Tips for Diversifying Your Moving Business, Part One
By Emily Kozubowski
At the 2022 IAM Annual Meeting, the DAB hosted a panel on diversification that included Jimbo Loftin, SVP of Operations for Coleman Worldwide Moving; Jon Minor, President & CEO of Apple Moving, LLC; and Mark Chesser, President of Conser Moving. The panel included a spirited conversation which provided a lot of great tips for diversifying your business model. They generously summarized their responses to the top questions about the ins and outs of diversifying a household goods moving company into new lines of business. In part one of a three-part series, they answer questions about the importance of diversifying and how to start the process.
- Why is diversification important?
Jimbo Loftin stated that in general risk is reduced when you can serve multiple markets/segments. For example, some movers originally diversified from being strictly military movers to serving consumers or local business. Now it includes storing and delivering larger consumer goods. It was a natural fit for moving companies to use their warehouses and personnel (who are trained to go into homes and businesses) to add this to their business mix. For the most part, logistics does not have the hyper peaks seen in household goods moving.
Jon Minor said, “If [we] truly want to build a business that is solid and protected from fluctuating markets, the way to do it is with a diverse customer base. History tells us that companies that last are created this way.”
“Diversification reduces risk within your organization by ensuring all your eggs are not in the same basket,” according to Mark Chesser. “Through diversifying, your team will begin to cross-train. Their new skills and resources enable them to handle more opportunities.” He continued, “Your leadership team can assess each job opportunity from a financial standpoint and make sound decisions based on current goals. “Diversification builds trust with your staff - they see you demonstrate how you’re securing their future career growth. It allows for expansion opportunities, which in turn can lead to promotions within your current team.”
- What steps did your company first take in diversification planning and preparation?
Loftin and the team at Coleman Worldwide Moving first spent time talking with both their moving entities involved in the logistics space as well as third-party logistics (3PL) companies and businesses that indicated a need for warehousing and delivery. Secondly, they assessed which locations were best able to provide the services. If they were not doing a great job in Coleman’s core moving business, they were not ready to diversify. Lastly, they analyzed costs to effectively handle the logistics business including warehouse racking and equipment, trucks equipped with lift gates, etc.
Minor created a plan at Apple Moving and told his team, “Build a budget and timeline around this.”
The first step for Chesser and Conser Moving was understanding the costs associated with their current enterprise. Then ensuring that they were educated and equipped to train and invest in another line of business. For them, it was important to understand the differences between billing by weight vs. square footage vs. truckload.
We extend our gratitude to Jimbo Lofton, Jon Minor and Mark Chesser for taking the time to contribute to this article and by supporting our industry with their knowledge and expertise.