First Attempts

I worked for over 18 years for the same employer for pretty good pay. Like many of us I hung on, year after year, figuring at least I was paying the bills and, yawn, saving up some money.

I got along well with my coworkers and my boss. My job with customer service and administration had been very fast paced and stressful. When I took an IT position it turned out to be a boring, behind the scenes job. I was ready for a change, but not one I would make all on my own. Then came the news that we were being outsourced. Read the previous post for that story.

Once it was over, I had to decompress from the 9 to 5 routine. It was strange at first not getting up to go to work. Then it was really nice. Then it got boring. It was now in the fall of 2007 and I needed to figure out what I was going to do.

My nephew Toby came over for a visit one night and we brainstormed about what we could do together to make some cash. It had to be something with almost zero overhead and start-up costs. We both had pickup trucks, and I had discovered The light bulb went off! Let’s use the trucks we already have and advertise on craigslist to provide hauling services.

I went to the website for our landfill to find out what they accepted and what they charged for dumping to give us an idea of what to charge our customers. We decided that in most cases we would just double what the dump charged. We now had a quote sheet.

I wrote up some short, to the point ad copy and got a free Gmail account with the name of our service as the address ( I opened a free account with Craigslist using the gmail address as our email contact and Toby’s
cell number as our phone contact. He would take any phone calls and I would handle the email inquiries. We would split all costs and profits 50/50. We were ready. I posted the first ad on craigslist and we waited for a response.

It came pretty quickly, and within a few weeks we were scheduling several jobs a week. We noticed right away that occasionally people wanted us to get rid of some pretty nice stuff along with the junk. Usually they were tired of looking at it and just wanted it all gone, the good with the bad. We decided that what ever we didn’t keep personally we would store in Toby’s double garage to sell…on craigslist! I got another Gmail address, took some photos of our newly acquired treasures and began to post them. We were now selling online. We would also come across boxes, sacks and totes full of clothes. We sorted them out, opened an account with a local consignment shop and began taking the nicer clothes there while donating the rest to Goodwill or Salvation Army. We now had three streams of income and had reduced our landfill expenses by making fewer trips. This was working great! Too bad we didn’t see what was looming in front of us, just waiting to mess up our system.

Next: The Perfect Junk Storm

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