Operating as a removalist is a large-scale operation and should not be entered into lightly. It requires the right staff and business conditions to ensure ongoing success.
Setting up a business in the removal industry is not dissimilar to moving house – it’s a strenuous exercise requiring a high level of organisation, so make sure you’re fully prepped prior to starting up in this market.
What is it and who is it suited to?
Starting a removal business is best suited to those who love talking to people, enjoy being in a different workplace every day and have a knack for problem solving.
Moving house is regarded as one of the top causes of stress, so furniture removalists must be able to deal with their clients’ stress levels in addition to their own.
Rules and regulations
Within the furniture removal industry, there are regulations governing OHS, driver fatigue management and a host of other government regulations imposed on the transport industry.
It would be wise for anyone contemplating starting a business to approach the Australian Furniture Removers Association. It is also a good idea to speak to someone who already owns a business within the industry.
Research and competition
AFRA executive director Viv Hanley says training is imperative when it comes to being an accredited removalist.
“All of our members are required to train their staff. We only accredit those removalists that have the necessary equipment, vehicles, premises and staff training required to complete a professional move,” Hanley says.
By February 2011, the removal industry will have its own qualification – the Certificate level II under the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council.
With no prerequisites required, the course will require trainees to complete 14 units of competency to achieve the qualification. The council is also working on developing a Certificate III within the next two years.
According to an AFRA spokesperson, the removals industry is extremely competitive and tends to be price driven.
“The more successful business owners are those who take care to have all the correct regulations followed, all the correct paperwork completed and a keen eye [on] the safety of their staff,” she says.
Costs and earnings
AFRA says the start-up costs will differ for every business depending on whether it offers domestic, corporate or international removals.
The association is unable to pinpoint a ballpark figure for starting up because of the broad nature of the industry. However, it did stress the importance of accurately determining staff wages before outlining some of the potential start-up costs.
“They would need to purchase a truck with its attending costs such as registration, maintenance and running costs, the costs of packing materials and equipment needed to effect a removal, training customs, OHS compliance costs, industry association membership costs, and other overheads such as office [space], electricity, water, etc,” Hanley says.
AFRA says the size of your business will also determine the amount you will earn.
“As long as all the costs are factored in… a business can make from 5% to 15% of turnover in profit,” says Hanley.
“Surprisingly, the smaller a business, the more profitable it can be as overheads tend to be less, and in many cases the owner is working on the trucks themselves, generating a wage as well as keeping the profit at the end of the day.”
An average day
Within the industry, there is a multitude of tasks so an average workday will differ.
As an actual removalist within the business, your day could include the following:
- Briefing on the removal jobs for the day.
- Arrive at the worksite and discuss with the homeowner what needs to be done.
- Pack the items room by room.
- Move items into the vehicle and secure them properly.
- Arrive at the new location and unpack the vehicle.
- Return to depot for debrief.
Australian Furniture Removers Association
1800 671 806
Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council
03 9604 7200
Australian Securities & Investments Commission
1300 300 630
Australian Government Small Business Support Line
1800 777 275