Q&A with Corey Gaither and Amber Bush, who launched their College HUNKS Hauling Junk franchise in Fort Worth, Texas, in March
For Corey Gaither and Amber Bush, 2016 is shaping up to be a momentous year. The couple became business owners when their College HUNKS Hauling Junk franchise opened on March 23 in Mansfield, Texas, southeast of Fort Worth. In November, they’re getting married. “Amber has been on top of it. It took about 2 weeks after I proposed for her to get everything ready,” Corey said.
That type of decisiveness and organization bodes well for their business! We’re excited to see them join the H.U.N.K.S. family. We recently spoke with Corey, 26, and Amber, 25, about their backgrounds, why they decided to open a College HUNKS Hauling Junk franchise, and their experience so far as franchisees.
This is their story.
How long have you two known each other?
A: We have been together for 7 years.
Are both of you actively involved in the business?
A: Yes, we both are actively involved in the business. I am taking care of the bookkeeping. I am also doing more of the social media, check reviews, and make sure everything online is kept up-to-date. I also stay available for any phone calls that need to be taken for the business.
C: I am doing more of the day-to-day operations and making the sure the guys are prepared for the jobs that we have, and making sure they are upholding the brand, the core values and assuring the customer service is 100% on point based on what we learned in training. She has been more in the office and I have been more out in the field doing the marketing, door hangers, and trying to set an example for the team members. It has been definitely fun.
Are you offering both junk hauling and moving currently?
C: We are just focusing now on junk removal and getting that ramped up with a good revenue stream before we tackle the moving. Our plan is to order the moving truck in about a month or two and go ahead and roll that out.
Is your business close to home?
C: We live in Arlington, which is about 15 minutes from the office. Amber has been in Arlington her entire life. I was born in Duncanville and have been in Arlington about 8 years now.
What were you doing before starting your business?
C: We actually met when we both worked at a timeshare resorts company, in a call center environment. She had worked there for five years prior to having our daughter (Kori, 2). I was there for eight years.
A: I was an assistant manager for the call center and Corey was a manager there. He was taking care of the teams and I was verifying appointments.
C: As far as managing a team, it was more like monitoring phone calls, taking over phone calls if need be, providing quality assurance and disciplining employees if necessary. I guided employees to make sure their customer service was up to par and exceeding expectations. I also made sure they had the tools to get the job done the correct way. It was a fun experience, but it was pretty repetitive. I was there for eight years, and started there when I was 18. They ended up getting bought out by a different company and they did some layoffs and I was a part of that on December 10, 2015. I got a 9-week severance. It worked out great because we still had the severance pay coming in so we could sustain the same lifestyle while also being able to have all of that time to go out and do training with College HUNKS. in Florida. It all worked out really well.
Were you looking into College Hunks before the layoff happened?
C: We actually were. It was interesting juggling working 50-60 hours a week there and then coming home and listening to webinars and getting online and talking with their Franchise Development Manager about everything that goes into opening a business.
What made College HUNKS. stand out?
C: For me it was really just the environment that was set when we first called to learn more. The Franchise Development Manager was able to answer all of our questions very honestly and she was very upbeat. She talked about the brand recognition, and their core values, and how they really fulfilled them and lived by them — it wasn’t something they said just to sound good. Really, for us, it was an easy decision once we spoke with them and got the opportunity to talk to other franchise owners. We probably talked to about 10 all across the U.S., and they had nothing but good things to say about the company. They all took time out of their super-busy schedules to talk to us. They wanted to make sure we were informed and up-to-speed on the business and understood how everything worked. Going to Brand Central in Tampa and the training really solidified it. Every single person we met was really behind the brand, including (co-founders) Omar (Soliman) and Nick (Friedman). We knew it was something special, and they really care about the company, the customers and their franchisees.
Given that you were working at a call center, I am curious what your impression was of Brand Central and the call center operation that helps book customers for franchisees.
C: It was amazing, especially based on the environment we came from. I am not going to sugarcoat anything — the other call center was a stressful environment. It was a “what have you done for me lately?” job. It was extremely repetitive, and you could have good for a week and be an all-star, and after that week was over you had to start all over again.
When we saw the Sales & Loyalty Center, I was amazed to see a fun and enthusiastic work environment. Everybody enjoyed their job. We talked to a lot of the operators while we were there and they had nothing but good things to say about the company, which was such a shellshock to us just based on the amount of time we had spent at the other call center, where after the first couple of months people would be stressed all the time. At Brand Central, you can tell people actually enjoyed coming into work and working for College HUNKS..
What sets College HUNKS. apart for customers?
A: We train our employees to live by the core values. We are being welcomed into someone’s home to do junk removal or provide moving service, and we want employees to be professional. We want the customer to feel as comfortable as possible and not feel as if there is a stranger in their home. We want them to feel like we are a friend or family member. We want our customers to know that we are a professional company and we are making sure our employees are taking care of customers and making sure their needs are fully met.
Have you had any interesting jobs in the three weeks you have been up and running? Any instances where you know you had a big impact on a customer?
C: We had a guy that owned a house that he was renting out, and unfortunately the people that were renting it from him just really trashed it. You could tell he was really stressed out about it. This was the first home he had tried to rent out. The renters had been there a year and the carpet was a mess, there were holes in the wall, and there was junk everywhere. We cleaned out the closets, took out the furniture he couldn’t remove on his own, and in the backyard we took a trampoline and grill. Afterward you could tell he was extremely pleased. It lifted a lot of stress off of him. We had decluttered the house and got it to the point where he could start remodeling. He can easily get it turned around now and looking new again and hopefully rent it out to a new tenant and make some money on his end.
Has there been any type of support you have received from corporate that has been really helpful?
A: Before we even started we went through a week of intense training in Tampa. They wanted to make sure before we had even opened that they had supplied us with all of the knowledge that we needed to be successful. We spoke with them several more times before we even got the doors opened. Since we opened we have been able to contact them with any questions we’ve had whatsoever. They now have a ramp-up coach, and she is calling us making sure we don’t need anything from her. In a couple of weeks she will be visiting our location to get us set up with anything we need.
C: They are awesome and they answer the phone or email you back right away. You’re not waiting two or three days for a return call or email. It’s an amazing company to be a part of and everybody has been helpful and have really helped us out. Everybody at corporate from the IT guys to the ramp-up coach — even Nick and Omar — it’s really great. To be able to email the owners of the company and to get an email back or a phone call really speaks volumes.
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