It's Cool but we're not a franchise.
Nothing against franchises, but Trash and Stash is not one of them.
But it seems customers and community leaders we interact with often mistake us for a franchised operation, like some of our competitors in the junk removal biz.
“Very routinely people assume that we’re a franchise,” said Trash & Stash founder/owner Cameron Ungar. “That’s a pretty regular conversation. I think customers have some sort of expectation that we’re part of some bigger thing than just us three guys.”
That’s OK, we don’t mind really, but we’re happy to set the record straight.
What is a franchise exactly (and we don’t mean Hall of Famer pitcher Tom “The Franchise” Seaver or former basketball great Steve “Stevie Franchise” Francis)?
According to franchise.org, “a franchise (or franchising) is a method of distributing products or services involving a franchisor, who establishes the brand’s trademark or trade name and a business system, and a franchisee, who pays a royalty and often an initial fee for the right to do business under the franchisor’s name and system.”
As alluded to in that definition, one of the main advantages of franchising, experts say, is branding.
You see a large yellow M – i.e the Golden Arches – you know that’s McDonald’s and you know you can get a Big Mac there whether you’re in a one-stoplight town in the Midwest or in Times Square…and that the ice cream machine will be broken.
Franchise.org continues: “A franchisor’s brand is its most valuable asset and consumers decide which business to shop at and how often to frequent that business based on what they know, or think they know, about the brand.”
Branding may be one of the reasons that people mistake Trash & Stash for a franchise.
“I think the idea that we’re a franchise comes from our branding, professionalism and technology,” said Ungar.
When Trash & Stash rolls up to your house for a job, you’re not going to see a beat-up truck with a makeshift, spray painted sign on it. No sir, you’ll be greeted by Amelia, our sleek 2020 Ram Promaster with a 136-inch wheelbase and a high roof, emblazoned with custom graphics featuring our mascot, the mustachioed racoon, Trashy.
“People have been very responsive to the logo and Stashy,” said Ungar.
The name of our business is also easy to remember and it’s not Cameron’s Junk Removal or Junk Guy, or something that suggests we’re a one-man band. Say it with us now: Trash & Stash! See how easy that is?
Another part of Trash & Stash’s branding is our crew’s distinctive overalls and accompanying flat-bill truckers-style hat. Our customers won’t be subjected to any guts or butts hanging out while we’re getting rid of your clutter. Read more about it here.
“In some ways, the overalls are one of the most important parts of the business,” said Ungar. “This is what we wear every time we come knocking on the door. You can expect our guys to look the same way, and act the same way – but not in a robotic way.”
Those uniform overalls are part of the professionalism that Trash & Stash projects – along with our commitment to customer engagement.
Trash & Stash was founded by service industry veterans and customer service is our No. 1 priority, and we know how to interact with people while also being skilled at the physical part of the job.
And our customers take notice. They’ve given us more than 180 five-star online reviews in our first eight months in business.
Prompt. Polite. Responsive. Courteous. Accurate quote. Careful. Cooperative. Quick. Strong. And of course – professional. These are just some of the many adjectives customers have used to describe their Trash & Stash experiences.
We treat every customer and every job with the utmost sense of professionalism – we give each customer our undivided attention. It’s about building relationships.
In this world of automation, connecting with real, live humans is what we’re all about. Yes, Trash & Stash utilizes technology to enhance the customer experience, but it is never a substitute for human-to-human interaction.
Another advantage of franchised operations is the already-established systems that the franchisee buys into. Again, that’s cool, we admire that. We didn’t invent the trash removal business, we simply improved it. And we’re always trying to improve our process. Why? For the customer experience, of course.
But we do have a system and we utilize digital tools, like the software/app Jobber, which helps small businesses like us get/stay organized with scheduling, online quoting, and invoicing features.
“When customers are getting a logo’d invoice sent digitally, for example, this may give the impression that we’re part of a franchise operation as well.
When I reply to somebody or when I quote somebody I’m pretty clear about saying you’re going to get two text messages from us,” observed Ungar. “That process gives the impression that we’re a pretty well-oiled machine.”
This really relates back to professionalism, which relates to branding, and it all ties in with customer service – the circle of our business life.
Local. Fort Mill. Local. South Charlotte.
As stated, we’re not a franchise, and we have no aspirations to be one. We’re local and independent. We’re a part of the community.
This is what sets us apart from the franchises – we’re based in the Fort Mill/South Charlotte area and our money stays in the community as we reinvest in local engagement and community involvement. The franchise corporate headquarters isn’t getting a slice of our wallets. Look no further than Trash & Stash’s partnership with the Isabella Santos Foundation, a relationship that helps save young lives.
As part of the community, it’s our social responsibility that we’re committed to environmentalism, and we take great care in sorting, recycling and donating the items that we collect on our clutter removal jobs.
We started this business to serve our own community most directly. We care about the people and the places they live, because we live here too.
Unlike franchises, we don’t have policy limitations to a certain extent. We’re able to make decisions that are based on common sense and relative to the people that we serve. Customers will never hear from us, “I’m sorry, corporate policy won’t let us do that.”
Another advantage we have over franchises is Trash & Stash has no geographic or territory restrictions – within reason, of course – i.e. we’ll probably pass on a junk removal job in Alaska. Not being bound to a restrictive service map is especially helpful for nurturing partnerships with Realtors and property managers, who may have properties/clients spread throughout our region.
Cool Like That
This isn’t necessarily related to franchising, but another recurring and interesting impression that Trash & Stash has made so far, according to customers and observers, is that we’re “cool.”
Again, we’ll take it as a compliment.
Maybe it’s the Stashy factor?
Maybe it’s the Super Mario Brothers-like uniforms?
Maybe it’s our commitment to community and social responsibility?
Maybe it’s the way we relate to people?
Maybe it’s because we have our own style?
Maybe it’s the trucker hats?
“People ask if they can buy our hats off of us. They say, ‘if I could buy that hat, I’d wear it all the time,’” said Ungar. “I think it’s totally bizarre, but I’ve been told a lot of times that our company is cool. We do junk removal and moving – in what world is that cool?”
The response from customers: “You make it cool.”