How to Start a Moving Company Side Business

By | December 27, 2010

Few people would turn down the chance to make a little extra money on the side. The trick, of course, is finding an opportunity that is reasonable for you. If you have strength and stamina to spare, starting a moving business on the side may be right for you. You’d be surprised by how much people are willing to pay to ensure that their belongings make it safely from point A to point B. By starting small and developing a trustworthy reputation over time, you could build an easy-to-manage moving business that will bring in a steady stream of extra income; learn the basics for doing so below!

Understanding the Market

People relocate during good economic times and bad ones. Therefore, the moving industry tends to be fairly steady. While folks are more likely to move their own things when they are short on cash, they will still often hire professionals to move their oversize or especially fragile items. Approximately 40 million Americans move per year. Chances are that a significant percentage of them will be in your area.

One key to starting a successful moving company is defining and targeting your ideal market. Focusing your efforts on a specific niche will increase your odds of success over the long haul. If you live in a college town, zeroing in on the constant ebb and flow of students is a great option; if you live in an area with many high-scale neighborhoods, focusing on moving pricey and highly valuable items could be a worthwhile idea. In other words, you should find a specific segment of the population and try to address its unique needs.

The Basics of Operating a Moving Business

Understanding how a moving company works is easy enough: People need help moving their belongings from one place to another; for a fee, you assist them with this task. Like anything else, though, there are special things that you need to take into consideration when starting a moving company. The following points will help you get started.

Gaining Experience “ Every moving company starts somewhere. A great way to ease yourself into the moving business is by letting friends, family members and coworkers know that you are available to help them with their moving-related needs. Keep your eyes peeled on your friends’ status updates on social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook; listen to the grapevine to get a head’s up about upcoming moves. Over time, your reputation will grow and expand beyond your immediate social circle.

Being Competitive “ In order to excel in the moving business, you need to stand out from the crowd in some way. You will be competing with large moving companies, so you have to convince potential clients that your services are superior. Emphasize the personalized touch of your moving services. Figure out what the big guys are charging and try to come in a little below them. Be flexible about when and where you can help. Most importantly, earn a reputation for being exceptionally careful.

Providing Quality “ Punctuality, promptness and carefulness should be your key goals with each and every one of your moving jobs. Go the extra mile to wrap up customers’ fragile belongings with blankets, plastic and other things. Demonstrate your willingness to place caution over expedience; at the same time, avoid dawdling or needlessly dragging your feet.

Getting What You Need “ Ideally, you should already have a decent truck or van. If you don’t, a loan will be a major expense that you will have to work against. Renting a truck from a rental company like U-Haul is a great alternative. Small trucks can be rented for in-town moves for as little as $20 plus mileage; you could always roll that expense in with the fees that you charge. Other than a large, reliable vehicle, you will need things like dollies, tool kits, moving blankets, tie-downs, ramps and other fairly inexpensive things to make your moves safer and easier to perform. You can easily find such items at home improvement stores and hardware stores.


Much of the time, you will only need one other person to perform a move. The added manpower will speed up the process of getting boxes from a home or apartment into a truck or van. Furthermore, you will need at least one other person to assist with especially large, bulky and unwieldy items. It’s generally best to hire someone that you can trust; check with people who you know to see if they’d like to make a little extra money by helping you. As things pick up, you may need to hire a permanent employee to help; right off the bat, though, having one other reliable person on hand should suffice. In terms of pay, you should aim to reimburse them to the tune of about 30% of the fee that’s brought in from each job.


Marketing a moving company is fairly straightforward. Stick with free advertising options like Craigslist. Create a Facebook page and get as many fans as possible. Visit local furniture stores to see if they will let you leave flyers. Keep your target market in mind, too. If you’re focusing on students, visit popular hangout spots on campus. If you’re zeroing in on people who live in upscale neighborhoods, get to know local business owners and do some networking.


With any luck, you will already own a truck or a van when you go to start your moving business. If so, your startup costs should be minimal. Expect to spend about $100 to $200 on reusable moving supplies and tools. You’ll have to pay for gas initially, too; however, you could roll the cost of gas and mileage into your per-job fees. Always set aside a percentage of what you earn to cover any repairs that may crop up. You can expect to make, on average, $50 to $100 per job in the beginning. Therefore, a side income of $700 to $1,000 per month is easily attainable. In the future, in order to protect your investment, you may want to employ software like expense management from Workday or another company to better see your financial surroundings.

Is a moving company a practical option for earning money on the side? Absolutely. The number one thing to focus on is providing a quality service. In your rush to earn a side income, don’t take unnecessary risks. Show your customers that you are conscientious about their belongings; make them feel like they’ve found a great bargain. In short order, your reputation “ and your earnings “ will soar.