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A residential or commercial moving business could be a great way for you to start a successful company. We’ve never had more choices of where to live or work — that need for relocation means there’s plenty of opportunities for starting a reliable and trustworthy moving venture.
You’ll need to balance demand for moving services in your local area against the costs of buying the equipment and hiring employees to help people relocate. You may also want to buy into a moving franchise, or strike out on your own and build a company from scratch. Perhaps you became interested after helping people move through a contract service like U-Haul.
There are plenty of opportunities for moving business entrepreneurs. Here are some surprising statistics on the size and potential of the U.S. moving industry:
Number of households make interstate moves every year.
Number of moves a professional movers assist a year, the remainder are carried out by families themselves
Americans move each year (around 15 million households)
This is why moving businesses are so exciting — how can you be part of that success? We're here to help you figure that out.
Before deciding to start a moving business, it’s important to understand the skills and approach you’re likely to need.
Here are some of the typical tasks you’ll be performing for your moving business on a daily basis.
The following skills will be very useful in your role as a moving business owner:
Moving is a huge hassle and overhead for almost everyone. Relocating customers want peace-of-mind, reliability and trustworthiness. Ultimately, they’re paying a fee to a moving company so that they don’t need to worry about every tiny detail of moving. They’ll want you to have a proven track record, good reviews and to be completely up-to-date with your insurance.
Customers may also be looking for a range of services. For example, some will want to pack goods themselves, while others are happy to pay to have their house packed by professionals. Some will want you to collect goods from every room, while others will move things to the front door. You’ll need to tweak your services to meet customer needs, do what you say you will and be accurate and timely.
These are all great starting points, but you will need to build on them to make your relocation business your own. You have unique skills and insight that you can use to create a moving business that will really stand out.
Not every idea you have will make it through to becoming a moving business. There are all sorts of reasons to say “yes” or “no” to specific businesses, so think about what your strengths and weaknesses are so you can choose a type of relocation business you’d be great at.
You need to define how you’re going to run your moving business, market yourself, get sales, make a profit and grow. This can only come about by creating a watertight business plan. It will help you get your thinking in order and show your commitment to your moving business.
Your relocation company needs a business model, which is how you will generate sales, provide services and make money. Think about your business model now, because it’s better to have that in place so you can start acquiring customers and generating revenue from day one.
Business plans do vary slightly, but they should all cover the following areas:
There are five main business structures you can have in the U.S., and it’s important to choose the right one. We’ve shared your options below. They are:
If you don’t choose to form a legal business entity for your moving business, you will be a sole proprietor by default. This won’t give you the legal protections you need, so we do not recommend this.
Similar to a sole proprietorship, if you go into business with someone else without forming a legal business entity, you will be treated as a partnership. This doesn’t give you limited liability protections, so we don’t recommend it for your moving business.
The most common type of business entity. An LLC is fast, simple and inexpensive to set up and maintain. It protects your personal finances and assets and is a great way to start your moving business.
This is a more complex type of business and isn't generally recommended for smaller organizations.
These are the largest and most complex types of businesses, and they are typically far more than the average entrepreneur or moving business owner will need.
For more information on the advantages and disadvantages of different types of businesses, please see our in-depth guide. If you’ve still got questions, we’ve answered them to help you choose the right business structure for your moving business.
In most cases, our recommendation for your moving business would be to create an LLC. We’ve got a complete guide to everything you need to do. LLC formation does vary from state to state, but we’ve got you covered, wherever you are.
Once you've legally created your moving business, you’ll need to get some other things in place.
You will almost certainly need office space for your moving business. You’ll need room to store your vehicles and equipment, meet with employees and clients, store goods as required and otherwise manage your business. Ideally, the office space should be located close to a major highway to make it quicker and easier to drive a moving truck to your customers.
Much of the capital expenditure for your business will be for vehicles, equipment and consumables. You will need to purchase a moving truck, moving tools, packing materials, safety equipment and various other supplies. You’ll also need a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Marketing will be a huge part of your moving business. Word-of-mouth and referrals will be necessary for attracting customers, and you’ll also want a really good website. Focus on delivering excellent customer service to get good reviews, which will help to drive customer acquisition.
The right software and processes will make running your moving business much easier. See our list of the best apps and software at the end of this guide.
If you’re managing very small, local moves, you can probably run the business yourself. If you’re doing anything larger, like whole-house moves, you will likely need to hire at least one other person. For bigger moves, or if you want to do more moves at once, you’ll need to hire even more employees.
You will need a separate business bank account for your moving business, and you might also want to consider a business credit card. Additionally, you will also need to keep careful bookkeeping records and file business and personal taxes. Here at Incfile, we can even help you file your taxes.
Our Start a Business Checklist will get your business going in the best possible way.
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 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.
There are certain forms and legalities you need to follow to keep your moving business in good standing.
Most states require all businesses to file a report once a year. This report has details of any major changes to who owns a business and other major impacts on a business’ legal status. We can file your Annual Report on your behalf.
You will be expected to pay estimated taxes on what you plan to earn in the current business year. Typically, you will need to pay estimated taxes in April, June, September and January (of the following year).
Your business will probably have several licenses, permits and other regulations. These typically need to be renewed every year.
You will need to file your taxes once a year.
If applicable, you will need to make payroll and sales tax payments on a regular basis.
You will need to work with your accountant to prepare all the taxes you need to pay.
All moving businesses should have comprehensive business insurance. There are various types.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for job-related illnesses, disabilities or injuries that affect employees. Regulations for this insurance vary from state to state. It typically covers areas like medical costs, loss of earnings, compensation and retraining. This is essential for a moving business as handling large, heavy and awkward items could expose your employees to risk of injury.
This insurance protects your moving business from claims due to being sued. This may include injury to members of the public, property damage, personal liabilities, legal defense and more. It can help protect your business from financial penalties and bankruptcy. This type of insurance is essential to your moving business as you will be going into and out of homes, and moving large items invites risks. You will also need to arrange to have your clients' property insured while you’re holding or transporting it.
You will want commercial office and vehicle insurance to cover your assets.
Here are some useful places where you can connect with other moving entrepreneurs.
Here are some really great online tools for managing your moving business. They will reduce the time you spend on administration, help you to collaborate with others and free up your time to grow and manage your new venture.
As you can see, there are some great opportunities to start a successful relocation and moving business. If you can find a great niche, understand your competitors and put together a solid business plan, you will have every chance for success.Start your moving business with us, today!