Friday, November 20th, 2020 by Jakub Mochon
When I tell people about what I am doing for a career, I always introduce my business as the Covid baby. I mean I did quit my job to start my own business right before the pandemic erupted. Everything was booming and awesome, even the flu season was mild. Covid-19 was rarely talked about. When I began evaluating companies, the virus was not a big deal yet and I could still visit the company sites. I bought my Junkluggers franchise territory (Berks, Chester, and Lancaster Counties) in February and planned on opening in April. I thought everything would be okay, but the coronavirus started to take a darker turn as time went on.
Suddenly lockdowns and shutdowns came in to play. At this point my kids were home bound and I found myself being a nanny. I will always laugh about the day I was in a video meeting with a finance company and my son screamed from the bathroom, “Daddy, I pooped!” Talk about embarrassing! Launching the franchise started to get tough. May was looking more realistic at this point.
Nope, not May! The manufacturing company that made the body of the truck closed, which delayed the building of my truck. The Junkluggers training that is hands on in their training center was no longer possible. Training that is normally onsite now had to be remote. It was different, but we made it work! Trying to start something new while the whole world was shutting down around me was kind of crazy. The biggest thing was figuring out whether this would impact my business or not. I would spend nights awake because I was scared that I did not make the right decision.
As June approached, all three counties in my territory were still in the yellow phase, meaning only essential businesses could run. The good thing was my franchise was essential. Junkluggers had policies in place including temperature checks, sanitizing, and wearing masks, but I was still worried if people were going to be okay allowing us into their homes. On June 1st we opened, and the franchise kicked off!
It turns out that people being stuck in their homes enticed them to clean and get rid of their junk. In this aspect, the pandemic was working in my favor. I do not know many people who want to sit at home and look at their junk all day! Though, the pandemic did make interactions with customers a little bit weird. I was not able to shake hands with anyone or even show them my smile through my mask. These are things we took for granted before the pandemic.
One of the most interesting interactions I had during the pandemic was with one of our clients in West Chester. She was at home the entire time, but we spoke to her through the telephone as we lugged her junk. She stood at the window and advised us of what she wanted. How crazy is that? We made it work and I would have to say it was cool how we all learned to adapt.
I did it though, I launched the franchise in a pandemic. I made it and my business is better than I could have ever imagined. This was not the best time to start a business, but it truly made the launch of the franchise more memorable… I love my covid-19 baby.
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