College Hunks Hauling Junk Continues Florida Expansion
Families continue to join the College Hunks brand, which gives them the tools to build successful business operations.
As a longtime professional in the automotive industry, Bret Bailey knows a thing or two about manufacturing. Now he’s going from building things to the service side as he teams up with his sons to open a new College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise in the Sarasota area.
For Bret, the College Hunks opportunity checks off a couple of boxes: One, he will own his own business, and two, he’ll be able to work with his two sons, who will be operating the franchise alongside him.
What Were You Doing Before College Hunks Hauling Junk?
I am just north of Detroit, where I am the vice president of operations for a medium-sized manufacturing company making replacement glass for cars. My son Ryan moved to Fort Myers four years ago and settled in with a Batteries Plus franchise. I began thinking about relocating myself and began looking at entrepreneurial opportunities.
During my search for employment in central west Florida, I reviewed several franchise opportunities. The minute I met with Danielle Wright — and she explained the College Hunks vision, culture and core values — I was hooked. I talked to other CHHJ franchisees and felt the cultural vibe. Ryan and I discussed going the next step and attending Discovery Day. We saw our vision for the future of building a business that matches our core values.
Ryan is at a point in his life where he wants to do something different and accelerate his career path. My other son, Jarrett, is 18. He finished high school a year early and has been working with the engineering department of the company I’m with since he was 14 years old. He’s got the entrepreneurial spirit, too, and he wanted to join his brother to start this franchise up. I think the two of them are going to work great together, and I’ll be overseeing the overall operations and manage the bookkeeping side while they run the day-to-day operations.
What Is Going to Set Your College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving Franchise
Apart in an Area Where There’s a Lot of Competition?
There are two pieces to that strategy. One, College Hunks is very structured and disciplined in their operations. At the same time, it’s also a very family-oriented, easygoing environment. Everyone at headquarters enjoys what they do. So you’ve got the discipline in place to make sure that the business performs successfully, and also an atmosphere where people enjoy going to work and spending time with their colleagues. We are going to recreate that at our location.
The way I’ve always handled myself in business is to interact in such a way that people enjoy doing things for me. They like working for, or with, me. I’ve even had guys on a manufacturing floor, when things have been really hairy and everybody’s a little frazzled, say they’d clean up a mess for me that they wouldn’t have done for someone else. That’s because I appreciate what they do, and I work hard to build relationships on trust and respect. That has helped me be successful, and it’s what I want my sons to learn with this College Hunks opportunity. We’re always looking to improve and provide a service or product that exceeds expectations. When we bring that to our business, we’ll stand out.
What Do You Need to Do to Be Successful in This Franchise?
Again, you need to build those internal relationships. Show that respect to an employee, let them know that they are valued, and that will carry through to the customer. If you go to a restaurant where the server obviously hates being there, you’re going to know it. College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving has succeeded because they have created a very energetic, positive and uplifting environment. Then you bring in younger people who have a lot of that great energy going already and send all that out to the customer. I think that’s really exciting. And we’re living our vision, to MAKE LIFE BETTER.
Who Are Your Main Customers?
Because we have unique geographical areas, which includes several keys running down the coast, we have a lot of opportunities. We’re going to target residential areas, but also focus on assisted living, retirement communities, apartment and condominium complexes for junk removal at first, and then for moving.
I recently read that 47 homes in the Sarasota area sold for more than $1 million over one month this past summer, so there’s an opportunity for us in the upper-income segment. There are a lot of very exclusive areas here, and when you combine that with apartments and commercial operations, we have a lot of ways that we can grow our business.
What Have Your Days Looked Like as You’ve Geared Up to Open the Doors?
We scouted around and found a small facility, something that was workable for us as a startup, but where we could also grow. We wanted a centralized location, and we were able to find one. We’re on U.S. Route 301, and so we’ve got great visibility. That’s going to be extremely helpful in getting our name known and our trucks seen.
There’s a lot to do: ordering trucks, getting insurance, finalizing all our paperwork for business licenses and permits … it’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. But I’m excited to see the boys get this kind of opportunity and for them to see what goes into setting up a business. They want the opportunity to build their own future, but they also need to know what’s involved in working for yourself. They are certainly getting that exposure now!
What Do You Like About the Business?
College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving provide younger people with a remarkable opportunity to learn business skills. That will be good for my sons and for all the other young people who are involved with purchasing a franchise, running it or working for it. I also have two stepdaughters, one of whom is 23 years old and potentially interested in this business. She may wind up relocating to the area and working on the administrative side. It’s a business that really lets you create opportunities for a lot of people and become a positive force in your community.
What Does Franchise Ownership Allow You to Do That You Couldn’t Do Before?
This lets me take the skills I have learned over my entire career and put them to work developing that skill set in my children and other young adults. I want to have more control of my own destiny, and this allows for that. It’s an established franchise, so you’re still running your own business — but you’re tied in with a system that is very successful and well managed.
I am providing better financial independence for myself and my family. I want to get to a point where the business is perpetually growing. I believe if the boys take off with it, at some point I can just provide guidance as necessary to help the business to grow while not being as hands-on as I had otherwise been.
Would You Recommend This Franchise?
I think it’s a great setup and a terrific opportunity. It’s early days for us, but even with all the work of getting established it’s easy to get excited about the potential. I would tell someone who’s looking for a smart, well-run operation that College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving is definitely worth exploring.