Q&A with new College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchisee Bill McKay
Like so many other franchise owners, College Hunks Hauling Junk franchisee Bill McKay was eager to escape the corporate grind while creating a tangible asset that he could leave for his children someday.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, McKay had seen many investment opportunities come and go over the years. But one in particular stuck in his mind: College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving. So, when the time came for him to start shopping for his own opportunity, they were his first and only stop.
Recently, McKay became the proud owner of the very first College Hunks franchise in the system, located in Orlando, Florida, taking it over from the previous owners who had opened it in 2007. He has already expanded the business significantly in his short tenure, and he’s certainly not finished yet.
What were you doing before you started working with College Hunks?
Most recently, I was in commercial finance. I worked with Bank of America for a number of years and did a stint in private equity and some international travel and business development, then I landed back into commercial finance. I got a lot of professional experience. I kind of rounded it off, if you will, with the Masters in Business at the University of Florida.
What made you decide that it was time to do something new and have your own business?
I was always looking for an opportunity to get my own thing going after getting my Masters. I wanted to reinvest that into my community. I had some experience with College Hunks when I worked with a private equity firm building franchises around the U.S. College Hunks was one that we had looked at. I had some experience of what a fun brand it was.
Actually, before college, I wore a uniform and drove a box truck and loaded and unloaded in the hot Florida summer, so I kind of came from that. When I saw their core values, building young guys up, I thought, “You know, I think I am finally there.” Everybody has a little bit of wanting to be a teacher in them, I think. I wanted to share information.
So the work you were doing on the truck, was that for a moving company?
I did two different things but one for a longer period which I think transfers over. It was a concession supply company, so they would bring in all of the raw corn, cups and candy and everything into all of the concessions to all the major theatres. So, you are talking about 50- to 80-pound bags of raw corn and all the boxes of oil and the things that go along with it. It was basically everything in those concessions stands.
The $85 candy bars and stuff?
Right! It was really fun and interesting. I look at the guys now that we hire now and I see myself in them. They are strong as oxes but they still have a lot to learn, you know. For me, it’s just kind of full circle. It is a fun brand. It’s is a growing brand and Orlando is an amazing market. My parents relocated me in 1968 when I was 9 months old to Orlando. A lot of people haven’t been to Orlando before Disney World even existed, but when I was a little kid, there was no Disney World for a few years.
They just started building it right around that time.
I think it was 1971. So, I am a local. For me, this is a great way to invest in the future, invest in some people in the community and serve the community. I know the franchise.
Was the fact that it was the first franchise play into your decision on a sentimental note at all?
Yeah, I think the franchise was run well by the original franchisees. They provided top-notch service. What they didn’t do was they didn’t provide enough of it.
You have an impressive resume of business training. From the business side, what is it that you liked about College Hunks that makes them a good partner for you?
The fact that College Hunks on the surface is a moving and hauling company, but when you peel the layers back, it is actually kind of a dynamic marketing company. To me it is more than just a moving and hauling company. The fact that we are repurposing, taking things that people don’t want, unwanted items and then placing them with people in the community that need them. Also, it was the purpose of the brand and the way they go about operating. A lot of people go to work and, in order to have a purpose, they have to go seek some sort of charitable contribution. But we are involved with probably 15 different charities on any given week, trying to make sure that we repurpose and get the items that people don’t want into the hands of people that need them. It is kind of built-in community involvement.
You mentioned one of your goals is to grow the franchise you just took over. What does that mean exactly and what are some of the other goals you may have for your business?
When I came in here, there was one junk truck and one move truck serving the entire Metro Orlando area. So, we cover the quad county: We go into Clermont in Lake County and we cover all of Orange, Seminole, Osceola counties, which are pretty broad. We even get demand out of Volusia County, which butts up to us going into Deltona and Daytona. There are 2 million people in our DMA, and they had two trucks, one of each. We have already doubled the size of the fleet. In fact, we have added three new trucks, so we are up to five of our own and we are leasing two through the busy summer season, so we have seven trucks on the roads right now. We’ve also doubled revenues already. We are now in the Millionaire Club. We have grown from a top-line annual revenue of about just below $400,000 to projecting now an average of over a million.
How long has it been since you took over?
Wow. That is amazing.
It is ridiculous.
Did you wrap the leased trucks?
We have four magnets on those. The trucks are semi-plain and have some Penske markings on them, but we put our door magnets on them. So, we are kind of testing what our limits are as far as opening up the schedule and serving the need in the area. There are so many people that call us, desperate. There are not enough good movers who are insured, uniformed and have background checks like us. It is amazing to hear the desperation from people calling us, they are handing us market share. The alternatives are not that great.
You mentioned uniforms. How important is that?
It is really important. All of our guys go into the College Hunks uniform right away. The khaki shorts, or if they are on the junk side we allow them to wear black shorts, and our green and orange logoed shirts with collars. We provide those to them right away because that is important for them to know they are with our brand and not just some temporary labor. They all carry our insurance certificates on the trucks and understand how to explain our service and what the value is. We are coming out with brand new trucks into your wonderful, pretty communities. We are not coming in with junky trailers or with temporary labor, and we are coming in licensed and insured. So clients are safe and protected.
Tell me about the support you have received so far. What has been the most valuable asset?
That goes back to the core of why I appreciate the brand. The brand does provide value. Nick and Omar are young guys and are in this for the long haul. These guys are building these great systems, like the call center, which is a huge support system for us. We can focus on what we need to focus on, which is pickup and delivery of goods. To me the call center is an amazing asset to us. They are there in extended hours so that the customers can always reach somebody and there is a good line of communication between us and the call center.
What kind of marketing do you do on the local level over and above what corporate does?
We do all of our local guerrilla marketing. We are out and making sure we are in a community and we let them know we have been there and let people know that if there is an opportunity for us to serve them, they can contact us. We don’t necessarily randomly go into a place. We always kind of do the 10 up and 10 down street when we are doing a job. So, the guys know to get out and leave a coupon for next time for each of the services and go up and down the street. They will ask permission and plant yard signs to say “another great job completed by College Hunks Hauling Junk” or “College Hunks Moving.” So, locally we are doing a lot of that.
How has your business impacted the community so far?
We had an outreach, for instance, with The Pulse nightclub tragedy that happened here in Orlando. We immediately reached out and offered our trucks and crews. Our guys went out of their own accord; we didn’t even prompt them. They stopped and used petty cash to pick up bottled water to give to the people that were standing in line to give blood for several days after the shootings. We reached out in a coordinated way with our partners in Florida, other College Hunks, and we were all on standby to help relocate and move things for any of the victims or their families.
That is amazing.
You know, we all live here and we all work here. Those are some of the more personalized things that we get involved in. We have great plans to be involved with Ronald McDonald House charities because, again, there are so many things that we can lend our time and our guys to as far as manpower. I could give you a laundry list. We bring them mattresses and they repurpose them for needy families, for instance. Then there are all of the Amvets and Habitat for Humanity. We get really good items, like tools, boxed air conditioners, construction materials that are still new in boxes, and we donate those so they can transfer those to other people who are building homes for charity.
The other benefit is you are keeping stuff out of the landfill at the same time.
Are you doing this with any family or do you have a spouse or anybody running the business with you?
Right now Amanda Cook is kind of my right-hand person. She is in our customer care and business development. We work together. She has given a great deal of her time to really focus in on the customer side of the business. She really helps with the outreach and making sure everybody is getting prompt welcome calls and follow-ups after the service.
So, two months in, things are going very well!
Yes. I am really happy that we’ve been able to pick up so much more business. I get texts all the time from friends and family saying they saw our truck there or heard the truck this morning and they go outside and take a picture of it and send me pictures of the truck. We’re everywhere!
The Orlando, FL College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving is located at 6270 Edgewater Dr., Ste 3600, Orlando, FL, 32810 and can be reached at (407) 378-2500
Open a College Hunks Franchise
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.