Anyone interested in the franchising business model, especially in the Vancouver area, should take keen interest in this article written about the history and success of the famous junk company 1-800-Got-Junk?, and not just because it was birthed here.
For the entrepreneurs, the most intriguing part of the article will be the David and Goliath aspect of how Brian Scudamore put his own challenges aside and courageously went the road less travelled. For the person who tried this path and lost for whatever reason, there is a deep-rooted, heart-warming and tear-jerking sense of ‘way to go, kid’ – like how you feel when the underdog hits the home run in a movie. It is usually followed by a kind of depressing feeling as we think about how much money we lost trying to travel a similar road (or even roads…). One thing is certain and that this is one of the most inspiring entrepreneurial stories because of the perceived ‘simplicity’ of the business. Anyone could start a business picking up garbage, couldn’t they? How is this any more revolutionary than the guy who picks the cans out of my recycling bin (without my permission please note) every Wednesday evening? For the student studying business, this should be their first chapter example. They should pose this question in bold italics at the top of the opening page. Then, they should have Brian Scudamore come in and blow their minds open with what it was really like building a large company. It would not be surprising if ninety percent of the students in that class were to drop out and change majors while the other 10% went on to build similarly inspiring companies.
Anyone considering any kind of business, should pay special heed to the following extraction from the article:
“When the time came to franchise, well-meaning friends and colleagues said junk removal could never be franchised.”
This is the first lesson learned in every business. Avoid well-meaning friends and family at all costs. Thankfully Mr. Scudamore was able to block out their noise.
Another important part of this story is how Scudamore was quoted as feeling like he was getting more out of building his business than from attending school. Our current education system is very much like our well-meaning friends and family. It tries to do the best it can but it’s built by people who are incubated and hatched in school where they where they set goals to eventually teach in them and ultimately retire from them. They do their best to teach the stuff they should but they fail quite notably to teach finances and business – especially in the arena of creativity and boldness. At what point were any of us encouraged to be different from each other? There are countless stories of getting penalized for such behaviour, though.
Franchising, as many have learned from reading our articles, is a very different business model compared to the corporate structure. The successful franchise (over the long term) is able to create legitimate win-win relationships. In a successful franchise, the Franchisee feels content when their Franchisor is making money because they are making money too. Although we have not even begun to investigate the satisfaction level of 1-800-Got-Junk? Franchisees, we would not be surprised if we discovered just such a synergy.
We look forward to hearing stories of successful franchising as 1-800-Got-Junk? grows.