Meet Brian Scudamore. Founder & CEO of 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, You Move Me and WOW 1 DAY Painting. He’s often described as a “serial entrepreneur”, which I feel is a bit redundant because every entrepreneur I’ve ever met has taken – or will take – more than one kick at the can. Success or failure, we’re mostly built to keep throwing stuff at the wall and see if it sticks. Some of us (Brian!) are better at making things stick than others though.
We sat down at Yew seafood + bar who are now hosting this series for us, and chatted over lunch and waters (no coffee today – it was pretty hot). Brian had the new albacore tuna salad that they’ve added to the menu and I the halibut burger with a side serving of their new smoked cod chowder.
I don’t know Brian’s net worth and I certainly wouldn’t ask somebody that the first time I met them (I’ve actually never asked anyone that), but the fact that he started 1-800-GOT-JUNK? while I was just starting high school (I’m 37 now) and has since turned it into one of the most recognized and awarded franchised businesses in North America tells you he’s doing pretty well. I only bring this up because I think it’s awesome that he arrived to our lunch by bicycle. He lives on the West side and cycles to his office on Great Northern Way every day, and he rode his bike downtown for our lunch. That told me something about his character. It also gave him and Chef Ned Bell common ground when he came over to our table to say hello (if you’ve been paying attention this week Ned’s CYCLING ACROSS CANADA and V.I.A. is co-sponsoring his journey).
If you’ve ever hired 1-800-GOT-JUNK? you’ll know that there are little things that go a long way to set them apart. Service is a key ingredient to their success and as someone who’s hired them to haul stuff away I can say that I’d hire them again first because of how professional they were and second because of those little things. One specifically was that after they had hauled my junk away for me the guys gave my son a little 1-800-GOT-JUNK? toy truck. They could’ve given us some magnets or a coffee cup or some crap that’d never get used (and that we might end up paying them to haul away one day!) but they left us with something that my son still has in his possession, and it’s now more than two years later. He was 3 when he got it and called it his “Hundred Got Junk” truck, and he still loves it.
I learned from Brian that the genesis of the second and third businesses he started were the direct result of experiences he had as a consumer of them. He got his house painted and was so happy with the company that did it that he acquired them, re-branded with “WOW” to reflect the feeling he had for the level of service he received, and went on to franchise it out. Similar story with the moving business only it was a not-so-great experience with some movers that had him thinking he could do better by starting You Move Me, and it appears as though he was right.
One of the last things we talked about was how his businesses are structured in terms of ownership. I was happy (and a little surprised) to learn that he’s still a 100% owner in 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and owns almost all of WOW 1 DAY Painting. He’s got partners in You Move Me.
And stay tuned for 429 more Coffees! Check out the caffeinated archive HERE.