Junk Hauling, Collecting Cash Refunds, and Other Business Startups

This installment of an ongoing business startups feature includes contributions from an Illinois man who started a junk hauling business and a Florida woman who earns extra money collecting cash refunds.

| September/October 1978

The following are business startups readers were inspired to establish by articles they saw in MOTHER EARTH NEWS. 

Junk Hauling Business

Last year I became dissatisfied with my job as a machinist and found the inspiration to resign the job from an article in MOTHER EARTH NEWS called "Underground Moving."

Naturally enough, I began my new business by acquiring equipment. A good pickup truck ($1,400) was my largest investment. I built up its sides (at a cost of $20), bought an appliance dolly and five moving pads ($70), a telephone answering machine ($180), and 1,000 business cards ($11.50). Next, I shelled out $30 to place a month-long ad in the service directory of a local paper which announced my services as a "light hauler of furniture, appliances, and junk ... lawn care worker and handyman on the side."

At first, I kept my machinist job and operated my fledgling enterprise in the evenings and on weekends. But after two months of moonlighting, I was so satisfied with the promising results of my venture that I gave the machine shop two weeks' notice and set out to expand and refine my own business. Soon thereafter, I dropped the lawn care and handyman jobs (which were not nearly as profitable as the moving activities had already become).

I then really began to develop my business, with a heavy concentration on the removal of junk and construction debris and the moving of local apartment furniture and appliances. Each load of the trash I hauled paid $35 ($5.00 of which covered the fee I had to pay for dumping it out), and the residential moving brought in $22.50 to $37.50 per hour.

Before long, I'd learned the intricacies of the business (how to properly move every size of piano, for instance), and I'd invested in an extra supply of moving pads and other equipment. Believe it or not, within just a month and a half, my little venture had grown to the point where I both needed and could afford to buy a brand-new, large capacity, one-ton flatbed truck with a three-ton dump hoist!

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