5 Questions with Chase Waychoff
No filter. No Chaser.
Chase Waychoff never envisioned it, but he found himself as another millennial taking part in the Great Resignation.
But don’t get your feathers ruffled – this 34-year-old South Charlotte resident is not sitting around idly living off the government dole or trying to find himself by backpacking through Europe.
Trash and Stash is an idea. A logo. A name. It’s a couple of trucks and some gear. Trash and Stash is software, processes and legal documents. But, none of this is anything without our people. The humans behind our “shockingly human service experience” mantra. So, it’s time to get to know them. This is the first in a series on the folks behind the overalls. Meet Chase.
He simply realized, despite the money, the restaurant industry – not that there’s anything wrong with it – was not where he wanted to be.
That’s where Trash & Stash comes [back] into the equation.
Waychoff, recently named Trash & Stash’s first-ever Vice President of Administration was also an original member of our crew when Fort Mill’s favorite junk removal, moving help and microstorage service launched in April 2021 – almost a year ago.
But he left us amicably last summer for a more lucrative, and more established role as general manager with FS Food Group. His restaurant/food biz resume also includes a stint as GM of Charlotte’s SouthPark Grill, and Director of Food and Beverage at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, where he met future Trash & Stash entrepreneur Cameron Ungar, who was the center’s Guest Services Manager.
Both Waychoff and Ungar were laid off due to the COVID-19 disruption/shutdown – and if there are any silver linings of the pandemic to be had, you wouldn’t be reading this blog right now if that hadn’t happened.
check it out here: https://wasteadvantagemag.com/trash-and-stash-one-mans-trash-is-another-mans-business-opportunity/. In that article he professed: “Customer service is my jam. We’re not there to just haul junk, we’re there to provide an actual experience.”
So we thought it was high time to pick his brain again as he settles into the Trash & Stash executive suite (err… passenger seat in the truck) to find out about his vision for the company, immediate and long-view goals and what makes him tick.
This is Chase Waychoff unfiltered.
What have you been up to since we last spoke?
I got sucked back in. The restaurant biz called and I answered. A buddy of mine started working for this company, and had a “too good” offer for me. It was a Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 gig where I’d be doing a lot of their corporate training. I interviewed for it but they ultimately never hired for that position. Instead, they countered with a “much bigger job.” The money was in fact, too good to refuse and I was back in the restaurant. After a couple of months though, I remembered why I got out of the industry to begin with. I put in a 90-day notice and finished out the calendar year. I made a difference for them and their recovery from the shutdowns. I got them to a better place and then phased out so I could regroup and figure out what was next for me.
Was Trash and Stash always on your mind?
I stayed in touch with Cam (Trash & Stash’s owner/president) the entire time. He appreciated my outside perspective and I enjoyed being a part of something new. Entrepreneurial. In the back of mind I was thinking in a perfect world this is always going to work out. But I didn’t know if it was going to be in the cards or when.
What brought you back?
The chance to build something special. To be a part of an awesome team. The opportunity to work with my hands and the feeling that I could help Trash and Stash grow. My challenge initially was being able to pursue Trash and Stash while also supporting my family. We had finally reached a place where I had the ability to explore something less stable (but more fulfilling and with higher upside) and Trash and Stash was able to make it work. To bring me on in a full time role that included crew responsibilities but also sales and administrative duties. I’ve only been full time for a couple of months and am learning everyday. These guys accomplished so much this first year. It’s really incredible. And it’s exciting to see how much more we can do. There are a lot of great ways we can improve, and make a big leap forward, I think.
Work-life balance is important to you -is Trash & Stash going to allow more time for you to spend with your wife and young daughter than say the restaurant industry?
Coming from events and hospitality, Cam, Robert and I all know what work/ life balance doesn’t look like. There’s no way to cut it – it’s 65-hour work weeks in the restaurant biz. Cam was clear from the outset that work/ life balance was going to be part of the Trash and Stash culture while also providing exceptional, virtually on- demand service to our customers. We have such a good team here. They’re pros. The people in these overalls are the backbone of the company. So philosophically, we’re building a work culture geared for a marathon. Steady and sustained.
One where the crew is treated with respect and with fair working conditions. It’s baked into what we do. The schedule, the system, everything. We have a vision that anybody here, is here for the long haul. Career positions where we invest in the employee and the employee has ownership in the success of the company. Junk removal generally has high turnover with constant recruiting needs. Our goal is to flip that model on its head.
And speaking for myself, personally, at this point in my life, my professional ambition is linked to life outside of work. I could not be the father, husband and person I want to be in the restaurant business. I can here. It’s not about money. For me, it’s now about my family and the life I’m building around them and the legacy I’m going to leave for them.
Two part question: what are you focusing on short term and what are you focusing on long term when it comes to Trash & Stash?
Short-term, I need to earn my stripes. I’ve been absent for a while and they’ve been busy. I have to see what the guys on the truck have been through and learn the processes. From there, I’ll be able to understand how to make it better. More efficient and ultimately, more effective. Simply said, my short term goal is to know the business inside and out. And to help. Whatever that looks like. We’re gearing up for a busy spring, so I’ll do any and everything to serve our customers and build our company. Along the way, I’ll help tweak the things I can that improve the customer, referral partner and employee experience.
So far, I’ve spent a lot of time on the truck. This is what I wanted and what we need right now. I want to be with the guys all day and be on every job possible. I feel like I’ve earned my overalls now. Some sore muscles and some bruises along the way but it’s been a great learning experience. I think we’ve already made some small improvements. Ones that are going to help.
For the long term, there’s a lot of tidying up to do. They’ve been running hard. I’ll bring some stability in places like hiring processes, paperwork, and some safety things that need to be not only said, but documented. We’re laying the foundation and building systems that improve consistency and efficiency. Processes that allow us to “treat each customer as if they’re our only customer” every time. This is harder to do the busier we get. I hope to solve that problem.
A medium- term goal is to get our B Corp status.* It’s actually a huge priority for us.
B Corp Status is not easy. It’s going to take some work. But it’s an important symbol of our commitment to social, environmental and ethical business practices. More importantly though, it’s an accountability tool. It’s a way to ensure we do what we say… even when it’s hard.
(Editor’s note: According to BCorporation.net: “B Corp Certification is a designation that a business is meeting high standards of verified performance, accountability, and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.”)
We’re different. We want to stand out. Speak in our own voice. Do the things that are best for our customers.
The things that tie us to our community and the things that make our world a tiny bit better. We want to treat our customers with dignity and respect no matter the situation and we want to solve the problem we were hired to solve. Our goal is to provide exceptional service and ultimately redefine the service expectations for everybody in the home services business.
I’m so excited to have Chase back on board. We’ve got such a smart, dynamic and hard working team. He’ll fit right in. He’ll challenge us to be better. We’ve been busy laying the groundwork this past year. Now, it’s time to get the foundation in place.
We believe the key to exceptional service is to treat each customer as if they’re our only customer. Eager and grateful that they chose us to some their problem. Focused on what is best for the customer (not what’s best for us).
The busier we get, the harder it is to do this. Time, equipment and attention is all limited. The growth challenge then is to provide this personalized service at scale. Repeatable. Sustainable. This is why Chase is here. To build the systems that allow us to provide “shockingly human service experiences.”
Our big picture goal is to redefine the service expectation for all home services businesses. The service standard has been too low for too long. We’re changing that.