Not Your Father’s Junk Hauler

Many of us are wisely becoming more intentional about how we get rid of unwanted items. The junk hauling industry has also evolved. No longer is it standard operating procedure to hire a guy with a truck to dump everything into a landfill. This week I’m happy to share an interview with Derrick Martinez, Director of Operations of Junkluggers in Stamford, CT. I hope you enjoy these highlights, and that they make you feel better about hiring a service like this.

How did you get into the junk hauling profession? 

After graduating from The University at Albany and looking for employment back in my home town area of Westchester County, NY, The Junkluggers seemed to be a perfect calling. I was looking for a job with flexible scheduling as I was looking to continue my education in Psychology, and take some much needed time to travel abroad. One of my best friends who was already working with the company reassured me that although this was no normal job, it was a great company trying to make a difference in an industry that needed to change. The Junkluggers provided the ability to earn a pay check by doing good for both the community and the environment, all while getting a good workout. I was sold!

How does your process work?

Our process is very simple! When you book an appointment with us, we send two of our well-trained and insured service professionals to your home or business within a scheduled 2-hour arrival window on a day of your choosing. We also provide you with a courtesy call 15-30 minutes prior to their arrival. 

Once they arrive on-site, they will provide a NO-OBLIGATION price quote, which is based on the size and scope of your job. This price includes two hours of labor, no matter where your items are located, so you don’t have to lift a finger except to point to what you want to be removed. If the pricing works for you, we are prepared to take your items right then and there. If you don’t like the price, feel free to say, “No thanks” and we will be on our way at no cost to you.

What extra procedures have you put in place to ensure safety as we work through the COVID pandemic?

As we all adjust to the effects of COVID-19, we want you to know that the safety of our customers and staff is our top priority. At The Junkluggers, we are following the recommendations of the CDC and local municipalities in which we operate. This includes washing/sanitizing our hands before and after every appointment, wearing masks and gloves during appointments, and cleaning/sanitizing high touch areas on our trucks and in our warehouses.

Do you offer other services besides bulk carting?

Yes we do! Our moving company, LuggersMoving, will move items locally within Fairfield County, CT and Westchester County, NY. Our moving service provides a 4 in 1 service of packing, moving, unpacking and the removal of any unwanted items. 

What are the most common items people call you to remove? 

Some of the most common items we are asked to remove are furniture, mattresses, appliances, TV’s, hot tubs, pianos, construction debris, and E-Waste.

What is the weirdest thing you ever hauled away? 

We were hired once to do an estate clean out in Greenwich, CT. One of the items that was removed was a stone statue of a cottage. The cottage, along with many other items, was dropped off at a donation facility we operate called Remix Market. It wasn’t until the next day that chirping noises were heard coming from inside the cottage. To our surprise, a small nest with 3 baby birds was found inside the cottage. At that point, we did some quick research and discovered that the best case scenario for these birds would be to return them back to the area in which they were found. Since time was of the essence, and after getting approval from our customer, the birds were returned safe and sound and were seen a couple days later with their mother.

Do you take everything immediately to a dump or do you recycle some of what you collect? How about charitable donations?

The Junkluggers truly care about what happens to our customers’ items. As a force for good for the environment and the community, our team takes the time to understand what types of items are being removed, and then creates a game plan as to where each and every one of those items will end up.

The majority of items are first brought back to our creative re-use center called Remix Market. It is here that items are processed for donation, recycling, and even upcycling. Some items that come in just need a little bit of love and creativity to get them back into someone’s home. At the Remix Market, we connect those who are in need of good quality furnishings with a supply of unique items that are hauled in every day. Proceeds from all sales at Remix Market benefit The Mikey’s Way Foundation, a local charity in Fairfield County. Mikey’s Way strives to create CONNECTION and DIVERSION to help children cope with the emotional and physical hardships of long term, debilitating cancer treatment. 

Why do some items require an extra charge? What are some examples? 

The proper disposal of certain items means that sometimes there is an additional cost for doing the right thing. A great example of this is with freon appliances (AC’s, Dehumidifiers, Refrigerators). In order to properly recycle an appliance with freon in it, the freon needs to be professionally evacuated from the appliance. Freon as a chemical has hazardous effects to both the environment and your personal health. 

What do you think people would be surprised to know about your company and/or the industry?  

Being in the service industry, we take great pride in providing a positive customer experience when they hire The Junkluggers. A big part of creating that experience is understanding the customer journey. We are aware that a majority of our customers are calling us when in a very stressful situation. In fact, some of the most stressful events in life (death, separation, marriage, relocation) correlate with a need for our services. Delivering a stress free service was one of the driving forces behind creating our Green Guarantees. One of those Green Guarantees is that by the end of the service, we GUARANTEE that our customers will be 100% satisfied with their experience. This is no easy task, but we invest in sensitivity training so that our Luggers can walk alongside our customers, no matter what they are going through. We are proud to see our customers leaving great reviews about their experience time after time.  

How do you think the profession has changed over the past years, and do you see any change on the horizon? 

Over the past couple of years, the industry has been a hot topic of discussion. Now that China is no longer the worlds largest importer of recycling materials, the demand and value for such materials like plastic has dropped tremendously. Here in the United States, we have seen many recycling centers close due to this, and the centers that do remain open have drastically reduced, if not stopped, paying for these materials. The future however, does look bright, as continued efforts have been focused on creating a culture of waste reduction instead of recycling. Instead of recycling that plastic, we are learning to think twice before purchasing it.

What area do you serve, and how can readers get in touch with you? 

The Junkluggers is a national franchise, with 30 different locations around the United States (and more on the horizon). Locally, our corporate operation is based in Stamford CT and services the Fairfield and Westchester counties. Looking to hire The Junkluggers? Give us a call anytime at 1-800-LUG-JUNK, or visit our website at Junkluggers.com.

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Have you ever hired a junk hauler? Would you hire one now?

32 thoughts on “Not Your Father’s Junk Hauler”

  1. Thank you Seana for helping us get to know our business partners. It is an amazing collaboration between professionals. We are all grateful for the extra ways we are all together saving the planet and helping others in need.

    1. Business partners are the best. I’ve been able to use Derrick’s services multiple times, and I’ve been so impressed with how this industry has evolved. They really are a helpful tool in the effort to properly and wisely reuse and recycle!

  2. What a great blog piece, Seana! It was so interesting to read how your local junk removal company operates, and fun to hear all those wonderful stories (and answers to your great questions) which makes the process seem so much more human. Definitely not your father’s junk hauler! Many thanks to you and Derrick for sharing.
    Cary Prince recently posted…Homeschooling: Strategies for SuccessMy Profile

    1. Derrick is a terrific member of NAPO-CT, and his company has really helped me bring the best service to my clients. I’ve been so encouraged to see how this industry has risen to the challenge of minimizing landfill dumps and responsibly recycling. It really is a “win/win” with our business partners!

    1. I agree! Derrick and all of his team have been great, especially for those of us in lower Fairfield county. I’d love to work in the Remix market. Go COVID, go away!!

  3. What a great interview! I’m a huge fan of the Junkluggers and have hired them personally and professionally. When I cleared out and sold my parents’ home of almost 60 years, the Junkluggers were on my team. They made numerous pick-ups as I edited and cleared. I don’t know how I would have managed without their help. I’ve recommended them to many clients too, and they’ve always done an outstanding job.

    It’s interesting to learn how recycling centers are closing up. That will present a tricky situation for so many of us that have become accustomed to regular recycling. But the good news is that we will hopefully become more conscious of what we purchase and consume. For example, I always use my own bags for groceries and other shopping. But that’s just one thing, and I know there is so much more to do.

    1. Yes, the future of recycling is questionable. I’ve been learning a lot about this recently. Reducing is definitely the best option when we can, but at least being thoughtful about what we do with items we no longer want or need can help. I have found Junkluggers to be very respectful and helpful.

  4. Seana,
    This is amazing and thank you for the detailed interview and description. I haven’t used the service yet but it’s certainly on my radar now.
    It’s clear that Derrick Martinez really cares about the work he does. It’s a service that so many people need and it’s somewhat comforting knowing where the items are headed.

  5. Wonderful interview, Seana. We have Junkluggers here in Atlanta. I love the way they go above and beyond not only to help our clients but also to repurpose household items and find homes for them. The owner here has a warehouse where his crew will repaint or fix up older items to make them new again and then they donate the items to the furniture bank.

    1. Sounds like your local Junkluggers has a similar mindset to ours, finding a way to fix up pieces and find a charity to benefit from them. That makes me feel so good, and also helps clients who are waffling about what to do with their old and/or unwanted pieces!

  6. I haven’t hired one but YES I would! We had a giant dumpster during the bulk of our construction, and they would periodically drive up and take it, empty it, and bring it back – where it would refill. And I gotta say – it was awesome for that brief period of time – to have junk hauled! Not just construction junk – but all of our junk.

    I’d hire them.

    1. Having a dumpster is definitely an upside of construction! That is the time to clear out the big stuff. I have been impressed by the responsible and environmentally-friendly policies of top rate junk haulers these days. They work very hard, and offer a service so many of us need!

  7. We have a new Junkluggers in our area now as well (and, they’re a NAPO Nashville business partner!). Love their philosophy, and what a great interview. I love the bird story!

    1. I loved that story too, Sara! I value the relationship we have with Junkluggers, and am glad to hear this same thing exists with other chapters. It is smart to be thoughtful about how to remove the “big and heavy” items, and a company like Junkluggers has been so helpful!

  8. That is awesome! I used several junk haulers over the years. I have seen Junkluggers in the S.E. Pennsylvania area, and they are super helpful. I haven’t used them yet, but I had communication with the local company in my area. They are accommodating for those unusual items like pianos.

    I had to get rid of a piano years ago, and it could not be repaired or donated because it was too old. I contacted a haul away company, and they took the heavy item out, scrapped it, and took care of it all for me. I was so grateful.
    Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…Eleven Easy 15 Minute Closet Organizing Tasks to clear out the ClosetMy Profile

    1. Getting rid of the “big and heavy” pieces, after a long time of wanting to have it out, is just so freeing! We had an old treadmill hauled away. It wasn’t an easy job, but the haulers were respectful and professional. I was so happy to see it go!

    1. It just makes you feel good to know they are diverting items from the landfill, helping people who need some affordable pieces, and benefiting a charity all at the same time, right Janet?

  9. This was a great interview, Seana, and though I was somewhat familiar with Junkluggers, we don’t have them in Chattanooga. I love the idea of an on-site quote without charge, as I think that’s one of the major obstacles people have to getting things removed from their property – not knowing what it will cost. I’m also really impressed with the idea of the staff getting sensitivity training!
    Julie Bestry recently posted…How to Create, Organize, and Safeguard 5 Essential Legal and Estate DocumentsMy Profile

    1. They make it very easy. Come and give you an estimate on the spot, and you can sign on their gadget and have it gone, or they will leave and come back another time. I find they are all very respectful.

  10. I love that there are more and more hauling companies that are taking the approach of sorting through the “junk” to find the treasures worth passing along to those in need!

  11. The Junkluggers is a great company, my favorite business partner. Derrick is a great Director of Operations and Josh Cohen is a great owner. I love that they make every effort to keep unwanted items out of the landfill. In their business model it actually makes more economic sense. I believe that the most successful companies of the future are the ones that find a way to marry ecological sense with economic sense. The Junkluggers is such a company that is leading the way. Excellent interview Seana!
    Matt Baier recently posted…How To Organize Your Home OfficeMy Profile

    1. I completely agree, Matt. I love when the incentives align – a successful business and a healthier, happier planet. I have been pleased to bring them into my jobs, and look forward to doing so in the future!

  12. This is a ver much needed service. I know there are several, but this one has a charitable option also. I was impressed with what they have to ofrfer.

  13. Pingback: Minimalist Memorabilia | The Seana Method Organizing & Productivity

  14. Pingback: Minimalist Memorabilia | The Seana Method Organizing & Productivity

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