How to start a moving and removal business

If you fancy running your own business and you prefer being physically active to sitting at a desk all day, setting up a removal firm could be right up your street. 

But before you go ahead, there are a number of important points to consider. This short guide aims to cover everything you need to know about how to start a moving business.

Decide what services you want to offer

A key part of getting your business up and running is to give some thought to the type of services you want to offer. Some of the options open to you include:

Man and van 

If you’re one person working on your own, a man and van service could be the most suitable choice. These services are typically more popular with those on a lower budget and all you’ll need to do is drive the van and help your clients load and unload their items. 

Self-load

Again, this service tends to be most attractive to clients looking to keep costs down. Plus it’s even less work for you. You simply drive the van from A to B, while your customers load and unload it. 

Home removals

If you’re looking to start a larger business, a home removals service might be more appropriate. This type of service will be more expensive, so you’ll earn more, but you’ll need to find a business partner or hire staff to help you.

Commercial removals

You could also think about helping businesses to move to a new office or shop space. Again, you’ll need a partner to help you with this as office equipment can be heavy.

Packing

Demand for packing services is high as no one wants to waste hours packing up items before they move. But if you want to provide this service, you’ll need to know how to pack different items and be prepared to spend a fair amount of time doing it – it can get tedious. 

You’ll also need to invest in the right packing materials. But on the plus side, you can charge your customers more. 

Storage

Another option worth some thought is a storage service so that clients can store items, such as furniture, until they work out what to do with them.

Steps to setting up your moving business:

Once you know what services you want to offer, you’re ready to start setting up your moving business. 

Choose your service locations

You’ll need to consider whether you want to offer your moving services locally or whether you want to expand further afield. If you’re offering home removals, demand is likely to be higher if you’re prepared to travel long distances – plus you can charge more. But this also means your expenses will be higher. You could consider travelling across the whole country or even abroad. 

Get certified

Getting certified helps your credibility so it can be worth registering with the British Association of Removers and the National Guild of Removers and Storers

If you want to offer international services, you’ll also need to think about getting a Registered International Mover certification or an OMNI (Overseas Moving Network International) certification.

In addition, the FAIM Quality Certification means you must abide by FIDI’s strict requirements and shows that you are a member of the global alliance of professional international moving and relocation companies. 

Sort insurance

Having the correct insurance in place is crucial when you’re running a removals business. Public liability insurance, for example, is designed to cover any claims or legal costs if your business activities cause damage to someone’s property or result in injury.

You’ll also need goods in transit insurance as this will cover any damage to or loss of items in your removal van. And you’ll need vehicle insurance for any vans or lorries you’re using. 

What’s more, if you employ staff, you’ll need employer’s liability insurance. This will cover you for compensation claims if a member of staff becomes ill or injures themselves due to the work they carry out for you. 

Set up a budget

Your next step is to work out a budget that factors in your future expenses. Your biggest costs will be as follows:

  • Your van: Consider how many vans or lorries you can afford to invest in and remember to include petrol, insurance and maintenance costs in your calculations. 
  • Moving equipment: You might want to invest in a trolley or dolly to help move large furniture, as well as a ramp for your van and ropes to secure items in transit. You’ll also need packaging if you’re offering a packing service, plus uniforms or workwear.
  • Advertising: You’ll need to set up a website and use social media to help promote your business. You might want to hire marketing freelancers to help you with this. 
  • Staff wages: If you’re hiring at least one employee, don’t forget to factor in their wages in your calculations. 

Secure funding for your business

To help get your business off the ground, it’s likely you’ll need to apply for funding. There are a number of options to consider, including a business loan from a high street bank or online lender. Here, you borrow a lump sum of cash that you then repay in monthly instalments, with interest added, over a set term.

A business credit card can also be worth having for smaller purchases, as you can borrow flexibly up to your agreed credit limit and then repay your balance in monthly instalments. 

Alternatively, if you need funding to help you acquire vehicles (or equipment), asset finance is an option worth exploring. You can usually choose between hire purchase, leasing and contract hire. Contract hire is often used for new or nearly new vehicles. You set up a contract with a finance company and it will buy the vehicle you need and hire it to you over a set period. At the end of the contract, the company takes back the vehicle and you can acquire another one with a brand new contract. 

Research your competition and price accordingly

Part of running a business should involve keeping a close eye on your competition. You’ll need to regularly check competitors’ reviews, alongside what they are currently offering and how much they are charging for their services. You can then use this to adjust your prices where necessary and perhaps consider altering your services slightly to make sure you stand out. 

Make strategic partnerships and join organisations

It’s also wise to join removals organisations, such as the British Association of Removals. Doing so will help you meet other professionals working in the same field, promote your business and even lead to strategic partnerships to help your business grow. 

Get started with Swoop

If you’re looking to secure funding for your moving business, but you’re not sure where to start, the team of experts at Swoop will be happy to talk through your options and help you find the best solution. Get in touch today

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Written by

Rachel Wait

Rachel has been writing about finance and consumer affairs for over a decade, helping people to get to grips with their finances and cut through the jargon. She's written for a range of websites and national newspapers including MoneySuperMarket, Money to the Masses, Forbes UK, and Mail on Sunday. Rachel has covered almost every financial topic, from car insurance and credit cards, to business bank accounts and mortgages.

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