Lake Oswego resident's new junk removal franchise centers on recycling, customer service
When Jason Edge was a kid, he and his mom regularly drove 10 miles from their rural Pennsylvania home to drop items off at the nearest recycling center.
A lot has changed since then; today, Edge lives in Lake Oswego and is a married father of two. But he still prioritizes recycling and often makes trips to the local centers — only now he's hauling the recyclables in a big red truck as the owner of Junk King Portland.
"We try to recycle as much as we can," he says of his Portland metro area franchise. "We like to call ourselves 'America's greenest junk removal service.'"
Since Edge opened his doors in September, he says he and his crew have been busy hauling away junk and unwanted items from local homes, apartment complexes, commercial properties and storage units. Some jobs involve clearing out houses or apartments once renters leave; cleaning up after residents with hoarding disorders; doing light demolition work such as removing cabinets or appliances; or moving out heavy furniture such as couches or entertainment centers.
Junk King, founded in San Carlos, Calif. in 2005, is now operating franchises in more than 80 cities in the United States and Canada. According to its website, the company focuses on "recycling-based junk removal" and "world-class customer service."
Edge, who formerly worked in electronic payments for LinkedIn and Lynda.com, says opening his Junk King franchise allowed he and his wife Angie Edge — a graduate of Tigard High School — to move their growing family from the San Francisco Bay Area to be near her family in the Portland metro area.
He says he enjoys overseeing his crew and responding to the variety of jobs they get called out to each day.
"You never know what you're getting into," he says. "That's what's fun — what you get to find, who you get to meet and what you get to see."
Customers can book an appointment online or by phone by choosing a date and a two-hour time slot. A Junk King driver will call the customer 15 minutes before they arrive, and then will provide a free, no-obligation estimate once they evaluate the job.
If the customer agrees to the price, Edge says, he and his crew can usually pick up the junk immediately. For larger jobs, they can schedule a time to come back.
He says he's careful to hire people who are friendly and invested in their work. He and his team wear booties over they're shoes in each house they visit and always sweep up after they're done. They're also fully insured, he says, so customers don't have to worry about a Junk King crew member getting hurt on the job.
After they pick up customers' items, Edge and his crew can bring the truck back to their warehouse in Tigard to be sold online, donated to local nonprofits or broken down and recycled. All Junk King franchises are required to have a warehouse for recycling purposes, which is one way the company sets itself apart from its competitors, he says.
"It just makes sense," he says. "Why would you throw away a piece of steel or iron that you can melt down and make into something new?"
Edge says the work often leaves him surprised by what people throw away. His office is furnished with items he's picked up on jobs — including a desk, a couch and a brand-new vacuum cleaner — and he's also picked up samurai swords, a player piano and a like-new hot tub.
Some days, the work looks more like an episode of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs," like when he and his crew do whole-house cleanouts. But Edge takes it all in stride. "I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty," he says. "It's fun. Someone's got to do it."