The COVID pandemic has affected every industry in some way over the past two years. The moving industry is no exception. As employers expanded their long-term work from home policy, demand for moving services significantly increased as Americans began leaving big cities in large numbers. Employees took the opportunity to move where they wanted to live without being connected to their “office” location. More and more people chose to leave the heavily populated cities for more spacious suburban or rural housing options. Afterall, a 600 square foot apartment in mid-town Manhattan might be a good place to sleep, but not ideal if it became your 24/7/365 space.
While the pandemic’s impact has created a lot of opportunity, “moving” requires a lot more than just moving companies. It also includes suppliers for things like furniture pads, packing boxes and tape, even the trucks we use. It requires warehouse space and labor, lots and lots of labor.
Moving cannot be done in a “socially distant” manner as movers must work in close proximity to each other to get the job done. While considered an essential service, moving companies had to take extra precautions to ensure the health and safety of their crews and their customers. Still, movers left the industry in droves when the pandemic started and stayed away until they were sure they could work safely.
The moving industry is experiencing problems with supply shortages. Virtually all textile manufacturing in the US is now done in countries around the globe. There are no US based manufacturer of cloth furniture pads, an essential tool for quality moving. Everything from packing tape to moving boxes are imported and much of that material has been tied up in ports as ships wait to be unloaded, some of them at anchor for months. We have been very resourceful in keeping our supply lines open and meeting the needs of our customers, but many movers are struggling to keep their inventory sufficient for daily operations.
Our President and COO was interviewed on FOX News (Watch John’s Interviews Here) to provide some insight on the challenges affecting the moving industry, especially given that this is one of our busiest seasons ever, due to people moving more since the beginning of COVID. Our industry is certainly feeling a shift as we navigate the new set of challenges brought to us by both the pandemic and the driver shortage. He also gave insight on how MiniMoves is doing what we can to entice drivers, warehouse workers, and movers to join our team.
Even with the success we’ve experienced over the last year, like all of us, we’re unsure about what the future holds. What’s the new normal for all of us? All we can do is continue to keep our employees and customers as safe as possible while moving and do as much forward planning as we can to ensure that we’ll have the supplies needed to meet the demand for our services. So far, we’ve met the challenge and will do so in the weeks and months ahead!