CEO Q&A with Nick Friedman of College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving
Surname: Nick Friedman
Brand: College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving
Segment: Moving & garbage disposal
Locations: USA, Canada
How has Covid-19 affected your brand?
Fortunately, we are seen as an essential business that allows us to operate at full capacity. However, business demand has declined, whether it is because of home orders (fewer people are moving) or because some people are more price sensitive with the decline of the economy. Our normal basic marketing efforts are no longer as effective, so we’re finding and testing new strategies to increase our visibility.
What are you doing to help your franchisees do this?
We have deferred royalties for the last two weeks of March to recoup them from August 1st, and waived our call center flat fee and advertising fund for the last two weeks of March. We are working actively with our supplier partners to offer deferrals during this time. We also share any government support information, bank support information, and other utility programs that we learn about with all locations as soon as possible. Most importantly, we’re communicating more than ever to make sure everyone is focused on the areas where they can have the greatest impact.
How do you support your company employees?
By giving them all the tools and resources they need to work remotely without losing our vibrant culture. We also provide resources and training to our employees through professional development such as Dale Carnegie training, as well as additional support and programs such as virtual meditation and yoga classes with Zoom.
What do your franchisees do for their customers?
Our franchisees follow all CDC regulations and more. In addition to disinfecting the trucks before and after the move, wearing protective equipment (gloves and face masks) and social distancing, we have also implemented a contactless pick-up offer on the waste disposal side. This way customers can put their unwanted items on their curb and we will pick them up without having to interact with the customer in person. On the other hand, we have just started a program to support victims of domestic violence. Domestic abuse has increased due to the stay at home order. Our franchise partners offer these victims free moving services. To get help, they need to contact the authorities and a local animal shelter. This ensures that the client is safe and supported throughout the process.
How do you work with your suppliers?
Our suppliers have offered us different levels of support. For example, our credit card processor has reduced transaction fees for our franchise partners. We are in constant communication with marketing providers. We continue to share messaging ideas, tactics, and strategies to improve our marketing efforts. We have applied for some deferrals for truck payments or rentals on behalf of our franchises.
How do you see the future of your brand, business, market, etc. after Covid-19?
It’s all about your mindset. The companies that want to stay open, grow and innovate are the companies that will stay ahead. During the apartment crash in 2008, there was little demand for rubbish removal. We have thought about the core of our business and what we really have to offer our customers: trucks, workers and quality service. With that in mind, we launched the moving side of the business and fueled our growth. It’s this kind of mindset that sets companies apart. Now is the time to customize and expand (or improve) your business offerings. Instead, when companies stop their marketing efforts to save some money, they in turn give the marketing share to the companies that are not afraid. College hunks will continue to hold out and grow because we have the courage and passion to succeed no matter the situation. We pride ourselves on being focused, value-based, socially conscious, technology-based, and obsessed with results. Our culture and values remain unchanged as our strategies and tactics evolve.