Back in 1989, Brian Scudamore was just out of high school when he started a company to remove all sorts of trash that the garbage collector wouldn’t take. Since then, he’s developed a network of franchisees and embraced the Web (with an e-commerce system called JunkNet) to keep his fast-growing operation free of clutter. The result: a booming business, 80,000 truckloads of junk, and more proof that one man’s garbage is another man’s gold.
Founder and CEO, 1-800-GOT-JUNK?
Vancouver, British Columbia
Additional Team Members:
Cameron Herold – VP of Operations and Franchise Support
Laurie Baggio – VP of Franchise Development
Shirley Quinn – VP of Client Services
Hendra Sondjaja – VP of Finance
Roman Azbel – VP of IT
Tyler Wright – Public Relations and Franchise Support
FROM BRIAN’S ORIGINAL ENTRY:
Tell us what you do (or what your team or organization does) and the specific challenge you faced.
I started a junk removal company straight out of high school. We’re a full service junk removal company that takes anything the city trash haulers and organizations like the Salvation Army won’t take. Ten years later we started franchising. We now have thirty Franchises and 250 staff across North America, a successful boilerplate franchise system, and a ‘dream team’ Leadership Team, on track to create the world’s largest junk removal service and the FedEx of Junk. Our biggest challenge was building an infrastructure to grow quickly and properly. We had to decide who to keep on the bus, who to get off the bus and make sure everyone was in the right seats. Now that we are–we’re focused like lasers.
What was your moment of truth?
My moment of truth was reading the “E Myth” by Michael Gerber. The book’s main topic is “People don’t fail, systems do.” In order to double our revenues annually our systems had to be in place for every single area of the business at every level. Building the company and systemizing every aspect of it as if we were going to franchise it was a challenge as it started years before. We decided we might as well take advantage of the systems and really go for super growth. We did focus on systems, and that’s one of the key reasons we are where we are today. The mantra ‘People don’t fail, systems do,’ changed the way we do business and allowed us to work together to really focus on growth. (The exact date? 7/9/1995)
What were the results?
In the past three years, we were able to add thirty successful franchises that are becoming reliant on a system that we created on our own. No one has ever franchised junk removal, so we had to make up a lot of it. 2002 will be an $11 million year and 2003 forecasts are double that, with many more franchises starting soon.
What’s your parting tip?
Build systems. And focus like a laser.