The hauling business was going great. We were moving appliances, furniture and household items from one place to another as well as just hauling away stuff people didn’t want anymore. As described in the previous post we were getting paid to haul, selling the nicer items on Craigslist, and selling clothes at a local consignment shop.
December of 2007 slowed down considerably, being cold and snowy and close to Christmas. Not much hauling at this point, but still plenty of items from previous jobs to sort through in Toby’s garage and clean and sell on Craigslist.
Then it came. A clean out request from the owner of a duplex. It was now January in Iowa, and the owner had seen our ad on Craigslist and called Toby. It was urgent, he said, to get this place cleaned out and back on the market. Could we help? Toby went to visit the duplex and gave a bid. Another hauler had bid less, but the owner really liked Toby’s attitude. Could Toby match the other, lesser bid? If so, he would sure like to hire us. Toby said yes, and we were hired.
We showed up a couple days later to do the job and walked through the duplex. The renters had skipped out, taking their essentials and leaving basically a full house behind. Our bid had been based on the amount of pickup truckloads it would take us to clean the place out. After the first two pickup loads it became very apparent that there was no way this was going to happen with our two trucks and in one day. The owner was showing the duplex to prospective renters that night and we had told him we could handle it. What to do?
We decided the only way out was to get a bigger truck. Off to the local U-Haul where we rented a 14 foot truck. Back to the duplex where for the rest of the afternoon we worked on the clean out. The basement was the worst. The previous renters had accumulated so many clothes that they had to store them in gigantic totes. We took turns up and down those stairs, carrying the giant totes, boxes and miscellaneous junk.
Into the U-Haul truck it all went, including two washers, a dryer, a huge couch, kitchen table, chairs, small tables, dishes, the entire contents of the duplex. Finally, the U-Haul was full, from top to bottom, front to back. It was packed so full we had to struggle to pull the back door down. But the duplex was still not empty, and the landlord called to tell us he was on the way over with the prospective new renters. I backed my truck up and we finished the job filling it up, while the landlord was showing the duplex to some people that were eyeing us and the situation rather suspiciously.
The job totaled three pickup truck loads and a packed to the gills 14’ U-Haul. He paid us the $200 we had WAY underbid for the job. Minus $100 for the U-Haul this backbreaking job brought us each a whopping $50 each. There was no way we could just take all of this stuff to the dump. We had to keep it, sort through it and sell what we could to recoup at least the cost of the U-Haul. We drove the perfect junk storm over to Toby’s double garage, unloaded it and stood there staring at a now packed garage, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into and how to begin getting out.