Second franchise in this major market shows the viability of both the Texas market and this fast-growing national brand
Many College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving moving and junk removal franchise owners have a background in customer service. Others come from completely different industries, but know how to build a solid relationship. With Dave and Barbara Betzko, it was a little bit of both.
The former IT project manager (Dave) and dental technician/court reporter (Barbara) had long wanted to run a company together. When they saw how well College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving was already doing in one part of Houston, it was one of their first stops when investigating their own startup options. They liked what they saw, read, and heard.
How did you find out about College Hunks Hauling Hunk and Moving?
Dave: The franchise had caught my eye when I was beginning to research options online. I’d also seen something on television with one of the founders, where the conversation was around getting out of the 9-to-5 rut and operating an enjoyable company with solid core values. I liked the idea of a strong company culture, so I began to review College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving more thoroughly.
I had wanted to be my own boss for … forever, basically. Barbara was very supportive, because she was inclined that way, as well. We had a few dinners with people we know who’d begun their own businesses because we needed some reassurances before taking that dive. They gave us some great advice, so we got in touch with the team in Tampa and began the work to implement our own franchise.
What sets your College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise apart from independent moving and removal companies?
Dave: We’re not going to offer everything at once, so when we do have a service, it’s going to be the best. We’ll just be doing hauling in 2015, and then we’ll begin ramping up moving operations in 2016. We are going to position ourselves as No. 1, and we’re going to live up to that.
We are working with some associations and getting out to a lot of social events for residents and businesses so we can build leads. We are part of NARPM, the National Association of Residential Property Managers, and we think we will see a lot of business from that connection.
Houston is a patchwork of smaller cities, and we’re going to tackle each of those as its own marketplace. For example, we are going to intertwine ourselves with the Chamber of Commerce in Bellaire and really get to know those residents. And then in the downtown part of our market, we have a lot of high-rise condominiums, both residential and commercial. So we have a lot of different markets in our territory, and we’re working on planning specific marketing, and services, for each one. Our competition doesn’t do that kind of penetration analysis, and we think it will be a real differentiator.
What do you need to do to be successful in this franchise?
Barbara: You need to work with a team, and then build your own team, with the core values that make you a trusted business. College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving has that. We’re trustworthy and reliable, and we present well. We recycle and donate all the things we can through our Goodwill association. We are already on their website as a provider of a 24- to 48-hour turnaround to pick up merchandise. We also hope to work with other charitable organizations for donations if we can.
You have to focus on providing the best quality service on every job. Every single booking matters. And you have to have great people to do that, so you can’t hire just anybody. We are screening our employees, right down to background checks. Everyone wearing our uniform is going to be educated and personable, and we pride ourselves on that.
Who are your main customers?
Barbara: Early on I think we’re going to see more residential business. We’re working to reach out to commercial property owners and other businesses now, though, so that we can expand in that area, as well. We hope to be able to grow in every direction, so that we’re out on the road all the time, and people see the truck and give us a call.
What do you like about the business?
Dave: We really like the mentoring. We have learned how to tell the story of the business and how to talk about the points that set it apart. Our daughter is coming up on college this year, and she’s getting some interest from boys. She actually sells our company to them! We know exactly what to say — not just to potential customers, but to people who want to work for us. We think that we can provide a lot of leadership to young people and show them how to run a small business the right way.
It’s also a fun job to have. It’s not just picking up furniture and other items, it’s marketing and sales. We have to prove our leadership through how we do those things, but it’s a lot of fun.
Barbara: The brand recognition is very strong here, thanks to the hard work the other franchise has put into this market. When people see the truck, they are interested and want to know more. It’s a great way to get our foot in the door. We are constantly making “elevator pitches” to people we meet, because they really do want to know more about College Hunks.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
Dave: In a word, independence. My wife and I are setting up our own business model. We have direction, we have goals, and we’re stitching together everything we have learned from the corporate trainers in Tampa about how to get a solid start. We have a great business plan, and it’s an active document that we can improve upon. We’re learning from other franchises.
Barbara: It really is exhilarating being your own boss. There are certainly some stresses, but because you’re totally in control of everything it’s not as bad as when you are working for someone else. Even when there’s a lot going on, we set the pace and we have that control.
Also, we have been married for 25 years now, and I can honestly say that since we’ve made the decision to become business partners it’s become one of the happiest times we’ve had. We’re sharing this journey together, and although there’s a lot going on and it’s all very new, it’s a great adventure. We’re in charge, and that’s a great feeling. I am very confident that we will be a success.
Would you recommend this franchise? Why?
Barbara: If you do everything that you’re taught to do, you’ve got everything in place to be a success. It’s well worth it, just be sure that up front you can be focused on the adventure of your own business, and not worried about your financial situation.
Dave: I’m already talking to people at barbecues and parties about the greatness of being my own boss, so I’d have to say yes as well. It’s nice to set your own course and not be torn between a bunch of bosses pulling you this way and that. You have great support from Tampa, which makes the whole venture so much better. You have great support from other franchise owners, so you can compare notes all the time about whatever comes up. It’s a tight network from corporate on down, and I really think that is going to make a huge difference for us.
Learn more about College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving
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