Tell us a bit about your business?
1800-GOT-JUNK? is a full service junk removal company that helps people regain the space in their homes and businesses. We send out two friendly, professional crew members to collect anything from unwanted household toys, clothes and furniture to back yard rubbish. The items are always disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner; either donated to charity, recycled, or even sent to a reusable energy facility. 1800-GOT-JUNK? does a full sweep up after the job is done. I own the Adelaide franchise and am just preparing to launch the service in Perth. Other franchise locations are in Melbourne, Sydney, and the Gold Coast.
Why did you start up your business?
I had always dreamed of owning and operating my own business. I first fell in love with the 1800-GOT-JUNK? brand several years ago when I began exploring business options, but it was out of my reach at the time. Eventually, my wife and I made the big decision to sell our family home in order to buy a business. Call it serendipity, but within weeks of taking that step, I learned of the availability of a 1800-GOT-JUNK? franchise in Adelaide. I knew the people here were in need of a superior customer-service oriented business that would help them with one of our biggest challenges: disposing of all the clutter and unused things in our homes.
What are the major hurdles you experienced when starting up your business?
It’s a common belief that one of the best reasons to buy a franchise is that you are set up for success with tested systems. However, you quickly realize that success is actually up to you. There is a lot of risk in leaving a secure job, selling your family home, and knowing it will take a lot of days and nights of hard work before you will start to realize some profit. Like any new business I faced the major challenge of having to raise awareness about the value of a service and brand that my market wasn’t familiar with. Another hurdle was that I spent so many long hours in the first year or so working in the business that I actually set up my bed in the office and had to spend so much time away from my family! Fortunately for me, and the business, my family has been very understanding.
What tips can you give other SavvySME members that are thinking or in the process of starting up their business?
If owning your own business is truly your dream, create a vision of how that business will be in the future, never lose sight of it, and set goals against it to help forge a path to success. Join like-minded entrepreneurs or people you admire to keep yourself motivated and inspired. And be prepared to work very, very hard!
What made you decide to take the jump and focus on your business?
Once I purchased the business, I really didn’t feel I had any other choice than to have laser focus on it at all times. With so much at stake – my family and lifestyle, my employees, and my own dream – I was able to take that leap every day. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s definitely been worthwhile.
How did your family and friends react?
I have been fortunate to have a supportive family. Growing up, my Dad was Managing Director at Coca Cola, and later my parents started their own winery from scratch. So I have always been affected by the entrepreneurial bug. Being part of a family business has taught me have a strong work ethic and has led me to take my own step into entrepreneurship. I’ve always had great mentors! I couldn’t make this work without the support of my wife and children. They’ve been encouraging me and cheering me on the entire way.
How has your life changed?
I’ve realized a lifelong dream, so I feel fulfilled. It’s a wonderful achievement, but it comes with a lot of hard work, motivation, and sleepless nights. It’s crucial to keep a positive attitude going all the time, particularly in front of my employees and customers. It’s also very gratifying to change the lives of my customers – to see the smiles of relief on their faces when we’ve cleared a space for their hobby or passion. It’s extremely rewarding.
What success have you experienced since starting your business?
In 2012 my Adelaide franchise of 1800-GOT-JUNK? saw the highest growth in the entire system. That’s over 3 countries. My second year in business has grown by 108% over the first. I knew I had a stellar brand to work with and I knew my customers would love it, but the financial results can be attributed to those long days and nights I put in to get the business going in a new market. That’s what it takes!
What is the vision for your business going forward?
I am currently in the midst of moving my family to Perth to open my second 1800-GOT-JUNK? franchise. This is proof of my vision turning to reality right now! Going forward I will be happy to know I have delivered a fantastic customer service and experience that grows the business to its full potential.
What tips can you give other SavvySME about motivating yourself to push through the challenges that rise up while building your startup?
My tips for staying motivated during the tough times include:
· Ensuring you have a strong support network at home
· Surrounding yourself with positive, successful entrepreneurs
· Have a mentor you can consult with 24/7
· Create a clear vision of your business in the future; imagine how it performs and succeeds and revisit the vision on a regular basis
· Retain focus on why you started your business in the first place – recall your dream!
· Acknowledge that, in business, there are cycles of ups and downs, and if you truly have a great business in a strong market, you will overcome the downs and be up again