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1888 Got Junk

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1-800-GOT-JUNK

Section 1: Short Questions

1. What has Brian Scudamore done to differentiate his junk removal service from other companies in the same business?

The solid waste management industry in North America is highly structured and dominated by a handful of giants such as Waste Management and BFI Canada. Most of the smaller waste management companies specialize in particular types of waste, such as construction debris. Junk removal is a niche market that, until recently, has been dominated by local haulers with a dump truck looking for small commercial and residential jobs. They remove the bulky household rubbish that the larger disposal firms can’t — or won’t — deal with, from construction material and garden refuse to old furniture and appliances. Service was typically unreliable and pricing and quality were inconsistent.

While some companies may have developed small, regional operations consisting of several trucks or locations, no one had developed a national presence in the junk removal business. “There are companies out there that do this sort of thing. They just don’t do it like 1-800-GOT -JUNK “ Their uniformed drivers show up in their shiny trucks at a scheduled time, with a standardized price sheet in hand. The level of professionalism that they have adopted is what differentiates them from the competition.”

2. Why are people willing to pay more for professional-looking junk removal?

While Got-Junk's niche is solid, it is also one that has already been visualized by thousands of independent operators. Open up the yellow pages in any city, and there are scores of ads of the manwith-truck-will-haul-junk variety. But Scudamore is working to build a professional chain that can dominate this vast and fragmented market. The typical indie operator drives a beat-up pickup with a handpainted sign and shows up late in a sweaty T-shirt. Got-Junk franchisees drive late-model Ford F-450s, Nissan UD 1400s, or Isuzu NPR trucks, always in blue and white. Scudamore quite deliberately settled on three models in case there were availability problems. The company's trucks all have identical dump boxes, manufactured to spec by Courtney Berg Industries of Alberta, Canada.

Franchisees are required to wash the trucks once a day. The franchisees—in contrast to their indie competitors—also wear uniforms: navy slacks, royal-blue golf shirt with logo (tucked in), baseball cap, and belt and boots, which must match. Because the uniforms also must be clean at all times, many franchisees bring along extra ones in case they get dirty on a job.

A uniformed guy in a freshly scrubbed truck hauling junk—that's what customers see. But a hightech backbone runs beneath the operation. Scudamore had the foresight to snap up a toll-free number (1-800-GOT-JUNK?). Roughly 1,500 calls a day flow into a phone center in Vancouver. There service reps make use of a proprietary computer program called JunkNet, which the company spent $500,000 to develop. JunkNet makes it possible for a Vancouver service rep to book a job anywhere a franchise exists by simply entering a customer's zip code and asking a few questions. To view a given day's slate of jobs, franchisees simply open up JunkNet. If a new job comes in during the workday, the program automatically sends an alert (all the franchisees have web-enabled cell phones). Because JunkNet can crunch a slew of variables, it is also a formidable administrative tool. For example, a franchisee can use it to calculate revenues per month, the size of the average haul, or which neighborhoods are producing the most jobs. The company relies on fairly tech-savvy waste haulers. Some have outfitted their trucks with GPS devices—to figure out the most efficient route on a job—while others make use of online navigation sites such as MapQuest.

3. What is the appeal of the 1-800-Got-Junk advertisements? Do you think the use of rats in advertisements for junk removal is a good idea? Why or why not?

Yes, I think the use of rats in advertisements for junk removal is a good idea because The TV and radio campaign, which centred on the Rat Advertising Trial, showed live rats outfitted in “GOT-JUNK” jackets being released into neigbourhoods. The rats find the junk, the consumers find

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