The College Hunks Story
College Hunks franchise: a lesson plan in entrepreneurship and team-building
College Hunks Hauling Junk was born in the summer of 2003 when 21-year-old Omar Soliman spotted an opportunity to earn a little extra money to spend on the summer break. His mom owned a furniture store in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, and Omar had noticed that during deliveries, customers would often ask if they could haul away the old furniture. They were willing to pay $50 or more for the service. Recognizing a need — and determined not to spend another summer working a crummy job at the mall or as a waiter — Omar asked his mom if he could borrow her beat-up old cargo van and use it to offer junk hauling. Later that night, he sat down with his best friend since high school, Nick Friedman, and started coming up with names for the business. Omar tossed out “College Hunks Hauling Junk,” and everyone got a good laugh. Then they thought about it for a minute. You know, that’s actually a pretty good name!
Omar used his computer to create some fliers, and the next day he started putting them up in the neighborhood. That evening, his phone started to ring, and they scheduled jobs from Day 1. The business took off, and the pair realized that just about everyone had something they needed help getting rid of. Without experience or much of a plan, the business made more than $8,000 that summer. The taste of entrepreneurship was exhilarating, but Nick and Omar weren’t yet thinking about College Hunks as a career. They had always been told to study hard, do well in school and get a nice job working for someone else. They went back to school for their senior years — Nick at Pomona College in California and Omar at the University of Miami.
Winner of the Rothschild Entrepreneurship Competition
After the wildly successful summer, fate intervened. The University of Miami had just started the annual Rothschild Entrepreneurship Competition, which awarded a $10,000 prize to the best business plan and $500 to $5,000 for honorable mentions. Omar figured he could win at least $500 by writing a formal business plan for College Hunks Hauling Junk. He called Nick to tell him about the contest, and together they laid out a vision for a new type of junk-hauling company.
They knew what a ragtag junk-hauling operation looked like — that’s what they ran in the summer of 2003 — and they knew that most junk haulers were the same. But they had a vision to build something much better: a fully branded and systematized operation for serving customers, using a customer call center to boost efficiency. The centralized job scheduling would allow franchisees to handle more jobs more quickly, resulting in more profits. Marketing, uniforms, and an emphasis on “WOW” service would create a great customer experience ensuring repeat and referral business.
Omar spent six days putting the business plan together, dropped it off at the entrepreneurship office and headed to the airport to join Nick and their buddies for Spring Break. When he returned, he learned that out of 150 entries, College Hunks Hauling Junk had been selected as one of 20 finalists. He was invited to give a presentation to a group of alumni judges consisting of business owners from all over the country. And he blew them away.
When he received the first-prize check for $10,000, he knew that “College Hunks” — an idea born over a few beers with buddies — had become something special.
From award-winning plan to national junk removal franchise
When Nick and Omar graduated from college, they took the normal path at first. They both landed office jobs, where they quickly became unfulfilled. Nick spent his days daydreaming about controlling his own destiny and owning his own business. He started surfing the internet to look at franchises for sale. Omar landed at a health-care research company. He had half a dozen bosses, no clear direction and no path to high earning.
Is this really what they wanted to do for the next 40 years?
No. No! College Hunks Hauling Junk had been more fun, had offered more freedom and had shown that it could generate much more money than their corporate salaries. A few months after starting the corporate grind, Nick emailed Omar to ask what his timetable would be for launching the business. Omar emailed back that his timetable was now.
The friends fleshed out their business plan, created a checklist, created an LLC, opened a bank account and took out a small business loan to buy their first real junk-hauling truck.
Since then, College Hunks Hauling Junk has been growing exponentially. We have opened locations nationwide and expect to quadruple in size over the next several years.