What you need to know to start a removals company

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Among the many kinds of businesses you can venture into, starting a removals business in Australia involves minimal start-up costs and sees consistent demand, especially with the growing residential property industry. By assisting people in need of packing and moving services to relocate from their homes or offices, a removals business can be a great way to earn money.

In this guide, we discuss how to start a removals business, including legal requirements, start-up costs, and gaining leads. Learn about the steps you need to follow, whether to get your business up and running or to take your side hustle to the next level.

truck loaded with moving boxes

Although anyone can take up a removalist job, it needs to be appropriately set up like any other type of business.

You might also want to consider joining the Australian Furniture Removers Association (AFRA), which is the industry body that regulates standards, offers training, and provides guidance on insurance and dispute management.

Assessing start-up costs

SUV filled with junk removed from a room

So, how much does it cost to start a removals company, and is it profitable? According to AFRA, start-up costs for removals businesses differ from case to case and depend on the type of services offered. However, you’ll be glad to know that costs are generally low, so you can focus your efforts on maximising profitability. 

The largest share of initial costs goes to investing in a vehicle—which is good news if you already have one. If not, you may want to start small and purchase a van or a pickup truck, along with the basic tools you need to secure to start moving. The cost of your moving business will ultimately depend on what you’re willing to spend versus what you’re willing to do yourself. 

How much can you make owning a removals company?

The outlook for the removalist industry is positive—it is growing by 2.8% every year and is worth a staggering $2 billion. You can make an estimated 5 to 15% turnover in profit by starting your own. With smaller operations, you can maximise revenue by reducing overhead costs and generating more leads.

Choosing a removals specialisation

removalist sealing boxes

Have you decided on what kind of removalist services you want to offer? There are various types you can specialize in:

  1. Partial removal services - Some people may need assistance with moving their furniture or transporting a few smaller items. With partial removals, clients can request specific services—including packing, loading and unloading, or pick-up and drop-off. 

  2. Full removal services - Businesses involved in this type of removals business take care of everything from packing to transporting and unloading. 

  3. Household removal services - These businesses typically service residential moving needs. This type of service is often done through local removal, or moving between short distances.

  4. Business removal services - This is for removal companies that work with other businesses for office relocation and are usually larger-scale than residential moves.

  5. Interstate removal services - Interstate removals transport items through long distances, whether in a neighbouring state or across the country. It will require you to be more familiar with transportation policies and logistics requirements. 

  6. Rubbish removal services - If you want to start a rubbish removal business, you would be dealing with unwanted waste and debris from commercial sites. These types of removalists also handle the proper disposal of waste.

How to get leads for your removals business

movers helping each other load boxes in their vehicle

Now that you have a clear idea of the necessary steps for the kind of removal services you want to offer, the next thing you need to consider is how to get leads. There are many ways to advertise your removal business services, and you can get started on these with minimal to no cost.

1. Build a website

If your moving business doesn’t have its own website yet, you can capitalize on social media marketing, on platforms like Facebook, to reach your target audience. 

2. Be searchable

Once you do have your own site, invest in search engine optimization techniques to make your platform more visible—the goal is to be among the top results when people search for “removalists near me”. You can try various strategies to optimize your site, from using keywords with high search volumes in your content to using Google Ads. 

3. Build a positive rep online

Finding jobs online in marketplaces like Airtasker can be a great place to see where you can offer your services. You can take up moving gigs that customers need to be done, and continue fulfilling moving tasks that will raise your rating and make you likely to win more tasks in the future. It’s an easy way to meet customers and build your expertise!

4. Get referrals

A classic way to get leads is through referrals. When people are satisfied with the quality of your services, you can encourage them to refer you to their families and friends who might also be in the market for moving assistance.

Additional considerations

stack of boxes in an empty room

Here are a few things that will come in handy while as you start your venture and will help you establish a profitable business:

  • Provide adequate safety training to your movers: To keep your staff safe and avoid costly errors, make sure that they are equipped with handling and lifting safety tips and SOPs before taking on any work.

  • Set up a strategic pricing structure: It’s important that you neither overprice your services nor sell yourself short. Get an accurate picture of your overhead costs and know market prices to stay competitive.

  • Know how to create comprehensive quotes: Estimating the cost of your services takes several steps, including factoring in distance and calculating the weight of the items being moved. Don’t rush through this step and make sure to communicate with your client constantly.

Jumpstart your removals business

Whether you’re a budding removalist looking to turn your gig into a full-time business or someone looking to scale your existing furniture removals business, these steps should set you on the right path.

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