From High School Dropout To Junk Removal King: This Entrepreneur Makes $1 Million A Day

Multimillionaire founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? struck gold in a McDonald’s drive-through lane.

Back in 1989, Brian Scudamore was waiting for his fast-food order when he noticed a shabby pickup truck advertising a trash removal company. The then-19-year-old high school dropout was on the hunt for a side hustle to fund his education, and that chance sighting led to his "Eureka!" moment.

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Scudamore promptly invested his life savings of $1,000 into his own junk-hauling service, which he dubbed The Rubbish Boys, even though it was a one-man operation.

“I wanted it to sound bigger,” he said. 

Within a week, Scudamore broke even with his venture, and in his first year of business, he earned about $1,700, which he used to cover his college tuition. After attending four schools in four years, he realized he’d learn more by running his own business and dropped out in 1993. 

The Growth of 1-800-GOT-JUNK

He began growing the junk removal service — now known as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? — into the industry leader. It took eight years for his junk-hauling business to hit $1 million in annual revenue, which he describes as “incredibly slow.” But Scudamore is quick to point out that he used that time wisely learning how to systematize the business and get it ready for franchising. He admits that he had to work out some kinks to reach the company’s full potential. Scudamore’s dedication to perfecting his business model has paid off in spades. In 2020, he proudly boasted that 1-800-Got-JUNK? now generates $1 million in revenue on any given day. 

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McDonald's Corp.'s franchise model proved to be an inspiration for the junk mogul yet again. Scudamore recognized the potential in the fast food giant’s approach and went on to establish and franchise three more home-service businesses: You Move Me, WOW 1-Day Painting and Shack Shine.

Today, these four brands employ over 5,000 people, including 500 at parent company O2E Brands. The entrepreneur expects total revenue to surpass $600 million this year.

Scudamore is also a No. 1 bestselling author with two books under his belt. His first book, "WTF?! (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key to Success," is a masterclass in learning from failure, while his second book, "BYOB: Build Your Own Business, Be Your Own Boss," provides insights into what it takes to build a successful business from scratch.

Scudamore says his passion for seeing his employees and customers happy is what kept him in the business. Speaking about his management style, Scudamore shared that his employees are his priority and that he strives to give them a good work-life balance. He offers five weeks paid vacation plus holidays and encourages them to take more time off if needed. To ensure his staff gets adequate rest, he urges them to disconnect from email during vacations.

Scudamore said he leads by example, stating that he doesn’t work on weekends and checks email only 10% of the time. When he’s on vacation, he doesn’t check email at all and gives his assistant permission to change his social media and email passwords so he can’t access them.

Scudamore’s Inspiration

As a family man, Scudamore shared that he tries to lead and inspire his children in the same way he does his employees. He said he wants everyone around him to succeed and end up in the best possible place. Scudamore, who takes around four to five weeks of vacation a year, loves to travel with his family to places outside of his comfort zone, such as India and Kenya, where they built a school and went on a ski holiday, respectively.

Scudamore has said the key to success for aspiring entrepreneurs is having a clear vision, building a strong team and implementing effective systems. He believes the first step in building a successful business is creating a clear vision of where you want to be in the future. He recommends starting with a blank sheet of paper and using the power of your imagination to create a crystal-clear snapshot of your desired future, known as a Painted Picture. He believes that once you have a clear vision, the universe will help you achieve it.

Investing in Entrepreneurs

New successful startups are built every day, and the founders aren’t the only ones doing well when they become successful. Investors can claim a stake in high-growth startups like these through platforms like StartEngine, including investing in StartEngine itself. There are dozens of startups raising at any given time, and startups can be a lucrative diversification option for investors looking to diversify into such assets.

See more on startup investing from Benzinga.

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