When former Woodford Humane Society employee Marty Vaughn was on a flight last year to visit another franchise opportunity revolving around dogs, she happened upon a story in the in-flight magazine that caught her eye.
The article featured a company that hauled junk, employed college students and cared for the environment: the perfect fit for the 2003 University of Kentucky graduate. Vaughn researched the company and soon afterward signed on for a Lexington franchise of College Hunks Hauling Junk.
“It’s always smiles and laughs when you say the name for sure,” said Vaughn, but she noted that what drew her to launch her franchise in mid-November was its standards. “We want our clients to feel good about where their junk is going. We classify every item for donation, recycling or proper disposal.”
College Hunks Hauling Junk also mentors college students and provides them with jobs. Despite the reference to “hunks” in the name, Vaughn said with a laugh that they did not ask for a photo when taking applications to fill the company’s roster of two full-time hunks, two part-time hunks and one “hunkette.”
The “hunks” name actually refers to the company’s values-based expectations for its employees; it is an acronym for “honest, uniformed, nice, knowledgeable students.” The intent, Vaughn said, is to give college students a good opportunity.
“That’s my goal: to continue to hire college kids. And actually, when you’re on the job, you have to manage your labor costs, and so it’s kind of like managing a business,” Vaughn said of the employees. “It gives them an opportunity to learn business management, even if it is just that truck for that day.”
She also is drawn to the philanthropic aspect of College Hunks Hauling Junk. She said one of the company’s core values is to give back to the community, and the multimillion-dollar company based in Tampa even donates a portion of its proceeds to college scholarships. College Hunks has 50 franchises in 30 states, including a franchise in Louisville, Ky.
“I looked at several franchises, and I really like the energy of this company,” Vaughn said. “There are two young guys who run it. There is great flexibility in marketing — they really encourage creativity. It’s great also to see a company that promotes from within, and it’s just a fun environment.”
College Hunks Hauling Junk will initially concentrate its efforts on commercial and residential junk removal and will partner with nonprofit organizations for donation pick-up services. Local moving and packing services will be added in the future.
These days, Vaughn said, the company is in high demand.
“I would say that we just have an older population and they’re downsizing. They’re moving into assisted living, or from a great big house where they raised the kids to something smaller to fit their lifestyle,” she said. “We see people who are moving from a super large house to a townhome.”
So what does College Hunks do with all of the junk? Vaughn said the first priority is to see if any of it can have a second life at Goodwill or another nonprofit. Then it goes to recycling, and whatever is left over ends up at the landfill.
“We try to make every effort to make that the smallest amount possible,” she said.
Nationwide, College Hunks recycles 60 percent of all of the junk removed from residential and commercial locations. Vaughn’s goal is to exceed this percentage in the Lexington area.
In Lexington, Vaughn hopes to be a green presence in the community and to volunteer the trademark green and orange trucks out if and whenever they can.
College Hunks services offered in the greater Lexington area include: clutter and junk removal; yard waste disposal; trash butler (contracted trash removal for company managed communities); and nonprofit donation pick-ups.
For more information, visit www.collegehunks.com.