Moving And Junk Removal Franchise Opens New Location In Phoenix
Q&A with new College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving franchisee Scott Harvin
Scott and Lori Harvin just made two of the biggest life changes you could ever expect: They moved across the country, and they launched a new business. And they owe it all to a couple of old TVs.
The couple moved from New Jersey to Phoenix in May. In June, they launched their College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk and Moving franchise, becoming the second College H.U.N.K.S. franchisee in Phoenix.
They discovered the brand while they were living in New Jersey.
“One afternoon my wife called me and said, ‘I have these guys coming in to take the two TVs away that we want to get rid of. Can you let them in and show them where they are?’ I said sure, and guess who showed up? College H.U.N.K.S.,” Scott says. “They gave me a really nice binder presentation, they had uniforms on, they were very polite, and they picked up the TVs and had them in their truck in like, two seconds flat. I handed them the check, and boom, they were gone.
What led them from one great customer service experience to the decision to start a moving and junk removal franchise a couple thousand miles away?
Scott recently shared their story:
What were you doing before you decided to become a College H.U.N.K.S. owner?
I was a commercial printer for 25-plus years. I started my original business from scratch from nothing when I was 20 years old and I built that up into a business that was doing almost $14 million in sales. After I sold that business, I ran a print brokering company out of New York City.
Why did you decide to leave the printing industry and start a moving and junk removal franchise?
I knew I wanted to look at franchises because I didn’t want to go through the process of starting a business from scratch again. I wanted to have the systems and processes in place. I did look at some printing franchises, but ultimately decided I didn’t want to get back into that industry. The printing industry has changed so greatly since I started in 1984 that it’s just hard to keep up with, especially with all the technology changes in the last 10-15 years, which require constant investments in new equipment. That’s when I started looking at other types of franchises.
After the great experience we had with College H.U.N.K.S., it started me thinking about that business. Then my neighbor across the street called College H.U.N.K.S. to have them take items out of her garage, and I was standing there watching them do that, and I decided to call College H.U.N.K.S. just for the heck of it.
What made it stand out as a business opportunity?
We pretty much looked at the numbers first, and the numbers looked pretty good. I showed it to a few people who I bounced the idea off of and they agreed, “Yeah, the numbers look pretty good, and if you can make it work it sounds like a viable way to make a living.” Then we started to get to know the College H.U.N.K.S. culture. We watched a lot of YouTube videos about Nick and Omar, and I loved their story because mine is kind of a similar one. I started my printing business with one press in my basement when I was 20 years old and they started with one truck from Omar’s mom when they were 21. I identified with that.
When we met them, Nick and Omar just proved to be really stellar guys. It’s amazing when you think about what they have done and the business that they’ve built, and I love their enthusiasm and I love the people they surround themselves with. After Discovery Day down in Tampa, we pretty much made our decision.
Then it was just a matter of finding a market. We were in New Jersey at the time, but we wanted to move closer to the West Coast. My oldest daughter is in Los Angeles, my middle daughter is in graduate school at Arizona State, and my youngest is working as an auditor in Tempe. So my wife and I started looking at areas where we could open in Nevada, New Mexico, and Arizona. We decided on Phoenix because it’s such a big, thriving city, that we knew there would be a lot of demand and room to grow. Another franchisee, Mike Neumayr, was willing to sell us some of the zones he had purchased, and now we’re building the College H.U.N.K.S. brand together in Phoenix.
When did you move to Phoenix to get ready to start the business?
I came out here in March and rented a house in Peoria, got it all settled, and worked on getting a warehouse and other preliminary things for the business. Since then, I went back to New Jersey to pack up the house, close on the house, load everything up and caravan from New Jersey to Arizona. We all got here in May.
How did you stay on top of the things you needed to do to get the business ready?
College H.U.N.K.S. gave us a 100-point checklist. I can tell you that the support that we’ve gotten so far has been very, very good. The people down in Florida at Brand Central are all fantastic. We’ve had nothing but good experiences with them. We’ve had a few bumps in the road and have had to call up for advice, and corporate has helped us work through it. So far everything has been fantastic. We find ourselves calling up, probably on an every other day basis, for one thing or another. We speak a lot with our ramp-up coach, and we have another contact that we deal with on a weekly basis.
What is your team like?
It’s primarily younger people like college kids, but we’ve had a few older applicants who are in their mid-30s or early 40s and who can bring some managerial help. We are not only just looking for the college-aged “hunks,” so to speak. We are also looking for people with experience to help us coach team members and help them deliver exceptional service.
What are your goals for the business?
Our goal is to create a viable living for ourselves. In terms of sales volume, it is hard to say exactly where the comfort level is going to be. We have 2 1/2 zones, and our zones are very large, so one of my goals is to open multiple warehouse locations so we can efficiently serve all the customers who can benefit from our service. I believe the revenue potential for each of those zones is substantial.
What’s the company’s culture like?
One thing I really liked about College Hunks was their core values, especially the emphasis on mentoring young people and building leaders by instilling entrepreneurial skills and helping them grow professionally. Hopefully they stay with us. I also look forward to working with local charities. You know a lot of time, the things people want to get rid of isn’t really junk — it’s just not something they need anymore, and we can donate those items.
As a former commercial printer, you specialized in helping other companies project a great brand image. What do you think of the College H.U.N.K.S. brand?
The brand identity is fantastic. One of their core values is “always branding,” and I think they really take that to a new level. The colors and logos are very strong, the uniformity of the company identity is strong, and their marketing program is very good.
They also offer some tremendous help, especially with digital marketing. I don’t have a lot of experience in terms of dealing with Google and all the pay-per-click advertising that you have to do now.
They have also developed smart guerrilla marketing campaigns that are great at generating business from Day One. When I was looking at other franchises, a lot of the time it would take a long time to hit a breakeven point. When I talked to College H.U.N.K.S. franchisees, I heard a consistent message that there shouldn’t be any reason not to hit break-even very quickly. Of course, every market is different and every person and every situation are different, but you hear that from enough people and you start thinking, “If they can do it, so can I.”
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