Navigating a Turbulent 2023: Adapting to Economic Uncertainty

by | Aug 29, 2023 | Product

A blue truck with a silver box drives through a storm, a mass of lighting strikes the ground behind it.

The moving industry faces a difficult 2023 according to companies across the sector. To gain perspective, we asked questions of more than 15 moving firms to understand their outlook and learn how they are adapting to economic uncertainty.

Demand is Down Sharply

External research confirms the downbeat forecast for North America. A Pew Research report found 49% of Americans see housing affordability as a major local issue, up 10% since 2018. A Canadian banking insurance corporation CMHC predicts a 29-34% home sales slowdown due to eroding affordability from high rates. Coupled with strained affordability, most consumers are choosing not to move.

Companies Feel the Slump

2023 has been difficult and 2024 is shaping up to be equally difficult. “It’s definitely slower, I’d say down about 30%,” said one operations manager. Another local franchise pointed to the housing market being unstable. It seems like everyone is feeling the crunch. Another said the rising costs was causing the military moves they relied on to dry up.

Corporate Transfers Slowed

On the heels of a global pandemic that has shifted the ways companies do business one dispatcher noted, “Corporations realised people can work remotely, so they’re moving staff less.” Negatively affecting corporate moves. As one NYC mover put it: “Corporate transfers have slowed to a crawl. With remote work, companies just aren’t shuffling people around like they used to.”

Companies large and small are feeling the pinch. Reports we collected ranged from a 30-50% drop in business for some major players. Adapting to this level of economic uncertainty will be difficult for sure and have been too much for many already.

Focusing on Customers and Staff

When asked how to stay successful despite difficulties, companies almost unanimously agree customer service is key. “We try to offer clients a lot of support. We understand they’re taking their next adventure with a move,” one sales agent noted. Providing excellent service during every job is a priority within your control. Providing the best possible experience every time is critical for word of mouth advertising which the industry heavily relies on. An understanding that their word can make or break their business was a common trait amongst successful players.

Caring for staff is also vital, especially with labour shortages pressing the industry. “We ask a lot of our crews so we try to keep morale up,” one operations manager said. Recruiting and retaining crew is difficult, as anyone in the industry knows, so maintaining key staff is crucial to reduce turnover and save unnecessary costs.

Looking Ahead with Resilience

Adaptability is also key. As one fleet manager advised, “We have to work with the changes. Prices go up and down but we have to keep pushing through.” Getting creative and staying flexible helps firms adjust to uncertainty.

No doubt – 2023 will continue to be turbulent. But by doubling down on customer care, your staff, and adaptability, movers can weather the storm.

Having the right people in your corner is important. Ensuring that people you surround yourself with are people who align with your goals makes success possible even in the toughest times. At Move Right we are here for you, providing direct and tailored support for our application users or writing articles about topics that matter most to the moving sector. We understand how important customers are to the core of any business.

The challenges may be great, but the resilience of movers makes the future bright. As one GM told us, “Control what you can control. Keep fighting for more.” New tools are emerging to help on that front too. Platforms like Move Right optimise routes, streamline scheduling, and provide businesses with a single application gaining unified command of their operations from estimate to invoice. Combined with the steady resolve of movers these dynamic technologies help pave the way through new terrain and allow them to not only survive, but thrive during these times.

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