Franchise Spotlight: Zach Cohen – The Junkluggers Manhattan Junk Removal Franchise
Zach Cohen, 26, has been around with The Junkluggers since the beginning in 2004 and is now taking on significant expansion for The Junkluggers in Manhattan. Zach joined in this role not only because of the passion he has for the brand, but also due to the positive experience he has always had with the organization. Zach, who was one of the very first ‘luggers’ when the company began in Connecticut under the moniker Junk Busters (a term, per Zach, didn’t actual describe the action of lugging), always kept the brand in his mind, even through college at the University of Connecticut studying business and accounting and through the first phases of his career.
Upon graduation in 2009, Zach spent two years working at Deloitte while also getting his CPA and joining Big Brothers Big Sisters. While Zach learned a ton during the two years he spent at Deloitte, Zach realized in the long run, his heart was with The Junkluggers in the end. Zach has always been around accounting as his father owns an accounting firm. In November 2012, he wanted to learn a different aspect of The Junkluggers and was offered the role of operations manager. Having previously worked in the accounting department, he returned with a renewed focus. Zach will become the youngest franchisee and will take on Manhattan.
Has there been issues getting going in Manhattan? I knew getting the license to operate waste removal through the Business Integrity Commission in NYC would be a challenge. I applied in February and the normal waiting process is six to nine months. After going there every day, persistence paid off, and I got my license within three months. The last week of May, I found out I was approved and now The Junkluggers franchise was able to proceed.
Why did you choose an opportunity with The Junkluggers? For me working with The Junkluggers is both my passion and a great feeling. We’re often dealing with customers during the some of the most difficult times in their lives, for instance, when people are in the middle of moving or even when family members pass away. Most of our jobs are residential at this point, and we know that going into someone’s home is something you must do with the highest level of professionalism. Our “luggers” are trained professionals, and because they sometimes spend so much time with people during the clean out process, they must be caring and good listeners. Our business is about so much more than just moving “junk.” It’s about making people’s homes and businesses cleaner and their lives easier, particularly during times of great stress.
Is there a sense of entrepreneurism in the family? Absolutely. Stephen Cohen, our father, started a CPA firm out of the basement of our original house and now runs a successful practice in Fairfield, CT. My brother Josh, CEO of The Junkluggers, has always been an inspiration to me as I’ve watched the company grow from the back of my mom’s Durango to what it is today. The Junkluggers has always been a huge passion of mine and to be able to be a franchise owner allows me an opportunity to join the franchise’s entrepreneurism.
What will your staff look like? Right now, we have 12 luggers in NYC. All 12 luggers will be managed and brought to the new franchise, which goes live July 8.
What are your expansion or development plans? What is your end goal with The Junkluggers? We will continue expanding across Manhattan and providing eco-friendly service with the ultimate goal of offering a donation-friendly service across Manhattan.
Any unique pick-ups or clients you pick up for? We do really unique pickups every week for large corporations throughout Manhattan. For instance, one of our biggest clients is a cell phone provider and we pick up items from their stores when they get new displays. Another interesting aspect of the Manhattan franchise is we get to deal with a lot of celebrities and well-known artists. For instance, we have worked with one of the most well-known producers.
One of the most interesting jobs was on Wall Street and was for a university across from the NYSE. We had to get permission there because normally no vehicles are allowed around the NYSE. Also, one of my biggest networking sources is called Business Network International (BNI). Once a week, I meet with other business professionals to build strong relationships.
Do you have any other interesting hobbies or passions? I’ve been getting into Yoga to detach from technology for 90 minutes. I used to run along the East River, but now Riverside Park is my new running spot. I enjoy hanging out with my family in Connecticut & being active with Big Brothers Big Sisters.
I have over 100 different types of The Junkluggers swag (t-shirts, jackets, iPhone case, hats, LA Lights, etc.) A challenge goes out to the residents of Manhattan, if you see me on the street and I don’t have Junklugger green on me, I’ll offer a 25% discount of your next job. I bleed green.