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Mixing Real Estate and Moving Services

A franchise adds oomph to an already-thriving moving business.

Since 1990, brothers Rick and Chip Dircks have been in the business of moving people and their belongings. When they first launched their business, Dircks Moving Services, they envisioned expanding geographically. Sixteen years later, the business still hasn't moved beyond Phoenix, but it has become the most diversified moving company in the state--thanks in part to the brothers' addition of a RE/MAXfranchise. Adding real estate to their list of services has made them a top player in their market, and to reflect the changes, the company is now simply called Dircks. "We don't know anyone else who has done what we've done," says Rick. "We are blazing a trail."

How did this come about? Rick and Chip, now 46 and 47, respectively, noticed that corporations were increasingly using third-party relocation services to work out logistics during moves, as opposed to working directly with moving companies. Determined to protect their presence in the market, they launched their own in-house relocation company, but later realized it would be more effective to operate under a national brand. So in November 2005, they purchased a RE/MAX franchise, which offers moving assistance in addition to real estate. "It gave us access to a lot more resources," says Rick. "We could do things as part of a national company that we couldn't do as a local company."

The decision was a wise one. They are expecting the real estate portion to bring in 10 percent of their projected 2006 retained revenue, which is just under $14 million.

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This article was originally published in the May 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: A New Model.

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