CEO Interview with Brian Scudamore of 1-800-GOT-JUNK

Brian Scudamore is the Founder & CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, a Vancouver-based franchisor named one of the fastest growing companies in North America.

Brian started the company at the age of 18, after seeing an old junk hauling truck in a McDonald's parking lot. The young entrepreneur had a vision and saw an opportunity - he invested his $700 savings in his own truck and started The Rubbish Boys. 10 years later, Brian changed the business name to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and began to franchise as a way to expand operations rapidly across North America. After several years of hyper growth, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? now has over 335 locations in the United States, Canada, and Australia.

A leading entrepreneur, Brian has received wide recognition in the North American media and business community. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has been featured in over 3,000 news stories, including articles in Fortune Magazine, Inc. Magazine, Business Week, Entrepreneur Magazine and The Wall Street Journal. Crowning media achievements include an appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003, as well as the Dr. Phil Show, Rachael Ray, CNBC, and CNN. Brian also contributes a monthly column to PROFIT Magazine.

In 2004, Brian was inducted into the Young Presidents' Organization (YPO) and served as a board member for the Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (YEO). Recently Brian was very honored to have been named the 2007 International Franchise Association's Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2005 he was named one of the Globe & Mail's Top 40 Under 40 Canadian Business Leaders.

As a public speaker, Brian enjoys engaging both large audiences and small groups. He has been a featured speaker at Fortune Small Business Magazine's national conference. A strong believer in personal and professional development, Brian graduated from MIT's three-year Birthing of Giants program, and subsequently completed three years of MIT's BOG's alumni program, Gathering of Titans. He has also taken part in the first of a nine-year executive education program at Harvard University through YPO Presidents' University.

How were you able to set up 236 Franchises at such a rapid pace?

It really wasn't that rapid. It took me 10 years to franchise. Then seven more years to get to where we are today. Everything takes time and patience. I only did one franchise in my first year of franchising in 1999 and three more in 2000.

What systems did you put in place in order to make this achievable?

I followed the advice of the book the E-Myth, by Michael Gerber. Best book ever!

In the mobile storage business lots of capital is required in order to expand and that is where we are stuck. The banks here just won't budge.

They wouldn't budge for me either. I did it slowly and from cash flow. Our company has grown tremendously over the past year and we have almost tripled our performance and sales. As of now we have hit a plateau and can't grow anymore without funding.

Another question I have, is how were you able to brand 1-800-GOT-JUNK? so incredibly? Everyone and their pets know what 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is!!

Patience and time. 17 years!

I also find it unbelievable how you manage your staff and your workplace. When I read the article about the Starbucks cup it was very motivating to try and allow the staff here to kind of branch out on their own and allow them to do what they feel is necessary for the company.

The key is engaging your team. Empowering them to come up with mini visions of their own and making sure you have a clear vision yourself, that you have shared with your team and that you stick to. Things are easy when you have the right people. That's the key.

We are trying to come up with the ideal scenario for a franchisee and how to operate all franchises throughout Canada when we do start selling them. What systems have you put in place to track all franchisees and their revenues?

My advice - take time to franchise. Waiting 10 years and perfecting the systems was the best thing I ever did. Hard to wait, but wise.

As for PR, how are you able to receive so much attention from the press?

It's about enthusiasm and energy. I share my excitement with the press and I tell them a focused, clear story.

I have sent out thousands of emails and fax's with a press release I have created and I can't get the attention of anyone.

Pick up the phone and call them. Press releases are a waste of time in my mind.

Do you feel it is necessary and or rewarding if I were to hire a PR agency?

I hired and fired three, then started doing it myself with killer results.

What kind of things allowed you to succeed in business and what helped you get your feet off the ground? We are stuck at the first step here, in an industry that is so new to Canada and has so much potential. I don't want us to get behind and have our competition get through the door first.

Competition is a good thing. Don't sweat it. We need more in our market to help build the industry.

Good Luck!!

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