December 20, 2014

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure: The (Franchise) Business Of Junk

junk removal franchises

The junk removal business has come a long way. The one-man horse and buggy business of old has been replaced by entrepreneurs who have been able to take advantage of things like modern transportation and technology.

Some of these intrepid businesspeople have grown substantial independent junk removal businesses. Some have used the franchise business model, which emphasizes things like tight business systems, branding, and local and national marketing programs to take their businesses to the next level.

Let’s take a look at junk removal, franchise-style.

The franchises below all have one thing in common: They focus on picking-up things that are no longer needed or wanted. Some of the things that are commonly picked up include:

  • Furniture
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Carpet
  • TV’s
  • Electronics
  • Computers
  • Printers
  • Pianos
  • Tires
  • Mattresses
  • Hot Tubs

As you can see, there are a wide variety of things that can be picked up, and in some cases, even recycled. Below are the top franchises in junk removal.

The Top Junk Removal Franchises

College Hunks Hauling Junk

Founder Omar Soliman won $10,000 in a Miami, Florida business plan contest, and after graduating from college, moved to Washington D. C. to turn the business into a full-scale operation. He (along with his business partner, Nick Friedman) did so well, they decided to turn their business into a franchise operation. They moved back to Florida, and in 2008, began franchising. Currently, they have 120+ franchises operating in the U.S.

As for the name, College Hunks Hauling Junk (pictured above), the partners wanted something catchy, and since they were still in college at the time…it worked.

Junk removal information from their website:

“We remove all non-hazardous items from anywhere on your property and always recycle, donate and dispose of them in the most environmentally friendly manner available to us.”

Total investment for a College Hunks Hauling Junk franchise ranges from $101,400 – $207,950.

1-800-Got-Junk

junk removal franchises

Brian Scudamore started his junk removal business in college, too. But, Scudamore dropped out of school a year before he was supposed to graduate, so he could devote his waking hours to growing his young junk removal business.

Scudamore is the guy known for bringing professionalism to a deeply fragmented industry. At the time, most of the junk haulers were guys with rusty, old pickup trucks who were running their businesses from inside their rusty, old pickup trucks. They weren’t very organized, and no-shows were commonplace.

The 1-800-Got- Junk model brought with it shiny, new trucks, and employees in clean uniforms. They’ve also strived to make the customer experience smooth. From their website:

“Drivers reconfirm each appointment with clients 15-30 minutes before the scheduled arrival time. Clients are booked into 1-2 hour time blocks so they are not kept waiting for a truck to arrive and a standardized price list is presented before starting any work.”

The total upfront investment for a 1-800-Got-Junk franchise ranges from $111,800 – $143,600.

JunkLuggers

junk removal franchises

By 2010, JunkLuggers had expanded into America’s most populous city with 35 employees and 10 trucks. They were hauling 40 tons a day during the busy season – Spring and Summer. And, that was before they became a franchise.

CEO Josh Cohen (pictured above) focuses on the recycling aspect of junk hauling. He’s aligned his franchise business (launched as a franchise in 2013) with several well-known non-profits that accept donations that can be put to good use. By 2020, JunkLuggers goal is to donate and recycle 100% of all the items they remove from residential and commercial jobs.

Another interesting thing I found on the JunkLuggers website was something that’s often talked about on realty shows, but stops there. It’s called hoarding, and JunkLuggers has a solution for it that comes across in a very human way. From their website:

“Every month, we help clean out multiple homes that could be classified as hoarding situations.  Through these experiences we have learned how to safely and sensitively use our expertise to help individuals and families step into a cleaner, more stress-free living situation.“

The total investment for a JunkLuggers franchise ranges from $79,200 – $113,000.

J Dog Junk Removal

junk removal franchises

While it’s important for today’s junk-hauling franchises to have tight business systems, superior marketing, and excellent customer service, there are other ways for a franchisor to stand out.

Check this out, from the J Dog Junk Removal franchise website:

“Our goal is to support the men and women who have served honorably or are currently on Active Duty or Reserve as well as military family members in our armed forces with an opportunity to own their own J Dog Junk Removal franchise business. Our business model is offered exclusively to Veterans, Active Duty, Reserves and their family members only and will provide a service needed throughout the U.S.“

There is certainly no shortage of returning military veterans these days. Thousands of our men and women are returning to the U.S. after serving (in most cases) multiple tours of duty. I’ve never seen a franchise being offered exclusively to veterans before. It’s a courageous move and I’ll be watching to see how their business model plays out.

My only concern has to do with money. Most of our returning veterans aren’t cash-rich. They’ll need to find lenders that will work closely with them to help them secure funding.

J Dog Junk Removal sold their first two franchises in 2013, and they’re actively seeking military veterans interested in franchise ownership. Total upfront investment ranges from $42.6K – $70.5K

Junk King

junk removal franchises

Junk King has big trucks. According to the information on their website, their trucks are 20% bigger than their nearest competitors, and that means more jobs per day….more revenue potential.

The Junk King franchise offers large territories, “king-sized” as they call them, and they’re 25 – 400% larger than their closest competitors.

Company founders (and childhood friends) Mike Andreacchi and Brian Reardon believe in recycling and their franchisees currently recycle over 60% of the junk they haul. Their corporate office even contains furniture and technology salvaged from other businesses.

Interesting fact: At one time, Andreacchi worked for 1-800-Got-Junk.

Their company line is that they offer a premier white collar business system in what is typically a large, fragmented blue collar industry. There are currently 50 franchise units up and running in the U.S. and Canada.

Startup costs range from $83,500 – $150,000.

The junk hauling business is starting to become more well-known, and I see it as a growing business for many years to come.

15 Comments ▼

Joel Libava - Franchise Expert


Joel Libava Joel Libava is the Franchise Expert for Small Business Trends. Joel, The Franchise King®, equips today’s prospective franchise owners with time-tested, proven techniques designed to increase odds of success. He does this through one-on-one coaching, and gobs of useful content that can be found on places like Small Business Trends, SBA.Gov, and his award-winning franchise blog, The Franchise King Blog . He’s been featured in Entrepreneur® magazine, and is frequently called upon by national media outlets and publications for his no-spin insights into the world of franchising.

15 Reactions

  1. Quite inspiring if you ask me. While it may take some knowledge to really process trash into treasure, it is not that complicated compared to other businesses. And with all the successful businesses in this field, it just further proves that making a killing in this industry is definitely possible.

  2. College Hunks Hauling Junk looks like a fun company! Kinda reminds me of Virgin.

    1-800-Got-Junk is a very memorable name. JunkLuggers and Junk King too.

    I wonder what the percentage is of female owners in this business.

  3. College Hunks actually inspired me to start a business similar to that here in Cairns, Although I don’t have a 100k to start it, we started with a small trailer, and now we have bought a truck! anything is possible!

    • Hey, good on you, Jeffrey, and all the best with your business! :)

      Have you told College Hunks they inspired you to start your own business? I think they’d love to know!

      Anyway, to your success.

      take care…

  4. Yep, I’ve emailed Nick Friedman to say thank you!

  5. If you look at each of these businesses individually, you’ll see that they each have their own competitive advantage.
    – College Hunks hires college students and uses a unique approach to management (autonomy-focused)
    – 1-800-GOT-JUNK is the industry leader in professional junk removal
    – JunkLuggers partners with non-profits and places a strong emphasis on recycling
    – J-Dog Junk Removal serves only veterans, active duty, reserves, and their family members
    – Junk King provides bigger trucks than the competition

    It’s clear that finding a niche in the junk removal industry can lead to great success, as it did for each of these businesses. Before you start your own junk hauling business, make sure you define who your target market is and what core competencies you want to leverage. This way, you’ll have a clear sense of how to brand your business and stand out from the competition.

    • Couldn’t agree more with you, Junk TR! If you want your business to be successful you need to target the right people with a service no one offered them yet. As a junk removal business, you might find it a bit difficult to think of a service that will stand out from the competition, but it’s not impossible as these big brands have shown us.

  6. Interesting read! We currently run 3 box type trucks and we often wonder if a franchise model is the best way to manage our growth. It’s good to see that not everyone goes down that road as they expand.

    • Tony,

      Franchising an independent business needs to be done carefully, and it takes a lot of money…to do it right.

      You may or not be ready.

      You need to ask yourself why you want to do it, because, it will change everything about how your business runs along with your role.

      The Franchise King®

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