Innovation That Matters

Got junk?

Work & Lifestyle

1-800-Got-Junk has managed to transform the not-so-glamorous business of junk removal into a branded, friendly and even fun experience.

Blue Afro wigs + Segways in the office + young, enthusiastic employees with a taste for fun = junk? Surprisingly, the answer is yes, and this unique formula is helping 1-800-Got-Junk? turn trash into treasure. The image most consumers have of the garbage removal business is utilitarian and industrial at best. More often, the phrase ‘junk removal’ conjures visions of feral-looking dogs patrolling razor-wire fences while men in dirty jeans and stained t-shirts unload cast-offs from rusty trucks. Not a good visual to sell a valuable service: after all, at one time or another everybody has stuff the Salvation Army won’t take, but very few folks want stains across the carpet when they come to remove that old couch, or risk back-breaking adventures by doing it themselves. No longer: 1-800-Got-Junk has managed to transform junk removal from industrial and unappealing to convenient, friendly, and fun. Now billed as ‘North America’s Largest Junk Removal Company’, 1-800-Got-Junk got its start when CEO and Founder Brian Scudamore had a tough time getting a summer job in 1989. He bought a used pick-up truck and started a junk removal service he christened ‘Rubbish Boys’. By 1996, Rubbish Boys hit $1 million in annual revenue; in 1998 Scudamore changed the name to 1-800-Got-Junk, and the first franchise was opened in 1999. 1-800-Got-Junk combines a tech-savvy structure with aggressive grassroots marketing to bring reasonably-priced junk removal to the masses. Snappy blue service trucks are designed to double as moving billboards, and employees wearing trademark blue Afro wigs attend local fairs, ride Segways through the streets, and even stand by the side of the road and hand out discount coupons called ‘JunkBucks’. Customers can arrange for pick-ups via their website or by phone (prices range from a minimum of USD $99 up to $498 for a full truckload: removal fees are the company’s main source of income, and the only junk the company won’t handle is hazardous waste). Internal coordination of pick-ups is done via JunkNet, their web-based booking system that is accessible to their drivers while on the road via WAP-enabled mobile phones. 1-800-Got-Junk is also eco-friendly: up to 60% of the junk they remove is recycled.


Springwise wouldn’t be Springwise if we didn’t see the global promise behind this semi-upstart: according to their website, 1-800-Got-Junk is now accepting franchise inquiries for more than 70 cities and urban regions in the US and Canada. Which means not only is this a great opportunity for North American entrepreneurs to get their hands dirty, but business geniuses in Europe and Asia-Pacific should be able to profit from this franchised approach (and learnings) too! So, send them an email or study the company in-depth and start from scrap, er… scratch! It’s another great opportunity to turn something mundane into something ‘premium’ by giving it the GRAND BOUTIQUE treatment. Not into junk? Then use this business idea as further input for your brain storming sessions: consumers are begging for services that will make their lives easier, at any cost!


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