College Hunks Franchise Pioneer Looks Back
From time to time, it’s nice to look back at where you came from, where you have been and how you have changed and grown as a business owner. It can bring a new perspective or a reminder of why you do what you do. Recently, College HUNKS sat down with one of our pioneer franchise partners to catch up.
When Nancy Ziatyk opened her College HUNKS Hauling Junk franchise in Hillsborough, New Jersey in 2009, the business landscape was much different than it is today. “I was the 13th College HUNKS franchise partner and the first in the Mid-Atlantic Northeast. I got in on the ground level, so it’s been a very interesting journey,” said Nancy, who is the sole proprietor of her franchise which provides only junk hauling and labor. “In the beginning, it was only me, one other junk franchiser, and a local guy in my area. We have succeeded by differentiating ourselves from our competition.”
Having spent 20 years in the international medical device manufacturing industry serving in various executive roles – including operations, sales, and marketing – Nancy understands what it takes to edge out the competition. It starts with selecting the right business model, understanding how to leverage the benefits it offers, and minimizing any negatives. “In my prior career, I learned a lot and wouldn’t trade my experience for anything. But I had young children and the travel for the job was too much. I wanted to start my own business to have more control over my time,” said Nancy, who majored in biochemistry in college and describes her approach to problem-solving as ‘logical’ and with a ‘science brain’. “I was attracted to College HUNKS because I have always been process-driven, with the ability and the flexibility to modify that for improvement over time. I can take a business process – like a franchise – and improve it for efficiency within the parameters of the brand. College HUNKS had the right business model and I could make it my own.”
One reason why the College HUNKS business model was right for Nancy is the value we place on mentoring, both for franchise owners as mentors to employees, and having company/colleague mentoring programs for franchise owners. Our training program also helped her significantly in getting her business up and running efficiently, she noted. “Throughout my career, I have always enjoyed hiring and mentoring people – helping them to realize their full potential,” said Nancy, whose franchise has between 11 and 13 employees during slower times and between 17 and 20 employees in busier times. “It can be challenging to work with employees – especially during hectic times – but it’s also very rewarding. College HUNKS’ core values of mentoring and seeing people grow have worked for me. I’ve had the privilege of employing many great folks who I have seen learn, succeed, and enjoy the time they spent working for my business. And we have stayed in touch when they move on.”
Combining business interests with community service and charitable contributions has been key to Nancy’s marketing efforts that are geared toward increasing sales, increasing her brand’s awareness, and differentiating it from the competition.
“Our program of donating goods and services to those who need them in our area has helped us stay ahead of the competition and differentiate ourselves,” she said. “To do this, I needed to invest in owning a warehouse – something my competition doesn’t have. I store much of what we pick up and sort through it to separate the contents according to what the big furniture banks and others accept.” This tactic enabled Nancy to help her community during the COVID-19 pandemic. “A government agency was rehabbing a large house for low-security inmates who were being given parole during coronavirus,” she said. “We were able to completely furnish this ten-bedroom house so it could open.”
Nancy also sponsors an annual 5K run to support the local YMCA’s ability to provide under-served families with daycare services. “We sponsor the race with advertising, and we set up and clean up,” she said. “We also provide the program it supports with monetary donations. It’s important to share the wealth.”
Over the years that Nancy has owned her franchise, she has relied on the College HUNKS leadership and growing community of franchise partners for advice and troubleshooting.
“Leadership has always been open to conversations and suggestions.” she said.
In all, Nancy has found her journey as a College HUNKS franchise partner to be both challenging and rewarding. “I now have the personal flexibility I was looking for in a career and I feel more in charge of my life,” she said. “I set my own hours and only get on an airplane if I want to.”
And the truth is, we’re thrilled to have Nancy as a franchise partner because just as she has enjoyed and grown as a College HUNKS owner, we have enjoyed having her on our team. She has earned the respect of fellow franchise partners as well as the College HUNKS team at Brand Central for her discipline, hard work, dedication to the brand, and passion for our core values. If you are interested in getting more information about owning your own College HUNKS location, contact us today.