Junk services a convenient way to get rid of clutter

Published on Thu, Mar 27, 2008 by Jack Kintner

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Junk services a convenient way to get rid of clutter

By Jack Kintner

Jeremy Tunnell celebrates his first anniversary in business this week as general manager of the Whatcom County franchise for the nationwide custom refuse sorting and collecting business known as 1-800-gotjunk.

“It’s a junk removal service for folks who are looking to have their space back,” Tunnell said. “We’ll clean up spaces and cart stuff off that’s no longer wanted. We do the loading, sorting, raking, sweeping and the home-owner or business client is left with a clean, vacant space.”

Tunnell, 35, said that they have a commitment to recycling 80% of the materials they take in, whether it’s headed for a recycling bin as plastic, a community compost as green waste or to a thrift store as useable second-hand merchandise. “We’ll find a way to give away, donate or recycle most of what we pick up,” he said.

The company includes his wife, Geri Ebalaroza-Tunnell, who manages sales and marketing, and James Titus as Tunnell’s franchise partner.
There are four part-time “driver-navigators,” college students who will go full-time once their summer break begins.

Tunnell, who said he moved around a lot as a kid following his contractor father from job to job, graduated from Western Washington University in 1998.

Tunnell uses relatively small sorting trucks with dump beds to do the work.

“One of the more unusual jobs we did was to remove a 35-foot Cardinal Deluxe travel trailer. We just cut it up into pieces and loaded it up, and within a day the owner was left with a patch of bare ground,” Tunnell said.

He said his customers are residential homeowners and landlords who may have some things too big for curbside recycling or collection.

“We do a lot of green waste, and also old appliances, pianos, furniture and used cabinets. We’ll look at old cars and perhaps give an estimate, but we do not handle hazardous materials such as gasoline or paint,” Tunnell said.

The crews he sends out deal with over-loaded garages, junked up spare bedrooms, cob-webby attics and jammed storage sheds that need to be cleaned out.

“We help people sort things out. Ideally the owner will stand there and direct us while we do all the lifting and sorting out so it’s not such a daunting task,” Tunnell said.

They also work with commercial clients such as business and especially realtors who are helping a client get a home ready for sale.

The company whose name and phone are the same, 1-800 gotjunk, started in Vancouver, B.C. where the call center is still located. Presently there are over 300 franchises in North America and in Australia.

“Some people feel better going with a franchisee,” Tunnell said, “because we’re fully insured and have already been trained and brought to a certain standard by the franchising process.”

Tunnell gives free estimates. They work out of an office on the Guide Meridian but prefer to be contacted by phone at, you guessed it, 1-800-got junk, or 1-800/468-5865.

“And if you book us on-line at 1800gotjunk.com; you’ll save $10 bucks in the fee,” Tunnell said.