SANDY HOOK — When Joshua Claffey and Kylie Harrington decided to start their own business, they wanted to make a difference in their community while offering a service. College Hunks fit that bill. Mr. Claffey described the residential and commercial hauling and junk removal company to Voices. “This is a new spin on an old industry. The word junk isn’t really accurate as we’re able to recycle some really nice furniture, with much more life left in these pieces, just because someone is upgrading and no longer needs what we’re taking away for them.”
He pointed out that partnerships with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill Industries and Salvation Army help College Hunks divert good items from landfills and help those who might be struggling financially.
“We wanted to find a business that matches our values. This is something Kylie and I were looking into for some time now.
“We both wanted to be business owners and a franchise seemed to be the best option because of the structure and guidance we could access, given we don’t have business backgrounds.”
He added that they were impressed by how College Hunks gives back. “That’s what sealed the deal for us.”
Another feature that the entrepreneurs found attractive was the strong customer service component.
Ms. Harrington said, “We strive to provide our clients with a stress-free experience.”
Mr. Claffey agreed, noting that the pandemic has only added to the stress associated with moving.
His work as an emergency room nurse has given him an insight into how to maintain a safe environment and a desire to remove worries related to Covid-19 from the moving experience.
“I’m transitioning from my medical background, working part time now, but I see first-hand how this virus effects people, especially now that cases are on the rise again.”
He feels he has a unique opportunity to equip College Hunks with resources that will protect employees and clients.
“All employees are temperature-screened before every workday and are required to wear masks. But we’re taking things a step further and have invested in electrostatic disinfectant equipment.”
An electric charge helps the disinfectant adhere to surfaces such as the cabs of moving vehicles, to protect movers and the interior of the storage spaces.
“People’s belongings are going in those trucks,” he said. “We want clients to know that the space is clean and feel safe.”
Business has increased since the pandemic began.
“Unfortunately, we’re seeing several estate clear-outs as families have lost loved ones,” Mr. Claffey said. “We know that has to be hard on them and goes back to what we said about customer service.
“Death of a loved one, divorce and moving are the top three stressors and this is combination. We want to reduce our clients’ stress as much as possible.”
Ms. Harrington noted that the client population is older simply because younger people often opt to rent a truck and move objects for themselves.
“We’re here for people who can’t lift the heavy things or simply don’t have the time to do it,” she said. ‘We want them to know we’re taking precautions and they can trust us.”
The two like the idea that they can make a difference in their own backyard; although their territory is named Danbury, they live inside that space and love the area.
“There are several ways we give back,” Ms. Claffey said, explaining that every job translates to two meals for hungry children through Feeding Children Everywhere.
Ms. Harrington noted that customers are often surprised by what happens on the job.
“We sweep and clean up after ourselves. If we’re taking one or two items, we’ll take a moment to rearrange the furniture that’s left so the room looks good. That’s not something everyone expects.”
She explained that measurements are always taken and, when clearances are tight, protectors are installed to avoid damage.
“Our floor runners just happen to be red so clients joke that we’re rolling out the red carpet for them,” Mr. Claffey laughed.
More information about College Hunks is available by calling 860-530-5178 or visiting www.collegehunks.com or Facebook.