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Franchise Players: How This Franchisee Made Dumpsters a Family Business

February 5, 2014
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/231121

Franchise Players is Entrepreneur’s Q&A interview column that puts the spotlight on franchisees. If you're a franchisee with advice and tips to share, email ktaylor@entrepreneur.com.

James Spink was used to excitement with a career in the motorsports industry. However, when he and his wife Lori had their first son, they decided it was time to cut down on the travel and pursue excitement in a different way – as franchise owners. While opening in a franchise has been nerve wracking at times, operating a residential dumpster service has given the Spinks family the chance to work together to build a whole new career.

Here’s what James has learned since joining the Bin There Dump That team.

Name: James M. Spink
Franchise: Bin There Dump That, Indianapolis

How long you have owned the franchise?
Since January 2013

Why franchising?
As a first time business owners, my wife and I valued the support from the franchise and other franchisees. The proven business model was something we could follow as a solid nucleus and build upon. 

Related: Why Picking a Franchise Is Like Picking a Pair of Shoes

What were you doing before you became a franchise owner?
I spent 15 years in management in the motorsports industry. While this afforded me the opportunity to travel the country and meet lots of great people, I was looking for a career change that would include a lot less travel. 

Why did you choose this particular franchise?
It seemed like a family from our first phone call. There was zero pressure and a lot of getting to know each other.They investigated us and our background and we did the same with them. Their track record is proven and it’s an industry that continues to grow.

The potential seems vast and the specific territories we were interested in were available. We did not want a store front business or to have to manage more than 10 people. This was something we could do as a family and my wife and I both play different roles in operating the business.

How much would you estimate you spent before you were officially open for business?
Total, we spent $125,000.

Breakdown: $40,000 territory, $25,000 truck lease, $36,000 bin purchases, $25,000 garage, marketing, start up capital, etc.

Where did you get most of your advice/do most of your research?
We received the most advice from family friends we knew we owned franchises and other Bin There Dump That franchise operators. We probably spoke to over 10 BTDT franchise operators from across North America on how they got started, their day to day activities and what they would change now from when they started.

Related: Franchise Industry Finishes Strong in 2013 (Infographic)

What were the most unexpected challenges of opening your franchise?
There was nothing major unexpected but there were a lot of “hoops” to jump through making sure we were licensed properly with the city and county ordinances.

With us being a new franchise/business we wanted to make sure we were in compliance with all the rules and regulations put forth by the city. Most, if not all, of the government employees would not fully answer our questions as they did not want to be liable for giving us the wrong information.

What advice do you have for individuals who want to own their own franchise?
I would highly recommend it, but do your homework. There were a lot of franchises we investigated that seemed pressured and not efficiently ran. They didn’t have a solid support team on the back end which is vital when buying into a brand/franchisee.

What’s next for you and your business?
We are expanding with a partner into the Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio markets for spring 2014. We are very excited about this opportunity and have marked to expand even further in 2015.

Related: Franchise Players: An Auntie Anne's Franchisee on the Importance of Seeking Advice