The moving industry could potentially lose between $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion in revenue as a result of an economic recession and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study conducted by HireAHelper.com.
Over the course of the 2008 recession, the moving industry lost about 16.5 percent of its revenue. This time around, HireAHelper.com expects similar outcomes, with revenue declining somewhere between 12.2 and 19.9 percent.
The moving site, which allows individuals who are relocating to compare reviews and moving costs of local movers, analyzed findings from an American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA) study about how the moving industry fared during the Great Recession in tandem with economic projections from Goldman Sachs and Bloomberg in order to predict how the coronavirus pandemic may impact the industry for the near future.
HireAHelper.com also predicts that between 880 to 1,400 moving companies may close and between 11,500 to 18,900 jobs may be lost (about 10 to 15 percent of the current workforce).
Based on data from the Great Recession of 2008, HireAHelper.com anticipates demand for moving services to decline overall by about 6 to 9 percent during 2020 compared to the previous year.
Moving companies on the ground have noted the significant impact the pandemic has had on their business, while expressing cautious optimism about the future.
“It hit us pretty good there for awhile,” Andrew LeDoux, owner of LeDoux Moving Solutions, LLC in Aurora, Colorado, told Inman. “We were getting pretty nervous — we were only getting one to two jobs per day.”
Although LeDoux didn’t apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), he said he has had to restrict how many of his employees work shifts, and has been trying to save his pennies while paying down bills in anticipation of a second wave of the virus and more slowing of business.
In the meantime, however, he’s experienced a surge of pent-up demand since stay-at-home orders were lifted and homeowners regained their confidence enough to move. Now, his company averages seven to eight moves per day.
“We’ve been getting flooded with back-to-back moves,” LeDoux said. “I think most of it is the rush of people that could not move, their houses got put on hold … and now that they [can move] people are just going to take advantage of it.”
Ben Cross, vice president of business development for University Moving and Storage Co. in Farmington Hills, Michigan, told HireAHelper.com that business was down by about 60 percent year-over-year as of April, “But we expect that to come back in June.”
However, Cross added that much of that regained business is dependent on “whether 100 percent of the moves that didn’t happen in March, April and May end up moving at all.”
According to a separate set of statistics gathered by HireAHelper.com recently, the top reasons Americans had for moving in 2019 were tied to an individual’s economic prosperity: 17 percent moved to get a newer or better home, and 12.1 percent moved for a new job or job transfer.
Therefore, if the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the economy for the foreseeable future, the likelihood that families and individuals will have the same drive to move may be fairly low, potentially leaving moving companies in a precarious position.