3 Secrets to Success and Junk

Posted by Pete Gilfillan and Nat Truitt on May 12, 2021 12:37:20 PM

Every franchise has its secret sauce to success. Peter Barkman from Junkluggers outlines the three key components their franchisees find the most helpful.

The guys talk about charitable donations, being green, and special partnerships that propel Junkluggers ahead of the competition.


Pete:                Well, welcome to the HIRE YOURSELF podcast; my name is Pete Gilfillian. I'm here with my good friend and business partner, Nat Truitt. And we are going to have a great podcast. Nat, you and I, we're all about business; you and I have been in business a long time.

And we like to help people really learn about business, but more importantly, put in a position where they can take control of the destiny live life on their terms. And in many ways, that's done through franchising or any type of business ownership for being an entrepreneur. So welcome, Nat.


Nat:                  Well, thanks, Pete. Happy Friday, or is it Monday? Or what day is it?


Pete:                It doesn't matter really from the standpoint. I know it was a big week for you, right? So I think it was your birthday this week, was it not?


Nat:                  Yes, we're pretty much ignoring that. I think I got over battled because my oldest son turned 16 and got his driver's license.


Pete:                All right. So you've lost your car, so we got that. I want to go back to the birthday here. So I think you're knocking on the door of a milestone birthday, are you not?


Nat:                  Not this year, but maybe next year.


Pete:                Maybe next year, right? Okay. So well, you're going to be joining the club. So we all kind of start going through that almost that mid-life crisis like, oh boy, I got to do something here. So is that starting to kind of stir up in you? About this, I'm going to get to the big milestone?


Nat:                  Yes. I have to admit; I joined two new health clubs in September. And I'm working out six days a week, and I cleaned up my diet. And I don't know if it's because of getting ready to turn 50 or because my 16-year-old is kicking my butt in the weight room. So I have to take it to the next level.


Pete:                So it sounds like you obviously got some kind of plan, right? So somebody doesn't go join two clubs and all this kind of stuff. So is there some kind of plan in place that you're kind of implementing as you kind of get closer to that? You said it 50?


Nat:                  I think the plan is to kick my own butt, and then just speed up my metabolism and clean up my nutrition, and just have more energy. It's pretty weird because so I've been waking up at 4:45 a.m., and my son is an early riser too, so we usually see each other in the kitchen.

                        And so I saw him down there, I'm like hey, you know the most the biggest productivity tool, George? And he's like, oh, what? And work it out. I'm like, I started working out, and now I'm kicking your butt. I'm up an hour before you.


Pete:                That's good. Well, I know you, and I have been to conferences. Dave Asprey, his conference that headstrong is author of headstrong. And I think there's a lot to that, this idea of this biohacking, wouldn't you agree?


Nat:                  Yes, I love that stuff. And I think the technology is so interesting, and you think about like that; I don't know if it's called me 23 or whatever it is, like all the DNA sequencing. There's so much data that you can really drill into and learn about yourself.


Pete:                Yes. Next thing you know you're going to want me to be doing this stuff; I don't know if I'm getting up at 4:45.


Nat:                  Well, I know you're a type a personality, Pete. So if you put your mind to it, you've got to be the best.


Pete:                I'm sure, absolutely. So you know what, I think I love the topic of this bio-hacking. So maybe we'll do another podcast just on biohacking, would that be?


Nat:                  Yes, that would be awesome.


Pete:                Yes. I'd like to pick your brain a little bit because I think I need to do something too. So I passed that milestone, so I don't have that in pressure. And I'm certainly not going to go join two clubs in the next week.

But the idea is I think that would be a great topic, so let's do that. Why don't we get into the meat of today's conversation. I get the distinct opportunity to bring in our guest Peter Barkman; he is with brand one. He is the franchise development expert of JunkLuggers. And JunkLuggers is in the junk room franchise, so welcome Peter.


Peter:               Hey guys, it's great to be here, thank you.


Pete:                All right. So you heard me jabbing at Nat a little bit about this idea that he's getting close to the big 5-0, right? I know you're pretty much into fitness and all that kind of stuff too. Do you practice some of that biohacking stuff?


Peter:               Yes. I've been a big proponent of fitness; I'm 53, so a little older than you guys. But I've been pretty heavy in the fitness, and everything from you names it like yoga to CrossFit type workouts, to, I ride a bike as well a lot with some guys. So I do a lot of different type of things; I try to cross-train, and that seems to work pretty well.


Nat:                  You're one of the early guys on P90X, weren't you?


Peter:               Wow, very good memory. Yes, that's what kind of got me rolling, guys. My daughter as a prima ballerina for the Washington ballet in DC, and when she was younger, I think she was maybe 15 or 16; she was really getting serious about her athleticism and about ballet. And I thought I want to show that her old man can be fit too.

So I started doing p90x, and what I learned in that really, and that really is all about the muscle confusion and doing different types of workouts. And I never thought I would, from that, I never thought I would like yoga; I thought that would be the one I would skip. But being an ops guy first in franchising before I got on the recruiting side, I spent, you got to follow the program in operation.

So I followed it to a T, and I found that the yoga part was the most challenging part, the part that I think gave me the best results. So yes, it's a good experience, and I've carried that forward through all these years.


Pete:                A great job. I took a yoga class, and they kicked me out of it. Because they asked us to do this thing called the downward dog, and the guy coming, because I've never seen anybody do it that bad before, how do you screw up the downward dog, but someway somehow, right? So I wasn't invited back to that yoga class.

So Peter, JunkLuggers the franchise concept, you're doing the franchise development, very interesting concept. I mean, junk removable has been around since really the segment was started by one inner gut junk.

I owned a junk roll franchise for a period of time. So the space is pretty competitive from the standpoint. And I love the space because I believe it's recession-resistant; people are always going to have junk from that standpoint. But when we talk about JunkLuggers, how long has JunkLuggers been around?


Peter:               Well, Josh, the founder, started, he was a wee lad in college, lugged a refrigerator, and the rest is history, that was in 2004. Pretty remarkable guy and he's really built a great business. 

And then he started franchising in 2013, but I think he's held true to his mission of being environmentally and socially conscious, and that seems to bode well with the target demographic that we're looking to reach. And it's a great differentiator for us.


Pete:                Okay. So he's been franchising for, I'll call it, seven years, right? So the idea is, it sounds like he's pretty methodical in building the infrastructure behind JunkLuggers, is that right?


Peter:               Yes. In fact, one of the things that I really like and appreciate and respect about Josh is he's very thoughtful about the growth. And I've seen this before with another brand that I worked with, where we didn't put the cart before the horse.

We got our operational house in order; we got sophisticated systems and technology and things like that in place before we started to go high-wide and handsome recruiting franchisees. And when you have those systems in place, then you have the opportunity to attract a much better level of franchisee.

And that's what we're seeing today with JunkLuggers. I guess patience is a virtue, and it's not always easy when you're a business person, and you're high sense of urgency. But it's paying off.

He's got folks coming in this business; we had a derivatives trader who was a very successful derivatives trader from London. His wife was a former chief marketing officer, and they bought a good bit of Boston.


Pete:                Wow. So serious professionals.


Peter:               Serious professionals, yes.


Pete:                So built the infrastructure, right? Has all the people in place, and I think you were telling me before we started that explosive growth, right? Now you guys are a lot of senior-level executives are moving into this space and becoming jungle under franchisees. So we're here, we're just talking here today.

But with all the competition in the space, I'd like to talk about what makes JunkLuggers different, right? What separates, or simply but what are the secrets? Give us the secret recipe today from a standpoint. So give me the first one, what's the first secret behind JunkLuggers, and what makes them special?


Peter:               Well, I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, no, I'm kidding. So the first thing for sure, if you look at the consumer side. So there's different things, from a business standpoint, what makes us special from a consumer standpoint, what makes us special? I'll start with that.

We are the socially and environmentally conscious alternative for junk removal. And you may say, well, there could be other companies that could just adopt that. Yes, they can, and they have tried to, but they didn't start out as that. They weren't from day one peace, love, and junk; they weren't from day one saving the world one lug at a time, green trucks.

And the thing that I love about Josh is there's a lot of integrity, a lot of character. He's putting his money where his mouth is. So he doesn't charge for, there's an aspect of the business called remix, where we lug stuff away, and then we resell it on Facebook marketplace, and it's a great profit center.

But he doesn't charge a dime of royalty for the remix business, which is unusual. I've been enfranchising for 34 years, and I had never heard of this. What are you doing not charging for royalty on this remix stuff? It's highly profitable, and the franchisees are making good money on it. And it's something you support in every way; why wouldn't you charge? Why wouldn't you charge? I'm putting my money where my mouth is.


Pete:                So the remix store basically keeps stuff from going to the landfill. So they take something, and they repurpose it and sell it, right?


Peter:               That's right.


Pete:                Is that pretty much unique to JunkLuggers? Having that remix?


Peter:               It is, yes. And in terms of it's making it a formal part of the model. And so that piece is unique, and what's very unique about it is the fact that we don't charge any royalty. And that was a conscious decision on Josh's part to show the franchisees he's putting his money where his mouth is.


Pete:                That's pretty cool. And from the standpoint is you don't have to have a fancy showroom or anything else like that. So this is more just resale or repurposing stuff.


Peter:               Yes, the crappier the warehouse, the better. Like you can get month-to-month lease type situation, they're not signing your life away on a five or ten-year lease, something like that. And you can be in a not-so-great part of the neighborhood because then it's a find.

People find it on Facebook, and then they go to this not-so-great warehouse, and they find this beautiful piece of furniture. And then they feel like they got it.


Nat:                  So is it kind of the scenario where JunkLuggers was paid by the homeowner to pick up something? And then they take it off-site to the warehouse? And then they actually get paid a second time?


Peter:               Yes, that's exactly right. And the thing that's interesting about this, and I just had this experience with JunkLuggers personally. My wife's father had passed away last year, and my wife's Italian, and she's one of five siblings. And it was very difficult for her to let go of all those that stuff in her parents' home.

And so it made it a lot easier for her to let go, for her siblings to let go knowing that that stuff made its way into some other family's home. And so part of the problem with decluttering is people are attached to things, and they feel like I can't get rid of this like I can't imagine this going into a landfill. Well, with JunkLuggers, you can imagine it going into the home of another family, where new memories can be made.


Pete:                Yes. Do you guys donate some of this stuff? I mean, so you can resell it, but what else do they do to repurpose this stuff or keep it out of landfills?



Peter:               Yes. So we do everything we can to keep it out of landfill. So it's either donate, recycle or upcycle, which is the remix and to resell the stuff that we look away. But the donation piece is a big one, and what's nice about that is we have a higher net promoter score than Ritz Carlton, Disney, and Apple.

Which seems nearly impossible, but let's face facts, the bar is pretty low in the junk removal space. So you can really wow the customer, man, just by showing up doing little things.

But the good feelings about JunkLuggers don't just continue through getting the stuff lugged away. A week after we lug it away, we send you a donation receipt. And that is just another thing that makes you feel great about the experience with JunkLuggers as a consumer.


Pete:                So the receipt actually kind of proves that you're doing what you're saying you're doing and keeping it out of the landfills?


Peter:               Thank you, yes, absolutely.


Pete:                That's great, all right. So eco-friendly, which we need, I think eco-friendly in today's world.


Peter:               Yes. It really resonates with a lot of people these days.


Pete:                Yes. There's a lot of people from standpoint of this green business. All right, so that's secret number one. Tell me about secret number two that separates JunkLuggers from the other junk removal franchises?


Peter:               Well, it's really this team that Josh has assembled more recently. And Christy Ferguson is the chief marketing officer, and she's world-class; that's just one example. Christy was with edible arrangements; she was with them when they had ten units to when they, all their explosive growth to 1200 units globally.

So she's like the real deal, but then you throw on top of that there's this partnership with contractor nation, and I'm going to do my best to kind of explain this. But I think if you can understand it, you'll see just how powerful it truly is. So Josh partnered with Larry and contractor nation.

Larry and Josh just hit it off, and they decided to partner. Larry's just an older, more successful shortly, maybe a little shorter than Josh, but they're cut from the same cloth, that's really it.


Pete:                Can you tell us what a contractor donation? Can you tell everybody what contract creation is?


Peter:               Yes. So what they do is it's a licensing thing, where if you're a contractor, let's say you're a plumber, electrician, or somebody like that. And you want to get out of the truck; you want to work on the business, not in it.

But you have no idea about digital marketing and all these different aspects of a business to be able to scale it. What you partner with contractor Lee nation, and all of these sophisticated tools and systems you now have access to. And he's transformed so many people's lives, Larry.

So now the JunkLuggers franchisees have access to all of these very sophisticated resources, namely the digital marketing arm of contractor nation called treehouse. This is world-class stuff. So you've got the type of sophistication of a multi-billion dollar company, coupled with all of the opportunity and wide-open spaces of an emerging brand.


Pete:                So contractor nation Pete, it's a license thing. So you buy the rights to be able to use the system? And I think you told me at one point the contractor nation they had their own like campus, right? Like a UNI, like that kind of stuff?


Peter:               Yes, like literally. I've been on a lot of cool corporate campuses. The coolest one I've ever seen is Nike; the second coolest one I've ever seen is contractor nation, it's unbelievable. JunkLuggers sits on the contractor nation campus, it's got its own building. But then there's other buildings that are unbelievable.

And so you really get a sense for the sophistication and the technology and the team that's behind JunkLuggers now. It's really very special, and that's one of the reasons why we're attracting an extreme caliber of franchisees; very sophisticated franchisees have been attracted to JunkLuggers.

And I've seen this before; I'm just saying. I've been with another brand where we had a lot of chuck in the trucks, and we replaced them with sophisticated business people, and that just took the business to a whole other level. And that's what we have now with contractor nation.


Pete:                Right. So contractor nation is this campus, right? It has these different buildings. So is each building a specialty one is for HR, one's for marketing, or tell me kind of as you talk about these different buildings, what they do for the contractors or the junk logger franchisees?


Peter:               Yes. So they have like an entire building that's dedicated to training and support. So there's a whole building dedicated to that, there's another building dedicated to digital marketing, where you've got a whole, it looks like NASA.

Like you go in there, and you got a bunch of really smart people that wake up, eat cheerios and go to work and look at Google analytics. And I don't even know what they do. I know those algorithms change several times a day, and they're so on top of that.

So you've got a really great team and technology that I haven't seen anywhere else, and I've worked for multi-billion dollar companies.


Pete:                Yes, so great campus. So being a JunkLugger franchisee, that the headquarters is on the campus, right? So tell us a little bit about, so you get support from JunkLuggers, but then you also have this whole contractor nation support.

How does that separate you guys? I mean, it seems like you're supercharging the franchisees, or you'd mention getting even stronger franchisees joining the network.


Peter:               Yes. So I think having these sophisticated systems and tools and marketing, our superpower is absolutely from a business standpoint is marketing for sure, and we can thank the digital marketing arm of contractor nation for that. That's a game-changer.


Pete:                Okay. So that is probably your third competitive advantage is this digital marketing.


Peter:               Yes. And having that, it's almost like the perfect storm because now you have the chief marketing officer who's dedicated to the JunkLuggers. She's not the chief marketing officer for contractor nation, she's the chief marketing officer for just JunkLuggers, Christy.

And then Christy and her team is interfacing with the contractor nation group, which is a much bigger group with a lot of tools and bells and whistles and things like that and technology, so it's really something special.


Pete:                Wow, that's very cool. I'd love to see that contractor nation campus, that's something else. Where's it located?


Peter:               It's hard to even wrap your mind around; you got to see it to fully appreciate it. I haven't seen anything like it; I was blown away.


Pete:                Got it. So you guys have your three competitive advantages that separate you. Explosive growth, it sounds like you guys are really starting to kind of take off.

And I believe that the industry is coming to you because as everybody's sat in their house for the last six months, they're trying to get stuff out they're doing things. And so have you guys seen a pretty good uptick? I mean, given we all kind of lockdown a little bit. But has the pandemic COVID-19 been good for business?


Peter:               Well, it's been incredible. And our franchisees are; we have calls every week with franchisees that validate this. And even the franchisees who are more chuck and a truck-type franchisees, it's crazy.

But if you really think about it, is it all that crazy? I mean we're an essential business. And people are, through this COVID thing, your home has become your sanctuary. And so you want it to be nice, and so we're all decluttering like crazy.

Shame on you if you've got a junk closet or junk drawer at the end of COVID, right? Oh my gosh. So this has been just a great time for this brand. It's so it's unusual to say that; it feels a little bad to say that, but we are accelerating, exploding through COVID, which is unusual.


Pete:                Oh, that's great. Well, congratulations on all your success. I'm looking forward to watching them take off like a rocket ship from that standpoint, so that's good. Well, Pete, it was a pleasure having you here today.

I'm very excited to watch JunkLuggers. I think those three things that separate you, your three magical secrets or specialty superpowers; I think you said. Really, I think has put you in a great position, and it sounds like you guys are ready to go.


Peter:               Yes. We sure are, it's a very exciting ride, and for those that decide that this is the right business for them, they're going to be a part of a success story. And it's exciting to be a part of that. I've had an opportunity to do that with a few other brands before, and it's a really fun time when you get all the right people together to build something great.

And what we really need is great franchisees, and that's what we're finding. So you'll be in very good company at JunkLuggers if you're an executive-level type person.


Pete:                Awesome. Well, thanks again for joining us and sharing all your great insights.


Peter:               It's my pleasure, guys.


Nat:                  Thanks, Pete.


Pete:                All right, have a great week.

Topics: Insider, Mindset, How To Build Wealth, becoming a franchisee, Podcast

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