Franchisee Spotlight: Mike and Jack Schmidt, the New Brothers of The Junkluggers Philadelphia Junk Removal Franchise

Mike Schmidt, 49 years old, was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Temple University in 1987 with an electrical engineering degree. After graduation, Mike led an engineering group for ACE USA, a global insurance company where he was the Vice President of Property Engineering. In 2011, Mike left the company, and then went to a non-profit in 2012. The move didn't pan out how he thought, and then on New Year's Eve Day, Mike was watching CNN when he saw Josh Cohen, CEO of The Junkluggers, discussing the fiscal cliff and its effect on small business owners. The story sparked his interest in the brand.

Jack Schmidt was also born in Philadelphia and went to Westchester University for a degree in psychology and worked as a counselor. Jack then changed fields to the environmental consulting business, which he did for 12 years. He later moved to Lake Tahoe where he lived for 11 years running a commercial cleaning business. In 2007, he got into the commercial contracting business, which he has done since, before Mike told him about The Junkluggers.

How did you learn about the brand? I was watching CNN when I first saw Josh Cohen. The Junkluggers story intrigued me, and I decided to do some research on the brand, spoke with Josh and my brother Jack about the opportunity. After we met with Josh and his leadership team in January, we ramped up our efforts to secure a franchise.

Why did you choose an opportunity with The Junkluggers? Jack: When we talked about going into business, I wanted to look for a business that is pay on service, not only about chasing money, which is what it was like when I was out in California. It’s also a specific niche market where it’s a service not many people know about. I also really liked Josh and his team. We met them in New York about mid-January, and immediately felt comfortable. The business model appealed to me a lot.

Mike: We also liked the fact their customer service system was already set up and was focused on making customers happy.

Are you involved with any charities or do any community outreach with your business? Yes, the business model is tailored to help charitable organizations. We’ll collect and donate with many charities and non-profits in the community. If someone can benefit from the use of an item, that is our focus.

What challenges have you overcome to get where you are now? Jack: The process of getting a business license has been difficult. Originally, we planned to start in New Jersey, but licensing takes nine to 12 months in that state, so now we’ll start in Pennsylvania so we can get going quicker. Although our strategy is flipped now, it will still be good as it will give us a chance to start in an area we were going to second.

How many jobs and trucks will you have when you begin? The game plan is to have two trucks to start with and five luggers. There will be two luggers per truck, and we’ll have one as a floater, to serve as extra support for jobs as needed.

What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with The Junkluggers? We would like to add Camden County in New Jersey in the future. It’s very similar in size to our territories now, and on the Pennsylvania side, we’d like to expand into the Northeast part of Philadelphia, where we grew up. It is our goal to serve the Philadelphia community in the near future.

Once we’re licensed, we’ll have the right of first refusal for Philadelphia County, so we’re aiming to acquire zip codes in the northeast of the city.

What are some of the publications you read? Local? National? What is your goal publication with your business? Mike: When I was an elected official, I got to know Matt Katz at the Philadelphia Inquirer. Matt now covers Governor Christie in New Jersey, and I know him well enough where we can at least come to him our Junkluggers story.

We also think the area dailies would be good for coverage. In Bucks County, there is The Intelligencer; my wife also has a relationship with Danielle Camilli, a reporter from the Burlington County Times. Others include the Cherry Hill Courier Post, South Jersey Magazine and any others in the area.

Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions? Mike: Being a parent is number one for me, but I also am an avid sports fan. As a former elected official, politics is also a passion of mine. Jack: I’m a foodie, and currently on a quest to hit all the best pizza places in New York with my wife. We also love traveling, skiing (part of why we stayed in Lake Tahoe) and sports.