This tight-knit family saw an opportunity to realize their dream of running a successful business together and made it happen
The Gleghorns have always been a family that likes to do things together. Going into business as a team always sounded like a worthwhile proposition, but different careers and timelines made it unlikely.
Recently, however, some changes in employment, along with a college graduation, created the perfect time to look at the idea again. Not long after sitting down and studying the options, Robert, Cherryl, and Shannen Gleghorn found themselves opening College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving’s first franchise operation in the corporate headquarters city of Tampa, Florida.
What were you doing before College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving?
Robert: I have been in the membership club business for about 34 years, 10 of which have been with Costco. I was with the Wal-Mart Corp. for 24 years as a Sam’s Club general manager. Cherryl was a stay-at-home mom when our son was young, and then for the past few years she has been working with a Hobby Lobby retail store. Shannen is just finishing up his degree in business management at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where he also minored in business law.
I resigned from my position, and my smart, beautiful wife told me that rather than going back into the box as a leader for someone else, why not start our own business? So we began to look around, and we quickly found College Hunks Hauling Junk.
How did you find out about College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving?
Cherryl: I saw a photo of the truck when I was looking at franchise sites, and I wanted more information right away. A recruiter called me, and I honestly didn’t think it would go as well as it did. I knew that Bob was looking for a new opportunity, and I knew that Shannen was ready, and both of them came on board with the idea right away. It really happened very organically.
Robert: We went to Discovery Day, and everyone there met our entire family. We were impressed with the character of everyone we met. The piece that really cemented it for me was the opportunity to work with my son. That had always been a long vision for me, and so when we saw this opportunity and liked everything we found out, we capitalized on it.
Shannen: I hadn’t really given any thought to any kind of franchise. I was actually thinking about going to law school, but when my parents called and talked to me about this, I was interested. I liked the idea of being a part of something 100 percent from the very beginning. I looked them up online, did my research and got just as excited as my parents were. I liked the College Hunks vision, I liked the growth they’ve had since they began, and I really liked the whole company. Everything about it looked and sounded really good.
What is going to set your College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise apart from other independent moving and removal companies?
Robert: We are going to live, breathe and demonstrate the culture. We will tell people, “Let our community’s future leaders haul your junk today.” We will always be building leaders, and doing so in a fun, enthusiastic work environment. Our trucks? They’re billboards on wheels. We think that “always listen, fulfill and delight” is going to be key for us, along with having uniformed, licensed, insured, and honest employees. It’s just a different approach from start to finish.
Cherryl: This business is built on a young culture, which I really find valuable. I’m kind of the “CEO Mom,” and I know how to talk to the woman who is the head of a household and needs some help.
Robert: Cherryl may not have a lot of junk hauling experience, but at one point I made her move seven times in nine years, so she knows the importance of having a good crew in that can get things done and make sure that all the stuff gets delivered safe and sound.
What do you need to do to be successful in this franchise?
Robert: You’ve got to follow the system, and you’ve got to make the best of every situation. The corporate team believes in the franchise owners, and they deliver on their promises. If you teach and train as you go along, you have employees who are also leaders. Then it’s not just me, my wife and our son running the business, but everyone there stepping in. You have future leaders who are not just there to haul and move, but to learn how a business runs so they can, if they want, open up their own franchise some day.
Shannen: The key thing that separates us from the other haulers and movers is that we want our employees to share the vision of the whole company. We are looking three or four years out and not just talking about making money, but learning and teaching life skills that everyone can carry with them. If we are all focused that way, then we’re going to stay above everyone else.
Cherryl: This is home for us; we’ve lived here for 16 years. Our office is actually close to our home, which is to one side of the territory, so we probably will wind up with a satellite operation at some point. But being from here, as opposed to just opening up here and not knowing the area, will also make a big difference.
Who are the main groups you’re targeting in your initial push? Who’s in line after that?
Robert: We are going to use the marketing tactics we have been taught and first go for residents and Realtors. I also want very quickly to expand out to property managers, especially in assisted-living facilities, because I think that is a growth area for us. Then I want to look at hospitals and school systems, because those will be good hauling opportunities.
I also really want to network as much as we can, groups like the chamber and rotary clubs, so that we can really embed ourselves in the community and become known as a stress-free provider of hauling and moving.
What have your days been like as you’ve been getting ready to open?
Shannen: We’ve been having a morning huddle, delegating the day’s duties, even though it’s just been the three of us up to now. We look at how we performed the day before, and how we need to delegate that day’s work. Now we’re going to look at recruiting, and each of us wants to recruit one person even before we begin to look at the applications we are starting to get. I think we’re going to get some very worthy people right away.
What do you like about the business?
Shannen: We’re only a few months in, but we are having a good time doing it. It’s a fun place to work, even when it’s just running errands. I think that’s going to only improve once we get our staff in place. We’re just really excited.
Cherryl: We’re all focused on hitting the ground running. Bob is really good at supervising people, he’s done it for a long time, and he knows how to break things up so that none of us are overwhelmed. Shannen, who is our operations manager, is going to go and ride around for a few days with another franchise’s crew so that he can see operations in action. We have the unique opportunity of being in the same location as the corporate office — nobody else has been so far — so we’re really going to take advantage of it.
Robert: The philosophy continues to really resonate with me. We don’t all follow a recipe and copy each other. We are encouraged to not just follow the process, but to make it better. Nobody stagnates. The founders really want to hear our opinions, and that’s really welcome. I have 30 years of business management, they are young guys with a vision, and everybody is really listening to each other. That’s a great environment.
What does franchise ownership allow you to do that you couldn’t do before?
Robert: It’s going to let us work as a team, and a family. We all will utilize our characteristics and personalities to benefit the business. I’m a finance guy and a public speaker. Cherryl is creative, organized and sociable. Shannen is a real go-getter and just lights up the room. We were told to surround ourselves with smart people, and we’ve already achieved that. Now we’re going to make this thing go, and that’s going to be so much fun.
Would you recommend College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving? Why?
Cherryl: We have already had someone call us with questions! We told them that, so far, it has been a great experience. We’ve talked to people from all around the country, from people who have been around for a while to someone who’s just been open a year. They all had the same thing to say: They were happy, and that everything had exceeded their expectations. We really lucked out.
Shannen: I can’t speak for older adults since I’m only 22, but for anyone my age, I’d say get into this if an opportunity comes up. I’m getting to be in management, not someone’s hourly employee. There’s room to grow, good money to be made and it’s a stable business. I think it’s going to be one of the biggest franchises in the country.
Robert: I agree. Get in now rather than later, because these territories are going to start going fast.
Learn more about College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving
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