Logistics and transportation executive sees the value of a business model that allows for expansion throughout the hauling and moving arena
College Hunks Hauling Junk moving and junk removal franchise owner Rob Brockenberry looks forward to continuing College Hunks’ growth in Connecticut.
With a background in freight organization and transport, Robert Brockenberry didn’t have far to look when he began exploring options for his own small business. Even so, not just any moving and junk removal franchise idea would do. Logistics professionals demand solid numbers, so he wanted an idea that was proven and workable. College Hunks Hauling Junk fit the bill.
What were you doing before College Hunks Hauling Junk?
I was working in the logistics and transportation field for 10 years, primarily at Macy’s as an operations manager in their logistics division. Prior to that I was an operations manager for a contract logistics company, and prior to that I held a management job with ground operations for a major shipping company.
How did you find out about College Hunks Hauling Hunk?
I was researching franchising and looking into a junk removal franchise operation that was founded in Connecticut. I was close to signing with them, but then I got an opportunity to look around some more. When I did that, I found College Hunks Hauling Junk.
I know trucking logistics, and I know customer service. The more I looked at College Hunks, the more I wanted to move in that direction. There’s a strong, two-source revenue stream, a growing brand and a really great story from Nick and Omar in terms of how it was founded. Also, I found the company to be very transparent — that really caught my attention. The information I got from the FDD and the information page on their franchising website was much more than I got from many other franchises in terms of costs and other important facts. These guys really know what they are doing, and providing all that financial information up front really gave me a comfort level that had been lacking with other opportunities.
What sets your College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise apart from other independent moving and removal companies?
We provide two very different, necessary services. It’s one-stop shopping for folks who need to move and also need some items hauled away. Plus the brand itself is a solid differentiator. We put a lot of emphasis on hiring college students and building leaders. We have a lot of local schools in the area to draw talent from, and I think that also will be noticed in the community. The people hiring us will be pleased to see that we are developing and growing young, local leaders in the business community.
What do you need to do to be successful in this franchise?
Good people and good training are obvious answers, but more than that it’s a real attention to detail and customer satisfaction. At the end of the day, customer satisfaction will make or break you. The repeat customers and the referrals only come from people who really buy into the brand and the service being provided. The biggest opportunity, which comes with every customer contact, is to create that “wow” experience.
How are you marketing the business?
We are being very specific early on about whom we’re trying to reach. We’re doing a lot of direct-mail marketing that targets middle- and upper-income areas of our territory. We want those homes with the two-car garages.
We’re also networking as often as possible to get the brand out. We’ve joined Business Networking & Referrals and have set up a lot of meetings that way, and we also are getting together with local Realtors, the chambers of commerce, and other groups.
Last but not least, we’re also taking the truck to community events in the areas we’re targeting. We’ve taken our mascot to the mall for a mall walk and are going to tie in and volunteer for as many things like that as possible so that we plug into the community as a participant, not just a vendor.
Who are your main customers?
For now, it’s homeowners. They are going to be our bread and butter early on, because they have the clutter and they do the moving. We know that in those homes the wife or mother is usually the one looking for a mover or hauler, so we are working on our marketing with women in mind.
For now, we will only be doing removal, but by September we look to have our moving license in place. At that point, we’ll broaden our approach in terms of targeted areas, but we’ll still be focusing on this type of customer.
What does a typical day look like?
We’ve been busy getting our lease signed and our truck delivered, not to mention hiring! All that, plus marketing and networking, have taken up most of our time. But now that we’re up and running, we’re starting to get some appointments scheduled. Soon I expect we’ll be doing at least two removals a day and growing from there.
What do you like about the business?
This is a young, exciting brand. The founders really live it, and they are interested in making sure I grow my business. They have put themselves out there in terms of television and news-media appearances, and that exposes a very wide audience to College Hunks. I think that makes a huge difference, because our brand is known before we ever even make our first service call.
Has the corporate office been there for all your early-stage business needs?
Everyone has been extremely helpful. Danielle Wright did an awesome job with us for the first couple of months — we probably spoke two or three times a week. She really got the ball rolling for me, as did Steven Nichols. And then Nick and Omar spent a lot of time talking to me before and at the reunion. They are down-to-earth guys, and they were very willing to engage with me for as many conversations as I needed to have with them.
The other owners have been great as well. Everyone I reached out to was willing to speak with me and to give me some great advance. The other franchisee in Connecticut has been very willing to talk with me about networking and shared opportunities here. Everyone has been very focused on doing his or her jobs well, but also on helping me become poised for success.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
A couple of things, really. It’s going to give me more flexibility in terms of work-life balance. When I was working for Macy’s, particularly around the holidays, I didn’t have a lot of that. Also, I have wanted to own my own business for a long time. I like the idea of taking my destiny into my own hands and being responsible for all the day-to-day activities. I will be the one making sure my business is successful.
I also like that I can work with and train younger people. I want to show them how providing a great customer experience can help a business succeed, but also mentor them on the importance of community involvement versus just running a business with a solid bottom line. You can grow as a person, as well as a business, if you do it the right way
Would you recommend this franchise? Why?
I absolutely would. The experience for me has shown that people at the top of their game run College Hunks Hauling Junk. They know the business, they want to grow the business, and that means they are going to support all their franchise owners. It is a class act as an organization, and I would recommend it to anybody who’s willing to work hard and put in the time.