Colin Wiggins and Kelly Milbrandt from Seattle
Back to Blog

College Hunks Hauling Junk And Moving Franchise Enters Seattle Market

October 29, 2015

A growing city and suburbs presents a prime opportunity to introduce the fast-growing College Hunks brand and its services to the Pacific Northwest

As an entrepreneur with multiple successful businesses to his credit, Colin Wiggins knows a good thing when he sees it. And as a CPA and brand ambassador, Kelly Milbrandt can assess both the marketing and numbers side of a business to judge its value.

When savvy businesspeople like these take a look at College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving, they like what they see. And in Colin and Kelly’s case, they waste no time in launching their own moving and junk removal franchise operation, in this case bringing the brand to the Seattle and Bellevue area of Washington state. Here, Colin tells us what caught their eye, and how business is going after their August 2015 launch.

What were you doing before College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving?

Kelly and I come from very different worlds — 2,600 miles apart, to be exact. She comes from a fourth-generation farming family from eastern Washington. After having spent time abroad working in Europe after finishing her university degrees, she spent many years as a Certified Public Accountant and eventually landed in her most recent position as Brand Ambassador and Marketing Representative for Milbrandt Vineyards, their family winery.

I grew up in Northwest Florida, studied international business at Florida State University and the University of North Florida, and eventually made my way to Seattle by way of Frankfurt, Germany, where I spent five years working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car Europe. For the past nine years, I have owned and operated multiple early childhood learning centers in the Greater Seattle area. They are Chinese and Spanish immersion language schools, and I will still operate them alongside my College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving duties.

How did you find out about College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving?

Our introduction to CHHJ started with our addiction to NBC’s Shark Tank and a bottle of Milbrandt Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (2010 vintage to be exact). We saw a repeat of Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman’s episode on CNBC, which was soon followed by their appearance on Pitch, and then on our other vice, HGTV’s House Hunters, all within seven days. After some conversation about these three coincidences, we sent an email to corporate. As they say, the rest is history.

What sets your College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise apart from other independent moving and removal companies?

Seattle is a very competitive market for junk removal and donation pickups. Our local and national branded competitors seem to be everywhere! This aggressive competition makes it tough for a new business in terms of pricing strategy, as many of the multi-vehicle local competitors are priced lower than us. Having said that, what sets us apart from the other competitors is our simple, back-to-basics approach to creating a unique and satisfying engagement with our clients. Some of our differentiating factors are:

  • Quality of service: Seamless customer engagement from the first call to the invitation to use us again. We utilize every second with a customer to make a positive impression.
  • Uncompromising attention to detail. Throughout the entire process with the client, we go the extra mile, resulting in completely satisfied clients who will not only refer us to other customers, but will use us again in the future.
  • Depth of client engagement. We pride ourselves on genuine, engaged conversation with all clients. We find out their needs, deliver the right product accordingly, and ensure their satisfaction with our service.

What do you need to do to be successful in this franchise?

To be successful in the fast-paced, unpredictable junk removal business, you have to keep your sense of humor. Being prepared financially in the beginning, using the franchise system in terms of marketing and general operations, and understanding the realities of any new business start-up and its challenges and complexities are key.

Kelly and I have been very focused on fostering an entrepreneurial spirit with our coworkers. We make it very clear from the beginning in our opening interviews for new employees that we are looking for so much more than just “clock-in, clock-out” soldiers. We want our business to expand dramatically, and the only way for us to do this successfully is to create an understanding of entrepreneurship in every employee and how every small decision they make has a much greater impact on our success than they could ever imagine.

Who are your main customers?

In our first two months, we have had customers from a variety of market segments: real estate agents, property managers, residential customers, and storage facility managers.

We have achieved that by working within the College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving marketing system, which really is “Sales 101” as far as outreach goes. It’s a good, solid model. We use our trucks as billboards, and we back that up with social media marketing on our Twitter and Facebook accounts. One Facebook campaign got us 40,000 impressions over eight days, and so we hope to convert a lot of those leads to sales. We learned a lot from Nick and Omar, who talk about how they focused on women early on because they often made the decisions about moving and removal for their households. And what we hear from our female clients is that they feel good about inviting us into their homes, so that definitely works.

What does a typical day look like?

We prep the team for the day and then start looking at where we can fan out in terms of our marketing. Some people are out on jobs, and others are taking the trucks to different parts of town just so people can see them on the road. Then after we do that, we can work on marketing for that area to build the brand recognition. We want to touch every part of our territory.

I also am working now to meet with a lot of different people and hitting networking events, so we can continue to build the brand on the business side, as well as the consumer marketing we are doing.

What do you like about the business?

We really enjoy the simplicity of the concept and the potential that it has. Junk removal and moving are not overly complicated business ideas and do not require specialized skills that many new business startups need to be successful. Many of the most successful businesses of our age are based on very simple ideas that people happen to need. Not only is the name of the company an instant topic for conversation, but the name itself makes a person smile. That simple gesture is worth its weight in gold to any new company.

Colin Wiggins and Kelly Milbrandt from Seattle

Would you recommend this franchise? Why?

Absolutely! Simply put, the owners and corporate folks are very engaged in helping us newbies become successful. Their enthusiasm for the company and their willingness to be completely transparent about the realities of the franchise model made it much easier for us to choose College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving as our new venture.

Learn more about College Hunks Hauling Junk

If you’d like to find out more about how College Hunks strives to be the best moving franchise to invest in, please fill out a form and start a conversation. We look forward to answering your questions.