At 18 years old, Brian Scudamore was at a crossroads. The Vancouver native was preparing to start college, but he didn’t have the funds to pay for his education. One day, while enjoying an affordable meal at a local McDonald’s, Scudamore started racking his brain, desperate to come up with a plan to raise funds for his tuition, when suddenly he saw something that would change his life forever.
The Making of an Entrepreneur
Through the years with
Brian Scudamore invests $700 in an old pickup truck, forming his first junk-removal service, The Rubbish Boys.
The Rubbish Boys is renamed 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and makes Profit magazine’s Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies list.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? becomes a household name after Brian appears on The Oprah Winfrey Show. That year, the company is also featured in the Wall Street Journal.
1-800-GOT-JUNK? hits $100 million in system-wide revenue.
Wanting to distinguish himself, Jim Bodden starts a company called One Day Painting.
Impressed by One Day Painting after experiencing it as a customer, Scudamore thinks he’s found his next $100 million business, and begins to pursue it.
Bodden sells One Day Painting to Scudamore in exchange for a stake in 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting and opens the first franchise in Vancouver.
1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting opens its first American franchise in Seattle. By the end of the year 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting has 15 franchises operating.
“It was then that a beat-up, old truck that advertised ‘Mark’s Hauling’ rumbled through the drive-thru,” Scudamore says. “I thought, ‘I could do better than that.’ I decided right then and there to spend my remaining $700 on a pickup truck.”
Since that fateful day in 1989, Scudamore’s company 1-800-GOT-JUNK? has grown into an international, $100 million junk-hauling enterprise, with more than 800 trucks and 200 franchises located across 8 Canadian provinces and 41 US states, as well as select locations in Australia. “Business took off, and I set my sights on professionalizing an industry that had never been professionalized on a large scale,” Scudamore says. “We made it a goal to become the FedEx of junk removal.” Twenty-two years later, the company is just that: the world’s largest provider of junk-removal services.
Much of the company’s early success can be attributed to Scudamore’s young ambition—the ability to work long hours and lift heavy loads, just to see his venture succeed—though there were times when his age and lack of education worked against him. “People would ask, ‘What does this high-school and college dropout know about franchising and building a brand?’” he says. “My answer to that was to use my energy, passion, and a compelling vision to get people excited.”
Business started slowly, taking eight years to get to just $1 million in revenue. But once the company hit that mark, 1-800-GOT-JUNK? quickly skyrocketed to the internationally recognized brand it is today.
“Other industries had been professionalized—for example, moving companies and delivery companies both had professional brand names that raised the bar for all other companies in those industries,” Scudamore says. “We transformed an industry that was once dominated by one-truck, one-man operations by adding a trusted, brand-recognizable company that people could rely on.”
In 2010, inspiration struck Scudamore in an unexpected way once again. Looking to have his home painted, he sought out different quotes from painters in the area. He came across a company called One Day Painting, owned by Jim Bodden, who told the entrepreneur that he would be able to paint his house in just one day. “I was skeptical but intrigued, so I decided to use his services,” Scudamore says. “When I came home at the end of the day, the house was completely transformed. It was then that I knew I had found my next home-service business.”
By the end of the year, he had bought Bodden’s company and created 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting, with its first franchise, owned by Bodden, operating in Vancouver. Just like its previous incarnation, the company continues to offer a one-day commercial- and residential-painting guarantee, providing high-quality results in a seemingly unlikely timeline. “Our revolutionary system combines preplanning with the right number of professional painters to complete each project in a day at a competitive price,” Scudamore says.
As Scudamore launched his newest venture, the eyes of the business world were upon him. Everyone wanted to know—could he do it again? In certain cases, businessmen are able to expand their brands successfully—doubling or even tripling the profits of their first companies with each new enterprise. But more often than not, new businesses fail. Would Scudamore be able to replicate the success of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? in his new painting service?
By all accounts, the company seems poised for success. 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting benefits from the same business model as its sister company, in addition to its executives’ years of experience. In November 2010, Craig Jooste, the former director of initiatives at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, joined the painting enterprise as its managing director, responsible for all corporate systems and revenue functions of the franchisor. “As a former 1-800-GOT-JUNK? executive, I am able to bring over the proven systems that made it so successful,” Jooste says. “Along with Brian’s 20 years of franchising knowledge and his relationships with vendors and business partners, 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting is poised for rapid growth over the next few years.”
Jooste says that Scudamore has a clear vision for 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting: identifying the core values of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? and embedding them in the new company to create a springboard to success. “One of those values is that it’s all about the people,” Jooste says. “Brian believes that in order to be successful, you need to have the right people in the organization.”
1-800-GOT-JUNK? revolutionized the junk-hauling business by offering on-time service; clean and shiny trucks; friendly, uniformed drivers; and up-front pricing. “An international, household brand name following those four deliverables is something that the hauling industry had never before seen,” Scudamore says. 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting hopes to achieve similar results in the painting field.
“We are going to revolutionize the painting industry by thinking outside the box and bringing a fresh, new approach to an old industry,” Jooste says, sharing that the company’s ultimate goal is to become the largest painting franchise in the world and to achieve “household name” status. “And, of course, our goal with every paint job is to always provide customers with the quality they expect in an unexpected timeline.”
According to Scudamore, another similarity that the two companies share is a high level of customer service. “Both brands are about creating a ‘wow’ experience by focusing on the little details that leave people with a great impression of our service,” he says.
For 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting, that means harnessing little flourishes to really round out the service. “At the end of each paint job, we give the customer fresh-cut flowers with a signed card from the team, welcoming them back into their home,” Scudamore says. “A thing like that leaves people feeling good about us, and makes it much more likely that they will refer us to their friends and family.”
The launch of 1-888-WOW-1DAY! Painting aligns perfectly with Scudamore’s meticulous business plan, which he refers to as the “painted picture.” He began envisioning the plan in 1998, when he was at a turning point in his business. While sitting on the dock of his parents’ cabin, Scudamore says that he actually pictured what he wanted his company to look like by 2003—detailing everything from how many employees he had to where the head office would be located.
“After that, every five years, I’ve made sure to take a moment to envision an updated ‘painted picture,’” he says.
The current “painted picture”—as projected from 2009 to 2014—has the companies making $250 million in annual revenue, with locations in five countries. “It sees us operating a successful second brand and ready to launch a third brand, also in a fragmented service-based business,” Scudamore says. “We’re working on it, so stay tuned!”