How John Bates Went from Wingman on the Truck to College Hunks Franchise Owner

A supportive culture and strong systems helped him jump from working on the trucks to owning his own business

Photo of Annapolis, MD, College Hunks franchise owner John BatesFrom the moment he entered the junk hauling industry, John Bates knew he wanted to own a business of his own. As he worked his way up through the ranks at the Washington, D.C., College Hunks, he saw the perfect opportunity to take the systems he knew so well and apply them to a franchise of his own. Bates, now a proud College Hunks franchise owner in Annapolis, MD, shared how he made the leap from working on the trucks to entrepreneurship.

How did you discover the College Hunks franchise opportunity?
Before I was working with College Hunks, I worked with a competitor for a year while I was in college. After college, I came across College Hunks, decided to apply, and started off as a wingman in the Washington, D.C., location. Then I moved up to captain. I kept moving up at that location for about seven years.

How did College Hunks compare with the competitor you worked for?
College Hunks was actually a lot different. At the competitor, we were pretty much throwing everything away, so it was pretty different for me to come over to College Hunks where we were trying to find a second home for items, trying to recycle or donate them rather than having them just end up in the landfill. So that was probably the biggest difference.

The company culture was completely different. At the competitor it was just about each day: get your schedule, go do the work. At College Hunks, we actually try to build a culture here. The goals were always made upfront to the employees so we always knew the company’s goals. We always knew the main goal, which is to provide jobs for college-aged kids and give them a place where they can learn about business and entrepreneurship.

With the other brand, don’t get me wrong, I had a good experience there, but it really was just a job. With College Hunks, it’s more than a job. There’s more room to improve. There was always somewhere else you could go from the position you were in. Growing within the company was actually one of the things that inspired me to work harder and harder.

What inspired you to make the move and become a College Hunks franchise owner?
Well, since I started doing junk removal I just knew it was something I had a passion for and I was good at it. Working with College Hunks kind of gave me a plan, since I had pretty much held every position except the General Manager position. So as I was working through the ranks, the whole goal was to eventually get my own franchise.

The cool thing is I worked at the corporate location in D.C., so I worked for Nick [Friedman, President and Co-Founder] the whole time. My relationship with Nick was pretty good, and once I spoke to him about my interest, he was pretty much ecstatic about it. He was really supportive in helping me meet my goal of owning a franchise. He onboarded me and gave me direction on a personal level to find the resources I needed and just to get everything running. He was really supportive.

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