A moving company is a business that renders services that includes local and long-distance transportation of household and office goods; warehousing and storage services; packing and packaging services, logistics consulting, merchandise sales, etc.

A recent report published by Nexus shows that there are 7,000 moving companies in operation, servicing 13,900 locations nationwide. With a fleet of 7500 trucks and a network of approximately 400 affiliated agencies, United Van Lines is the biggest moving company in the United States.

The Self-Storage and Moving Services market in the U.S. is estimated at US$23.9 Billion in the year 2020. Please note that the moving services industry has a low level of market share concentration, with the top four largest operators accounting for 9.8 percent of the industry.

Steps on How to Start a Moving Company

  1. Conduct Market Research

If you are considering starting a moving company, you would need reliable market research to be able to maximize profits from the business. The first step in the market research process for your moving company should be to develop market-based research questions in line with your overall business goal and objective.

In this regard, you should source information that will help you maximize your business, help you know what your potential market will be looking out for from a moving company, and also help you operate your moving company with less stress and of course, build the business to profitability.

a. Who is the Target Market for Moving Company?
  • Households who would want to move from one apartment to another
  • Corporate organizations who would want to move from one office to another
  • Government agencies who have cause to move light goods and materials from one location to another
  • E-commerce businesses
  • Automobile importers and exporters
  • Merchants and Warehouse Operators
  • Retailers who would want to move their goods from one location to another
  • Manufacturers (furniture manufacturers, home appliances manufacturers et al.).
b. Is Moving Company a Profitable Business?

Yes, the moving company is a profitable business and available data show that the industry is worth over $23.9 billion.

c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?

No, there are no existing niches when it comes to the moving and storage lines of business.

d. Who are the Major Competitors?
  • International Van Lines
  • AIRES (American International Relocation Solution)
  • United Van Lines
  • SIRVA (formerly Allied Worldwide)
  • Atlas Van Lines
  • Graebel Van Lines
  • VIP Transport
  • 1-800-Pack-Rat
  • Anglo Pacific
  • Team Relocations
  • Island Movers
  • Royal Hawaiian Movers
  • America’s Family Moving and Storage
  • Colonial Van Lines
  • North American Moving Services
  • U-Pack
  • PODS
  • U-Haul
  • Mayflower
  • Zippy Shell Moving and Storage
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for Moving Company?

No, there are no county or state regulations or zoning laws for moving companies, but players in this industry are expected to work with the existing regulations governing similar businesses in the county where their business is domiciled. Please note that trucks are required to stop at motor carrier safety and weight inspection stations when signs direct them to do so.

So also, all across the United States, a van or truck can be rented by someone without a commercial driver’s license (CDL) license if it has a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of 26,000 pounds or less. Any truck or van with a rating of 26,001 pounds or more requires at least a Class B CDL.

f. Is There a Franchise for Moving Company?

Yes, there are franchise opportunities for moving companies, and here are some of them;

  • Two Men and a Truck (Initial Investment – $100,000 – $585,000)
  • Units Franchise Group (Initial Investment – $460,022 – $1,083,322)
  • Crowning Touch Senior Moving Services Inc. (Initial Investment – $323,000 – $551,500)
  • Box Galaxy (Initial Investment – $95,000)
  • Zippy Shell Moving and Storage (Initial Investment – $657,450 – $1,219,830)
  • You Move Me (Initial Investment – $78,500 – $169,500)
  • Metropolitan Movers Inc. (Initial Investment – $55,500 – $250,000)
  • NorthStar Moving Co. (Initial Investment – $100,000 – $225,000)
  • 1-800-Packouts (Initial Investment – $69,450 – $234,000)
  • Navis Pack and Ship Centers (Cash Investment – $100,001).
g. What Do You Need to Start a Moving Company?
  • A Feasibility Report
  • Business and Marketing Plans
  • Business Licenses and Permits
  • Box Trucks
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • Insurance
  • EIN (Employer Identification Number)/Federal Tax ID Number.
  • A Corporate Bank Account
  • IRP Plates
  • Employees
  • Operational Capital (For Ongoing Expenses)
  1. Choose a Memorable Business Name

When looking to start a business, before you can begin to file the necessary documents with the constituted authorities or start your website, it is necessary that you come up with a name that you will be recognized with. It is essential that the name you come up with can easily be pronounced, is unique and easily memorable.

Some of the catchy business name ideas suitable for a moving business are;

Creative Moving Company Business Name ideas
  • We Move© Moving Company, Inc.
  • One Move® Moving Company, LLC
  • Pack Master© Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
  • Move Solutions® Moving Company, Inc.
  • Movement King™ Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
  • Purple Truck™ Moving Company, LLC.
  • Lord Gabby© Moving and Storage Company, LLC
  • Swift Movers® Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
  • Star Line© Moving Company, Inc.
  • Carry On© Moving Company, Inc.
  • Safe Hands® Moving and Storage Company, LLC
  • Boston Guys® Moving and Storage Company, LLC
  • King George™ Moving and Storage Company, LLC
  •  Saint Movers© Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
  • Sone Trip® Moving Company, Inc.
  • J Pee™ Moving Company, Inc.
  • Limp Flow™ Moving Company, Inc.
  • Head On© Moving Company, Inc.
  • Denzel Packers® Moving and Storage Company, LLC
  • We Pack™ Moving and Storage Company, Inc.
  1. Register Your Business

a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Moving Company?

When it comes to the business structure for a moving company, the one that most players in this line of business consider is an LLC. It is common to consider an LLC because providers want to protect themselves from lawsuits. Please note that an LLC will need an EIN if it has employees or if it will be required to file any of the excise tax forms listed below.

b. Steps to Form an LLC
  • Choose a Name for Your LLC.
  • File Articles of Organization.
  • Choose a registered agent.
  • Decide on member vs. manager management.
  • Create an LLC operating agreement.
  • Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
  • File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Moving Company?
  • General Business License
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • IRP Plates
  • Zonal Permits
  • Signage Permit
  • Operational State Facility Inspections for your parking
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Start a Moving Company?

You may not need any certifications to start a moving company, but if you can, you should strive to get Certified by the Federal Maritime Commission as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and also become certified Registered International Mover (RIM).

e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Moving Company?
  • DBA
  • EIN
  • Business and liability insurance
  • Federal Tax Payer’s ID
  • State Permit and Building Approval (For your parking)
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) (at least a Class B CDL)
  • IRP Plates
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Online Privacy Policy Document
  • Contract Document
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?

If you are considering starting a moving company, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection or trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

  1. Cost Analysis and Budgeting

a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Moving Company?

A moving company will cost from $200,000 – $600,000 to start and that can easily go higher depending on your overall business goals and objectives.

For example, the price of a truck depends largely on its size. Light-duty class 2 and 3 trucks run from $25,000 to $45,000. Medium duty class 4 trucks run $35,000 to $50,000. Medium duty class 5 trucks run $45,000 to $70,000.

b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Moving Company?
  • The total fee for registering a business in the United States of America – is $750.
  • Legal expenses for obtaining licenses and permits as well as the accounting services total – $1,200.
  • Marketing promotion expenses (2,000 flyers at $0.04 per copy) for the total amount of $80.
  • The cost for hiring a business consultant (writing of business plans inclusive) – is $4,500.
  • Insurance (general liability, workers’ compensation, and auto insurance) coverage at a total premium – of $12,400.
  • The cost of logistics software, accounting software, CRM software, and Payroll Software – is $1,500
  • The cost for leasing a facility (long-term lease agreement) – is $105,600.
  • The cost for facility remodeling and installations – is $20,000.
  • The cost for the purchase of trucks and vans: $100,000
  • Other start-up expenses including stationery – $500
  • Phone and utility deposits will cost – ($2,500)
  • Operational cost for the first 3 months (salaries of employees, payments of bills et al) – $50,000
  • The cost for store equipment (cash register, security, ventilation, signage) – $3,150
  • The cost for the purchase of office furniture and gadgets  – is $8,000.
  • The cost of launching an official website – is $850
  • Miscellaneous – $2,500
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Moving Company?
  • The size of the moving company (number of trucks to start the business with)
  • The choice of location
  • The required licenses and permits
  • The cost for branding, promotion, and marketing of the moving company
  • The cost of furnishing and equipping the facility
  • The cost of the insurance policy covers
  • The cost of registering the business
  • Cost of recruiting and training your staff
  • The cost for the purchase and customizing of uniforms
  • The cost of the grand opening of the moving company
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility? If YES, How Much Will It Cost?

It is not compulsory to build a new facility for your moving company, but if you have the required finance, it will pay you to build your parking facility and administrative office. The truth is that building or reconstructing a facility will help you come up with a facility that will perfectly fit into your overall business goals and vision.

e. What are the Ongoing Expenses of a Moving Company?
  • Gas and lubricants
  • Toll fees
  • Utility bills (internet subscriptions, phone bills, signage, and software renewal fees et al)
  • Salaries of employees
  • Trucks maintenance
  • Insurance
  • Marketing costs
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner) – $68,000 Per Year
  • Admin and HR Manager – $48,000 Per Year
  • Transport and Logistics Manager $48,000 Per Year
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer) – $42,000 Per Year
  • Accountant $38,000 Per Year
  • Truck and Van Drivers – $36,800 Per Year
  • Packers and Loaders – $28,000 Per Year
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist) – $26,100 Per Year
  • Security Guard -$24,000 Per Year
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Moving Company?
  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and friends.
  1. Write a Business Plan

a. Executive Summary

We Pack™ Moving and Storage Company, Inc. is a licensed box truck company that will be based in San Francisco, California. We will focus on residential and corporate moves both domestically within the United States and internationally.

For international moves, we use internationally trained and certified packers and loaders that handle your goods with the utmost care. We hope to employ international moving coordinators to manage all aspects of your move and we will stay in contact with you throughout the process.

b. Products and Service
  • Moving
  • Trucking
  • Freight forwarding
  • Warehousing
  • Business records storage and destruction
  • Furniture and appliance home delivery
  • Container storage
  • Laboratory relocation
  • Frozen biological transport
  • Fine art and museum exhibit moves
c. Mission Statement

Our mission is to help make your move as smooth as possible from helping to wrap and pack your goods to getting them on a truck, plane, and/or boat to delivering them safely on the other side.

Vision Statement

Our Vision is to be America’s largest privately-owned moving service provider.

d. Goals and Objectives

The goals and objectives of a moving company are to help households, and businesses move their goods from one location to another.

e. Organizational Structure
  • Chief Operating Officer (Owner)
  • Admin and HR Manager
  • Transport and Logistics Manager
  • Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer)
  • Accountant
  • Truck and Van Drivers
  • Packers and Loaders
  • Customer Service Officer (Receptionist)

Marketing Plan

a. SWOT Analysis
  • Excellent operational history
  • Attention to detail.
  • Accurate estimates with no hidden costs.
  • Experience and trained professionals.
  • Large storage facility.
  • Excellent customer testimonials.
  • Reliable and efficient box trucks and service
  • Certified by the Federal Maritime Commission as a Non-Vessel Operating Common Carrier (NVOCC) and also a certified Registered International Mover (RIM).
  • Not enough existing clientele to run at full capacity immediately
  • The owner is new to large scale marketing
  • We will need a loan to build our facility and to purchase trucks and vans
  • The owner is currently running the business solo and will need to manage construction/build out the existing business
  • Lack of economies of scale.
  • Build upon existing clientele
  • Online market, new services, new technology, and of course the opening of new markets.
  • Increase in the number of families moving from one apartment to another.
  • Increase in the movement of goods from one location to another
  • Increase in production activities and warehousing.
  • Instability in the cost of gas
  • Loans diminish profitability until they are paid off
  • The first year will be financially tight while we gain customers and pay off loans
  • Competition in the area could increase
  • Management of employees requires time, money, and efforts
  • The transport department could change its regulatory status and decide to enforce strict regulations that can strangulate new businesses.
b. How Do Moving Companies Make Money?

Moving companies make money by charging clients for moving their goods from one location to another and also by providing short storage facilities for clients.

c. Payment Options
  • Payment via bank transfer
  • Payment via credit cards
  • Payment via online bank transfer
  • Payment via check
  • Payment via mobile money transfer
  • Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
  • Introduce your moving company by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations that are into manufacturing, merchants and warehouse operators, households, and key stakeholders in and around your city and state
  • Print out fliers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, train stations et al.
  • Use friends and family to spread the word about your business
  • Post information about your company and the services you offer on bulletin boards in places like schools, libraries, and local coffee shops et al
  • Place a small or classified advertisement in the newspaper, or local publication about your company and the services you offer
  • Leverage on referral networks such as agencies that will attract clients who would need your customized services
  • Advertise your business in relevant magazines, newspapers, TV and radio stations.
  • Attend relevant expos, seminars, and business fairs et al to market your services
  • Engage in a direct marketing approach
  • Encourage the use of word-of-mouth marketing from loyal and satisfied customers
  • Join local chambers of commerce and industry to market your services.

Financial Projection

a. How Much Should You Charge for your Product/Service?

Most moving companies charge an hourly rate that generally includes a moving truck, all the equipment, miscellaneous materials, and movers. The more moving helpers or trucks needed for your specific move, the higher the hourly rate will be. For example, a truck and 2 movers may cost $120 per hour.

b. How Much Profit Do Moving Company Owners Make a Year?

It depends, but the available report shows that on average, a moving company should net more than $110,275 per year assuming steady clientele.

c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
  • The capacity of the moving company (number of trucks owned)
  • The types of related services and products offerings (storage, warehousing and advertising et al)
  • The location the moving company is covering
  • The management style of the moving company
  • The business approach of the moving company
  • The advertising and marketing strategies adopted by the moving company.
  • The number of years the moving company is in business
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Moving Company?

The profit margin of a moving company is not fixed. It could range from 35 percent to 65 percent depending on the distance of the goods to be transported.

e. What is the Sales Forecast?

Below is the sales forecast for a moving company. It is based on the location of the business and other factors as it relates to such startups in the United States;

  • First Fiscal Year: $320,000
  • Second Fiscal Year: $580,000
  • Third Fiscal Year: $1.15 million
  1. Set Up your Office

a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Moving Company?
  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for the haulage services in the location
  • The purchasing power of businesses and residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of moving companies and owner-operated trucking businesses in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community/state
  • Traffic, parking and security et al
b. What State and City are Best to Open a Moving company?
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Brattleboro, Vermont
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Rowland Heights, California
  • Portland, Oregon
  • New York City, New York
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dallas, Texas
c. What Equipment is Needed to Operate a Moving Company?

You should be prepared to purchase forklifts, loaders, pallets, and crates et al. You will also need computers or laptops, an internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others, and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

  1. Hire Employees

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard moving company, you should make plans to hire a competent chief executive officer (you can occupy this position), admin and HR manager, transport and logistics manager, marketing and sales executive (business developer), accountant, box truck and van drivers, packers and loaders, and customer service officer (receptionist).

  1. Launch the Business Proper

In recent times, no moving company opens its door for business without first organizing an opening party to officially launch the business. You can choose to do a soft opening party if you are operating on a low budget or you can go for a grand opening party.

The bottom line is that with a proper launching of the moving company, you will officially inform people that your moving company is open for business.

a. What Makes a Moving Company Successful?
  • Choose a good location and reliable trucks and vans to launch the business
  • Hire only competent, hardworking, and trustworthy staff
  • Be deliberate with your marketing sales approach
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth to promote your moving company
  • Leverage all available online and offline platforms to promote your moving company
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Moving Company?
  • The business is open for the day’s work
  • The trucks are washed, cleaned, and ready for the movement of goods
  • Customer’s requests are taken and they are scheduled or attended to
  • Schedule maintenance of trucks is carried out
  • Marketing/website upkeep
  • Supply ordering
  • Administrative duties
  • The business is closed for the day.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Moving Company?
  • Good driving skills
  • Customer services skills
  • Interpersonal skill
  • Logistics and material handling skills
  • Business management skills
  • Bargaining skill
  • Work experience in the transport and logistics industry
  • Experience in managing people
  • Experience in business administration
  • Experience in handling logistics and transportation software.