Million Dollar Monday

Why You Should Ignore the Naysayers: Taking Risks with Junk King CEO

November 01, 2021 Greg Muzzillo
Million Dollar Monday
Why You Should Ignore the Naysayers: Taking Risks with Junk King CEO
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

“Start TODAY because in two years you’ll be saying that you should have done it sooner,” shares CEO of Junk King. Michael Andreacchi started the eco-friendly junk removal company and grew it to 100+ franchises. Tune in to this week’s Million Dollar Monday to hear how having the confidence to take risks can lead to achieving your dreams. 

Chapter Summaries 

Key Takeaways

  •  It was about shaking hands and boots on the ground. And if you agree to something with somebody, a handshake means everything. So we went out and met a lot of B2B customers that we felt like would align with our business.
  • And then at one point my business partner gotten a little bit of an accident on the truck. So he couldn't go out on the truck. And he stayed in and answer phones from an office perspective because the labor was too hard for him at the time. We saw so much value in having somebody answering the phones. And that was kind of the beginning of the Junk King call center in customer service. 
  • I think we have a huge emphasis on our recycling efforts.
  • Recognition is super important. You know when you're doing something well, you like to hear that you're doing something while you're on the right path
  • If your story empowers other people, as long as you're confident in yourself, there's always room for one more great company.
  •  In two years you'll be saying I should have done that two years ago when I thought of it for the second time

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Greg Muzzillo :

Hello, and welcome to Million Dollar Monday. I'm your host, Greg Muzzillo bringing you real successful people with real useful advice for people with big dreams. I understand big dreams. I turned an investment of $200 and a lot of great advice from some really successful people into my big dream Proforma. That today is a half billion dollar company. Well, today I'm joined by a very interesting character. I think that's the right word. And I think you're going to see why . And I use that in a very positive way. Here's what he said on his LinkedIn description of himself. He says, it says to describe my responsibilities. He writes be a leader, make decisions on the fly, take calculated risks, hire people smarter than you allow your team to do their job. Set the ego aside. And of course, focus on growth and efficiencies. Every second of every day, I am excited to introduce a very successful character, a very interesting b usinessman, the co-founder and CEO of Junk King, Michael Andreacchi Michael, thanks for joining me.

Michael Andreacchi:

Yeah, but it's a pleasure. I'm excited , to have a conversation and I'm excited to get started here

Greg Muzzillo :

And I love that description of yourself because that's about as honest as raw as it gets that's that's the founder's job, right?

Michael Andreacchi:

Absolutely. I think everything, I love the term of calculated risk . We all take risks every day, but we don't take risks without looking into it or asking our peers or friends or people that have done they're been there before, which means you don't know everything, which means set your ego aside and try not to make those mistakes.

Greg Muzzillo :

Today how many franchise owners do you have across North America?

Michael Andreacchi:

We have about a hundred and just shy of 150 different franchise agreements. Some franchisees are multi unit holders , but we're in 150 different locations.

Greg Muzzillo :

How did that Junk King opportunity come along? What started it all?

Michael Andreacchi:

Yeah, so I actually , worked, I went to junior college, then Illinois state and then was young and immature and left. And while I was there and trying to finish up, I got a job in the junk removal industry and then kind of opened my eyes. Was kind of living in a bachelor pad for lack of a better term bunch of guys in the house. And one of my roommates , who came , came with a marketing background , him and I started to , you know, I would come home and say, gosh , there's a lot of opportunity out there and maybe we should do this on our own. And with his , same will to want to succeed in, in same athletic background we weren't scared to kind of do to make the plunge. And it was exciting to do at the time

Greg Muzzillo :

Without having to say a name, were you working for a larger , yes.

Michael Andreacchi:

One of the larger and still, the largest. I was working for them , uh, and , um, just saw, saw a lot of opportunity that maybe they weren't capturing, but I would like to admit that I wasn't really that smart to know what are we going to do different than them, except that there is opportunity for all of us to be successful. There's plenty of junk out there , and kind of saw the ability to want to do it on our own with it with a few changes, right? The red meant, a lot to us and standing out in the recycling efforts and the bigger trucks and customer service for all things, we were really, really focused on.

Greg Muzzillo :

You guys are sitting around maybe having beers or whatever. And one day you probably both say, I guess we could do this on our own, right? Maybe you have that conversation at some point then, what happens , you know, sort of detail by detail. We agree on it. We come up with a name, we buy a truck, give me some of those early day details of how you go from an idea, maybe a conversation over a few beers to the beginnings of a business.

Michael Andreacchi:

Yeah. I mean, we made some mistakes early on. We , we certainly , created a corporation, a business, a partnership, and LLC at the time but didn't have buy , sell agreements in the correct , internal documentation that one would tell you that you need five grand to do. And when you're starting a business , at the age of 25 , you overlook that expense, of course , in many expenses on the way that you, you think that you can do kind of without, but we knew that we have to do this correct from the beginning. We didn't want to be the hauling company that had a truck and we put boards on the side of the truck and just started picking up junk. And then when you justify it, you buy a nicer truck from the beginning, we finance the heck out of a truck , you know, put our self in a little bit of debt from that perspective and , and got the right truck , to make our life and jobs easier with a real emphasis on the red. Because we felt like , from a marketing perspective , I got a lot of family that are in the law enforcement police and they say, oh, don't get a red car. They stand out more than any other car on the road. So of course, and we said, we need a red truck because we want to stand out. Had trouble finding a name, junk this junk that. And we had many different options. And then I drove by burger king one. And so what about Junk King? And that's literally how it evolved. So the gold, as much as I'd like to say, it's because of the 49ers, the red and gold, it's not, it was the royalty side, o f why we put gold into our brand.

Greg Muzzillo :

Did you both quit your jobs at the same time or did one of you kind of keep some money coming in while the other ones started the business?

Michael Andreacchi:

No day one on the truck, the two of us , quit at the same time and we're a hundred percent all in .

Greg Muzzillo :

Okay. So you go out and you , you finance a trucks , you get your first truck, you come up with a name, come up with a logo. How do you get some of your early customers? How does that happen?

Michael Andreacchi:

You know, quite interesting. We had no website, no Google AdWords campaign for about a year and a half, two years. We were a little bit ignorant in that sense and didn't have that background. It was about shaking hands and boots on the ground. And , if you agree to something with somebody, a handshake means everything. So we went out and met a lot of B2B customers , that we felt like would align with our business. and then the phone started to ring , spent some money on some local newspapers and direct mail. And some of, some of those things to get the phone ring . So we had one truck, we worked together on that truck. But we ordered our second truck and in a month it took at that time two and a half to three months to build a truck. Currently our franchisees, we build them in advance. So if they need a truck today, we can get them on a truck in a week or two. Because we have them them ready. That's what scale brings. Yeah, at the time, so then we ordered a second truck, it showed up in three or four months and that's when we kind of split and each ran our own truck. And then at one point, my, business partner , gotten a little bit of an accident on the truck. So he couldn't go out on the truck. And he stayed in and answer phones , from, from an office perspective , because the labor was too hard for him at the time. Cause he had hurt his foot. We saw so much value in having somebody answering the phones. And that was kind of the beginning of the junk king call center , i n customer service. So sometimes things happen for a reason.

Greg Muzzillo :

Oh , no doubt about it. I'm going to wonder if that first month or two where the two of you were just together on a truck, not knowing what you were doing, making more mistakes and doing things, right. What are those some of the most fun years , in your memory,

Michael Andreacchi:

Such a blast of just being hanging out with each other every day and then the phone would ring and we'd go do another job and charge a customer $200 and be thrilled about it. I actually miss being on the trucks a little bit, just from a relational perspective and get to talk to customers and, and things like that. It was a really good time. Absolutely. You

Greg Muzzillo :

Know, when you look back, those are the good old days. A lot of times when people ask me for advice, one of my pieces of advice is just enjoy. These are your good old days, right? Because sometimes when we're back there doing the hustling, doing the hard work, It just doesn't seem like the good old days. A. nd yet, now that I say that to you, you would agree. Those are the good old days, enjoy them for what they are. And if you enjoy them passionately enough, you'll get to the next level.

Michael Andreacchi:

Yeah, I absolutely agree. I think that's everything in life. I remember my family telling me enjoy school while you're there and you would laugh when they walk out of the room and now what we would all do to go back.

Greg Muzzillo :

When did the idea of franchising, how far along were you and your partner in the business? How many trucks or wherever when you got the idea to formally start franchising?

Michael Andreacchi:

So we, I think it was about three, three and a half years in once we saw the revenues and in profit, profitability, strong EBITDA at the time , we said, gosh, we're in a position where we can offer a franchise to others. So we started to look into that, made some mistakes franchising and I would say this with any business, surround yourself with people who are in that industry. So there's many different types of attorneys , out there and they all practice different law. We should have gotten a franchise attorney, but we didn't, we had a corporate attorney. So it took about a year to actually do the documents. And then once we found the right franchise attorney, not only was it 25% of the costs, but it was about 25% of the time to get it done, but you know, little learning mistakes and you move on.

Greg Muzzillo :

All right. So how did you find your first franchise?

Michael Andreacchi:

We actually were advertising on some of the portals. I wanted to do it organically and not, you know, we knew there were commissions , to be paid if you didn't handle the sale all on your own. So we did some marketing , through some of the standard online avenues , for franchising and we're funneling through hundreds of leads , and just really trying to sell them on the opportunity. And frankly, the per person , person to sign up first is always difficult. That number one through 20 is, is really difficult. The Hughes's, Eric and Marta i n Columbus, Ohio, one of our top franchises today. W e're our first franchise. Now looking back at it, we opened our call center now for we're out of California. So we had opened the call center a couple o f hours earlier for this one franchise, t hat's just doing a few jobs. So financially you look back and say, maybe we s hould h ave started regionally, but you know, they're a great franchisee today and it's awesome.

Greg Muzzillo :

I hear you. But sometimes you just got to take your growth where it comes from and just ride out the storm. So you told some people you were thinking about franchising. I just wonder did some people say to you, wait a minute, aren't there three or four or five other franchise companies doing waste hauling, moving junk removal. Did you get some naysayers questioning it ?

Michael Andreacchi:

Absolutely. I had naysayers when we said we were going to go into the junk business in the first place. You're going to do what? But yeah, absolutely naysayers. I actually remember talking to a local competitor a little bit more focused on demolition and construction, so not an exact competitor, but we had talked time to time and I told him and today we laugh when we see each other because he said we were crazy. And that it wouldn't be profitable and just focus on your local business. We're a bigger company than they are today. I c an tell you that

Greg Muzzillo :

What I love and congratulations. What I love about your story is I think there's probably a lot of people listening right now. There may be thinking about doing some idea, but maybe somebody telling them, are you crazy or it's a bad idea or there's other people doing it? Why would you do that? There's already people doing it. I love your story because it empowers everybody that's listening. That's maybe hearing, are you crazy? Are you stupid? Why would you do that? Or there's already other people doing it. Your story empowers other people. As long as you're confident in yourself, there's always room for one more great company,

Michael Andreacchi:

But there really is. And it's never too late you know, if you said I should've done that two years ago when I thought of it, well, what's wrong with today because in two years you'll be saying I should have done that two years ago when I thought of it for the second time. So it's just a beauty and business. I know more about IT, more about marketing, more about operations, sales and training then, I ever dreamed of , I, you know, felt like I was a hard working individual that would focus my business on customer service. But when you're a business owner, you learn every single aspect of , of owning and running a business. So I really don't find the negative, even if your idea isn't perfect and you have to, you know , change it a little bit or maybe start some other brand. You are going to be very valuable at some point for just the knowledge you gained from, running your own.

Greg Muzzillo :

Absolutely, absolutely. So you mentioned earlier about having a buy, sell agreement, which I agree with you, you know, when you're getting started and you can barely pinch pennies and, it comes down to a truck or a great agreement, we're going to go get a great truck, right. Even though somewhere down the road, you think, geez, maybe we should've spent a little bit more money on a lawyer. So talk to me, I know you started with your partner. I know we talked about this upfront, that your partner's no longer there. Talk to me about the ups and downs of partnerships and advice you would give to those people listening today, thinking they want to have a partner. What advice would you give?

Michael Andreacchi:

So I think there are many benefits to having a partner. At some point, you may not agree on certain things and they can be very elementary things like time invested into the company, you know, five years in, or a compensation, or maybe marketing's not doing as well as it should be in that's their department or your department. And so certainly not pointing any fingers , make sure you're both clear or the group of you are very clear on what the objectives are of the company , and have that documented.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. And sometimes it's very hard to anticipate what could go wrong. I know I started my business with a very good friend and very good fraternity brother. And , I wouldn't be here today talking because , if it weren't for him and I learned a lot from him and that energy we shared in those first several early years, I needed that energy on my own and all alone. I probably would've gone back to accounting, which what I was doing before I started Proforma. But at some point we got to a point and maybe you can relate to this, maybe not, but I just felt that the contributions were no longer equal as it would relate to what I was putting in versus what both of us were going to be taken out. Now , there's a lot of people watching this, that have college degrees that would chew off their left arm, Michael, to be where you are today. And you know that. So go ahead and share with us, what are some of the most important lessons you've learned, kind of going from being in the business for somebody else to buying, a truck with a buddy and getting, going to franchising, and now having 150 franchise owners to that aspiring entrepreneur today, that person is thinking of wanting to start a business, or maybe even early on, what are some of the most important pieces of advice you would share?

Michael Andreacchi:

I think you have to follow your gut and your dream you want to be happy in what you're doing. You have to understand the total risk , in maybe leaving your job to go start your own company and how that'll affect you and your family, and does your spouse or significant other can continue working and bringing some incomes in. But , you know, I, again, commend those that do it today. I started at 25. I didn't have a mortgage at the time. I didn't have children at the time. I had a beautiful girlfriend. Who's now my wife. It's not that I don't want to give advice or not, but I do feel like I was in the right place at the right time, worked really, really hard , to do it , and just, just keep going at it one day at a time. And at the end of the day in customer service, which a lot of work-life is , is customer service. At the very end, if you have strong customer service, you will be successful. Um, cause that's, that's what the consumer wants. It's not always about money. It's about, are you following through on what the expectation was? So I say, make the plunge.

Greg Muzzillo :

Along the way, have you, I know I discovered as a franchising company, I went from being in the business. I thought I was in, which for us is printing and promotional products to being in the dream business. Right. My business today really isn't what our franchise owners are selling, but it's rather my empowering their dreams, which they trusted the us. And boy, we take that really seriously and I'm sure you take that obligation of making somebody's dreams come true very seriously.

Michael Andreacchi:

How amazing is that? I think on many levels, even if it's employees helping them follow their dream to improve their skillset , to become a manager or director or whatever the case may be, but it's certainly more on the franchise level. And , in a week we're going to be taking all our top franchisees , on a n all expenses paid trip to Mexico. And that is to me, one of the more fun times a nd it's just so enjoyable because you're seeing them fulfill their dreams and have more time with t heir, at the end of the day. Everybody wants more time, for themselves, right? Whether that's to spend with your family or to go golfing, or, you want that American dream of a little bit of financial stability. And, it is really, really awesome to see that come to fruition for our f ranchises.

Greg Muzzillo :

At Junk King. Do you have a name for that group of people? Is there some name for it?

Michael Andreacchi:

A millionaire club, and it's when they hit a million dollars in revenue doesn't necessarily mean they're millionaires by any means, but they hit a million dollars in revenue and then they get to come on this trip and this year we're adding more and you're always adding more to that system. And if we have franchises that are 10 million in revenue, they still get to come . It's not just a one-time thing. As long as they're continuing to grow each year, but there are those sitting around the table t hey're at dinner or, y ou k now, at the beach, those are some of the best conversations we can have is just talking, talking shop for lack of better t erm.

Greg Muzzillo :

It's funny we call ours Million Dollar Club. So they're very, very similar. And then at ours, so we it's almost like the masters . Like we put a million dollar club jacket on somebody and that's the crest Million Dollar Club. And then over the time , um, we had some owners come to us that were doing 5 billion and 10 million and more. And a few of them said, you know, we want to have our own level. And so we came up with Multimillion Dollar Club and $5 Million Club and $10 Million Club and people, at least in our culture, getting that jacket and getting that new level of jacket is really a big thing. It became way more than when we just started a recognition trip so many years ago. It is a huge part of our culture.

Michael Andreacchi:

Yeah, absolutely. And ours is evolved as well. Um, even the most improved or missile hustler, Mr. And Mrs. Hustle award every month , you go visit franchises and they have their plaques up on the wall. And so recognition is super important. Um, you know, when you're doing something well, you like to hear that you're doing something well , you're on the right path. So it's just great to keep creating new evolutions of that. And now if people just , doing more than we could ever dreamed of. Right. So those goals are being set every year, new awards are being created.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. These are exciting years for you. So Michael you're, what 40 are you ?

Michael Andreacchi:

I'm 41

Greg Muzzillo :

Married to your college sweetheart. And you're only two twins, nine years old, a boy and a girl. Yes. So you're still a young guy running a relatively young business though. Very, very successful. What are the dreams you have left for your business and your life?

Michael Andreacchi:

Well , I want to raise two amazing kids and I think we're doing that. And if you ask our franchisees, family comes first so it does for me as well. Whether it's them being involved in whatever they like, if it's choir, if it's soccer or baseball or education, we help them follow those dreams. Of course, on a personal level as far as business goes , we're not the biggest and the best. And we certainly strive to be there. And so we still have a path in front of us to continue to scale lots of opportunity out there for, for all of us, frankly. So we're excited about that and we don't have to take from one to, scale. So I, I like that , that there's opportunity out there for us. And so we have big plans , for junking here over the next five years, as far as , adding trucks, adding franchise partners, driving revenues , and making customers happy. I think we have a huge emphasis on our recycling efforts. And so what are we doing for the environment? What am I personally doing to give back , when you start becoming and having a nice financial position for yourself, you can start to give back to a lot more non-profits and volunteer your time and things. And so I enjoy that as well. of course, involved in the local little league and we had an annual meeting last night, and it's just fun that those are kids that are starting to follow their dreams as well. Yeah.

Greg Muzzillo :

I do like your focus on family first. I do like your focus in your business on recycling and taking pride in recycling more than your competition because , you know, we're all just given this one earth here and , we've got to take better care of it. And so I really appreciate your perspective of trying to make our planet a better place through your recycling efforts.

Michael Andreacchi:

Yeah. I mean, I appreciate that. I think when you're in our line of business, you do end up at landfill at some point. U m, that's inevitable and y ou, start at the bottom of the hill and three weeks later that hill i s grown by 50 feet, and then you're moving over to the next one. And the next one, you start to say, there's not enough room for the American consumption if we don't pay attention to, the environment and how we're giving back and trying to donate more and recycle more. So it does mean a lot to all of us and every one of our franchise partners does end up at a landfill and has that same thought process. It's not always about the money at that point. Recycling can cost time and money to do, but we're very much focused on it as a company.

Greg Muzzillo :

Yeah. Yeah. And I was really proud of you and happy to read that about you. I'm very proud to , spend some time with you I'm appreciative of your time. And , I could tell just by meeting you your energy level and your conviction, that the road is bright ahead of you. I wish you great luck in your future. And once again, thank you Michael, for your time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I've enjoyed it. I'm happy to come on any time.

Introducing Michael Andreacchi
Starting Junk King
How to Get Customers
Early Stages of the Business
Starting to Franchise the Business
The Naysayers
Advice about Partnership & Taking Risks
Empowering Dreams
Big Plans for Junk King