Canadian Franchise

Franchisees find security in JUSTJUNK® Franchise

Phil Connor and Cole Seitz were like anyone else looking for work in the city. Connor in Toronto, and Seitz in Edmonton, were both intrigued by what their local franchised junk removal service JUSTJUNK® had to offer. The work was physical, which they liked, but also promised interaction with different people every day providing them a chance to build on their ambitious entrepreneurial spirit. It was a job that delivers a different experience each day with the support of a professional and established national brand. There was security in that. 

As they grew to know the people in their cities including their customers, co-workers and the owners they worked with, they continued harnessing their knowledge and skills.  When JUSTJUNK® was looking to open new franchises after the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2022 and 2023, these enterprising employees felt compelled to take the leap into franchise ownership with the full backing of the franchisor. 

In 2021, with the help of JUSTJUNK® Edmonton Franchise Partner Peter Carvalho, whom Seitz had worked for, Cole opened JUSTJUNK® in Victoria, British Columbia. The small island has since been a boon for Seitz, but it has been a remarkably different experience than working in the metropolitan city of Edmonton, Alberta and the surrounding area. 

Out of high school, Seitz worked in a sheet metal shop hoping to one day start his own HVAC company. After a year and a family tragedy, he realized he wanted something different. After COVID cut short an 8-month trip to Australia, Cole returned to Edmonton where Peter extended an offer to come work with him at JUSTJUNK®. “I figured it would be something I would do part time to make a little money, but once I started at JUSTJUNK®,” Cole says, “I fell in love with the job, the business, and the customer interaction. Peter helped make my dreams a reality!”

In 2022, after seven years with JUSTJUNK® in Toronto, Phil Connor and his family moved to Georgetown, and eventually Charlottetown in Prince Edward Island. Phil soon discovered an opportunity to develop the franchise there as owner. With his experience with the franchise Connor was eager to take what he knew and apply it to the smaller, but no less busy communities in PEI.

JUSTJUNK® CEO Mike Thorne has kept close eyes on franchises with front-line workers that show immense promise to move into leadership positions and then  into ownership within the franchise network. “The biggest advantage of having an existing truck team member like Cole and Phil becoming franchise owners is that in their years with JUSTJUNK they’ve already proven they’re a star candidate with all the qualities we’re looking for in our franchise owners,” Thorne says. “That kind of proven track record lowers the risk and removes a lot of doubts so we’re all very confident in their success.” 

While Thorne and the leadership at JUSTJUNK® have created a very successful training program for incoming franchise owners, “Experience as a truck team member,” Thorne notes, “has the added benefit of familiarity with the company and industry so they’re able to scale much faster than an owner coming in with less experience in the industry who requires more training and a steeper learning curve. It’s a path that’s a real win-win for them and for us.” Phil Connor adds of his experience, “I was thankful that we didn’t need to go over everything that I had prior knowledge of and skip to good stuff.”

As leaders within JUSTJUNK®, Connor and Seitz were versed in operations and marketing. That learning curve means that their experience would further inform their initiatives. Without needing to spend their time learning the ropes, the two were able to adapt strategies they were already familiar with to new markets, speed-running their successes with the marketing and advertising teams at head office. “Whenever I have an idea for marketing,” says PEI Franchise Owner Phil Connor enthusiastically, “it’s completed in a day.”

“The main focus of being a truck team member,” Seitz recalls, “is providing the best service possible to the customers at all time, and while this doesn’t change as an owner, there are many other focuses surrounding that initial focus on customers. Employees, trucks and numbers. Making sure that I can provide the best possible workplace for the guys working at JUSTJUNK® is key to making sure that they can go and be the best representatives of our company.” The head office team, he notes, “equips my team with all the tools to better improve JUSTJUNK® Victoria, like new trucks when demand is high, and coupon codes/special deals for our customers that will keep them satisfied with our services and grow the business.”

Tom Dickson, who was one of the first Franchise owners for JUSTJUNK® Toronto, saw qualities develop early in Phil leading to seven years on the ground and up the ranks, “Phil was an organized and motivated employee who for several years operated our Scarborough territory. He has always been an honest, organized person…hard working and intelligent.” 

“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial mind set,” Phil says. “My mother is a business owner and I suppose she passed some of that down to me. Since I was a kid I’ve been a bit of an entrepreneur.  For example, I would rebuild bikes and sell them online. I’ve always had a passion for making my own way.” 

“Tom has been great. He introduced me to Mike Thorne and has acted as a mentor throughout the start up process,” Phil says. “He allowed me to take on the east end of Toronto and Scarborough as my own,” he recalls, “I learned how to grow a client base from existing clients and how to keep them coming back. I think that is what allowed me to gain a solid understanding of how this business works.”

All the teams at JUSTJUNK® work hard to declutter what could be a complicated web of a franchise system, streamlining it into an effective junk removal system prioritizing customer service and satisfaction. Their longevity and success is due to people like Cole and Phil who have developed a job into a career because of the support network around them and their willingness to adapt and bring new things into JUSTJUNK®.