For seventeen of his twenty years in the U.S. Army, Master Sergeant Keven Elwood kept Chinook, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters in tip-top shape as an aircraft repair and crew chief with a Special Operations Aviation unit. He deployed seventeen times to places like Afghanistan, Iraq and the Philippines.
After retiring from the Army in 2016, his intent was to get out of the Army and get a nine-to-five job like everybody else. But then he saw an article on LinkedIn about how veterans don’t buy franchises.
“This is true, because we don’t want to invest all our nest egg during a difficult transition,” said Elwood. “I made an online comment that we didn’t want to lose all our cash and a company called The Entrepreneur’s Source hit me up and began to ease me into the idea of owning my own franchise.”
It wasn’t long after that he discovered College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving and decided they were the right fit.
“They had the right energy level. They had the right culture to fit my personality,” said Elwood. “The culture is impossible to beat. They really focus on their employees. The Building Leaders concept is extraordinary. I’ve spent my entire adult life building young people into great Americans in the military, and I believe that College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving can also build great leaders.”
When asked what misconceptions there are about the junk hauling industry, Elwood said, “I think that nobody wants a guy in a tank top and smelling like three-day-old garbage showing up at their house and moving their belongings. They want somebody professional. I think the industry has to come around to the College Hunks way of life. You’ve got to focus on the customer; you have to be 100% customer-focused. That’s the only way it should be. You have to be professional, be on time and be presentable.”
Elwood said he feels his military background offers him a great advantage over anybody else. “When hiring, the candidates I’m looking for are coming to me in the form of soldiers getting out of the military, transitioning into college in the fall. Generally, getting employees on board in the very beginning is very difficult for franchisees. My military service and my ties to that organization have probably allowed me to hurdle some of those issues most guys and gals have.”
Of course, running a business is very different compared to military life.
“I was in the Army, so that’s a little bit of a different challenge. Franchise ownership actually lets me sleep until probably 5:30 in the morning. That’s pretty good. It’s early to everybody else, but that’s 45 minutes late for me,” said Elwood. “For the first time ever, my enthusiasm and my initiative count towards me. Owning my own franchise allows me to grow both financially and in a business sense. In the military, no matter how hard I worked, I was stuck at that level. Sure, they gave me medals and all kinds of things like that, but it couldn’t reward me with what I needed most.”
Elwood has recommended College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving to a battalion commander friend who is looking into buying a franchise. “Just based on the process I’ve been through and seeing the culture, seeing the people, listening to the corporate chatter, listening to the chatter between the franchisees and the environment is as perfect as it can be for this type of business. I think it has a lot of potential for anyone who wants to get in and work.”