Tips for Diversifying Your Moving Business, Part Two
By Emily Kozubowski
This is part two of a three-part series. Read Part One.
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 two of a three-part series, they answer questions about warehouse equipment and training.
What additional warehouse equipment do you recommend?
Lofton shared that they primarily saw racking based on volume as their major requirement. “Certain projects may require other items like a carpet pole, longer forks, etc.,” he said. “It’s important to have a General Manager or Operations Manager who understands and supports the logistics business. But it’s CRITICAL to have a Warehouse Manager/Supervisor who OWNS it!”
Minor also recommends racking and carpet poles, but also smaller forklifts to help maximize aisle widths. Additionally, he advises not buying anything that you cannot recoup the ROI on quickly. “Don’t convert your whole warehouse to Pods (containers) if that’s a 20-year return and you plan to retire in 10, or you need the capital for another change or addition.”
Chesser also invested in racking for pallets and steel stack racks, forklifts with various fork lengths and an electric pallet jack.
How does training crews to complete non-household good installations beyond just delivering items, like hanging mirrors and pictures in hotels, help with diversification?
“Proper training is critical, and I highly recommend it,” says Lofton. But if the skill set or ability to learn and execute the skills needed for installation isn’t there, don’t do it. It’s best to work with a reputable installation contractor or not bid on that part of the contract.
He went on, “We worked with several companies for delivery and light installation of exercise equipment during the pandemic. We had one who wanted us to install it into the wall and the unit had pull cables, etc. We were not comfortable doing it, so we passed on the project, because of the risk to the unit, home and people.
Minor’s comment was simply, “If anyone wants to get into this side of our business it’s absolutely necessary to do it well or not at all.”
“By cross training your existing crews with non-household goods installation skills, you have opened up your organization’s staff to ample upselling opportunities,” said Chesser. “When a project presents itself, you can encourage your sales force to offer wall patching, picture hanging, disconnect and reconnect add-ons. Instead of your customer having to hire multiple vendors for a single project, you have positioned yourself to be their single point of contact.”
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.