In the fast-paced modern economy, people are always on the move. Small businesses set up shop and then upgrade to spacier digs as they grow. Young people are waiting longer to settle down and start families, often enjoying a nomadic existence in the interim. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit and aren’t afraid of physical work, you can earn a nice living helping people with their moving needs. The moving business is largely recession-proof. When the economy is booming, businesses expand and move into bigger offices, and individuals purchase nicer homes. When the economy is in the tank, people downsize, trading the luxury penthouse suite for a modest flat in town. No matter if people are moving up or down, they need professionals to transport their valuable goods. Follow this road map to determine if starting a moving company is the right business move for you, and learn the proper steps to ensure your best chance of success.
Moving Company Pros and Cons
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. 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.
Finding a Niche
If you decide the pros outweigh the cons and want to move forward with a moving business, you’ll probably want to establish a specific niche in the industry rather than trying to be a jack of all trades. Determine if you’d rather focus on corporate moves, large residential clients, or quick apartment moves that require only a couple of workers and a pickup truck. The big company downtown that’s moving its headquarters into the suburbs probably isn’t hiring the same moving company as the recent graduate moving out of university housing and into his first solo apartment.
Creating a Business Plan
A good business plan is your guide to success, and not having one is the equivalent of driving around aimlessly while hoping to reach a favorable destination. Your business plan lays out everything: your niche, your startup and recurring costs, how you’ll obtain funding, your marketing strategy, your projected revenue, and more. Perhaps you’re focusing on small residential moves and already have a truck so your startup costs consist of insurance and other moving odds and ends, such as dollies and straps. You plan to utilize your natural market to start, along with free advertising platforms such as Craigslist. You’re funding your business with savings, and you have a revenue plan to get your business standing on its own two feet within 12 months. This is the kind of information your business plan should feature in as much detail as possible.
If you’re starting small and scaling up, you might be able to fund your business with savings. Particularly if you already own a truck, the costs of setting up shop in this industry are exceptionally low. You just need supplies, insurance, and probably one co-mover, as many items you’ll be transporting are too unwieldy for one person. Another viable alternative is to keep your regular job, fund your business with that income, and start by offering moves on weekends until you build enough of a customer base to go full time. Another option is to borrow money. The Canada Small Business Financing Program offers low-interest loans to startups and small businesses. Or, depending on your credit history, you might get a favorable rate from a local bank. This is another reason why your business plan is important; along with your credit report, lenders want to see that you have a concrete plan to become profitable.
Take a look at Augusta Movers in the Toronto area for an example of a moving company that is doing it right. The company focuses on residential moves but also offers business moves to customers who request the service. It has a clean, easy-to-navigate website that shows up at the top of search engine queries. Customers can instantly receive free quotes on the website in easy-to-understand language. Best of all, the company is doing right by its customers, as evidenced by its abundance of five-star reviews online. Although you’ll likely start on a much smaller scale, observing how a successful company like this does it can be very instructive for a new mover. Owning a moving company can be a lucrative endeavor. The demand is always strong, and the barriers to entry are low. If you are entrepreneurial and like using your muscles, this could be the career for you.