The current post-Covid climate may not feel like the best time to launch a company, and you’d be forgiven for having your reservations.
However, if this is an idea you’ve been wanting to actualize for some time, and perhaps your current circumstances mean you have the time to invest towards the business (you do, don’t you?) then now is as good a time as any other.
The good thing about starting a moving business in New York City is that the industry is pretty well developed. While it might seem like a crowded space, the huge population and high moving rate means the demand will always be there.
Perhaps this is where you’ll need to differentiate yourself, because every top-rated Manhattan moving company (or Brooklyn, or Queens and so on) needs a unique selling point. Could be low prices, for example, top-notch customer service, niche specialty (like specializing in say, college & dorm moving services) etc.
But before you get there, you need to get the business off the ground.
Develop a Business Plan
Behind every successful business is a good business plan. This is the document that acts as the roadmap for your business.
It holds every little important detail regarding your moving company – name of business, business structure, analysis of the market and competition, moving services you’ll be offering, your marketing plan, sales strategy, and so on.
Avoid glossing over things as this is a very crucial step that has a huge bearing on whether your business succeeds or like 50% of small businesses, fail before you get to the fifth year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Get Moving and Transportation Permits
The idea is to start a legal moving business, and to do that, you’ll need to acquire the necessary permits and licenses.
As a local moving company, you need to apply for a permit from the state Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) with whom you’ll also need to publish your tariff.
It’s important to clarify that each state has its own regulations that govern moving companies. In the case of New York, you need at least two years’ experience in the moving industry before you can consider opening a moving company.
Invest in Moving Equipment
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to purchase large moving trucks outright when starting out. Matter of fact, you don’t even need to purchase one at all.
The trucks are the largest outlay when starting a moving company. If your capital allows, by all means, you can go ahead and invest in one for a start. Otherwise, you can always buy second-hand or consider renting one for the time being.
You can also opt for a van, although this works best if you’re targeting small moves only.
You’ll also need other moving equipment, the most important being:
- Moving dollies
- Furniture belts
- Moving pads (aka moving blankets)
- Moving containers
- Moving boxes
- Wrapping material
A serious moving company needs to be insured. You need to protect yourself in the event of any potential losses. On top of that, you also need to get liability and cargo insurance.
Think About a Physical Address
Every serious business needs to have a physical location. It’s okay to start out small, but as business starts trickling in, you may want to think about a location.
When doing so, consider also if you plan to offer storage services which will require bigger premises.
Recruit Your Personnel
If you’ve been in the moving industry, you probably have a contact or two you can reach out to. If not, there’s no shortage of people interested in moving jobs whom you can take up.
At the start, you might play different roles if you want to keep the costs down – accountant, bookkeeper, moving labor etc. As the company grows, however, think about hiring qualified staff to help in the operations.
This starts with branding. You already have a name, have you come up with a logo?
Your company name, logo, and numbers should also be branded on employee clothing, moving trucks, and moving kits.
A moving company website is a must (not an option) and social media accounts will be a bonus.
When it comes to the actual advertising, online strategies should form the backbone of your marketing in 2021. But consider mixing it up with offline approaches (including branding efforts mentioned above).
Also, join some online communities, marketplaces, and local industry associations to give you a leg up as you look to establish yourself.