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5 Surprising Takeaways from the State of the Moving Industry Report


5 Takeaways from State of the Moving Industry Report
I don’t need to tell you 2023 was a challenging year for movers.

But if we’ve learned anything from this year’s State of the Moving Industry survey, it’s that movers just don’t break under pressure.

This year, we partnered with moving industry associations across the nation to get firsthand insights from hundreds of owners on the latest trends and strategies for accelerating growth.

And believe it or not, “growth” is still the operative word.
As we move into 2024, we're finally beginning to see inflation rates decrease, dropping to a 7-month low. From a peak of nearly 8% in October, the average on a 30-year loan stands at 6.60%. Once rates get back down to the 5% range, we're bound to see an uptick in home sales.

In our latest report, we partnered with Michigan Moving Association, New Jersey Warehouse & Movers Association, Massachusetts Moving Association, Arizona Moving Association, and Remedy Payment Solutions to collect insights from over 400 moving company owners nationwide.

And what we found might surprise you.

In this article, I’ll share the five biggest takeaways from this year’s report to help inform your growth strategy for 2024, including:
  • The best-in-class will invest in better business processes
  • Price increases will become the norm
  • Now’s the time to improve your marketing
  • Movers will diversify moving types and ancillary services
  • Operational efficiency will separate the best from the rest

1. The best-in-class will invest in better business processes

Despite the fact that only 40% of the 400+ movers surveyed met their revenue targets last year, 79% of movers are optimistic about the year ahead.

Sure, there were challenges, including hiring, staff turnover, marketing and operations — just to name a few. But it still wasn’t enough to break the average moving industry entrepreneur.

Ambitious movers know exactly where they want to focus to increase their success this year. And they’re not going to let a little interest rate volatility stop them.

Our survey revealed four clear strategies to drive profitability:
  • Pricing increases
  • Better marketing
  • Broader service offerings
  • Stronger systems and technology

Chances are, you already know moving companies that are active in these areas. But as with any downmarket, clear winners and losers will emerge.

As the bar for operational efficiency and customer experience rises, movers will need tighter systems and processes to reach the next level.

2. Price increases will become the norm

As the economy continues to separate the wheat from the chaff, movers with a high-value service offering are charging more. More than half (56%) of moving company owners say they plan to increase their prices by around 5% this year.
We know this one may not be a total shocker, but the data is loud and clear: It’s time to step up your prices.

Our team reviewed the pricing strategies of top-performing moving companies across the US and found that they consistently charge higher prices across all service offerings. 

In fact, we revealed a $1,000 price difference for big-ticket services like long distance and commercial moves when comparing best-in-class vs. general market moving companies.

Think about it. How much more revenue could you make if you increased your prices this year?

3. Now’s the time to improve your marketing

Last year, nearly 29% of companies struggled with executing and optimizing their marketing programs, making it tough to attract new customers.

This year, they’ve learned their lesson.

Nearly 40% of movers say they plan to improve their marketing and 42% are putting their money where their mouths are with planned increases to their marketing budgets this year.

The hottest areas for marketing include:

  • Search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Adding or expanding paid ads
  • Increasing word-of-mouth marketing
  • Improving online presence
  • Optimizing current marketing programs

I know what you’re thinking. The moving business is relationship-based. 

But that doesn’t change the fact that we’re living in an age of limitless opportunities for generating leads — especially via digital channels.

With just 25% of new business coming from word-of-mouth, 75% has to come from somewhere else. In 2024, word-of-mouth alone isn’t enough to run a profitable business.

To leverage marketing effectively, future efforts must come with measurable ROI and a clear plan for capturing it. 

That’s going to require tighter systems and reporting. While many movers are actively tracking key metrics like lead-to-booked job conversion rate, 39% say they still aren't leveraging email automation to consistently execute their marketing.

To stay competitive, movers need repeatable systems for generating, capturing, and converting leads to revenue.

4. Movers will diversify moving types and ancillary services

In 2024, movers are starting to think bigger. 

21% say they’re planning to diversify their revenue streams by offering a broader range of moving types and services. While residential, commercial, intrastate, and interstate moves are the well-trodden path for many, few are active in specialized markets such as military and international moves. 

Now is the time to diversify your services and grow your reputation as a trusted partner for customers with unique relocation needs. And the same can be said for your ancillary services. 

According to the data, storage and packing are still the bread and butter for ancillary revenue streams, and for good reason. Packing creates the most ancillary revenue for the majority of companies, while the recurring revenue from storage can be extremely helpful during the off-season.

But as the market shifts and new opportunities emerge, movers are thinking beyond the go-to packing and storage services. Many have yet to offer the following ancillary services:

  • Cleaning services
  • Junk removal
  • Valuation
  • Insurance

As you might expect, our research shows that best-in-class moving companies are more likely to offer all move types and provide essential services like packing, storage, valuation, and insurance.

As we move out of a slow year and into a stronger market, prioritize building a broader ecosystem for revenue growth beyond table stake services like packing and storage.

5. Operational efficiency will separate the best from the rest

Movers know growth isn’t just about jobs booked. 

As pricing and marketing strategies rise to the top of the agenda, there simply is no room for operational inefficiencies.

18% of moving company owners say they are planning to purchase new software to streamline operations this year. This number was five points higher among industry leaders, at 23%.

The big names have already caught on. Yet there are still many ways owners can leverage technology to secure more revenue in less time. 

And these opportunities remain largely untapped.

Our research found that while most moving companies use some type of accounting software, 39% don’t use email marketing software and 21% still don’t have a CRM.

It’s no surprise then, that approximately 15% of moving companies said they faced inefficiencies in their day-to-day operations last year.

With the rise of AI, automation, and all things digital transformation, it's time for moving companies to embrace technology as a catalyst for growth.

Dive deeper: Download the State of the Moving Industry report

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s that you movers are a resilient bunch. 

Through a careful combination of growth and operational strategies, you’ll continue to raise the bar (and your revenue) in 2024. 

And we’ll be there, every step of the way.

At SmartMoving, our mission is to help moving companies accelerate their growth and increase their margins. Our annual industry survey is just one of the ways we help make that happen.

Download the report and get full access to the latest trends shaping the moving industry.

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