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