Have you ever lived the nightmare of a terrible house move, where broken furniture and scratched interior surfaces are left in the wake? Ended up wondering if there was a better way to get it done?
Well, perhaps the answer lies with you! Why not start a moving company that aims to improve on all the shortcomings so common in the industry?
Here’s a quick guide on the whys and hows of getting started:
- Why a moving company?
- Getting the basics right
- Things to be put in place
- How much can you make?
- Get your name out there
There comes a time in almost every life where moving to a new house becomes a reality. It’s never a fun process and hardly surprising that it’s considered one of the three most traumatic events most people ever go through.
While some moves are big and require large trucks and loads of manpower to get everything from point A to point B, others are small enough for few family members and friends to get it done in the space of a day.
But what about those moves that fall in between? The ones where a large truck is just a bit over the top, but there are also not enough hands around to help out efficiently.
This is where your idea of starting your own small but efficient moving company comes in!
The personal touch
One of the main things people will look for in opting for a smaller moving company is the ‘personal touch’. This basically means they would feel more comfortable entrusting their personal belongings to someone who they’ve met and made eye contact with than the faceless and impersonal arrangements that often go with renting a bigger moving company.
Of course, this would also require that you have a decent-looking van, uniforms, sturdy packaging equipment and good reviews. But more about all of that later.
Before even thinking about getting your own moving company off the ground, you will have to sit down to establish what exactly you will be bringing to your customers.
Here are a few points to start with:
What kind of moving company do you want to establish?
There are actually a number of options for you to explore, which include:
Full Monty: Packing, loading and transport
In order to go for this option, you will probably need at least a five-man team to get an average-sized home packed up in a sensible time-frame. Perhaps this is not the best option to start out with, but it’s definitely a goal to work towards.
Loading and transport aka Man-and-Van
A good place to start would be offering loading and transport services to clients. In most cases, this is where the real challenges in moving lie. For this, you can get away with a two- to three-man team or, if it’s an apartment/small home move, do it solo.
This is possibly the simplest option of all – you provide the van and your driving services, but the clients are required to pack and load everything themselves.
Moving and storage
If you really want to maximise on the challenges of moving, you can also opt to provide storage for people. This, of course, means that you will need to own or sublet storage space, which could add a lot to your start-up budget.
Sussing out the competition
Now that you’ve established what type of moving company you want to start, you can start investigating your competition.
Which services do they offer?
What are they charging for these services?
How would you describe their personal presentation?
Do they have a good online presence?
In short – what are their strengths and weaknesses? Where can you improve on their offering? Is there anything you can offer that they don’t?
Registering your business
Once you’re ready to commit to your plans, it’s time to register your new moving company.
Most businesses register as a sole trader, limited company or partnership.
Registering as a sole trader is the simplest to set up, as you’re personally responsible for your business’s debts.
If you decide to register as a limited company, the business’s finances are separate from your personal finances, but you will have a lot of reporting and management responsibilities.
If you are setting up your business with one or more other people, a partnership is the best option. You share responsibility for your business’s debts and accounting responsibilities.
Read more on the UK Government website.
In order to start your own moving company, you will need to spend some time and money on setting everything up.
Here are a few of the most important things to consider:
Buying a van
This will be your most important investment as well as your biggest liability – this basically means you’ll have to choose very carefully.
To save costs, you may want to purchase a second-hand van to start off with. Just make sure that it looks tidy and won’t break down within a couple of months.
Employing an extra pair of hands or two
Depending on the scope of work you’re aiming for, you may want to get a few extra hands on board. If you’re starting a business with a friend or family member and want to concentrate on smaller moves, this may not be necessary initially.
However, if you’re looking at more commercial/office moves, you will probably need a couple of employees.
Sourcing packaging equipment
Whether you’re offering packing services or not, it’s a good idea to find a reliable supplier of boxes, tape and other materials.
Here are a few you might want to investigate:
Finally, once you have an idea of what your assets and liabilities are, it’s time to organise suitable public liability insurance for your moving company.
This depends entirely on the services you’re providing, but you can expect to charge from about £40 for small and simple moves.
Finally, it’s time to start advertising your services. These days, the most important place to start is to have a digital presence.
This means you’ll have to set up the following:
- A website
- Social media
Once you’ve helped a few clients move, you can also ask them to write Google Reviews for you. The more reviews you get, the higher you will rank on the search engine. This is also a great way for new clients to see that you’re reliable, trustworthy and do good work.