Full-service hauling company has made adjustments since pandemic hit
Jason Edge opened his Vancouver location in February, just in time to prepare for the traditional spring cleaning.
Junk King had arrived in Clark County.
A few weeks later, so did COVID-19.
“It was a very difficult time. Business went from just getting into our busy season, and then, wham, it hit,” Edge said. “We were down 50 percent or more.
“But it’s come back.”
That’s right. Business has bounced back for Junk King. And while the pandemic certainly took business away from him in the early weeks, the pandemic has also been a driver in the return of business.
“The big thing, people are working from home. We have a spare bedroom, but that spare bedroom has a bed and no office. Now, you need a home office,” Edge said. “We get a lot of people who are cleaning their stuff out to make room because they are living and working in their house all day.”
Edge said we are living in a “new time” and businesses have had to adjust.
Even in the junk business.
“We’re a full-service hauling company. We do all the labor for you. We’ll haul anything away as long as it’s not hazardous,” Edge said.
Before the pandemic, Edge would tell customers he would have a crew come into a house to do all the heavy lifting. Junk King still offers that service but also gives a discount for any customer who wants to place the junk outside the home for pickup.
Edge, who opened a Junk King shop in Tigard in 2016, said he has seen a lot in four years in this service industry. He has seen a home that was remodeled that changed the shape of its doors, so the homeowners could not get something out of the house. Junk King showed up, cut it up, and took it away.
Junk King, he said, is not afraid of a challenge.
The pandemic just brought on more obstacles.
Edge said Junk King employees started wearing masks early, long before they were required. Hand-washing stations were placed in every truck. There is a cleaning of the truck after every job.
“Just do our part to help slow the spread,” Edge said.
And work with the customers. Some are more cautious than others.
“We maintain social distancing. We’ll go in, fully masked, gloved up, take everything out of the house. We try to do as little coming-into-contact-with-each-other as we can,” Edge said. “Need to treat everybody with respect.”
Edge said he has hauled away perfectly good furniture as well as barely-used exercise equipment. Then there are some jobs that can get messy. He has been in several hoarder situations.
“We work a lot with people,” he said. “We joke, we’re half counselors, half junk-removal guys sometimes.”
Most of the items Junk King hauls is recyclable. Edge, 41, has been recycling long before it became hip.
“My mom’s a science teacher. Ever since I was a kid, we were recycling,” Edge said.
They lived in the country in Pennsylvania. His family would fill bags of recyclables and, once a month, would drive 15 miles to another city that had a recycling facility.
“It was part of life. That’s always in me,” Edge said.
Before opening Junk King to serve the PDX area, Edge was traveling a lot in his career. He wanted a change. He wanted to see his family. So he took his appreciation for recycling and serving others and bought a Junk King franchise.
Five of his employees live in Vancouver, so that made it the easy choice to open his next franchise in Clark County.
“I really like the vision and the recycling aspect,” of the industry, Edge said. “We can make a little difference by doing things the right way.”