First-rate refuse

Brian Bacon, the director of finance for 1-800-GOT-JUNK and its sister companies at O2E Brands, discusses leading through brand expansions and techniques to use when dealing with franchisees.

Q: As the former CFO of Lululemon, what leadership skills did you bring to your position at 1-800-GOT-JUNK?

Lululemon was going through so much change and was such a roller-coaster that I developed a lot of self-confidence. There was an opportunity to do things I hadn’t done before that were extremely challenging. There was so much stuff before me, I thought I was never going to get through it, but we got it done.

Who has influenced you in terms of leadership skills?

Brian Scudamore, founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK. He’s one of those rare people in business who is exactly who he appears to be. He’s honest and inspirational.

1-800-GOT-JUNK has expanded into two more brands. What part have you played in that?

A lot of my job has been organizational, moving the company from a single to a multi-brand. There’s a huge amount of learning along the way.

1-800-GOT-JUNK is a franchise, as are the other two brands. Is your leadership technique different when you’re dealing with franchisees?

If you’re in a centrally run corporation you make decisions and everybody has to get in line, but in a franchise system to get franchisees to buy in there’s much more communication involved and persuasion required. You have a franchise agreement everybody has to live by but you have to get consensus to make things work.

Has this changed the way you regard junk?

I always thought of junk hauling as the two scruffy guys in the old pickup truck. Then I wondered how you would franchise the system. I found it difficult to get my head around it at first, but it’s really all about customer service, which Scudamore really understands. He basically revolutionized the industry.

Brian Bacon is also the director of finance for WOW 1 DAY PAINTING and You Move Me. He served as CFO at Lululemon Athletica from 2003 to 2006 and played a key role in preparing the company for its IPO.