You’re passionate about helping people uproot themselves and relocate to start the next leg of their journey, so you’re starting your own moving company. In addition to ambition, equipment and manpower, you’ll need to plan properly to keep the profits rolling in along with the customers.
When the time comes to open up shop, having business insurance for your moving company is the key to maintaining smooth operations. All businesses come with risks (even the fun ones), so you’ll need to obtain protection during your preparation phase. Our independent insurance agents are here to help get you set up with the right coverage for your specific needs. But first, let’s talk about the moving industry.
All about the Moving Industry
Industry revenue of "used household and office goods moving" in the US 2011-2023 (in billion US dollars)
The moving industry’s revenue has been steadily increasing over the past decade, and the trend is expected to continue. In 2011, revenue totaled $12.99 billion, and by the end of 2019, it’s expected to reach $16.68 billion. By 2023, the moving industry is expected to haul in profits of $17.34 billion annually. Now that’s a lot of cardboard boxes.
Largest moving companies in the US as of 2018, by fleet size
In case you’re wondering about your competition, currently the largest moving companies in the US include United Van Lines, with a fleet of more than 7,500 trucks, ABF U-Pack, with just under 3,850 trucks, and Atlas Van lines, with about 3,760 trucks. You might want to start looking into high-capacity garage spaces.
Specialized freight trucking revenue in the US (in billion US dollars)
How to Start a Moving Company
Your ambition to start a new business is a great motivator, but it’s far from all you need to bring that dream to reality. Of course your vision will be specific and unique (as it should be), but we’ll take a look at some general steps to starting a moving company:
- Step One: Planning. No successful business can begin without a solid plan—we’re willing to bet on that. First up, you’ll need to determine all kinds of stuff like your start-up costs, target market, business name, the products and services you’ll offer, and how long it’ll take you to break even and start turning a profit. You’ll also need to decide what kind of business you want to be (i.e., cross-country or local only, if you’ll offer professional movers or just rent out trucks, etc.). Last, you’ll need to scout out a location and actually purchase or rent said property, once you’ve found it.
- Step Two: Legal stuff. Next, you’ll decide what kind of business entity you want to be (e.g., LLC, partnership, etc.), and then go through the proper channels for making it legal by registering with the government. You’ll also need to register for taxes and obtain any required permits and licenses.
- Step Three: Money stuff. This phase involves opening a business bank account so you can accurately monitor your business’s financial performance, and it will also make your life a heck of a lot easier when it comes time to file your annual taxes. Then, it’s time to obtain your start-up costs and determine how much you’ll be charging customers/clients for any goods and services your business will offer.
- Step Four: Define and build your brand. What will your business stand for? How do you want the world to perceive it? These are just a couple of questions you’ll answer in order to define your brand. A solid, unique branding of your business will help it stand out from the competition. Once the nitty-gritty has been figured out, it’s time to get to work building that brand. This generally involves designing business cards, building a website, and establishing a social media presence. If you’re clueless when it comes to Twitter or any of the other platforms, you can always hire (or beg) someone to take care of that aspect for you.
- Step Five: Build your team. You’ve made all kinds of progress, and now it’s time to find people to actually do the work. Determine what kind of team you need, the different roles you need to fill and how many positions there are in each, then go about hiring your staff/employees/minions. You can advertise online, in your local newspaper, or go the old-school word-of-mouth route. Once you’ve got a solid team established, it’s time to get them trained.
- Step Six: Iron out the details. For your moving company, this could involve ordering supplies or vehicles needed to perform your services, doing maintenance on said vehicles, determining prices for the services offered, designing eye-catching signage, purchasing and updating GPS software, putting the finishing touches on your website, perfecting your lifting techniques and then teaching them to the appropriate staff, advertising and scouting for clients, etc. Basically, any of the specifics needed to make your moving company come to life will fall into this step.
- Step Seven: Get coverage. The final step, and perhaps the most important, is to obtain the proper coverage. You’ll need business insurance to protect not only your moving company, but also your employees—and yourself. Business insurance is the pièce de résistance that’ll keep your moving company transporting the public (and their stuff) from A to B for years to come.
What Is Moving Insurance?
Broken down, moving insurance is a well-sealed and labeled insurance package designed to meet the specific needs of moving company owners. All the coverage offered by a basic small business insurance plan, as well as policy options tailored for the unique needs of professional movers, are rolled into one.
A moving insurance package simplifies the process of obtaining all necessary coverages for moving company owners while eliminating confusion and stress. Basically, it’s the best way to go.
What Does Moving Insurance Cover?
A moving insurance policy is typically the easiest option when it comes to knocking out your extensive list of coverage needs all together in one tidy package. These policies offer the basics of business insurance coverage, including most of the liability insurance you’ll need, plus specific coverages tailored to your unique niche.
Here are several moving insurance coverage options:
- General liability: This coverage protects you against property damage or injury claims made by a third party.
- Workers' compensation: If your employees become ill, get injured, or die from a work-related incident, this aspect of the insurance will cover the financial ramifications. Depending on the type of work being performed, this coverage is often mandatory in most states. In the case of a moving company, you may hire your own employees or hire independent contractors.
- Property insurance: Covers loss of or damage to your physical property, including your office space, and often the inventory inside it. Protected mishaps include fires, storms, and more.
- Cyber risk & privacy liability: Covers the loss or theft of customers’ sensitive data, including credit card numbers and more. This coverage can also save your business in the event a deposit or money transfer is intercepted by cybercriminals.
- Motor truck cargo insurance: Covers the property of others while you’re hauling it. Coverage includes damage caused by things like fire or auto accidents.
- Endorsements for company vehicles: A regular commercial auto policy will not cover giant moving trucks, so special endorsements will be needed. These endorsements will vary by insurance company, but your agent will know what to hook you up with.
Your moving insurance package will be assembled by selecting the coverages that work for your unique business from a big list of available options. Coverage applies to everything from lost business revenue to potential legal/court fees and beyond.
Who Needs Moving Insurance?
Whatever the size or weight load of your moving company, if you’re hauling the public’s property and paying employees, you’ll need protection. Moving comes with a set of unique risks, both obvious and hidden, so coverage is essential if your business offers any of the following services:
- Local moving
- Long-distance moving
- International moving
- Commercial/business moving
- Household moving
- Full-service moving
- Self-service moving
- Specialty moving
- Auto transportation
- Packing services
- Pick-up/delivery services
- Loading/unloading services
- Truck rental services
Moving insurance will cover all aspects of your business, regardless of the specific type you own. It’s always important to have protection for your workers, your equipment, your inventory and your property, but protection against potential lawsuits is also crucial. Moving companies of all freights, dimensions, and weights can be sued, so don’t risk not having coverage.
How Much Does Moving Insurance Cost?
Truthfully, it depends. On quite a few things. An average full-service moving company in a mid-sized town might pay $2,500 annually in combined liability insurance, workers’ comp, auto insurance, and more. But a larger, long-distance moving company in a major city might pay even more, while a local moving company in a small town with few or no employees will probably pay much less.
Of course, it’s hard to offer an average figure, since each moving company is unique. But really, it all depends on a number of factors, like:
- The type of moving company: This involves more than just whether you’ll be offering local or cross-country moving services. The kind of equipment and vehicles your movers use and the services offered will affect the risk involved in operations. Obviously, more danger means more money for insurance.
- The location of the moving company: Larger cities tend to have higher costs for insurance, but it goes beyond that. Depending on where you are in the country, your location may be subject to various weather-related risks. Moving companies along the Atlantic Coast, for example, may have premiums up to 20% higher due to risk of hurricane damage.
- The number of employees: The more you've got, the more workers' comp you’ll need. Simple as that.
- How much business you generate: Premiums are calculated based on business projections for the upcoming year. If your workload doubles, so will your premium, most likely.
Top 5 Business Insurance Claims
From potential injuries to property damage and lawsuits, business insurance is definitely a must-have. In order to keep all operations running smoothly, you’ll need to consider not only the risks unique to your trade, but also those that apply to all kinds of businesses. Here’s a quick look at the most common business insurance claims across the board:
- Theft/Burglary: Whether they’re after money, merchandise, your company vehicles or anything else, thieves and burglars commonly target businesses. Anything you have that could be stolen is worth protecting—before ever opening your doors to the public.
- Weather-related damage: Windstorms and hailstorms create the type of weather damage most often reported by businesses across the map. Whether it’s shattered windows, broken signage, destroyed products or anything else, Mother Nature can wreak havoc when she gets angry. Plan for disasters before they happen, and secure coverage up front.
- Fire damage: Another common/costly claim is fire damage. Be it destruction caused by natural wildfires or resulting from employee negligence (such as with a kitchen fire), these disasters can be devastating. Fire damage can result in lost property, inventory, and even revenue, especially if your business is forced to close. Also, fires are obviously a huge hazard for your workers and customers alike. Take as many proactive measures as possible, such as installing sprinkler systems and extinguishers.
- Employee injury: Even the most well-trained employees on record run the risk of being injured on the job, regardless of the line of work they’re in. Employees may get injured while carrying out daily tasks, due to the negligence of a coworker, while making service deliveries, or in a myriad of other ways. Protecting your workers with workers’ comp is crucial, not to mention mandatory in most states.
- Customer injury: Of course, your business’s customers are also at risk of injury while on your property. Slips and falls are some of the most commonly reported business insurance claims, but customers can also be injured due to unsafely stocked shelves, employee negligence, faulty products, and much more.
Top 5 Business Insurance Discounts
Owners of businesses of every size, color, and flavor love scoring discounts however they can. And fortunately, there are some discounts out there to help obtain a significantly lower premium, like:
- The safety discount: Insurance companies love working with clients who put safety first. Put practices in place to keep your employees, equipment, and physical space as safe as possible, and you're likely to be rewarded by your insurance company. Installing sprinkler systems and burglar alarms are just a couple of examples of easy ways to score this discount.
- The quality discount: Establishing a track record of quality goods, services, and customer interactions will not only keep your business running strong, but also help reduce your insurance costs. Essentially, keeping your clients happy is the key to keeping your insurance company happy, and they just might slash your premium as a thank-you in return.
- The low claims history discount: Along the same lines as maintaining a safe and efficient business, having a low claims record is another way to seriously please your insurance company—and over time they’ll probably reward you for it. Plus, if you ever need to switch insurance policies or companies, having a low or even squeaky-clean claims record will definitely help you land a lower premium.
- The professionalism discount: Sometimes insurance companies send out inspectors to observe your business during a typical day of operation. If your equipment is clean and well-maintained, your employees are following necessary safety protocols, and your customers/clients seem happy, you’ll get a good report. A favorable evaluation could reward you with a reduced premium.
- The bundle discount: Purchasing multiple types of insurance with the same company is a tried and true way to save money, but so is purchasing specialty insurance packages. These packages, made up of multiple policies tailored to a specific kind of business, are designed to save you money—and just generally make life easier. And since they exist, you might as well take advantage.
How to Find the Best Moving Insurance
In order to get the protection you need (and deserve), you’ll want to work with a trusted expert. Independent insurance agents will not only know where to find the best coverage and price, but also help to make sense of the fine print.
Consider your business’s unique needs, then connect with an agent to help you take it from there. Have a list of your specific concerns and desires handy before you reach out, to help the process run even more smoothly.
Compare Moving Insurance Quotes with an Independent Insurance Agent
We all know how valuable your time is, so why spend it doing all the hard work yourself? From business insurance packages to special add-on policies, our expert independent insurance agents will help you determine which types of coverage make the most sense for you and your new business.
Our independent insurance agents stay on top of the insurance industry and all the latest discounts so you don’t have to. That means they’ll help find the right coverage at the right price for you.
They’re not just there at the beginning, either. If disaster strikes, your agent will be there to help walk you through the claims process and make sure you are getting the benefits you’re entitled to. Now that’s thinking ahead.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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