Mike Thorne - Founder of Just Junk

Date: JUL 17th, 2013

Topic: Interview with a CEO

Mike Thorne is the Founder and CEO of JUSTJUNK®. Since Mike started franchising JUSTJUNK®, Mike has received numerous awards including the Chamber of Commerce, New Business Of The Year Award, Top 40 under 40 award and the Canadian Franchise Associations prestigious Award of Excellence. Mike’s vision is to build the most popular service brand in Canada and he is clearly off to a great start.

BeTheBoss: Tell us about the JUSTJUNK® concept.

Mike Thorne: JUSTJUNK® is a junk removal company. Customers can book their removal online or call our centralized call center to schedule their removal appointment. Once on-site, our customer service representatives will provide a free estimate and come prepared to remove anything from anywhere. Common removal requests include: old furniture, appliances, renovation debris and basement and garage clutter. JUSTJUNK® has removed junk from over 100 000 residential and business customers across Canada.

BTB: How and when did you become involved with JUSTJUNK®?

MT: I was a manager at a large company in Toronto and was asked to remove 20 years worth of outdated office furniture. To my surprise, I couldn’t find a company that would actually remove the materials. At the time, there were only companies that would drop large disposal bins but they wouldn’t do the removal. I thought to myself, “if there was this much junk in our office tower there must be thousands of other businesses and residents with unwanted junk stashed away in rooms that they can’t get rid of.” I decided to leave my well paying job and start JUSTJUNK® with the mission to “Make Removal Easy”.

BTB: What are some of the advantages of being a JUSTJUNK® franchisee?

MT: I have spent the last 5 years of my life refining our business model and comparing it to other franchise systems that exist. I can honestly say that I don’t believe there is a better service franchise on the market today. The biggest advantage of our business is we are a mobile business with no inventory, so the costs of entering and running this business are significantly lower than most fixed location businesses. We also run a professional centralized call center and sophisticated marketing program on behalf of our franchisees, which allows them to focus on providing great customer service and making money.

BTB: Who is your ideal Franchisee?

MT: Our most successful franchisees are those who are results oriented people. They typically have a passion for sales, marketing and customer service which is 90% of the game in this business. Above all they need to be great with people.

BTB: Tell us a little about the junk removal market?

MT: Everything in this world gets old and outdated and at some point needs to be removed and disposed of or recycled. The market for junk removal is evidenced by the fact JUSTJUNK® has serviced over 100 000 customers in a few short years. As municipalities across the country continue to restrict what residents can throw out at the curb, the demand for junk removal services will continue to grow. People are also starved for time and spending their weekend making trips to the landfill to get rid of unwanted material not something people are interested in doing. Most are willing to pay a service like JUSTJUNK® to take care of all the lifting, loading and hauling for them.

BTB: Do you have a mentor and is their someone you use for inspiration?

MT: I don’t have one specific mentor. I learn by reading and researching how the founders of some of the worlds greatest service businesses built their brands and I learn from their successes and mistakes. I also network with other individuals that have expertise in various roles within other franchise systems. I always make an effort to reach out to someone who knows more than I do on a particular subject prior to making any decisions.

BTB: What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

MT: I highly recommend that prospective franchisee’s speak with as many franchise owners of the franchise they are exploring to get a great sense for the people, systems and profitability within the organization. Acquiring a franchise is a life changing decision for many people and it is critical that they do their homework to ensure their new journey will provide the personal and financial rewards they are looking to achieve.

BTB: In your opinion, why do you think that JUSTJUNK® would be a great opportunity for someone?

MT: If you work way to hard to be working for someone else, than JUSTJUNK® is a great opportunity to build equity for yourself and not your boss. I have a deep working knowledge of many of the franchising opportunities that exist today and I am confident that a JUSTJUNK® Franchise is one of the best franchise opportunities in Canada. The strength of our franchise concept is evidenced by our receipt of the Canadian Franchise Association award of excellence for demonstrating the strongest, most mutually-rewarding relationships with their franchisees. We encourage all prospects to speak with our existing franchisees so they can share how great of an opportunity acquiring a JUSTJUNK® franchise has been for them.