A Sense of Camraderie
JDog Junk Removal & Hauling is a national company that awards franchises exclusively to military veterans and veteran family members – people who understand the notions of service to our country, hard work, and dedication. Of the current franchisees, 82 percent are former military, and the remainder are members of military families. JDog has awarded 65 territories in 24 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
JDog is a company “for veterans, by veterans.” Five the eight headquarters employees have served in the military, and the other three are members of military families. The president and CEO is Jerry Flanagan, the creator of the JDog brand, and a former specialist in the United States Army. The newest employee was an airman first class in the Air Force, and there are three Marines – whose ranks were corporal, captain, and colonel. JDog also has a board of advisors called the “Joint Chiefs,” consisting of two major generals, a captain, a sergeant major, and a sergeant.
The company grew 860 percent in 2015. As a result, employees who have been wearing multiple hats need to concentrate on more specific areas of expertise. So JDog is now intent on finding new employees as well as new franchisees.
JDog believes veterans make good franchisees because they have experience leading teams, following and completing tasks, and following orders. Additionally, they make good headquarters employees because of the sense of military brotherhood they feel with the other employees and the franchisees. They are dedicated to the job, so they are willing to put in the extra hours to make sure that franchisee needs are met. They are good problem solvers, work well in changing environments, and are able to adapt and overcome.
A VETERAN SUCCESS | WINDELL BONNER
Windell Bonner served for 32 years in the Army and Army Reserve, retiring as a chief warrant officer W-4. His main responsibility in the Army was as a senior automotive technician, and he also served in logistics.
He has been a JDog franchisee since April 2015. “A franchise advisor from Fort Hood helped me look for business ownership opportunities,” he said. “I knew when I exited the military that I wanted to take the leadership and work ethic I had gained and apply it to helping my community.”
Bonner said veterans should look for work environments that match their own goals. “I would highly recommend JDog if they wanted to own their own business,” he said. “But if they did not, I would tell them that while looking for a job adhere to your own goals and desires. Try and find a work environment where that same respect, integrity, and trust applies.”
He sees a direct connection between his Army experience and success at JDog. “Working in logistics has helped me keep track of everything that I do,” he said. “Overseeing projects and missions in the military is very similar to JDog. The communication skills and leadership courses have contributed greatly to owning my own business. I view every job I do as a mission that I need to complete, and I accomplish that with the military values that were instilled in me during my time in the Army.”
The habits and ease in handling change Bonner learned in the Army are still valuable. “The healthy habits you are conditioned to practice in the military prepared me for running this business,” he said. “Continuing these habits after the military has contributed to the success of my business and is great for your mental health. I am constantly seeking new ways to improve and learn from the JDog Team and the other franchisees. Change happens all the time in the military – which has helped me adapt easier when schedules change in the business.”
Bonner said that veterans will enjoy the culture and mission at JDog. “JDog is a good place for veterans who are looking for a different opportunity and a place where they can feel that ethos of brotherhood again,” he said. “JDog is not very different than the military in the sense that there are individual tasks, group tasks, and missions that need to be completed.”
He added that veterans will enjoy the support of the JDog family. “The leadership skills, lifestyle, and respect the military taught you – you can’t find that in a corporate job, but you can get that at JDog,” Bonner said. “The community of JDog will support you the whole way.”
The support starts at the top. “Mr. Jerry Flanagan is a relatable person to me, which makes a great relationship,” Bonner said. “I love the fact that he is reachable, a great mentor, a great true friend, and very knowledgeable about the business. It is easy to work for – and work with – a caring friend who holds similar goals and values as you do. This I believe has carried over to his staff.”
A VETERAN SUCCESS | IULIAN BODAS
Iulian Bodas spent four years in the Marine Corps, separating as a sergeant. His main responsibility was as a combat engineer. He was also a squad leader, platoon guide, and company clerk. In early 2016, he became a JDog franchisee.
He credits a lot of what he learned in the military with helping him succeed at JDog. “Core work ethic, loyalty to a team, ability to interact and communicate with others, structured, integrity, trust, and respect help me run the everyday business,” he said. “That is how you live your life, and you bring that with you everywhere from your family all the way to your business.”
He mentioned several reasons why veterans feel at home with JDog. “From the main soldier (Flanagan) dedicating his time to creating this company to being surrounded by like-minded individuals. Camaraderie. Ethos of brotherhood. Excellent opportunity to grow and connect with different veteran communities.”
Bodas believes that veterans will find tremendous success at JDog. “I first heard about the JDog Franchise through a military job recruiter,” he said. “The thought of owning my own business has always appealed to me, but my whole career was spent serving in the military, so I didn’t know if I had the business know-how to make my dream a reality.
“After researching more about JDog and this franchise opportunity, I was immediately interested. I appreciated the fact that JDog caters specifically to veterans and their families, but I was also impressed that the company’s core values centered around the military values of respect, integrity, and trust. After attending the JDog Mixer in January 2016, I was immediately sold.
“Every member of the JDog Team has been amazing – very attentive and genuinely interested in helping me through this process. The one-on-one support and guidance that I have received is something that was not expected and has been a great help. There are very few places outside of the military where you can still feel a sense of camaraderie. I certainly feel that at JDog, and I am very happy to be a part of this amazing team.”
Bodas has some advice for those who are about to leave the military and look for civilian work:
- Build your resume.
- Research companies that are more willing to hire veterans – e.g., companies with government contracts and companies with key people who understand military ways.
- Never quit.
- Develop and maintain a positive attitude/mindset.
- Be patient during your military transition.
- Get yourself on a schedule to keep yourself on track.
- Do not settle for any job. Keep high standards. Find a job where you and your military experience will be appreciated.
He also encourages servicemembers to take advantage of everything the military offers before leaving to go to the civilian workplace. “Take more transition classes offered by the individual military branch,” he said. “Try to reach all the VA reps when you are active to start working on submitting your VA claims. Find someone to build a bio/resume about your military skills and experiences.”