3 strategies to recruit and retain movers and drivers
January 30, 2023
In Supermove’s first Moving Industry Roundtable of 2023, we got into one of the biggest topics in the industry today– how to hire and retain movers and drivers.
Heidi Liou and Travis Wingate of Supermove were joined by Winston Davis (Owner of MoveUp Consulting), Eric Wirks (Owner of Wirks Moving), and Paul Woodruff (Owner of Brother's Moving) to discuss their methods and best practices for finding and keeping top moving talent.
For those in a rush, here are a few quick takeaways from the panel.
3 takeaways from our Moving Industry Roundtable on strategies to recruit & retain movers and drivers
1. Tough economic times can have a silver lining
Recessions are tough on everyone, but savvy business owners know how to find the silver lining and turn tough economic times to their advantage. Paul pointed out that we’re already seeing layoffs happening, and we’ll continue to see companies going out of business over the next little while. But those companies that can weather the storm have the opportunity to scoop up great people and use the lull in business to train them.
“I’ve bought into the mindset of always looking for good talent, so I think there’s a silver lining here…When things pick back up again we’ll have the cream of the crop– we’ll have crews and trucks ready to go to address the volume of business,” says Paul.
Winston adds to this, pointing out that we tend to see an inverse correlation between labor and the economy. This might explain why it’s been so exceptionally difficult to hire over the past two years. But that also means that the economic downturn is likely to make hiring easier over the coming 12 months.
2. Culture is king when it comes to retention
“Talent is talent, work ethic is work ethic, drive is drive. It comes down to culture and culture stems from leadership,” says Eric.
He points out that in a challenging hiring market, companies can differentiate themselves based on culture. This can include everything from offering paid vacation, 401ks, and guaranteed hours, to how you manage recognition and even conflict internally.
He stresses the importance of truly understanding what it means to be culture-driven and says that as a business owner, you must be willing to put people over profit if you really want a people-first culture. This can include making the conscious decision to take losses–and even get rid of high-performing people– in order to preserve or improve company culture.
“I hear a lot of owners talk a big game, but you have to be willing to put your money where your mouth is,” says Eric.
3. Don’t be afraid to think outside the (moving) box
We asked our panel if they consider hiring from outside of the moving industry and got a resounding YES from our panelists.
Getting stuck on hiring movers and drivers with moving experience really shrinks your pool of candidates and can grind hiring to a halt. Of course, you don’t want a team that’s totally green, but that comes down to internal processes, training, and timing of new hires.
At the end of the day, you’re looking for good people who are willing to buy into what you’re trying to accomplish with the business.
Paul says that he thinks it’s a “tragedy” to just cherry-pick talent from other moving companies when there is so much talent out there in other industries as well.
“Shame on any moving company owner that in this climate is pigeonholed into only looking for experienced movers. This is the time to step outside the box and hire some of those good people.”
Bonus takeaway: So where do you start?
All this information is well and good but it can be overwhelming to know where to start when it comes to improving hiring and putting processes in place to retain people. However, our panelists all agreed that if you’re starting from zero, you have to really get your recruiting systems down. Once that’s rocking and rolling, you’ll figure out all the problems with your training as folks start coming in. It’s not ideal and might cost you some money at the beginning, but getting people through the doors is #1, and then focus on cutting down on churn.
Interested in learning more about hiring in the moving industry? Check out these other pieces from Supermove: