A fortune in junk: College 'Hunks' turned summer job into multimillion dollar business

There's a saying that "an idea by itself is worth nothing," but with persistence and a business-savvy work ethic, great ideas can pay off big time, even for students.

Or in this case, hunks.

Having discovered the trick to creating a profitable business, high school friends Omar Soliman and Nick Friedman have earned a multimillion dollar national chain and serious entrepreneurs cred -- like street cred, but among business owners, traders, people in dress suits. And now, it's spawned another business and is poised for growth.

"We wanted to put a clean, crisp image to a trash business, which is otherwise inglorious," Friedman explained in an interview with CBS.
Tampa, Fla.-based College Hunks Hauling Junk, began as a summer project in 2002 when the guys were seeking a way to earn money before their senior year in college. They borrowed a cargo van from Soliman's mom, who is also said to have come up with the business name, and began hauling unwanted items from residential houses. In 2004, they submitted their business plan and, out of 150 entries, won the Leigh Rothschild Entrepreneurship Competition, earning $10,000. With that money and personal investment, they started the business a few years later after graduating from college.

The business is growing at an exponential rate. According to its press kit, by 2008 College Hunks Hauling Junk had 14 franchises and earned $3 million in system-wide sales. For 2010, the company anticipates operating 50 franchises and will make $10 million in system-wide sales. By 2011, they plan to double these statistics.

The success lies in the originality of the idea, as well as the organizational and managerial skills of the owners. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that junk-removal is gaining popularity and is recognized as an industry. These guys have paired hauling junk with a crisp and professional presentation.

"Everybody has junk, whether they know it or not, in their basement, garage, or office, it's accumulated, in their storage units," Friedman said on CBS.

"Every single house could call 1-800-JUNK-USA and have one of our trucks arrive," Soliman added.

Nowadays, Friedman and Soliman don't haul the junk anymore, but have hundreds of employees who do the manual work, while they oversee the business -- which is not only growing rapidly, but has also spawned a new life form: College Foxes Packing Boxes, a sister company that helps homeowners declutter and prepare for moving.

You can't miss a College Hunks' green and orange truck, the employee's similarly colored uniforms, or their mascot, CJ the Hunk -- they are unmistakable -- and the services are conveniently accessible online. There is even Hunk-themed apparel for sale.

Hunks was conceived while Soliman and Friedman were still in school; both businesses continue a college theme and try to encourage other young entrepreneurs by donating a share of their earnings to local scholarship programs.

Note: Friedman and Soliman were interviewed on WalletPop in August 2009 after their unsuccessful appearance on ABC's Shark Tank. Listen to that interview, in which they defend their rough treatment by would-be investors, by clicking here. For more interviews with entrepreneurs from the show, visit our AfterShark page.

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