As children, we typically set outlandish expectations for what we want to be “when we grow up.” For me, my original goals were to become either a cowboy or real estate investor. In the end, I took the unexpected route of becoming the founder and CEO of an eco-friendly junk removal service… Quite far from the wrangling and financial work I once envisioned for myself.
Ultimately, what inspired me to take the path less traveled to the junk business was the opportunity to unite my passion for environmental sustainability with one simple consumer benefit: Convenience.
Simplicity is key – always has been, always will be
The year was 2004, and I was a 21-year-old student at the University of Connecticut. While studying abroad, some friends and I had a conversation during which one of them mentioned how he made $100 by hauling away a neighbor’s refrigerator. To that neighbor, the convenience that came with the young man lugging the old appliance was worth the price.
I realized this was something I could do in my hometown of Trumbull, Connecticut, as a way to make some extra cash, but I could take it a step further by ensuring the stuff I hauled would find new, sustainable homes. Upon returning home from that trip abroad, I began informing neighbors of my new business endeavor, which eventually became known as “The Junkluggers.”
My mission from the start was to take any unnecessary junk off neighbors’ hands and deliver it to local donation centers and recycling facilities, keeping as much out of landfills as possible.
From my very first job, I noticed the “junk” I was hauling away was often much more than that – it had sentimental value to my customers, and I started forming personal relationships with them through the business.
Put your business on wheels, and growth will follow…
Early on, it became clear that in addition to our eco-friendly mission, the convenience of my business model was an extremely attractive asset as well. Demand was high for professional manpower to take care of junk-hauling so home and business owners wouldn’t have to themselves. At the time, there was no other business like mine that made this process both convenient and eco-friendly as well as offered tax-deductible receipts.
With convenience as a main selling point, I knew my business’s success was dependent on mobility. After first borrowing my mom’s SUV for pickup, I finally purchased “Old Rusty”, a semi-reliable old dump truck that enhanced my ability to bring the business straight to customers. With the support of Old Rusty, The Junkluggers expanded beyond my hometown, and before I knew it, I was overseeing operations in New York and northern New Jersey.
As expansion continued, the time came for me to trade in Old Rusty for a vehicle made for my growing mobile business: the bright green trucks, still used today by The Junkluggers, which consist of industry-standard-sized dump trucks custom built to allow for a smooth junk removal experience.
With growth comes the opportunity to franchise
By 2013, our rapid growth made it difficult to manage all operations through one corporate base. If we intended to keep up our reputation for efficiency, we needed to adopt a better method for expansion.
The concept of franchising was foreign to me at the time, and I wasn’t sure how the mobility of our business would translate to expanded ownership. But sure enough, turning our business-on-wheels into a franchise-on-wheels was the right move, helping us continue growing without compromising service quality.
The modern necessity for business mobility
Fast-forward to 2019, and The Junkluggers is now celebrating its 15th anniversary. Our growing franchise network currently consists of around 200 employees manning nearly 80 trucks across the nation. Throughout the last decade and a half, much has changed, but our eco-friendly mission has remained. To-date, we have kept 50 million pounds of junk from landfills with a goal to send zero percent of reusable junk to landfills by 2025.
Had we not evolved to continue operations through franchising, we would have compromised the pillar of convenience our brand was built on. While the key services we provide may not be available through a typical brick-and-mortar store, we equip our franchisees with something even better for today’s modern market driven by e-commerce: a vehicle that is essentially a giant traveling billboard, which brings a necessary service straight to the customer’s doorstep while simultaneously giving back to the communities where those customers reside.
Looking back, I now realize the business I launched in 2004 was perhaps ahead of its time. The revelation I had as a young college student that “convenience sells” is an essential component of the business world today, and so is an increased awareness of our environmental impact.
As we advance further into the 21st century, I feel confident that demand for the foundational aspects of The Junkluggers will only increase, and I look forward to continuing to provide them through our growing network.
Interested in bringing the eco-friendly, mobile services provided by The Junkluggers to your community? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more on our franchise opportunities.