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Meet Andrew Littlejohn of Skunky’s Junk Removal in Tempe

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrew Littlejohn.

Andrew, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada and had a knack for business early in life. One of my first ventures was in partnership with my mother. She would babysit neighbourhood kids and invite them to play the fun game of creating wood chips. I would bag the chips and then sell them to the children’s parents for $1.50 per bag.

So, even back then I was eager to run my own business. By age 15, I was building large entrance mat systems, the type you see in hotel chains and banks, for our family business. By the time I was 18, I traveled throughout Canada and the US as an installer, which provided me with more business know- how.

I was 21 and newly married when I started a business of my own on the side – a Carpet Cleaning operation. After two months working at it part-time, I took a leap of faith, quit my full-time job and devoted all of my time to building what I hoped would become my carpet cleaning empire. It was a daunting challenge – had zero experience, capital or customers, but through trial and error over the next 14 years I built the business to over $1 million in annual sales with 15 employees and eight service trucks. It’s this ground-level, business development experience that has helped me tackle my new venture in Phoenix with confidence.

A couple of years ago, my wife and I were looking for a new adventure. We’d visited Phoenix a number of times, had some friends there and began exploring business opportunities in the area. We reviewed businesses for sale but nothing seemed to fit.

But one day, over lunch, I told one of my family friends, Mike Mulder from Bellingham, Washington, about our plans to relocate to Phoenix and start a business. I asked Mike to consider partnering with us. He didn’t hesitate and boldly said let’s do it, even though we had no idea what type of business we would start.

However, a week later I called Mike and told him I wanted to start a junk removal business, an opportunity where I could apply all the experience I’d gain through 14 years in the service industry. Mike was enthusiastic and suggested we brand our new business as Skunky’s Junk Removal. Although initially I balked at the name, the more I pondered it, the more I liked it. Skunky’s was catchy and memorable.

We were off to the races. We trade-marked the name across North America, acquired domain names and the 844-Skunkys phone number, scouted out a location and sourced trucks.

I wrote a business plan and hired a US immigration lawyer to assist me in getting a work Visa. In May 2017, my application was accepted. I then hired a branding company to develop Skunky’s image and character. I also purchased special scheduling and accounting software to make sure that we would run the business with efficiency to help grow our brand.

In early July, our family packed up all of our belongings and began the long journey to Phoenix. We arrived at our destination around 9pm. There to welcome us from its home in the kitchen sink was a large scorpion. My daughters were not impressed, questioning the wisdom of moving to place with such dangerous creatures.

For our family, the reality of our leap of faith was imposing – we didn’t know anyone in Phoenix and had just a few business connections. I met my first employee while having lunch in a restaurant. We started to talk while he was bussing tables and I thought he would be a good fit for what I was trying to do. I supplied him with a business card and informed him that my junk removal business was a great opportunity. Two days later he called and I hired him.

We’ve been operating for six months now and Skunky’s has experienced solid growth. We have two state-of-the art trucks, two full-time employees and occasionally have up to six employees assisting with various projects.

Skunky’s is an exciting business opportunity. Junk removal is a relatively simple and straightforward business. But the combination of professional branding, a service-oriented team and effective systems have produced a highly successful venture. I’m excited about what’s ahead and look forward to serving the Phoenix region.

In the end, I’d say the secret to Skunky’s successful launch was our willingness to step out in faith. We smelled an opportunity and went for it.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
There has been lots of challenges, the key is be confident and not giving up.

Skunky’s Junk Removal – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
At Skunky’s Junk Removal, we are a local business specializing in the removal and properly disposing of unwanted items that are no longer needed starting at $99! 70% of these items are donated to charities. We remove beds, China cabinets, couches, sheds, tools, tires, appliances, landscaping greens, carpet, kitchen cabinets, AC units, hardwood, laminate, etc. We service Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, Glendale, Scottsdale, Peoria, Sun City, Apache Junction, Mesa, Paradise Valley and Scottsdale.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
When I started operation the last week of July 2017 and I booked 4 jobs in our first two days of operation, I knew it was going to work.

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