving into commercial spaces, and shipping their materials from one place to the next, there will be a need for reputable moving companies. Since this demand is fairly constant throughout different times of the year, well-established companies can avoid the “feast or famine” cycle typical in other industries.

Finally, a moving business can be as small or as expansive as you wish to make it. If you only have time to offer weekend services, you can do so and start to build a reputation. There is plenty of room to scale your business based on available time, resources, and desire. 

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7. Get the Permits and Licenses You Need

As a moving business, you may need several licenses to operate legally. Depending on your location and moving radius, you might have to get a federal license in addition to state licenses.

  • Federal License: If you plan to offer long-distance moves, you will probably operate across state lines (moving clients from one state to another). In that case, you will need a license from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT).
  • Local and state licenses: In many states, you will need to register with your department of transportation or similar state agency if you want to start a moving company. Local agencies often require a special license or permit for moving household goods. The United States Small Business Administration recommends that you check your state’s website to find out about your permitting requirements.

You can start a small moving company with a modest moving truck or an SUV. But if you plan on using a large vehicle, you may need to secure an overweight/oversize load permit. This requirement will vary by state. The USDOT maintains a list of state agencies to help point you in the right direction. As a large commercial motor vehicle driver, you will also need to secure a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Contact your state licensing agency (most likely a department of motor vehicles) to find out how to get a CDL.

Rules, Regulations and Taxes for Your Moving Business

You can’t escape real-world licenses, permits and regulations. You will need to explore local, state and federal licenses and permits, and we can also help out with researching your business licensing needs.

Taxes

Taxes are a fact of life if you’re in business, and there are various ways you will need to file and pay them. This can include self-employment tax, state income tax and federal income tax. Depending on where and how you’re selling products and services, you may also be liable for sales and use tax.

As a rule of thumb, we recommend holding back around a third of your earnings to pay your taxes. We can also prepare and file your tax returns for you.

Step 13: Start Making Money!

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the unique characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your moving company meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.

Some signature USPs for your moving business could be:

  • Specialty moving for your most precious goods
  • Reliable discount movers
  • Guaranteed safe moving
  • Your family-owned local movers
Kickstart Marketing

Kickstart Marketing

Take advantage of your website, social media presence, and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:

  • Competitions and giveaways – Generate interest by offering prizes for customers who complete a certain action, such as one free hour if you schedule today.
  • Optimize calls to action – Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Schedule Now”. This can sharply increase purchases.
  • Signage – Put up eye-catching signage at your office and website
  • Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events
  • In-Person Sales – Offer your services to real estate agents to get referrals

Consider a Niche

You should consider creating a niche for yourself by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry. This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing within your niche market.

Build Affiliate Relationships

Affiliate marketing is advertising in which you compensate third parties (i.e. your affiliates) in order to generate traffic to your website. You can develop long-term relationships with these affiliates and generate traffic for each other on an ongoing basis.

What Type of Moving Business Should You Start?

There are several different types of moving business that you can start. Here are some of the more popular options:

Calculate the costs associated with starting a moving business

The overall cost to start a moving business will depend on what you’re doing and how fast you plan to grow. In addition to the fees associated with licenses and permits, forming the business entity, and insurance premiums, there are equipment and logistical costs to factor in as well. (This information would of course be included in your business plan.)

Some of the basic expenses include:

  • Equipment, including moving accessories and the trucks themselves
  • Gas and vehicle maintenance
  • A building lease if you run an office
  • Staff payroll
  • Marketing (Ex. business cards, website, advertising)

Remember that the costs of other moving supplies can add up, including dollies, floor protectors, furniture covers, moving blankets, t-straps and bungee cords, packing materials, GPS software, uniforms, and ergonomic seat cushions for truck drivers. 

When you know these costs upfront, it’s easier to budget effectively and allocate your cash flow as the business expands.

How an Attorney Can Help

As you are starting up your own moving company, you may have questions about legal structure, licenses, and more. A business attorney helps you form your legal structure, determine your licensing requirements, and answer your other business law questions.

6. Master client management

Mastering client management is a huge part of starting a successful moving company that has a solid reputation, receives 5-star reviews, and is known for quality moving services and customer support.

To make the customer experience as smooth as possible, take these steps:

  • Narrow down your customer service channels. Will you take phone calls, emails, and direct messages? On what dates and times can you guarantee availability?
  • Train your customer support team. How should they respond to different types of inquiries? And especially if customers have issues?
  • Prepare a process for providing quotes. How can customers request an estimate? What do you need to do to get back to them quickly?
  • Create contracts and documents. Have moving contracts and other necessary documents prepared and ready to send to seamlessly take on new business and add additional team members, if the need arises. Working with a lawyer to draft these documents may cost a sizeable sum, but the added protection will pay off in the long run, especially in the event of conflict with clients or employees.

Getting Moving Leads

After you’ve started to gain traction within your community, getting consistent and high-quality leads to close is important to keep your business growing. For a moving company, there are slow seasons and busy months. Making sure your business has bookings year round can be quite the undertaking. 

Purchase Moving Leads:

You can opt to purchase moving leads or grow your online presence so that your moving company website is a lead generation machine. Don’t forget to continually request reviews from satisfied customers, as that will help keep your moving business current and reputable.

Getting Customers When Starting a Moving Company

With many consumers using Google to find moving companies, your online presence is now a big factor in getting business – and you don’t even need a high quality website!

Getting found on Google is the best kept secret on how to start a moving company and find customers fast. Here’s why:

Think about this: if you’re looking for a plumber, your first instinct is likely to type “plumber” or “plumber near me” into Google.

People who are looking for moving services do the exact same thing. They visit Google and type terms like “movers near me,” “moving company,” or “moving company near me.”

The results ALWAYS display a local map with pins showing the locations of companies nearby:

FMCSA Application Process

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has online application processing. Once you have the U.S. DOT number and meet insurance requirements, complete the online application. Provide the insurance, bond and U.S. DOT information along with the truck registration. Review any state or local government requirements that might be in addition to the FMCSA registration.

Choose your legal business entity

Your legal entity type (also referred to as a business structure) has huge financial and legal implications, and can even impact how you run your day-to-day business.

You can choose either an LLC or a corporation, as both will shield you from having to personally assume business debts and liabilities.

One major distinction between an LLC and a corporation is how they’re taxed. An LLC does not have to pay federal income tax. Business income equals personal income, so the owner pays the tax on his or her personal return, and it’s taxed at the individual rate.

With a corporation, you may run into double taxation issues. In a C Corp (the default corporation type), the business profits and losses are taxed at the corporate rate. Then, any additional profits to shareholders are taxed as personal income.

A corporation may decide to become an S Corp, which has pass-through taxation. This means that no taxes are imposed on the corporation itself passed through to the owners. But the IRS has certain restrictions on which corporation can elect to become an S Corp. the business revenue is taxed as personal income, similar to an LLC. Plus, there are other nuances to the tax code for all entity types, which is why it’s best to consult with an attorney or accountant on which option makes the most sense for you.

Whether you decide to become an LLC or corporation, it’s important to keep your business and personal transactions separate. You will want to open a bank account for the moving company, as well as obtain a business credit card that’s not personally linked to any of the owners. This will help the moving company establish a good credit history, which can yield financial benefits.

In Conclusion

A successful moving company is more than just a moving truck and a couple of employees who show up to help someone move. It’s important to take the time to establish your company’s brand and build lasting relationships with customers to grow your moving business in the future.

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