Brian Scudamore, centre, believes
his company’s most important
asset is its motivated employees.
“I know there are a lot of people here who
are smarter than I am,” he says. “If I micro-
manage, I’ll get in the way of them doing
whatthey’regood at.” The ultimate goal hitting $1 billion in sales and building a
ness magazine, Scudamore says it was “neat.”
“The [awards] I get excited about are the
ones naming us best company,” he says. “I
want the team to go, ‘We’re the best company
to work for.’ I appreciate recognition, but I’m
more about the team.”
The employees have been able to do a
lot of cheering, as the human-resources
firm Watson Wyatt named 1-800-GOT-
JUNK? the “Best Company to Work For” in
British Columbia in 2004 and 2005.
Regardless of how big the company
grows, Scudamore insists on keeping it private to retain control. But, he adds, the vision
is the only thing he really controls.
KIM S TALLKNECH T PHO TOGRAPHY
One way Scudamore inspires his employ- At the Junktion’s call centre, words global brand that’s admired for how it was
ees to put their best into the business is by hav- such as “superb,” “terrific” and “sensational” built, how it is run and the service it provides.
ing a profit-sharing program. At the end of are painted on the walls to serve as additional Until then, the writing is on the wall:
each year, 25 per cent of the company’s profits inspiration for employees who book and Generate system-wide sales of $100 million
are split among the employees. The profit- track junk-removal jobs. Just outside the call by the end of 2006, $420 million in sales by
sharing plan is part of the company’s history centre is an open space where all employees the end of 2009 and $1 billion in sales with
of cost-cutting measures—such as using office meet every morning at 10:55 for “the huddle.” franchises in 10 countries by 2012.
equipment it’s been hired to remove and shar- The five-minute meeting is a chance to go “The goals are out in the open so that
ing hotel rooms on business trips. The new over goals and share good news—profes- employees will think, ‘I can impact us posi-Australian operations were set up entirely over sional and personal. tively,’” says Scudamore. “I want everyone to
the phone, e-mail and the Internet. The goal everyone is working toward is know that’s what they’re part of.” C
conference call where matters such as
scıence royalties and start-up investments are
discussed. Then candidates are asked to
do a market study of their area. After that,
candidates have a conference call with
BRIAN SCUDAMORE’S junk- other franchise partners and are encour-removal business had been hauling aged to call any franchise owner to ask
off people’s unwanted stuff for 10 years what being a partner is like.
before the first franchise opened in 1999. Costco member Jatinder Sehmi, a
By that time, Scudamore had spent nearly franchise partner in the Washington, D.C.,
two years working with Paul Guy, who started the next day, area, says the application process proved
had experience in running franchise oper- and there have been the work ethic of people at 1-800-GOT-
ations, to put the appropriate systems jobs ever since.” Today he owns 16 trucks JUNK?: “For every question you had, they
and procedures in place. that cover 32 districts. had an answer or proof to show you.”
Basics include requiring each truck to While many franchises can be pur- Sehmi holds the distinction of being
be staffed by a team of two—who won’t chased for the right price, at 1-800-GOT- the company’s 2004 Rookie Partner
take anything they can’t carry; assigning JUNK? additional requirements include of the Year, an award that’s based on
each truck to serve an area of 125,000 motivation and strong values. Laurie sales growth. He started in 2003, and in
people; and recycling, reusing or reselling Baggio, vice president of franchising, says 2004 hit sales of $350,000. His sales growth
as many junk items as possible. Appoint- that out of the several thousand people in 2005 was more than 100 per cent.
ments are booked through the call centre, who applied to be franchise partners in “My [employees] go through great
and drivers determine the price of the job 2005, only 70 were accepted. lengths to provide great service,” says
based on the amount of junk to be removed. The process begins with filling out Sehmi. “They’re considerate, speak well
Guy started the first franchise in an application and sending in a resumé and wear uniforms. Those are things you
Toronto. “When I arrived here I brought so that the selection team knows a wouldn’t expect out of a junk-removal
a truck from Vancouver,” he says. “I candidate is serious. That’s followed by a company.”—SEP
The Costco Connection MARCH 2006