I Didn't Send a Thanksgiving Email
You didn’t get a Thanksgiving email from me. No holiday Facebook post and no text. And… you probably won’t get a Christmas greeting from me either.
I’m not a Grinch. And it’s not because I’m unappreciative. In fact… it’s the opposite. I’m overwhelmingly grateful. I felt like a ceremonial display of gratitude would diminish how truly blessed I feel. Instead, you get this…
I Will Not Comply
Trash & Stash was started as an act of defiance. A reaction to the goings on of 2020. To COVID- 19. To rabid consumerism. To political noise and to whatever other forces are pushing people away from each other. In this spirit, my form of non- compliance was to pick myself up and create. Not wait. To find ways to engage my community and to seek interaction with my neighbors. To model grittiness, critical thinking and ingenuity for my kids.
This meant I had to see the craziness in the world as a personal opportunity. An opportunity to generate wealth by taking explicit action with calculated risk. An opportunity to provide a service people actually want & need. And an opportunity to serve my community in meaningful ways.
Even though I was new to junk removal, I was confident I could figure the operations part of it out. And I knew if I could stay true to my service promise, we’d be able to differentiate ourselves and build a viable business.
We officially opened our doors on April 19, 2021 and through 30 weeks, it appears we’ve created a (more than) viable business. One that I’m proud of and passionate about. We’re not perfect and we’re still learning a lot but we’re grinding it out. When we make mistakes, we’re honest and forthright. We’re respectful of people, their time and their property. We’ve put people above all else. This is the service promise I made at the outset and am pleased we’ve stayed true to it. At the end of the day, adherence to this basic principle (the Golden Rule) is the only metric of success that matters.
Sometimes I get distracted though. And sometimes I get caught up working in the business. There are days I need to be “on the truck” or days where I obsess on driving sales. And in these moments, the idea of a mission statement gets cloudy. Never lost and never forgotten… just fuzzy.
To tether myself to the essence of Trash and Stash I focus on 3 words:
Everything we do should be in service to the customer. To give each and every customer our complete and undivided attention. And then, do that again for the next one. Every time. In truth, this was easier at the beginning. We didn’t have the volume of business we do now and had more resources (time). Now, the trick is to grow in volume while also ratcheting up our operational capacity to ensure that individual attention.
Customer service is not about being perfect. It’s not about automation or efficiency. For me, it’s about being sincerely grateful that a person chose me to solve this problem for them and then showing that gratitude in the form of respect and attention. Sales and service is a relationship between people.
Moreover, our drive to get involved should be for the purpose of doing something good. To do the right thing. Not give to get (although I believe in the Giver’s Gain philosophy). We should always be open to new ways of getting involved in our community which may mean considering creative and non- typical opportunities.
We’re not a franchise and have no aspirations to be one. We’re local and independent. This is important to remember so I don’t lose myself. When I started Trash and Stash, I realized I didn’t need to create a business model from scratch. Rather, I needed to study my competition and do it better. I can’t be better if I’m being a copycat. So the strategy is to use established models, find opportunities for improvement and do it in ways that best serve our customers and best represent me. I need to keep thinking critically about how we operate and how we can continue to give more attention and create better service experiences. This means speaking in my voice and following my intuition. Trash and Stash is more than just me, but for it to stand on its own I need to continue to shape and reinforce its personality, beliefs and culture.
I'll Show You Mine
Since I first conceived of Trash and Stash, I’ve been transparent. Partly because I find the small business journey interesting but mostly as a way to keep myself accountable. I figured if my books were open, it’d keep the pressure on me to “keep pounding” and improving. It also forces me to know my numbers with a means of comparison.
After 30 weeks, here are those numbers.
30 Jobs/ Month
$300 Gross Sales Average
30 Week Results
398 Total Jobs
$272.76 Gross Sales Average
$108,557.57 Total Gross Revenue
188 Customer Reviews
Here’s what it looks like on a week in, week out basis. It’s not steep, but there’s a trend line going in the right direction.
I’m happy. We’ve exceeded our volume goals handily, which means our gross sales #s are up too. We haven’t met our gross average goals yet. I think we can get there though. Going into the end of the calendar year and the last quarter of our inaugural year, here are our revised goals.
2 Full Time Trucks (Spring, 2022)
20 Jobs per Week per Truck
$300 Gross Sales Average
$500 per Month Donated to ISF
60% of Customers Leave ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ Reviews
This though, is not a celebration. It’s a progress report. I’ve never been good a celebrating successes, so I won’t. Rather, I’ll pause to acknowledge how far we’ve come and use it as an opportunity to truly thank the people who have made Trash and Stash possible.
In order to provide “shockingly human service” we need to employ… <shocker> … human beings. And I’m so fortunate to have a few amazing people on our team.
There’s zero chance Trash and Stash is where it is today without Robert Mohorc. He’s an amazing person who runs our operations, handles much of the face to face and keeps us all in line. Jemell Flunory is as consistent as they come. He’s great with people & has taught us a lot about how to do this work really well. These two guys make Trash and Stash go. I’m embarrassingly lucky to have this team.
I’m also grateful for family. When I had the idea in the middle of a pandemic to start a junk removal business I received nothing but support. They’ve encouraged me every step of the way and showed confidence in me, even when I wasn’t so sure.
And lastly, I’m humbled and grateful for everybody who’s ever hired us, referred us and written a review. I am blown away by how supportive this community is. Our mild success is a direct consequence of the generosity & trust of the people around us. So for that, THANK YOU.