JunkGator CEO Al Lijee Talks About His US-wide Junk Removal Portal
Owner and CEO of JunkGator Al Lijee is rethinking the way in which we get rid of junk in the United States. His platform makes it quick and easy to find junk haulers near you that provide a consistently high quality of service and at competitive prices.
Al Lijee recently took some time to answer some questions for us regarding JunkGator.
Tell us more about JunkGator. Why did you start the company?
In 2014, I set up a similar portal in the UK called Rubbish.com which I still manage and operate today, so I thought to myself “the time is right to cross the pond and set up a similar service in the US.”
Most junk removal companies in the United States offer a one-size-fits-all solution that is sorely lacking in terms of customer care and personalization. This is something that small, independent junk haulers tend to do better (and their prices are often far better, too) but they simply don’t have the ability to market themselves online like the big companies.
When you think of the amount of waste generated by the average American, which is about 4.9 pounds per person, per day (with 292.4 million tons generated annually in the US), the need for affordable, reliable junk removal services is clearly there. When you consider appliances, furniture, and other bulky items, it’s pretty obvious that Americans deserve more choice in terms of affordability and reliability in junk removal.
That’s why I felt the need to start JunkGator. Just like Rubbish.com, JunkGator is an online network that puts customers in direct contact with genuine, local junk hauling professionals. The idea is to make it simple and easy for anyone in need of junk removal to find reputable junk haulers near them, anywhere in the United States.
It works a little like an Expedia or perhaps Uber in that we facilitate the process of finding affordable and reliable junk haulers for customers while also helping our member junk haulers to grow their own businesses by attracting more quality leads.
What services do your member junk haulers provide and why should customers choose them?
It depends on each individual member partner, really, but in general most of our no-contact junk removal teams provide bulky item removal, such as mattresses, beds, appliances, and furniture, as well as full and partial house cleanout services and commercial property cleanouts. Some of our members provide more specialized services, such as commercial debris removal, hazardous waste removal, or e-waste disposal services.
What makes JunkGator different is that not just any old junk hauling business can become a registered member listed on our platform. We don’t want rogue traders or illegal dumping, so we always ensure that every applicant undergoes a rigorous vetting process for customer satisfaction and quality.
Moreover, our competitors tend to be big, well-known national waste management companies. They’ve got big overheads and expenses that they’ve got to justify, so they pass on these costs to their customers. Our members tend to be small, independent junk hauling businesses with low overheads and competitive rates, so it’s really a win-win for both customers and for local small businesses across America.
What makes your business model an improvement for customers looking for junk removal?
We believe that competition is great for business and for the economy, so by putting small junk hauling businesses on a more level playing field with the big waste management corporations customers can have greater choice for junk removal services in the United States.
When customers have greater choice, they’re able to vote with their dollars and choose companies that are perhaps cheaper than the big brands for junk removal, or maybe they simply like hiring somebody local who can show up on the same day.
All of this has environmental benefits, too. Firstly, our member junk haulers try to reduce the impact on landfills as much as possible by recycling, refurbishing, or donating to charities and only dumping in landfills when absolutely necessary in accordance with the EPA’s Waste Management Hierarchy. Since our partners are local businesses operating in ZIP codes near the customer, gas and emissions are lower as well.
How does your business help small, independent junk haulers in America?
Quite often, small independent junk haulers in the US provide high-quality services at affordable prices, but they simply don’t get as much attention as the big brands.
In terms of quality, many small junk removal teams have already worked for the big waste removal companies, so they’ve got plenty of experience but would rather start their own business to have a little more freedom and perhaps offer better, more robust services on their own terms rather than what their corporate office tells them to do.
The downside is that many of these junk haulers don’t have any online presence at all. Perhaps they’ve got a few business listings filled out on Yelp and other directories, maybe they’ve got a social media profile, or maybe they’ve put together a website. Even if they’ve done all of this to generate leads online, they simply can’t compete with the marketing budgets and advertising campaigns of the big corporate waste removal companies.
That’s where JunkGator enters the picture. We use search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to boost the visibility of these small junk hauling businesses, which in turn helps them to generate more quality leads from customers near them.
This frees up time since they don’t need to constantly stay up-to-date with modern SEO and digital marketing; instead, we handle the marketing while they do what they do best – collecting and hauling away junk from satisfied customers.
You say that as though there’s a problem with the level of quality provided by the big names in the waste removal industry. Can you explain this?
Sure. Over time, many of these big waste removal and waste management companies have grown from their own humble beginnings to become the big names they are today. One of the problems, however, is that customers frequently complain about things like prices, quality of service, and reliability.
When you’re managing a corporation of 50,000 or so employees, it becomes very hard to maintain consistent levels of service and to maintain personalized customer service at affordable rates. That’s exactly what many small, independent junk haulers excel at in order to compete with the big guys. It’s a lot easier (and more efficient) to have a company with maybe 2-10 employees that all know each other and their local community’s needs.
When it comes to quality, JunkGator ensures consistently high standards of quality through our vetting process and by allowing customers to leave genuine reviews for all to see, thus encouraging (and rewarding) great service.
What do you see for the future of JunkGator?
There’s more waste being generated than ever in the United States and a huge demand for affordable, reliable, and high-quality junk removal services. I’m optimistic that the future will be bright for us and hopeful that our service can really help small junk hauling businesses thrive and succeed while also keeping customers happy.