Has your moving business ossified? Here’s how to revitalize it through leadership and innovation.

By: Tursun Alkau

Growing a new business in a dinosaur industry that’s been around for a long time can be challenging. Traditional markets are resistant to innovation, adhering to established yet inefficient practices that have endured over time. 

Change is inevitable, however, whether one welcomes it or not. Recent disruptions in sectors like education, brick-and-mortar retail, and traditional banking prove that no business is immune to the unfolding future. 

Entrepreneurs have no choice but to innovate to get ahead of the competition. Here’s what I’ve learned while revolutionizing the conventional moving market, which was initially skeptical of innovation. 

Focus on long term success

Moving services is a $23.6 billion industry in terms of revenue, and a fine example of a stagnant market ripe for disruption. When I launched my business in 2017, very few companies were contemplating transformative changes. The prevailing narrative was “cut expenses to enhance profits.” 

This meant using old trucks, antiquated equipment and outdated practices. Innovation was not on the agenda. Anyway, the industry was growing at an average rate of 3.4% per year, surpassing the pace of the U.S. economy.

As an entrepreneur you have to think long-term. Automate your business and invest in the newest equipment available. In 2023, when most moving businesses experienced losses, our revenue increased by 20% — a testament to the strategic practices we had integrated. The future always comes faster than you think. 

Rethink your seasonal practices

Many traditional businesses operate on a seasonal basis, scaling back activities once peak demand is over. In the moving industry around 50% of clients engage you in summer, starting in May, with the remainder scattered throughout the rest of the year.

Don’t be afraid to challenge the conventional norms of the seasonal business approaches. When demand is slow — or the economy is down — invest in your brand recognition and website promotion. You will yield profits when things rebound.   

Hold yourself to the highest standards 

The moving industry is famous for shady pricing practices. Some companies inflate the initially quoted estimate by double or even triple the amount on the day of the move. They justify the increase with additional fees, such as packing materials. Then customers’ belongings are held hostage until the demanded additional fees are paid.

The most egregious cases have drawn the FBI’s attention. In recent years, many movers have been charged with wire fraud conspiracy for misrepresenting estimated charges. In Florida, the investigation resulted in the indictment of 74 owners and employees of such companies. 

Transparent pricing and satisfied customers should be at the core of your business in order to grow through referrals.     

Bet big on technology

Explore the latest tech solutions available in your industry. Experiment with groundbreaking technology when it’s still early in the process. As soon as a new Tesla Cybertruck was announced, we pre-ordered one and hope to get it in 2024. 

Search for new ways to enhance worker productivity with technology. For us, AI and exoskeletons — wearable devices that allow human capabilities to go beyond their limits — became a productivity booster.  

Never stop learning

During Covid, when someone died the relatives were afraid of walking into the house and touching the deceased’s belongings. But movers did. They worked in protective gear, disinfecting everything, and connecting with families on FaceTime. 

Recently, we helped Christian Dior with its exhibition in DC, using the approaches that we developed during the pandemic. We removed everything in the hotel that they rented, and then returned it all to the exact same spots. We can do such things flawlessly because during the pandemic we had perfected remote moving. 

Turn the most traumatizing situations into a learning and transformative process. This approach can rapidly make you a market leader. 

About the author: 

Tursun Alkau is the founder of MyProMovers, one of the top moving companies in Washington D.C. in 2023, according to Forbes. He launched his business in 2017 to disrupt the ossified industry with an automated approach, using AI and robotics. In less than six years, the company, which started with one man and a truck, grew to $3.5 million in revenue. MyProMovers serves 4,000 customers a year, including diplomatic missions, such as the South Korean embassy in D.C., U.S. military bases and White House personnel, as well as luxury brands such as Saint Laurent and Christian Dior.