How 1-800-GOT-JUNK Scaled Its Business Model
For years, the hauling business 1-800-GOT-JUNK? drew attention for its seven-minute daily "huddles," in which all 100 or so corporate employees assembled to exchange status updates. This check-in kept staff aligned as founder Brian Scudamore scaled his company from a single unit to a franchise operation with $137 million in sales and 220 operators. Today, the daily huddle serves the same purpose but for twice as many people. It's helping to align three companies: JUNK and Scudamore's new house-painting and moving companies.
Expanding into adjacent industries is obviously easier than green-fielding a whole new market. Processes that translate among companies make scaling smoother still. "In 1996, I read Michael Gerber's The E-Myth, and it taught me that people don't fail; systems do," says Scudamore. He spent the next 14 years optimizing systems--like the huddle--for JUNK, hoping many would be replicable in businesses he knew would someday follow.
Scudamore began by collecting the company's best practices for everything, including greeting a customer and closing a sale. "When we identified systems and processes that didn't exist, we'd decide how to solve them," he says. Scudamore wrote each process on a single sheet of paper. If it didn't fit, it was too complicated. By the time Scudamore launched WOW 1 DAY Painting in 2010 and You Move Me last year, the JUNK manual covered more than 200 processes, roughly 70 percent of which could be ported to the other operations.
Scudamore also exploited JUNK's infrastructure. The company's killer app is a homegrown booking-and-dispatch service called Junknet used by franchisees: Minimal adaptation produced Paintnet and Movenet. All three companies use the same marketing strategies--heavy on pay-per-click. And JUNK's call center expanded easily to accommodate WOW 1 DAY and You Move Me.
The result? Within three years of launch, WOW 1 DAY was a $5 million company. And You Move Me hit that benchmark in just six months.