Many seniors in their 70s and 80s are selling their homes to downsize to a smaller residence, often a condo or apartment in a retirement or continuing care community. Most of them need help, and that’s where a senior relocation business can really make a difference.
Moving is always stressful, but even more so for a senior leaving a home full of memories that have lived in for many decades. Because their family may live too far away to help, it can add to the stress.
Organizing, cleaning, sorting and packing all those possessions is emotionally and physically draining for most seniors . In addition, the move is often required because of declining health, making the move an even greater burden.
To help seniors cope with the stress of a move, a senior relocation consultant, often referred to as a senior move manager, can come to the rescue, with the services needed to make the move smooth and stress-free. They provide hands-on support for every part of the moving process, from the initial planning to setting up the new residence after the move.
Here is a short list of the services typically offered by a senior relocation business:
- Assistance in finding a new residence or retirement community.
- Help in selecting a reputable, affordable moving company.
- Sorting and downsizing all the possessions.
- Organizing and handling an estate or moving sale.
- Organizing all the service providers, such as cleaners, movers or painters.
- Notifying utility companies.
- Packing and unpacking.
Because the senior population is growing so fast (10,000 Americans turn 65 every day!) senior relocation businesses are doing very well, making this a perfect time to start your own senior relocation service. The pay is above average, with a national hourly rate of $52 per hour. Over a year, that’s $104,000. Money aside, helping seniors move is also a great way to make a living while making a difference in the lives of our elders.
Best services to offer: Most senior movers organize and manage the transition to a new, smaller residence and help their clients decide what to take and what to leave behind. Besides offering the basic organizing, packing and unpacking service, additional profitable services include:
- Measure the new residence and prepare a simple furniture plan to determine what furniture can be moved and what must be sold or disposed of.
- Handle small local moves with a U-Haul van and two moving helpers.
- Arrange and run an estate or moving sale to dispose of un-needed items.
- If the old home is to be sold, the house is emptied, cleaned up and fixed up for sale. A relocation pro may supervise the work, or do parts of it.
Costs to start a senior relocation business: The basics are a dependable vehicle and a cell phone, which most of us already have. Printed advertising materials, such as business cards, brochures and flyers are available at very reasonable prices online. Moving supplies, such as boxes and packing materials, are purchased as-needed for each job. If you are on a strict budget, you can purchase everything for a bare-bones startup for just a few hundred dollars.
Skills required: This is a simple business, but those who do well must have good organizational skills, patience and understanding to deal with seniors at a stressful time, and be a people person. Being a good listener is also essential, as many seniors will need to share stories about their favorite possessions during the sorting process.
Marketing your services: For seniors, trust is everything, so your first happy clients will tell their friends after you’ve earned their trust. Many new clients come from other professionals in the senior care community, such as those who work at senior communities, social workers and eldercare attorneys.
Pass out business cards to everyone you meet, and be sure to have a free consultation coupon on the back. This will accomplish two things. First, people will keep your card rather than throw it away because of the coupon. Second, your cost of getting new clients with this method is zero.
Legal requirements: You’ll need to get a federal tax number, called an E.I.N. Once you have that, decide what legal form you want for your business. Most small businesses choose to become either a sole proprietorship or an Limited Liability Company, commonly referred to as an LLC. You can learn more about the pros and cons of each at Nolo.com. Last, obtain a business license from your town or county.
To learn more about starting your own senior relocation business, click here