This annual list of the best moving and junk removal franchises was revised and updated on January 19, 2022.
Whether they’re moving house or cleaning out their clutter, people often need help moving their possessions around. This has created opportunities for franchises made up of people and large vehicles, which specialize in moving services and/or junk removal. These franchises tend to focus on one or other service but can combine them to create greater flexibility and to help people clear their homes prior to moving.
On the moving side, these companies work for anyone who needs to relocate, whether the move is local, long-distance, or international. These house moves are big projects requiring a lot of labor and transport, and with an estimated 31 million Americans moving home each year, there’s plenty to do. Junk removal can also be a surprisingly large project, as removal firms are brought in to clear out garages, attics, or even entire homes.
The moving industry in the US has been steadily increasing in recent years, expanding to 17,446 businesses in 2021. It’s worth an estimated $18.8 billion, thanks to 1.6% annualized growth over the past five years and higher growth of 1.9% in 2022. On top of this, the junk removal industry is worth an estimated $10 billion, across 11,000 firms.
Modern households have so many possessions compared with their transport capacity that moving and junk removal services will always be in demand. There is some volatility in the industry based on economic change, but a bigger challenge for franchisees is competition. There are a lot of companies working in this sector, and while there are significant costs in getting set up, including obtaining vehicle and storage space, there’s relatively little need for specialist technical skills. This makes it easy to get set up as a new franchisee, but also makes it easy for competitors to enter the marketplace.
It’s relatively easy to make your mark within the moving industry. 47.8% of moving companies have fewer than five employees. Big companies don’t dominate, and it’s relatively easy to find work without a high profile. A franchise can help, thanks to its marketing power, but the fact that you’re a new player locally shouldn’t cause significant problems finding work. The work has a seasonal element, with many more moves in the summer than over the winter, so be ready for periods of frantic activity to make up for lulls in the colder months.
Because of the nature of their business, these companies are vulnerable to shifts in the wider economy and in particular the housing market. When the market slows down, there will be fewer moves, and so less business moving customers. This also affects junk removal, as people clear out their homes prior to a move or clear and renovate a new house on moving in. The same principle applies with business moves, where clearing out before and after can produce extra works for moving companies. Conventional wisdom therefore states that the moving industry should suffer when the economy does.
In the past, this has been reflected in the performance of the moving industry. The 2008 financial crash triggered a slump, and the industry recovered as the wider economy did, just in time for COVID-19. But the impact of the pandemic on the industry turned out to be smaller than expected, and far smaller than for many other industries. Revenues had already declined slightly pre-COVID in 2019, and a small shift in 2020 continued this pattern, with the industry slipping only 0.7%, from just over to just under $17.5 billion in value. Regarded as an essential industry, house movers were able to continue their work, and for the most part, that work kept coming to them. Against all expectations, the moving industry saw one of the lowest levels of impact.
As the economy has recovered from the COVID pandemic, the moving industry has grown. It gained around a billion dollars in value in 2021, and is set to reach $18.8 billion in 2022. Many moves delayed by the pandemic are now taking place, while a swift economic rebound is adding to this volume. Why these delays didn’t hurt the industry more is unclear, but there’s plenty of work coming in now to keep moving companies busy, and they’re enjoying boom times.
The majority of moves are generally local. A 2021 survey found that 43% of moves were within the same city, and another 35% within the same state. This allows businesses to take on a large number of small jobs, gathering more customer recommendations and keeping up a steady turnover of work.
Pre-COVID, revenues for moving service had generally grown slower than the economy as a whole. Though rising disposable income meant that people had more money to spend on the industry, its low entry bar meant intense competition. Steady wage expenses, paired with rising fuel prices, reduced the industry’s profitability. Green policies aimed at curbing carbon output, together with more confident demands for wages from workers in the post-COVID economy, mean that these trends are likely to increase rather than decrease. But high demand for their services, and the post-COVID boost to the industry, should help to balance out the costs.
Junk clearance has had a better long-term growth rate, at 1.8% per year, but it still isn’t one of the more dynamic parts of the economy. There is space for innovation here, as zero-waste policies encourage the reuse and recycling of junk products. Businesses that are quicker to align their working practices with this trend will gain a competitive edge over slower moving competitors, please more customers, and help to make a greener world.
Within junk clearance, companies have an opportunity to improve their marketing and the world around them by going green. There’s growing consumer interest in companies that recycle waste and refurbish appliances for re-use, rather than ditching them. Partnership with a local charity or social program can give an outlet for these appliances, and a way for junk removers to stand out from the competition. Companies themselves can sometimes refurbish and resell higher value appliances and furnishings, providing an additional revenue stream.
This is an industry that will always be needed, and that remains a steady source of revenue for franchises in the sector. Non-residential construction is expected to increase, and businesses that can find a foothold in this secondary source of work can bolster their revenues. A big post-COVID jump in growth is now slowing, as the economy stabilizes, and it’s likely that the industry will return to its old patterns. But there’s still plenty of potential for work – despite competition between firms, 63% of people moving in 2021 suffered from a shortage of movers, showing that untapped demand remains. Like the work itself, this industry’s prospects are solid, if unexciting.
The Top Moving/Junk Removal Franchises of 2022
1. Two Men and a Truck
Two Men and a Truck offers both local and long-distance moving services, as well as storage solutions, to homes and businesses. The company motto, “Movers Who Care,” was adopted to show their commitment to excellence in customer service. For long-distance moves, customers with flexibility on when items arrive at the new location can get a reduced rate through the Value Flex service – the extra time allows the company to plan its logistics for maximum efficiency.
Founded in 1985 and franchising since 1989, the number of locations has risen over the past 10 years from 210 in 2011 to the current total of 314, of which three are company-owned and 30 are located outside the US.
redbox+ is a unique concept for construction sites consisting of a patented roll-off dumpster with attached portable restrooms. Taking care of two separate services with just one call is appealing to a wide array of general contractors, roofers, home builders, and others. Its “Big Boy” model comes in 20-yard and 30-yard sizes, while the “Burbs” model is a more compact 20-yard design for residential areas. The company’s delivery trucks are equipped with a pump system to quickly service the two portable restrooms attached to each dumpster. Set-up and pick-up takes only minutes.
Founded in 2006 and franchising since 2014, the number of locations has skyrocketed from just five in 2018 to the current total of 215 (up from the previously reported total of 157), of which none are company-owned and all are located in the US.
3. Bin There Dump That
Bin There Dump That offers roll-off dumpster services for residential cleanups, move outs, remodeling, or disaster restoration projects. It offers a wide range of dumpster sizes, including 4-yard, 6-yard, 10-yard, 15-yard, and 20-yard models. It calls the containers “bins” to get away from the unsightly, dirty, rusty containers that come to mind with the word “dumpster.” By contrast, the company’s bins are “residential-friendly,” meaning they are clean and appropriately-sized for the job. The bins are delivered in a way that avoids causing damage to driveways or property.
The number of locations has expanded rapidly in recent years from 37 in 2011 to the current total of 214, of which none are company-owned and 39 are located outside the US.
1-800-Got-Junk? offers junk removal and dumpster rental services for homes and businesses with a focus on diverting as much as 63.5% of what it collects away from landfills by aggressive recycling and donating of materials to community groups and charitable organizations. The company conducts bi-annual audits of its environmental practices and provides franchisees with reports that track their landfill diversion efforts. Up-front pricing is determined by an in-person quote based on volume.
Founded in Canada in 1989 and franchising since 1997, the number of locations has been slowly falling in recent years from 180 in 2011 to the current total of 160 (up from the previously reported total of 153), of which none are company-owned and 25 are located outside the US.
5. College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving
College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving uses HUNKS as an acronym that stands for Honest, Uniformed, Nice, Knowledgeable, Service. It offers local and long-distance moving assistance, storage, and junk removal for both residential and business customers. Its junk hauling service includes removing all non-hazardous items from anywhere on a customer’s property, which it then disposes of responsibly by recycling and donating as much as possible. Customers call in for an appointment and when the company arrives, a firm estimate is given before work starts. Regarding its moving services, the company says it has the lowest damage claim rate in the industry.
Founded in 2003 and franchising since 2007, the number of locations has grown steadily over the past 10 years from 37 in 2011 to the current total of 156, of which three are company-owned and two are located outside the US.
6. Go Mini’s Portable Storage and Moving
Go Mini’s Portable Storage and Moving offers portable storage units designed to help people and businesses address their moving, storage, and renovation needs. A portable container is dropped off at the requested location and the customer then packs items into it. The container can then be kept on-site, moved to a new location, or stored in a company facility. It distinguishes itself from the competition with multiple container sizes (12-foot, 16-foot, and 20-foot models), larger container capacity, smoother delivery with the container’s padded wheels, eight inches of ground clearance, and container ventilation.
Founded in 2002 and franchising since 2012, the number of locations has expanded from 46 in 2012 to the last known reported total of 86 in 2019, of which none were company-owned and one was located outside the US.
7. Zippy Shell
Zippy Shell is a unique Australian concept to address storage and moving needs. Its portable units can be dropped off into any space large enough to hold a parked car. Customers fill the storage unit with their items and then call Zippy Shell to have the unit picked up and dropped off to its end location, which could be a new residence or a climate-controlled storage facility. If it’s in storage and the customer needs something out of it, a simple phone call is made to bring the unit back for access.
Founded in Australia in 2007, the US operation got started with franchising in 2010. The company website currently lists 48 locations (up from the previously reported total of 42 in 2017).
8. You Move Me
You Move Me was started by the same people who launched 1-800-Got-Junk? It’s a full-service local moving company. The basic moving service is for customers who want to pack their own boxes. The “Full Pack” service means the company will pack everything for the customer, and then unpack it as well in the new location. Its most requested service is the “Kitchen Pack” to handle everything in the kitchen, much of which is breakable. The “Single Item Pack” service is for customers who just need help with individual hard-to-move items. Free wardrobe service with any move means customers can leave all hanging items in their closets, which the company will quickly pack into its special wardrobe boxes. Its up-front pricing rates are firm.
Founded in 2012 and franchising since then, the number of locations has been declining from a high of 37 in 2017 to the current total of 21 (down from the previously reported total of 22), of which one is company-owned and four are located outside the US (in Canada).
9. Metropolitan Movers
Metropolitan Movers is a Canadian company offering a full range of local, interstate, long-distance, and international moving, packing, and storage services to both residential and commercial customers. It can also move a wide range of specialty items such as automobiles, pianos, art, medical equipment, and more. It claims to have one of the highest referral rates in the industry, which it attributes to fast, courteous service at a competitive price point and a 93% client satisfaction rate. It does not appear to have any stated environmental commitment, opting instead to focus on its customer satisfaction achievements.
Founded in 2010 and franchising since 2013, the number of locations has fallen from a high of 20 in 2018 to the current total of 16, of which two are company-owned and all are located outside the US (in Canada).
10. NorthStar Moving Company
NorthStar Moving Company is a full-service moving and storage company that offers local, long-distance, and international moving services as well as storage solutions for both residential and commercial customers. The company has a strong environmental commitment, indicated by its use of trucks that run on bio-diesel, boxes made of 100% recyclable materials, biodegradable bubble wrap, recycled wooden storage vaults, and warehousing that saves electricity by using more windows and skylights. The company has built a solid reputation for handling the moving needs of affluent and celebrity customers.
Founded in 1994 but franchising only since 2013, there are now 3 locations, two of which are company-owned and all are located in the US.
An Important Note About Our Methodology
The franchises on this list were ranked according to the number of units in the franchise system. If you are a prospective franchisee searching for franchise opportunities that meet or exceed certain performance benchmarks for sales, profits, and return on investment, please check out this list of America’s Most Lucrative Franchises.