An entrepreneur from the start, Daniel Ozbun may have started his national moving business in high school, but it is a company that has positioned him well for retirement. As a teenager helping his grandparents relocate from California to Arizona, he immediately knew he was made for the moving industry. “When I finished that project, I was still in high school and I decided to do some advertising… and pretty soon I was moving people every Saturday and Sunday. I graduated from high school, [and] it’s been a full time job ever since.” From family customers to international corporate relocations, Ozbun built a company around meticulously addressing the details. “Moving isn’t rocket science but it certainly is detail-oriented. We live and breathe to execute the details flawlessly every day every move.” Work that requires a rigorous dotting of the i’s is about knowledge, experience, and confidence. He encourages fellow entrepreneurs to, “Learn as much as you can about all of the components [of your business] as quickly as you can so when you are making decisions you can engage them in a way that is meaningful to the result you are trying to drive. Understanding how the details impact the components is critical for astute decision making.” Daniel’s Moving and Storage, has been managing the components of corporate and residential moves for over forty years, but one detail remains in constant flux, the seasonality of moving.
For Daniel, success in the moving business has come from balancing a highly seasonal business with other revenue streams that are annually consistent. With 70% of residential moves occurring between May 15 and September 15, Ozbun recognized the need to flatten out his services to generate reliable income throughout the year. Early in his career an opportunity arose while moving a residential customer who happened to work as a property manager for a large financial institution in Phoenix. After receiving superior service in moving her household goods, she contracted with Daniel’s Moving to manage her company’s relocations. After affirming their high-quality services and spreading the word of their expansion, earning commercial contracts became a daily opportunity.
These new efforts were so successful, that rather than balancing out their summer services, commercial work became 75% of the ventures completed. Recognizing the shift and understanding that the best approach was to keep the commercial and residential income streams as balanced as possible, Ozbun developed a business plan to stabilize his earnings. “That’s when we moved toward a relationship with [Atlas] Van Lines. Our goal was to expand the household goods segment to more of a 50/50 revenue stream.” He chose Atlas for their agency-owned approach and the corporate responsiveness to the customer. Ozbun felt that partnering with a van line would help his company maintain a steady flow of residential customers as well as corporate and military relocations. “You can do an office move from $50,000 to $200,000. You might only do one to two on a month-to-month basis, but it takes a great deal of household goods moves to make up that same revenue. Having consistent commercial revenue helps flatten out that really high curve of the household goods of the summertime.” The partnership with Atlas helped to boost residential moving contracts, fostered expansion of the territory, and cross-country services bloomed into a business with multiple locations.
"Someone that is passionate about doing the right thing and helping their customers get from one point to another will have a well-positioned company whether it's seasonal or not."
Reflecting on his expansion throughout the United States, with branches in eight states, he acknowledges that having multiple locations is not necessarily the key to higher earnings. “I oversee the Best Practices Council for Atlas Van Lines. We see great success from some of the multi-location owners and we also see great success from single location owners.” Ozbun emphasized that larger profit margins are often related to owner/operators who are hands-on throughout their company and who are invested in their local markets as they are often able to manage their business more effectively. “One of the reasons why we have started to divest is we wanted to have a smaller footprint, so we could manage it a little more effectively.” As his team shifts its focus once again to better address the needs of his business, effective management and customer outreach are the driving forces behind his impactful changes. Having dedicated service line sales representatives is a key aspect to high-quality customer service as is networking and building relationships with corporate organizations to foster positive, long-term, and trusting relationships.
Moving a client’s home goods or transporting a company’s office furnishings is ultimately about responsiveness, trust, and a detailed plan. “I recognize that moving is stressful for my customers and we work really hard to reduce the stress of moving. We do that through a significant amount of preplanning, managing the scope and the goals of the relocation. We then execute seamlessly on moving day.” Roadmaps not only benefit the process of moving, but the business as well. A thorough plan has taken Daniel’s Moving and Storage from a seasonal after school project to a national player by embracing a, “Constant recognition of where you are, where you want to go, and building processes and roadmaps to get you [there].” Ozbun continued, “Recognize what drives the seasonality and then mitigate that with what other revenues that are your passion. Someone that is passionate about doing the right thing and helping their customers get from one point to another will have a well-positioned company whether its seasonal or not seasonal.”
Also in This Issue
- Embracing Seasonality
- Music City Blooms
- How Do I Finance My Seasonal Business?
- The Firm Winners
- Timing is Everything: The Impact of Trends on Sale Price
- Learning From A Pro: 8 Questions
- For The Love of Design: Expanding a Seasonal Landscaping Business
- Hog Farming to Hedging Commodities
- Culture is Key