Military Spouse Magazine

MAR 2019

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W H A T W E L O V E Married with Business How a veteran, an idea, and his hard-working spouse put junk removal at the top of the heap as a franchising opportunity for those in the military community. By Janine Boldrin, Managing Editor WHETHER IT'S THE POSSIBILITY OF BIG REWARD OR THE FREEDOM OF CHARTING ONE'S OWN COURSE, STARTING A BUSINESS IS A VERY APPEALING OPTION FOR MANY WITHIN THE MILITARY COMMUNITY. But to make it big, there is also a lot of risk. For Jerry Flanagan, an Army veteran, and his wife Tracy, the failure of their first "big idea" led to them to their now successful business in junk removal. Getting there was a lot of work. Now the owners of JDog Junk Removal & Hauling, * affectionately called Mr. and Mrs. JDog, are building not only a business but also franchising their idea to other military fami- lies who are willing to put in the same hard work they did to build their own business. A ROUGH START In 2009, things looked pretty bleak for Jerry and Tracy. Their business, a birthday party rental space concept, was limping along after the recession with six franchises holding on. "We had to declare bankruptcy," said Tracy, who had met her husband, Jerry, five years earlier and started the business with him. "We lost everything. It was a pretty scary time." But neither of them wanted to give up on their entrepreneurial dreams, so Jerry started researching recession-proof businesses to avoid the issue they faced with their first business. Junk removal and waste disposal stood out to him as having potential even in a down economy. In March 2011, the couple made the choice to begin a junk removal business but didn't market themselves as veteran-owned and operated as they do today. It wasn't until a customer com- mented on Jerry's work ethic and how his Army service was a value add for the company that they realized how to make their company stand out. "The customer said to Jerry that he should tell people about his service, that people would want to know," said Tracy. "People would want to know it was a veteran-owned business." With the customer's feedback, the couple realized the time Jerry had spent in the Army years prior had translated to a lifelong influence on how he did busi- ness: showing up on time, a professional look, and being respectful. They quickly rebranded the business, officially launch- ing as JDog, Jerry's old nickname in the military, designed a new look and feel, and emphasized the company's veteran- owned status and its veteran employees. JDog Junk Removal & Hauling offers junk removal and hauling services for residential and commercial customers. Their business operators are veterans and military family members who deliver services "the military way – with respect, integrity, and trust." >> Photos by Daniel Fullam Photography • * JDog Junk Removal & Hauling is a paid client 18 MILITARYSPOUSE.COM / MARCH 2019

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