Junk business makes a community impact
One man's junk might just be another's treasure.
Tsawwassen entrepreneurs Scott Foran and Barry Hartman are finding that to be the case as their junk removal business has been nominated for Small Business BC's Successful You Awards for the second year in a row.
Foran and Hartman, South Delta Secondary grads who were featured in the Leader's 30 under 30 this year, are up for an award in the Best Community Impact category for their business 505-Junk.
"A lot of people have been talking about it as a young entrepreneurial success story," says Hartman, who started the business with Foran in May 2011.
Hartman broke his ankle playing soccer and came up with the businesses idea while he was out of commission.
The two say they met their financial goals in the first seven months, largely because the market doesn't have a lot of professional care.
There's a lot of demand for junk removal in the Lower Mainland but many of the providers are unlicensed and uninsured people just moving stuff out of their trucks, explains Hartman.
The 505-Junk team sees customer service and accountability as a key to their business growth.
"We've had a lot of success with customers going online and reviewing us, recommending us to friends," says Hartman.
The trash they pick up is largely recycled through the myriad of depots located throughout the Lower Mainland.
Drywall recycling goes to New Westminster; eco-waste to Richmond; wood products go to Delta and get turned into bark mulch. And anything with 50 per cent metal is taken to a recycling depot on Mitchell Island.
Hartman and Foran met while studying Marketing Management at Kwantlen University. They still read books on business and customer service to ensure the company is making all the right moves.
"While [Hartman is] progressing forward with operations, I'm tweaking what works in the background," says Foran.
But the business isn't just about removing unwanted trash. They've been working with the Salvation Army to store salvageable items that the charity might be able to sell in its store.
"It's one extra step of recycling, giving back to those people who need it," says Hartman.
They also work with South Delta Hospice to remove unwanted items left by people. These include broken microwaves, cracked mirrors, and other forms of "junk" the hospice can't possibly use.
"They've essentially become a dumping ground for people, and that's not right," says Foran.
Looking to the future, the entrepreneurs want to perfect their system first, adding four or five trucks before they cap their market share. On a larger scale they'd like to franchise their model to other regions.
To vote for 505-Junk in the Successful You Awards, go to successfulyou.ca and click on Nominees. Winners will be announced in February.