Being first in an entire state could be intimidating, but this recent college grad sees nothing but opportunity along the Carolina coast
When he was studying criminal justice at Roanoke College, Bradley Simmons didn’t see himself operating a moving and junk removal franchise. But having seen his parents operate their own construction company, which focuses on water and sewer installation and related jobs, he knew the benefits of small-business ownership.
So instead of heading to law school, he opted to look for his own opportunity. His research led him to College Hunks Hauling Junk, and now he’s operating the very first location in all of South Carolina.
What were you doing before College Hunks Hauling Junk?
I was finishing my degree and also working with my parents. I’d been thinking about law school, but then I found this franchise and decided I’d rather run my own business than work for someone else or go into a lot of student loan debt. Although my parents are in Virginia, they encouraged me to set up in Charleston. I’ve been traveling here my whole life and always wanted to live here. This gave me that opportunity.
How did you find out about College Hunks Hauling Hunk? What did your research look like?
My father was looking at franchises on the Internet, and College Hunks popped up in one of his searches. We discussed it as a business option. I found the idea of moving and hauling interesting, because that’s a business where I’d never know from one day to the next what I would get into. That variety is a strong selling point for me, and the brand was really appealing, too. So we began taking the next steps at that point.
What sets your College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise apart from other independent moving and removal companies?
We have a great appearance. We wear khakis and polo shirts, and other movers around here do not. I see them out in sweat pants, hanging around the trucks and smoking. We’re much more professional in appearance and attitude, and I can tell you that a lot of older Charlestonians put a lot of stock in a professional appearance!
We also have a much stronger focus on customer service than our competitors. I make sure that we’re on time and that I have called to introduce myself to the client beforehand. We also call to let them know when the van’s about 20 minutes away. We do everything we can to make our customers feel welcomed and appreciated. It’s good customer service, and it sets us apart.
What do you need to do to be successful in this franchise?
You must have a good work ethic and be willing to do what it takes to get the brand and the name out there. That means following up with clients after a job to make sure everything was taken care of. And if there were problems, that those are resolved.
You also need to be willing to market the business, which means attending networking mixers, speaking to groups, and anything else that will get you in front of potential customers.
Once you’ve done all that, a lot of clientele will come your way through word of mouth.
How have the team at corporate and other franchise owners been helpful?
The entire training experience with the corporate team was amazing. I learned so much, and everyone in Tampa has continued to be really supportive during and after we opened. The Sales and Loyalty Center is great, and they do a fantastic job for us.
Other owners have been very helpful when I’ve emailed or called them. When I was looking at getting into this business, I was given a list of franchise owners and told that I could speak to any or all of them. I asked everyone I talked to if they enjoyed it. They all said yes. I was looking at some other franchise opportunities at the same time, and this was the only franchise where that happened. That really said a lot.
Who are your main customers?
Our core group since we opened been women who are looking to clear out clutter, although we’ve had some gentlemen, as well. We’ve also helped a lot of college kids get rid of things.
In South Carolina you need a specific business license to move people’s property from one location to another. We got that in May, and now we’re doing more than hauling junk and moving things within people’s homes — we’re doing location-to-location moves. I was always unhappy to see how many jobs we were missing while that license was in process, so I’m really pleased that we can book that side of the business now.
What does your typical day look like?
We have three to four jobs a day, so I am in early to get everything open and see the crews off. Then I handle all the operations needs, such as going to the bank and the post office and other daily tasks. I check in with the crews to make sure everything is going OK, and I touch base with the customers, as well.
Once everyone is back we round up to see how the day went, and we talk about anything that might need improving in our processes. Then we’re pretty much done, unless I have a networking event or other opportunity to go out and talk about the business.
What are you doing to market the business?
I go to networking events whenever I can. I’ve got some radio spots up now, and we’re also going to be working on Hootie’s Homegrown Roundup: Back to Basics, a charity event put on by Hootie & The Blowfish that supports kids who need back-to-school supplies. We’ll have a team there volunteering in full uniform, so the brand will be very visible. We’re also doing some sponsorship of Minor League Baseball’s Charleston RiverDogs. They’re the farm team for the Yankees.
What do you like about being a College Hunks franchise owner?
I like being my own boss. I also like something to look forward to every day — and with College Hunks you never know what the next job is going to be. That’s a challenge, and I like that. I also enjoy interacting with people I might otherwise never meet, and working with the guys that I’ve hired.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
Working for someone else, even for my parents, didn’t let me build my own business. Now I have employees and eventually will be able to let them take over more of the day-to-day operations so I can get out and grow the business. Right now I’m the only person in the state, but my goal is to have the entire coast from Myrtle Beach to Edisto Island, and then work inland up to Columbia. This business allows me to think like that instead of just sitting behind a desk all day.
Would you recommend this franchise?
I definitely would. It’s a bunch of fun, and a great experience for someone like me, who’s young but eager to build a successful business. You meet a lot of new people, and you have a lot of responsibility. The combination of all those things is exciting.
Learn more about College Hunks Hauling Junk
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