College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving Debuts in Canada
College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving is now officially an international brand! Leon Kassian opened his business last month in Edmonton, in the Canadian province of Alberta.
Leon, 49, is already a successful entrepreneur who has owned a dental implant clinics for 20 years, but he was eager for a new challenge, as well as a business that would be easier to grow and simpler to market. His new moving and junk removal franchise serves the entire metro Edmonton area, three zones in all, with about 1.3 million residents.
So how did a dental implant specialist decide to start a moving and junk removal company?
This is his story:
What was your career before starting your College H.U.N.K.S. franchise?
I’m a denture implant specialist, so talk about a 180! I’ve been doing that for 20 years. I actually had three clinics at one time, and I sold a couple of them so I just have one now. Luckily, I can budget my time however I like, so I have been able to spend a lot of time working on College H.U.N.K.S. For instance, I might book my day until 2 p.m. to work on College H.U.N.K.S. My plan to is wind down the other business as College H.U.N.K.S. takes off.
How did you decide you wanted to do something different?
I was just not feeling challenged anymore, and the work had become monotonous. You’re doing the same things thousands of times, over and over. It was also hard to grow the business beyond a certain point. So, I was looking for something that could offer more variety and opportunity.
How did you find out about College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving?
Q&A with Leon Kassian, franchisee who brought the moving and junk removal franchise to Edmonton, Canada
My sister and brother-in-law, Barb and Dave Betzko, bought a territory in Houston, Texas, a little less than a year ago, and I thought it was a very cool idea. I didn’t think about it for myself at first, but then one day I remembered a time when I called some people out to my house to get some stuff, and their truck looked like it was going to break down in my driveway. The guy was this unkempt, small little guy and I ended up having to help him load the truck. When I thought about that experience, I realized there is nobody around here that offers the type of service College H.U.N.K.S. provides.
Once you started considering a College H.U.N.K.S. franchise, what stood out about the opportunity?
The possibilities to scale the business are endless. When you look at some of the places in the States, they have done very well. Not only is there great growth potential, but there are so many ways to get out and do marketing, and to get out into the community. There are some types of marketing you can do with a College H.U.N.K.S. franchise that are fun and effective, but would be tacky if you were trying to market dental implants. You just have more freedom to get out and try stuff and see what is going to work to push growth for your business.
What makes this business easier to grow?
There is so much demand. People have stuff. People move all the time. And it’s a service computers can’t replace. Unless everyone decides to get rid of all their stuff permanently, we should do pretty well.
What do you see as the strengths of the organization?
I love the enthusiasm with all the people there. That was great. Technology was a huge thing for me, too, and I liked seeing how they were leveraging the internet and software to manage customer inquiries and book jobs. You just have everything at your fingertips.
How would you describe the quality of support you’ve received from Brand Central?
The training was excellent. You could easily add a few days to that week because there is so much material, but as you know, when you go through intense training you’re lucky if you remember 15% of what you are taught. Since we launched, there have been a few kinks — postal codes are different in Canada, and since I’m the first franchisee here, we’re finding ways that not all the systems work perfectly yet. We’re ironing that out.
How has the brand been received so far?
Pretty cool so far. I had a 2½-hour meeting with the director of Goodwill for the whole province of Alberta, and she absolutely loved the service we offer and our commitment to donating reusable furniture and other items. I also had a meeting with Habitat for Humanity which went great. They will be stopping by our location twice a week to pick up items they can use.
College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving has a mission to “Move the World” by offering great service to customers, to the community, and to employees. Tell us about that last part.
We are hiring future leaders. The first five employees I hired are all studying business at MacEwen University. This gives them real-world experience and skills. I have one team member who wants to be an accountant, so I am going to get him on Quickbooks. One of my team members — my operations manager — already has a couple of years of business under his belt and wasn’t as keen on school. He wants to be part of this business and help me grow it. That’s great, but I made a deal with him to keep taking some correspondence classes. My marketing manager is a university student, too, and she has helped arrange some key meetings to help us build relationships, like with Goodwill and Habitat.
What is your goal for the business?
My ultimate goal is to open more locations in Edmonton, and then expand into Calgary. Short-term, my goal is just to become well-known so when people think of moving, they think of us without having to even do a Google search.
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