Following their years of military service, veterans seek out new career paths across a wide variety of industries and disciplines. The franchise industry provides an appealing opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to follow their dreams of business ownership.
For Ray Hill, franchising with JDog Junk Removal also provided a way to give back to his fellow veterans. The company’s dedication to empowering those who have served was an one of its main draws. Through his time at JDog, Hill has built a business that transcends the typical work environment to create a true brotherhood.
1851 connected with Hill to learn more about this chapter in his career path.
1851: Why did you decide to join the military?
Hill: To be honest, I joined the military to pay for college. For as far back as I can remember, I wanted to attend the University of Notre Dame. Everything I did in high school was geared toward getting accepted to ND. As my senior year in high school approached, I realized if I did get accepted, I would need to find a way to help pay for tuition, so I spoke with a Navy recruiter that was visiting my high school. I always had a strong sense of patriotism, and at that time I was so proud of the military because Operation Desert Storm had ended about a year earlier. I was awarded an NROTC scholarship and enrolled at Notre Dame the next fall.
1851: What was the most valuable thing your military experience taught you?
Hill: I learned so much in the Navy, but the main thing was how to lead. As soon as I reported to my first ship, I was directly responsible for the gunnery division along with the 10 sailors that operated the division. Within a year of being onboard, I was given the responsibility of the Officer of the Deck (OOD). The OOD is responsible for the safe navigation of the ship and executing the plan of the day. This is a huge responsibility for a young man. I know of no other job where someone would be given such leadership opportunities so early in their career.
1851: How did your military service prepare you for franchising?
Hill: The military taught me about structure. It taught me about working toward a common goal, and that following standard operating procedures helps produce consistent and repeatable results. By owning a franchise, like the military, you are a part of something bigger. You are directly responsible for the success of your unit, but your success benefits the bigger team as well. At the same time, if you need support, you can draw from the experience and knowledge of your team and leverage that to be successful.
1851: What is it about JDog that attracted you to the brand?
Hill: The ethos of brotherhood attracted me to the JDog brand. When I came across JDog Junk Removal, I was not looking for a junk removal franchise. But right away I was drawn to the idea of veterans helping veterans.
I had been out of the military for 13 years when I first contacted JDog Junk Removal. With that first call, the feeling of brotherhood, which can only be found in the military, came rushing back to me. There is something about looking out for your buddy who you know is right there looking out for you. Meeting Jerry Flanagan, the CEO of JDog Junk Removal, only strengthened my feeling that this was something I had to be a part of.
I currently have an Air Force Veteran, a Marine Corps Veteran and a member of the National Guard working for me. There was an instant bond between us and a mutual respect for each other. This bond and respect have been key to our success as a JDog Junk Removal franchise.
1851: What advice would you give to veterans who are looking to get into franchising?
Hill: Do your homework. Shop around. Talk to as many franchise owners as you can. There are a lot of franchises out there. They all have different things to offer. Pick something that you truly believe in. For me, it was the JDog mission to empower veterans through entrepreneurship, and I haven’t looked back since.
1851: What does franchising mean to you?
Hill: Franchising means I can hit the ground running. With JDog’s immediate name recognition and tried and tested services and procedures, I was able to immediately start serving local residents and businesses.
1851: What would you like to achieve in franchising within the next 5 years? In 10?
Hill: Now that I have had success with my first location, and I see the great feedback JDog Junk Removal is receiving locally and nationwide, I hope to purchase more territories and expand my coverage of Chicago’s Western Suburbs in the near term. In the long term, I hope to explore franchise opportunities in other industries