Q&A with Morgan Parker, an offshore drilling boat pilot who is planting roots by opening a College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise
Morgan Parker’s career has taken him all over the world. The native Hawaiian studied aeronautics and started out as an airline pilot, then shifted to a different globe-trotting career by becoming a pilot for ultra-deepwater offshore drilling vessels operating off the coast of Nigeria. His job keeps him away from his home in Bend, Oregon, for weeks at a time. Now, he’s making another bold move by starting a College Hunks Hauling Junk and Moving franchise in the shadow of Mt. Bachelor.
We spoke with Morgan recently about his newest adventure.
What were you doing before becoming a College Hunks franchisee?
I’m actually still doing that right now. I run both. I am a dynamic positioning operator at Seadrill Africa Middle East, and what that means is, I’m in charge of positioning of a drill ship offshore, drilling for oil.
It must be a little bit of a feat to balance both things, isn’t it?
Yeah, it is. Setting up, just being that there’s so much going on at ramp up, it was pretty intense, but I have a full-time operations manager Casey Azeltine. He’s my cousin, and he’s been a big help with the operations side while I take care of the business.
What led you to look into franchising, and how did you decide on College Hunks?
I started looking at franchising because I knew I wanted to start some kind of business on the side and eventually make it my full-time job, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. And I wanted to have a business that had a system already set up, a brand that was recognizable. And so franchising, I think, was the way to go. College Hunks just kind of stood out to me, first with the name, but then I dug a little bit deeper into what they actually do, and their core values and how they run the business. It just was a no-brainer to me that I would fit in, and it would do really well in our area. I live in Bend, Oregon, which is central Oregon, and, as a lot of people know, Oregon is one of the top places that people in the United States are moving to, and Bend is one of the fastest growing areas in Oregon. I thought that a junk removal service, and moving, would be a really big hit in our area.
Can you elaborate a little more about what impressed you about College Hunks?
Yeah, first of all, the CEOs, Nick (Friedman) and Omar (Soliman).They’re so into the business and making it better. And they’re open to new ideas, and not set in just one type of operating. They’re looking to always improve. That really stood out for me when I met both of them. I was impressed with the support system that we have — not just from the main office, but with all of the other franchisees. I went down to Ft. Lauderdale for business yesterday and I just randomly called up the Ft. Lauderdale owner, and he told me to come on down, and he spent about two hours with me and gave me a bunch of tips and contacts that he uses. The support system, I think, is second to none. When I was looking into the franchise, the guy I was talking to gave me the numbers of a bunch of different franchisees, and when I called them up, they were really helpful and took a lot of time to explain their process in opening up a franchise, and how they liked it, and the support system, how it’s been for them and it set me at ease in making the decision to open one up for myself.
What should customers and potential Hunks know about your business?
Customers should know that we’re always looking to go above and beyond with everything we do. We want to WOW the customer. They might be expecting just a junk removal company, but we’re not just a junk removal or moving company — we’re guys that can actually relate to you and talk to you and be personable. We’re going to go in and not just take your junk out, but we’re going to make you feel comfortable while we’re doing it, and I want them to know that we are fully background checked and vetted, and we’re just there to go above and beyond their expectations for a junk hauler and mover.
With the Hunks and Hunkettes, I want them to know that we’re a fun place to work. You’re going to be treating the truck like your own little business, and so you’re in control of selling the job because the jobs aren’t sold until you actually sell the job. We’re just doing free, no-obligation estimates when we come on site. So they’re in charge of selling. They’re in charge of marketing. They’re in charge of running their own schedule throughout the day, making sure they show up to the jobs on time. It’s actually a good opportunity for someone who’s interested in running their own business in the future — a good learning opportunity.
What are your goals for the business? What do you hope to achieve for yourself and the community?
I want to be known in Central Oregon, and throughout the state, as the preferred junk removal business and mover. That’s my goal. Whenever anyone thinks of a situation where they have to get something removed from their house, I want the College Hunks brand to stand out, and for them to know that they can call us for the job. I want to be able to not only have an office in Bend, but I want to spread out and have a couple different offices in our territory, so we can actually saturate the whole territory. For me, in the next few years, I’d like be able to not work in Africa and be able to be home full-time, networking and making sure we’re reaching our full potential.
Can you tell me why your service is needed?
A lot of the service providers that already exist are people that are advertising on Craigslist, and they might not be licensed and insured or background checked. The only other option for people in our area is to move the things out of their office and homes themselves, to the curb for the disposal companies to come pick up. But a lot of the people aren’t able to move the items from their house to the curb. So I think our service is needed because we’re a full-service company that’s gonna be able to make their day as stress-free as possible and take anything they need out of their house or office, their attic or basement, and dispose of it in an environmentally-friendly way. We also help the community out by donating primarily to non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, which we work really closely with in Bend. And all of the proceeds from Habitat’s sales go helping families out in our community. I think that’s a huge plus for our service.
Can you describe in a little more detail how the headquarters team helped you as you looked into the business and got ready to open?
The headquarters team was really helpful in getting me to talk to franchisees, and they helped me with the financing part of it. It was pretty much a whole package deal. They made it really easy for me to open up. And then coming down to Tampa for the Discovery Day was another huge plus. I brought my operations manager, and they took us to an operating franchise and sat us down with the manager there and went through his day-to-day operation and got down to the meat and potatoes of what it takes to run a franchise.
How do you feel about the direction of this brand?
I feel fantastic about the direction. I think that this company is just in the infant stages of what’s possible. I think they’re pretty well-known on the East Coast, but not so much on the West Coast, and with how we do business and moving and junk removal combined, I think that there’s a lot of potential for what’s possible.
Is there anyone else who helps you manage your business when you are out of town on a drilling job?
Yes, my spouse. Her is named Jennifer Carignan-Parker, and she’s my eyes and ears when I’m in Africa for four weeks at a time, working closely with Casey with the marketing and the budgeting and stuff like that. I do have two children, Siri, who is eight years old, and Slater, and he’s five.
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