Successfully Opening College HUNKS Locations During COVID-19
Even amidst the COVID-19 shut-downs of government and business, College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving’s newest franchisees opened their locations and prevailed over the many challenges the pandemic has presented. As soon as issues related to COVID-19 emerged, the team behind College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving jumped into action and started offering added special support to the newest members of our national family of 130+ franchisees. As a leading stress-free junk removal and moving franchisor, we worked to accomplish this even as we found ourselves pivoting to tweak our successful business model to assist customers and franchisees during these challenging times.
As a company, we adjusted our business model to limit the spread of the virus in several ways, including offering curbside junk removal pickups and phone payment for services. Extra support was also offered to franchisees from home/virtual settings and included the services of our Sales Loyalty Center (call center) who were ready to address customer concerns and questions regarding their already-scheduled services. College HUNKS’ Brand Central office continued to provide full support, including onboarding, pre-training, and training to our newest franchisees so that they could complete these processes and be ready to launch as soon as possible. These efforts remain in place.
As franchisees open, we are in constant communication with them, with the latest version of that being a questionnaire that they were invited to complete detailing the challenges they have felt over the last several months, their successes, predictions for their future success, and whether they are receiving the help they need from Brand Central.
Grant Bloom, the proud new owner of the College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving in Manchester, NH, made good use of the shutdown time. “I believed that although it may not have been an ideal time to open a new business, every challenge has opportunities that you can exploit, which is what I intended to do,” Grant said. “As I saw the opportunity to recruit some talented people that may have lost a job or been searching for a new career. In terms of my competition, I saw a lot of the competition scaling back or dialing down operations/marketing efforts. This provided a great opportunity to establish a good foothold in my market by marketing aggressively.”
He added that, despite COVID-19, his first few months in business have been great. “We have far exceeded our monthly revenue goals, which were set before the onset of COVID-19, every month so far, and have been extremely busy as an organization,” Grant said. “I have a solid team, specifically I hired an Operations Manager, Ian Weeks, who is also a Veteran and has been with me every step of the way in terms of helping to scale our operation.”
What helped Grant overcome the challenges of continually making sure that customers felt safe using HUNKS’ services and launching a new business was the franchiser’s support. “Over-communication has been the most critical aspect in navigating these challenges. My [employees] communicate issues and potential inefficiencies that occur during the day or on a specific job to my Operations Manager and myself, and it has been critical to listen to this feedback, find solutions, and then develop either new or more refined processes. It is a continual cycle of improving a little bit each day, by constant two-way communication,” he said. “The franchise has been invaluable in helping refine these processes. With 130 plus franchise owners out there, it is a guaranteed thing that any problem I face has been faced by multiple other owners before. College HUNKS is great about taking these lessons learned and disseminating them throughout the organization, so we are able to learn from each other’s mistakes and continually improve.”
Grant, who is highly optimistic about his prospects for the future, is already experiencing the benefits of owning a College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving franchise. “I think that when everyone was locked in their homes during the initial lockdowns, people had a lot of time on their hands to declutter, which provided a huge demand for junk removal services. I do not believe we would have been as busy as we were if it were not for COVID-19,” he said. “I am seeing positive effects on the move side of our business as a lot of people are moving out of cities and urban areas into more rural locations. We have been open for 130 days and have conducted 244 moves, or move labor jobs, in that short period since the end of May. Based off our numbers, it seems as though COVID-19’s effect has been minimal if non-existent.”
Jarid Ison, who is a new College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving franchisee in Douglasville, GA, credits the resiliency of the junk hauling and moving industry for his success during the lockdown, along with his being active in his local business community. “We have been fortunate, with business continually growing. And we are still expanding,” Jarid said. “We have set a few records within the brand, and have also become a well-known service provider in the community.”
Finding all the employees he needs to handle his active business has been Jarid’s biggest challenge. But he notes that he has received substantial support for his launch from his College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving coach and fellow franchisees to work toward solutions for his growing pains. “The advantage of buying into a franchise is the support and a proven model of success. Rather than having to figure it all out by myself, the franchise has been there to provide support, guidance, and even to act as a cheerleader to help celebrate the wins – no matter how big or small,” said Jarid, who aims to continue breaking revenue records with his franchise. “Also, other franchise partners within the network have reached out to show their support and provide assistance, if needed. Having a dedicated coach that I can reach at almost any time of day has also helped a great deal, and she has quickly become part of our local family even though she is based in Tampa.”
Brothers Brad Ackman and Jeff Ackman, who own the new College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving franchise in Port St. Lucie, FL, were apprehensive about launching their business during COVID-19, but credit the support of the company’s franchise community for providing needed encouragement. “After almost a year of planning and research, we came up with an April 2020 date to open. We had both recently left our careers to start our business and we didn't feel we could wait another year,” they wrote. “We also had signed a commercial lease, purchased trucks, etc. We could have tried to find a job for the time being, but our focuses would have been ‘when should we go ahead and move forward.’ We felt if we didn't move forward now, we would just be a year behind.” They opened their business as planned.
“The first few months were a little uneasy, speaking on the personal side. At 27 and 29 years old, we had our moments where we looked at each other and thought ‘how is this going to play out?’” the brothers wrote. “The last two weeks in April were very slow, but we kept our attitudes up, worked hard, and the next two months we grew month over month. And we have grown ever since.” To get the word out that they were open during the shutdown, they drove their bright HUNKS orange and green trucks throughout the Treasure Coast’s neighborhoods and on its main roads. They also made the modifications for providing services and for receiving payment consistent with College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving’s COVID-19 protocols.
“We have navigated challenges by allocating more resources to marketing. We have invested in 'boots on the ground' marketing where we are coming to [customers] with flyers offering coupons to help with the cost of a move and junk removal,” they wrote. “The support from the franchise has been the best part of determining how we can reach the Treasure Coast. The franchise has provided us with an outline of marketing tactics that not only gives us ways to add marketing but also allows us to rate how we are doing and areas we can improve. Without this, we would not be able to come up with such broad ideas to diversify our marketing. The in-depth feedback and tips and tricks to these strategies have helped us the most.”
The brothers’ marketing efforts are working well, but their greatest sell is their satisfied customers. “Hands down, it is the number of referrals and word of mouth marketing that has helped us through these past 7 months! Once one person finds out how great our team is, it has spread like wildfire around the Treasure Coast. We have clients on our social media sites commenting,” Although good social media reviews are helpful, they agree “While we have great Google Reviews and positive Internet feedback, someone you know personally telling you how great their experience was, or someone they know, means much more than a review online. It has helped us become the best Treasure Coast moving and junk removal company.”
And it doesn’t hurt to have a “Hunky” mascot touting your services. “The amount of honks and waves we get from our mascot CJ HUNKSman waving to cars on the side of the road shows the Treasure Coast wants us to be seen in their neighborhoods,” the brothers note. “CJ can be seen dancing and waving to cars all around town during lunch hours and the afternoon rush.”
Ready to join College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving’s 130+ successful franchisees?
Coming off of a banner financial year in 2019 that saw the company hit the benchmark of $100 million in system-wide revenue, College HUNKS Hauling Junk & Moving is currently offering over 400 franchise territories available in the United States and Canada. These include incredible opportunities are up for grabs in areas such as Boston, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Dallas, Memphis, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and San Diego. Contact us today to learn how you can be part of one of the top franchise businesses in the nation.