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Entrepreneur Profile , Ben Hoskins

Ben Hoskins’ 1-800-GOT-JUNK? LLC franchise is a perfect example of a business that didn’t need an elaborate startup plan, or even a huge initial investment in equipment.

His junk removal service started with only his hands and a pickup truck, and with continued investment, grew enough to add a fleet of seven commercial vehicles and employ a staff of nine in four years.

Despite the not-so-glamorous nature of junk removal, Hoskins is proud of the service his business provides. However, he is glad to have grown his business enough to spend more time managing it, and less time hauling junk.


VITALS

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Name: Ben Hoskins.

Title: Franchise partner.

Company: 1-800-GOT-JUNK? LLC.

Company address: 131 W. 33rd St., Suite 6, National City 91950.

Company phone: (800) 468-5865 (1-800-GOT-JUNK).

Year founded: 2003.

Prior business experience: Project manager for Menlo Technology Group.

Average hours worked weekly: 45.

Source of startup capital: Savings.

2006 revenue: $625,000.

2005 revenue: $500,000.

Number of employees: Nine.

Web site: www.1800gotjunk.com.


BACKGROUND

Birthplace: San Luis Obispo County.

Education: Bachelor of Arts in economics, UC Davis. Master of Science in finance and applied economics, UC Santa Cruz.

Age: 29.

Current residence: Eastlake area of Chula Vista.

Family: Wife, Shannon Cernek-Hoskins.

Hobbies: Soccer and reading.


JUDGMENT CALLS

Reason for getting into business: Wanting to be my own boss. Wanting to provide exceptional customer service in an industry where it may not be expected.

How I plan to grow the business: Providing exceptional customer service to repeat and referral clients.

Biggest plus of business ownership: Independence and unlimited potential.

Biggest drawback: Operating 352 days a year, it’s hard to get away.

Biggest business strength: Systematic and organized.

Biggest business weakness: Difficulty delegating and letting go of responsibility.

Biggest risk: Leaving a good career and moving from Sacramento to open a junk removal service nine months before my wife could join me.

Smartest business decision: Leaving a good career to open a junk removal service.

Biggest business mistake: Working in the trucks too long. I spent too much time working “in” my business when I should have been working “on” my business. Once I focused on the business, I was able to increase the quality of our staff, revenue and my quality of life.

Toughest career decision: Quitting my job and moving from Sacramento to San Diego.

Biggest ongoing challenge: Finding staff that meets our high expectations for customer service.

The most important part of my business: Staffing.

My business works best when: I have the right people employed and they are empowered to do their job.

Best way to stay competitive: Say “yes” to whatever customers need, and exceed their expectations in the way we fulfill their needs.

How I measure success: Continuing to grow revenue, and grow the percentage of revenue coming from repeat and referral business.


GOALS

Goals yet to be achieved: $1 million in revenue.

My five-year business plan: Exceed $1 million in revenue and elevate two more internal candidates to manage parts of the business.

I would sell my business only if: I had an offer that blew me away, and another opportunity/challenge I would enjoy as much.

Guiding principles I will continue to follow: It’s all about the people. Hire and train people to provide exceptional service to our customers, and our customers will continue to help us grow.

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