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Apr 06, 2020

How I Became a Junk Man (Part 3)

Ugly Start

In the early months, let’s just say, the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook. We needed business and we were willing to take just about anything that came our way. We got a call from a lady who had a shed in her back yard. The shed was made of solid wood. She wanted it removed, as well as a riding lawn mower, some lawn equipment and several dozen blocks of large concrete that sat inside. I gave her the price -$350- and I clenched as I watched her reaction. Surprisingly, she accepted the price without hesitation. I thought to myself, “Collin, you smooth son of a gun. You just got away with murder!”

Three and a half hours later, we were only half way through the job and running out of sunlight. I was bleeding in two places and I had nearly admitted defeat. One of my new employees had already told me that this would be his last day of work – that he wasn’t cut out for the junk hauling business. By that point, I was strongly considering getting out of the junk business myself. I remembered that somebody had once warned me, starting your own business takes blood, sweat and tears. I had never taken the figure of speech literally until this point.

We ended up coming back out the following day to finish. This is when I learned the importance of carrying the proper equipment on your truck.Our disposal fees ended up being over $130. I had to pay my crew (2 men) the sum of $170. Two trips to the client’s property put our fuel expense somewhere around $50. We had broken even! This was no way to run a business!

Losing Hope

Just when I was getting ready to hang up the towel, we got a call from a Realtor. She was selling a property for a family who had recently moved, but had left a ton of stuff behind. I was still surprised when I arrived on site to find 4 Full Truck Loads worth of junk. You have to understand that, at this point in the business, this was the MOTHER LOAD!  We had to staff up just to handle the volume.

We charged a more appropriate fee this time and I realized that maybe I could make money in this industry after all. Perhaps just as importantly, I learned another valuable lesson. Not all of our junk jobs consisted of “junk.” That day I took home some 500 bottles of unopened, aged wine. As you might imagine, that following week, my house became a very popular gathering spot as my friends and family came over in flocks to taste the wine!

“I guess junk removal did have some benefits,” I thought to myself. “Maybe I’ll stick it out another week. If nothing else, maybe I’ll find some more wine!”

(To Be Continued…)

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