Starting a moving company is a dream we support, but many people do not know where to start and how to run a moving business. So getting up and running is the biggest challenge.

Moving is about sales and logistics. Only some people use your services more than twice in five years, so you should be able to create excellent customer experiences for existing customers, and it will go a long way toward generating new customers via word-of-mouth advertising.

We know a moving company can be profitable, but it’s not without some risk of failure. During our 13+ years in the industry, we’ve seen many competitors rise and fall.

In this blog, we will share three different ways to start a moving business. We also outline the advantages and disadvantages of starting a moving company and which one we would ultimately choose.

Way #1: How to Start a Moving Company from Scratch?

Starting a moving company from scratch is the most challenging method because you’ll do most of the planning and execution until you hire help.

If you have started a business before and have gained ultimate satisfaction by troubleshooting problems solo, this method may be a good fit. Also, if you have worked in different departments of a moving company, this way is right for you. So here is the step-by-step process to start a moving company from zero –

Make a moving company business plan

Starting a moving company from scratch means you’ll have to create your own business plan. Don’t worry if you didn’t go to business school or have never made a business plan. 

Use Free Templates or AI to Create Business Plans

Free templates are available online, and many creators on social media platforms can offer helpful advice. These days, you can even have AI create a plan for you. Your business plan will be useful when identifying your target market and asking the bank or investors for startup funds.

Register Your Business

You can register your business as a sole proprietor or as a corporation. The latter costs more to operate and report on at tax time. Still, it creates a separation between you and the business that removes liability from you if, say, the business goes bankrupt.

Balance your expenses and projected revenue

Most importantly, you should be accurate with your expenses and projected revenue; the latter is always more significant than the former. You can’t run a business long if you spend more than you make.

Expect More Expenses in the Beginning

Expect more expenses than income at the start, but you should see a quick turnaround, especially if you own your truck and do some of the work yourself, which you would otherwise pay someone to complete.

Focus on Local Moves

Let’s Get Moving keeps expenses down by specializing in local moves, which means moves between nearby cities or within the same city. This decision ultimately costs less to execute and yields better profits.

Offer Additional Services

Moving companies make money in ways other than transporting items from point A to point B for homes and businesses. You can also increase the company’s revenue by offering additional services, like packing and unpacking, junk removal, and storage

Let’s Get Moving advice for moving company ownership: Use the money you save in the early days for expansion (more employees, trucks, and locations) later.

Get funding for your moving company

Starting a moving company will require you to pay some money upfront. The cost depends on the business model. 

A sole proprietorship will require the biggest investment, while partners share the expense. A moving franchise is affordable and requires ongoing payments to the parent company instead of a large upfront amount.

You may do this by saving up, which takes a long time, taking out a small business loan, or asking investors (including friends and family) for funding.

Register for Taxes

Register with the Internal Revenue Agency (IRA) to pay tax. You will have to pay state and federal sales taxes, so ensure you get a business number and tax account when registering.

Apply for a Business License

Once you have a business number and an EIN (if you plan on hiring employees) and have registered your corporation (if applicable), you can apply for a business license

Register your company and obtain any necessary permits that you need to start a moving business. If your moves cover multiple U.S. states, you’ll need additional permits and licenses.

If you plan to drive any moving truck, you may also need to meet licensing requirements, such as a commercial driver’s license (CDL). This doesn’t apply if you drive a moving van or hire other drivers to operate your commercial vehicles.

Define Your Target Market

Defining your ideal customer demographic will depend on what unique value propositions your company brings.

Decide what sets your moving company apart, and then zero in on the type of person who will benefit most from your moving services

Be specific! There are a lot of niche audiences out there.

  • If you have the lowest prices, your customers will tend to live in lower-income neighborhoods. They’re probably single, or young families, or students.
  • If you specialize in low-volume moves because you’re starting with a single small truck, you’ll want current condo dwellers, students moving into their first condos, and older adults downsizing from their family homes.

Set Prices for Your Moving Services

In making your business plan, you should have already determined what prices your competition is charging. 

You should have called around and gotten quotes from various moving companies to get information on the range of prices in your area, and the terms moving companies use to make each move worthwhile. 

Sure thing!

For example, companies might set a minimum job duration to qualify for their best rate. Jobs under two hours could incur an extra charge to cover labor, fuel, and the truck’s downtime.

Procuring a Moving Truck and Other Things You’ll Need

What size of moving truck should you start with?

Look at your locale’s most popular truck sizes using the U-Haul and other truck rental sites. They often list the most in-demand truck sizes when you use their quote tool. 

Don’t try to save money by buying an inadequate vehicle, or you would frustrate customers and risk having them leave bad reviews.

Once you know the size of truck you want, purchase a good second-hand one to save on the overall cost.

You will also need to purchase enough moving equipment for each truck. Start with at least one dolly, hand truck, and set of moving straps per truck. The straps are for securing and lifting large appliances.

Pros & Cons: of Starting a Moving Company Solo

To wrap up, we’d like to highlight several pros and cons of starting an independent local moving company for you.

Pros of Starting a Moving Company on Your Own

  • The pros of starting a moving comp by yourself are that you don’t have to share the revenue with a partner. 
  • You can take a lot of credit for the business’s successes which can be a very satisfying feeling.

Cons of Starting a Moving Company on Your Own

  • The cons of starting a moving company yourself are that you’ll encounter a lot of administrative and logistical red tape (permits and licenses), 
  • You’ll start with a brand that no one recognizes or has a reason to trust. 
  • So initially people will not trust you and you may face severe competition from already established companies.  
  • In addition, you’ll have to pay for everything yourself, including any costly mistakes, such as misprinted marketing materials or property damage.

With solo entrepreneurship so notoriously challenging, many aspiring entrepreneurs opt for an ownership model with more than one owner. 

Way #2 How to Start a Moving Company with Partners?

Another way to start a moving company is to partner with one or more experienced business owners who can help launch the company and make it more profitable.

As outlined in the previous section, you’ll need to complete all the essential things required to start from scratch. The difference is that you have at least one business partner to help.

Perhaps it’s the case that one of you went to law school and the other studied business, or went to trade school, or earned a marketing diploma. Let your strengths and experience determine the tasks you each take on, and remember to make your most significant decisions jointly.

Decide how to divvy up your moving company profits

In a partnership agreement, you define your startup contributions (money, assets, time) and future profit share to avoid future conflicts. 

Like a sole proprietorship, each partner’s income from the moving company is reported on their personal income tax return. 

Pros & Cons: Starting a Moving Company with a Partner

Starting a moving company with a partner has advantages and disadvantages, just as a solo venture does.

Pros of Starting A Moving Business in Partnership

  • The pros of starting with a partner include leveraging each partner’s unique abilities to benefit the parent company. 

Cons of Starting A Moving Business in Partnership

  • Unfortunately, starting a moving company with a partner means relinquishing control to the partners’ committee, which may mean compromising on things you disagree with. Choose your partners wisely. 

Now, we can move on to our ultimate favorite way of starting a moving company: investing in a proven moving business franchise.

Way #3: Invest in a Moving Company Franchise

Investing in a moving company franchise is like getting a headstart in a marathon. You’re still running the same distance but have what it takes to scale faster than your slow-scaling competitors.

Investing in a moving company franchise almost always costs the least upfront compared to other methods. The parent company takes care of most of the processes in the business such as marketing, a sales team, a website, and advertising.

At Let’s Get Moving, we go above and beyond to ensure our franchisees have everything they need to get started, including permits, trucks, and all marketing activities, so the new business owner can dive right into running their business.

The franchise model is all about empowering the franchisees so they can shine as entrepreneurs.

Pros & Cons: Starting a Moving Company Franchise

No matter your business ownership model, starting a moving franchise has several pros and cons. 

Pros of Investing in Franchise

  • With a franchise, you lessen your risk considerably. 
  • Leverage Existing Brand Reputation 
  • Backend Support in Operations
  • Marketing Support
  • Lead Generation 

Cons of Starting a Moving Franchise

  • High upfront cost 
  • Less Control over the company 

Now that you know how much work goes into launching a moving company, you can choose the model that suits your needs and abilities.

You probably know which model is our favorite because it’s how we’ve ensured scalability throughout several U.S. states, including locations in Miami, Florida, and Marietta, Georgia.

Conclusion: We Vote for Starting a Moving Company Franchise

No one knows which business model is better for you than you, but we almost always vote to start a moving company franchise.

Call us biased, but we love the franchise model because it allows more people to get the satisfaction of being an entrepreneur with less risk.

Are you ready to start a moving company franchise? Call our franchise team to talk about your ideal locations.

FAQs

How much does it cost to start a moving company?

Starting a moving company costs about $37,000 to $67,000 depending on how many trucks you purchase, whether you’re investing in a moving company franchise, and how many employees you’ll start with. The more expensive the startup costs, the longer it will take to recover them and start making a profit.

Besides moving, how do moving companies make money?

Moving companies make money beyond the standard moving service by offering specialized moving for items like pool tables and grand pianos and upselling add-ons like packing and unpacking services, storage, and junk removal. The company can also run an e-commerce moving supplies shop from the main website.

Can anyone start a moving company?

Anyone can start a moving company because it doesn’t take specialized skills or certifications beyond the typical business license and relevant permits. Even if you can’t physically perform the moving labor or know nothing about how to do online advertisements for your business, you can hire employees with these skills.

Are moving company franchises ideal family businesses?

Yes, moving company franchises are good family businesses. They are pre-made for partnerships, and the paperwork is easy to navigate with the help of the franchise managers of the company you’re investing in.

Moving company franchise locations is also easy to run collaboratively, and it is something that you could eventually pass down to the younger generations.

Who should start a moving company?

There are many good candidates for moving company ownership, but what they all have in common is a strong work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a helping attitude because that’s all you’re doing—helping people!