From an outside perspective, junk removal companies can be tough to nail down. Unlike Starbucks or Amazon.com, it’s a service only rarely used by some, and can remain shrouded in mystery without any household names or widespread public opinion to rely on.
That’s why we figured we should offer some help when it comes to choosing the right junk removal company. Because in addition to the mystery surrounding it, the junk removal industry in every city is peppered with scammers or just plain shoddy operations that can turn an otherwise professional project into a nightmare.
A lot of people can use their gut when assessing the customer service they receive when first contacting a company. In addition to gauging your own feelings, you should also check for signs of their attention to its overall importance:
- Is there more than one option for getting in touch with them?
- Is their website up-to-date and informative?
- Do they try to work around your schedule of availability?
All of these can point to a company that cares about providing their customers with the best service, and will be more likely to handle your junk removal project professionally.
It’s one thing to remove a few boxes or pieces of furniture — it’s another to demolish a pool or create an access road to a site in the wilderness to complete the junk removal job. While you may have a simple job at hand, it’s good to check the range of work the company is capable of. It’s a safe bet that with a wider range of available services, the company is a more substantial operation, and it can be comforting to know that if something unforeseen arises on the job, they will be able to handle it.
The trucks are the lifeblood of junk companies. Check to see what size of truck they operate and how many they have in their fleet. This can help you figure out if they are well-suited to your job and how many trips they would have to make to complete it, which figures into the next item—cost.
What’s true in most things is also true with in this industry—you get what you pay for. While you should never be overcharged for any project, you should also expect that any bargain basement prices in this industry are likely that way for a reason. If you know how much junk you have (in cubic yardage) you can get estimates and compare the rates of competing companies.
If a company doesn’t offer an estimate based on the cubic yardage of your junk, then that’s certainly a red flag. While prices are always finalized in person, a refusal to give you a fair estimate based on the volume of your material is not in line with industry standards. In addition, beware of any attempts to charge based entirely on variables you can’t control like time or manpower.
Even though they’re hauling tons and tons of junk, the trucks themselves shouldn’t be rusted out husks of metal. If you can get a view of their trucks online or elsewhere, then you might have a good indicator of how well they take care of their equipment or by extension, how well they run the operation. It’s not such a far leap to make.
And in addition to maintaining the trucks themselves, many good companies strive to clean up the workspace after the junk has been removed from the site. It’s good practice and adds to the professional service customers are paying for.
This one almost goes without saying. If all happens according to plan, this detail should always remain conveniently invisible, but hiring a company that is not insured is inviting disaster. Make sure that your junk removal company is insured and carry on with the big job at hand, comforted by that essential knowledge.
Contrary to the wishful thinking of many, once your junk is gone, it doesn’t actually evaporate. Check what the recycling practices are of the junk removal company you’re thinking of hiring. Many companies are able to coordinate with donation centers, scrappers, and recycling facilities so that every salvageable piece can be saved from the landfill. If not, then your junk problem just got passed onto the Earth.
Look to see if the company you’re considering has documented anything about past jobs that are similar to yours—case studies, before-and-after pics, blog posts. That way, you’ll get an inside look into the actual process they take for the specific project you have.
Testimonials should also be present either on the website or elsewhere online so you can get the closest thing available to a word-of-mouth endorsement. If there’s no sign of any of the above things, then that might give you pause.
Industry & social authority
These last two items are often indicators for other industries as well, but they’re just as valid here. Checking to see the influence the company has on social media sites can give you a sense of how active their pulse is. Inactive or expired social accounts for businesses can be more of a warning sign than the sheer absence of any profile to speak of.
Finally, check to see what kinds of associations or groups the company belongs to. If they are a member of the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, Yellowpages, or the local Chamber of Commerce, then that certainly lends to their credibility. But don’t stop there. If there are accompanying scores at these sites, you can often see how they fare in the eyes of the respective community.