Father-son Franchise: Q&A With Laurence Mann Of College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk
Father and son team up to bring College H.U.N.K.S. Hauling Junk to Charlottesville, Virginia
Laurence Mann has just launched his College HUNKS Hauling Junk and Moving business in Charlottesville, Virginia, but it’s not his first taste of the brand. When he and his father, James, were looking for business opportunities, they heard high praise about College H.U.N.K.S. from a family friend, Bradley Simmons, who opened a location in Charleston, South Carolina, last year.
Now, Laurence has his own insider’s perspective into why College H.U.N.K.S. is a strong, fast-growing brand.
Laurence, 23, a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama, oversees day-to-day operations for the father-son franchise. His father is a gastroenterologist who invested in the business to generate an income stream once he retires from medicine.
Their location serves Charlottesville as well as Harrisonburg, and Laurence looks forward to recruiting students from the University of Virginia and James Madison University as well as Piedmont Community College, which has already provided some great team members for the new business.
Laurence recently shared his story:
So, you are fresh out of school.
Yeah. I have been out of school since about a year ago. I finished up at the University of Alabama and then hung around Tuscaloosa. I had a fraternity brother of mine start his own business and I worked with him for 4 or 5 months and then got into College H.U.N.K.S. this past January and have been doing that ever since. I have been going through the training steps, and going down to the corporate office and meeting everyone and getting things together to get started.
What did you study when you were at Alabama?
I got a bachelor’s in restaurant, hotel and meetings management, so hospitality essentially. And I minored in computer science.
I would expect someone with that background to look at a restaurant or hotel franchise. Why did you choose College H.U.N.K.S.?
The restaurant and hotel businesses are definitely great businesses to be in, but in terms of getting businesses off the ground and staying successful for a long time, it is a little bit more difficult than you would think. There are a surprising number of restaurants and hotels that fail.
My neighbor and one of my best friends, Bradley Simmons, is a franchise owner with College H.U.N.K.S. down in Charleston, South Carolina, and he talked to me about it, and my father and his father discussed it as well. We thought it would really be a great business up here in Charlottesville.
Had you always planned to start a business after graduating from college?
My father is a veteran and I had actually planned on joining the military, but a health issue made that impossible. I knew I needed to find something else I really wanted to do, something I could really build. My father called me one day and said, “I’m getting ready to retire and I really want to do this College Hunks thing,” and he was pretty much going to do it with or without me.
It sounds like you landed somewhere great. Tell us, what has stuck out now that you’ve had the chance to get an inside perspective on College H.U.N.K.S.?
You see a lot of commercials where these big organizations say “we live our values,” and you know it’s really not true, and you can go online and read reviews by previous employees who say the company is nothing like the values they espouse. College H.U.N.K.S. preached their values and talked about them before we went down there, and I was like, “Okay, we will see when we get down there what the corporate office is really like.” To see the company and see they really do embrace their values on a day-to-day basis and they really want you to grow as a franchise owner, and really want your employees to grow as well on a day-to-day basis — it was just amazing, and it was something I wanted to be a part of.
You can go all the way down to the wingman on the truck, which is where most new hires start, and you find people who want to come to work and they want to be part of a positive work environment and they want to grow and learn from the business. They want to better themselves, and that is something that is important to me.
What do you like about the company so far?
Everyone I have spoken with — (Co-founders) Nick (Friedman) and Omar (Soliman) and my ramp-up coach — has been extremely positive. If I have needed anything — and I am pretty young, and this is all kind of new to me — everybody from the top down has been extremely supportive. They have always been there if I have had any questions.
What do you hope to accomplish with the business?
We obviously want to grow. That is not really any secret. I also want to have a positive impact on the community. The Charlottesville community is really open and friendly. Yesterday I was talking to my neighbor and he invited me to join his professional group that meets every week. It is also a community that cares about the environment, so the fact that we are such a green company and try to donate or recycle most of what we collect is a big plus.
What sets your service apart from competitors?
First of all, we are one of the most professional companies out there and we are well trained. These are guys that are professionals. They care about wowing the customers and they care about building the brand and helping people. At the end of the day, you are not just throwing out people’s junk. There might be some heirlooms or something that they really have an emotional attachment for. I think the guys in general really just care about the customers and like knowing they are taking the stress out of people’s day.
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