Franchise Success: Transforming the Ordinary into the Exceptional

Brian with truck close


For Brian Scudamore, CEO and founder of multiple very successful franchise companies such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, WOW 1 DAY Painting, and his newest venture, You Move Me, Franchise Success is all about transforming the ordinary into the exceptional.  Brian’s franchise story started as he was having a cup of coffee at a McDonald’s before one of his college classes. He had been pondering how he could pay for college when he turned his head to look out the window and saw a beat up truck filled with junk. At that moment inspiration struck, and he knew how he was paying for college. Without hesitation, Brian bought a truck, printed some flyers and business cards, and within a couple of weeks The Rubbish Boys was born.  It would take years for him to perfect the concept before he re-branded to 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and began franchising, but by following through on that insight, Brian accomplished his goal of paying for college and so much more.

The genius of Brian is finding something as ordinary, and in many ways as useless, as junk, and turning it into a “sexy” profitable business that provides a great service to consumers. Brian is hooked on consolidating fragmented industries into strong service driven networks of successful franchises. I am fascinated by his mastery of branding: bold colors, creative names that stay with you, and many true and proven marketing techniques, all of which he backs with his commitment to high quality service to consumers and franchisees alike.

From the beginning of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, Brian knew he didn’t want to grow the business alone; however, he worked and learned from his mistakes for many years before he decided to franchise it.  He attributes his success to his ability to find the right franchise partners, and what intrigues me is how he goes about it. While most franchisors are searching for the newest lead generating tools, that is, the new silver bullet, Brian focuses most on what he knows works: High Profile Media Coverage such as CNN Money, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune Magazine, CNBC and others. Brian shares: “I have an in-house public relations team of five PR professionals and we focus on those high profile avenues that will put us in front of the right type of people. Our CNBC Power Pitch coverage of WOW 1 DAY Painting resulted in over 200 qualified leads.” Brian and his team also tap and take advantage of the newest marketing opportunities and they have a strong social media presence. Yet, they know what works and stay with that.

Like so many other franchisors, finding the best franchise partners has been Brian’s greatest challenge, perhaps because franchise success is so dependent on finding the right franchisees.  “We want people who will protect our brand, people will who fit our culture, and people who will follow our system.  In addition, we search for people who have the financial savvy and wherewithal to make the business successful,” Brian comments. “We believe that going to high profile media helps us attract inquiries from the right caliber of individuals,” Brian continues. “We then use a detailed interviewing process that includes behavioral based questions that help us identify those people who will be the best promoters of the business and who will provide the greatest customer service,” he adds. In talking with Brian I was impressed by the clarity in which he described his ideal franchisee profile. Having such a clear picture makes it easier to identify those candidates that meet the requirements.

Brian searches for those prospective franchisees who share his vision of taking the ordinary into the exceptional; people who have a passion for providing the best customer service possible and who want to have fun and belong to a winning team while doing so.  Once he finds these people, he makes sure that they are inspired to follow the system and that they are held accountable to do so. His staff meets with new franchisees several times a week to assist them in any way they can as they learn the business and run into challenges.

Given that my passion is training and supporting franchisees, it was easy to agree with Brian’s belief of what is required to replicate franchise success. Brian says: “To replicate success you must have thorough franchise operations manuals that break down every task and component of the business in a way that can be absorbed and implemented by franchisees.” “Your training programs must reinforce the best practices that are contained in the operations manual,” Brian continues, “and you must have the support system that helps new franchisees implement what they have learned.”

Brian believes that he’s got the franchise process down. He has already made and learned from his mistakes so as he takes on new ventures, he follows the template that has created franchise success in his other companies. “The key is to make sure that franchisees are making money and that they are doing so while protecting our brand and providing excellent service to our customers. We know how to do that. We don’t compromise any longer. We go for the highest caliber of franchise partner, we train them well and make them part of our culture,” Brian shares.

Brian’s advice to people considering franchising their businesses is succinct and powerful:

  • Make the mistakes and find ways others can avoid them;
  • Establish a track record; that is, prove the concept before considering franchising;
  • Have a clear vision and stay the course;
  • Make sure you know who would make a good franchise partner; and,
  • DO NOT COMPROMISE, no matter how much you may need the money.