In an unprecedented time when people are afraid to interact with one another face-to-face due to the possibility of contracting COVID-19, it makes it hard for many companies to do what they need to get their job done.
However, Junk King’s haulers have adapted by making it easy and safe to do business with them.
Julian Torres, director of operations for Junk King, started as a driver for the company back in 2006. Within two years, he became a lead driver and manager. Another two years later, when Junk King began franchising, he worked his way up to supporting franchisees in running an efficient operation, including helping them make sure their trucks are running smoothly.
What Torres loves most about his job has been watching Junk King owners become successful, as well as the contribution he’s made to building out trucks and ensuring they operate smoothly and safely.
Founded in 2005, Junk King was started by two friends in a two-car garage in San Carlos, Calif. In 2010, the company began franchising. Today, it is the second-largest junk removal company in North America, with more than 100 locally-owned franchises in 32 states and Canada.
Junk King saves consumers time and money by eliminating unwanted clutter quickly and efficiently. It is best known for its professionalism, advanced technology programs, and commitment to recycling, repurposing, and reusing materials.The company has a combined total of 430 light- and medium-duty trucks throughout its multiple locations. The vehicles haul junk such as furniture, appliances, construction debris, and almost anything else (if it’s nonhazardous) from homes or businesses.
Remaining King During a Pandemic
There’s no denying the pandemic has brought numerous challenges to many businesses, including hiccups in the supply chain. Because of this, Torres said the company experienced a slight delay in the manufacturing of its custom truck bodies.
“However, being a long-term client of our supplier, they have worked long hours to fulfill our scheduled manufacturing dates,” he explained.
When businesses first started to learn how to best adapt to COVID-19, Torres said it was challenging to learn the new ways to safely service customers based on restrictions and guidelines that varied from state to state.
As an essential business, Junk King has been fortunate enough to be allowed to continue removing customers’ refuse.
Junk King has implemented a 100% touchless pickup program, ensuring employees maintain a six-foot distance from every customer. Its haulers pick up curbside and don’t have to enter customer’s homes. Junk King also provides driveway-friendly mini-dumpsters it can drop off and come back to pick up at the customer’s convenience.
Customers can send photos of their junk to the Junk King team for a touchless price quote and then pay for services over the phone to limit exposure. Gloves, masks, and hand sanitizers are provided on every truck and used to protect customers and haulers.
Torres said several features of Junk King vehicles ensure the company is keeping its haulers safe and able to get to customers in a timely manner. These features include the use of an automatic dump hydraulic system, tarp covers, dolly ramps, and Revvo’s real-time remote tire management solution which is providing it with critical tire-specific data.
Junk King trucks operate in harsh conditions because of load, stop-and-go, and frequent visits to dump or construction sites where tire punctures seem to happen most.
One day, the company received a critically low alert from the Revvo system and thought there was a false positive flat because, on visual inspection the tire appeared to be fine.
However, when the truck got back to the yard, the Junk King team snapped a picture and confirmed it had no air pressure because the tire next to it was carrying all the load making the flat tire appear ok.
Junk King currently has four vehicles (24 tires total) being managed by the Revvo system and has captured a total of 313,076 miles worth of data. The use of this technology continues to help keep drivers safe and vehicles healthy.
Establishing Beneficial Relationships
A challenge the company has faced has been working with national vendors, maintenance partners, and fleet rebates.
“The reality is vendors don’t always want to work with just any company. For the past 15 years, we have spent time building up the Junk King brand and legacy across the country, allowing us to have the opportunity to be able to partner with bigger brand name vendors. This includes continuously fine-tuning all facets of the company like operations, marketing, and introducing a team dedicated to building and maintaining relationships with our national vendors,” he explained.
Junk King has established partnerships with tarp suppliers, tire companies, window repair companies, and even career sites. This has allowed the company to spend more time focusing on growing the business rather than thinking about things like how it can save money on parts and services for its trucks.
In turn, Junk King has been able to bring to its partners more than 100 franchisees who require their support and services.
Word to the Wise
Torres’ best piece of advice for everyone continuing to navigate the times ahead is to be willing and ready to adapt, focus on how you can grow your business, and never stop believing in the brand you have built.