Founder and CEO at 1-800-GOT-JUNK
Serial entrepreneur and author Brian Scudamore has always taken the road less travelled. At just 19 years old, he pioneered the industry of professional junk removal with 1-800-GOT-JUNK? , turning a chore people avoid into an exceptional customer service experience. Then he scaled that success into two more home-service brands, WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and Shack Shine under the O2E Brands banner.
Brian learned the ins and outs of business by running his own, and believes that anyone with a fire in their gut and a vision for doing something incredible with their future can do the same. His philosophy, WTF (Willing To Fail), stems from his belief in the power of dreaming big, taking risks, and learning from mistakes. Through franchising, he’s giving thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs the chance to live their dreams of business ownership.
Brian Scudamore, 1-800-GOT-JUNK - Why We Recognized Him:
Brian Scudamore went from high school dropout looking for a summer job to a “blue-collar millionaire” with a simple albeit brilliant idea to turn troublesome trash into a positive customer experience.
Now the company has about 160 locations in the U.S., Canada and Australia under Scudamore’s O2E (Ordinary 2 Extraordinary) Brand, a half-billion-dollar business that includes house-painting company WOW 1 Day Painting and home-detailing business Shack Shine.
What makes him a perfect entry for our Social Capital list is that he is just a down-to-earth guy who cares about his company's success and knows the way to get there is by treating people well.
Why we included him in this particular list is because like our entry from last week, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, Scudamore created a business all around the idea of customer service and happiness, and he REALLY believes in communicating those concepts constantly with customers and employees. In fact, he built his entire hiring process around it.
“We’re taking ordinary businesses like junk removal or painting and making them exceptional through customer experience,” says Scudamore.
That’s not something he just says because it sounds good to send out in market messages. After his first couple of years in business, he realized he wasn’t enjoying his life, primarily because he had a staff that complained about everything and seemed really unhappy. That wasn’t any fun for him, and probably not very good for the customer. So as hard as it was, he let every member of his team go and started over again from scratch.
“I said, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry that I’ve let you down as a leader,’” explained Scudamore. “I might not have found the right people or trained them right, given them the love and support they needed to be successful,”
He started over by hiring employees with positive attitudes who he would want to spend time with himself, or as he puts it “optimists who will see problems as opportunities versus just challenges that they need to fight through.”
“If you hire happy people,” explains Scudamore, “the rest just falls into place.”
The result: the company reached $1 million in annual revenue by 1997 and has skyrocketed ever since.
Scudamore works diligently at making everyone feel welcome and cared for, and making sure each employee has a personal stake in the company’s success. He goes out of his way to attend the company huddle at 10:55 a.m. where all gather and discuss positive things that happened, the numbers, and things that can be improved. Then it ends with a cheer.
As essential workers, garbage pick-up cannot stop for COVID-19. Between the pandemic and quarantine, junk removal became a necessity. Since treating people well has always been at the core of his business, the crisis was another opportunity to further showcase the company’s commitment to customer service and dedication to its employees, So they created a plan using technology in an effort to protect everyone called “No-Contact Junk Removal Services” where they married the concepts of getting the job done, customer service and human care.
“It’s all about seeing people within the business growth opportunities and watching things get bigger and better.” Says Scudamore. “I’m just a guy. I drive a little Toyota pickup truck. I’m always wearing jeans and a t-shirt.”
The big takeaway: building and communicating incredible Social Capital isn’t about being a brilliant business person – it’s the other way around.
Tenure at Current Position
|1-800-GOT-JUNK||1989 – Present||You Move Me|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology,|