Green Hauling With The Junkluggers
When we started Done & Done almost 10 years ago, we immediately realized that the amount of unwanted items was monumental. While we felt great helping our clients declutter their homes, we didn’t feel so great about the amount of trash we were generating.
After a couple of years of struggling on every job, the The Junkluggers reached out to us for a meeting and the rest is history! We’ve used them exclusively ever since, and not only do they make our jobs easier, they have the same commitment and sense of responsibility that we feel towards the environment.
If you’re struggling to declutter your home because you feel guilty about throwing so much away, we can’t recommend them highly enough! Read our interview below to learn more about this wonderful company and how they will deal with your unwanted items in a responsible way!
Interview With Zach Cohen, Owner Of The Junkluggers Of Manhattan & Brooklyn
D&D: What year did the Junkluggers start?
JL: The Junkluggers was started in 2004 by my older brother Josh. Josh & I got paid by a neighbor to remove their old couch. Right after finishing the job, the lightbulb moment immediately went on and we were off to something great. Because I was a teenager, I spent the next couple of years helping out during my summer/winter breaks with lugging, accounting, finance and payroll. In 2012, I was working for Deloitte as an auditor and my brother called me to ask me if I would be interested in becoming one of the first franchisees, which I then opened up The Junkluggers of Manhattan + Brooklyn in 2013.
D&D: Can you talk about the early years and if things are different now?
JL: The early days were very different from how things are done now. We started with two trucks and 6 luggers and everything was being done out of my apartment in the Upper West Side. Our focus was always on donating/recycling, but due to the lack of space at donation centers and being limited to whoever was in charge of accepting/rejecting donations, this was a difficult feat to complete 7 days a week. Fast forward eight years later, our company is located in Astoria, we have over 75 employees and 16 trucks and we’re very successful at donations. Over 80% of our 2020 customers received tax deductible receipts.
D&D: Was being green a focus for your company from the beginning?
JL: Like every new business, we knew what we wanted our mission to be but we needed time to grow and learn along the way. Our mission has always been donating and recycling as much as possible (on behalf of our customers). But in 2013, due to the cost of real estate in NYC and that our office was also my apartment, we were donating/recycling after every job. If we were unsuccessful with the donations, items that weren’t necessarily junk would have to be brought to a transfer station.
Fast forward 8 years later, all of the items are sorted and categorized in house, with 90% of the items going directly to 501(C)3’s through traditional donations. We’ve been very successful in our donation efforts. In 2020, The Junkluggers was able to donate over 29,000 items and completed over 500 pickups from non-profits directly from The Junkluggers warehouse in Astoria.
D&D: What cities are you located in? How many franchises are there?
JL: Due to the pandemic and people wanting to put their profession in their own hands, The Junkluggers has gone from having 20 franchisees in 2019 to over 60 franchisees in 2020. We’re now operating in 20 states across the country and by the end of 2021, we should should have a local franchise in every major city across America. We have a strong presence in the North East, Florida, Texas and California. If you are interested to hear more about franchising opportunities or where we service, check out Junkluggers.com.
D&D: Can you estimate how many items are donated each year?
JL: 2020 brought many obstacles with COVID and donation centers shutting down/not accepting nearly as much as usual. However, we still finished 2020 with over 29,000 donations and over 500 pickups at our warehouse from 501(C)3 organizations. If you booked with The Junkluggers of Manhattan and Brooklyn, there was an 80% success rate that you received a donation receipt.
Our team realizes that you would hire The Junkluggers versus another business because of our effort to donate and we do not take this lightly. We have built out our donation network so the entire NYC community can benefit from our customers gently used furniture/items/donations and we’re constantly looking to spread the love even more with more local organizations.
D&D: Can you tell us about your partnership with Habitat For Humanity?
JL: In 2019, The Junkluggers of NYC became a professional fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity. Part of becoming a professional fundraiser meant that we could now open up a store front (which we call our Remix Market branch) and sell some of the higher end items directly to the general public, with 10% of all proceeds going directly to Habitat for Humanity NYC.
D&D: We love the Remix Market! Are you having success with it?
JL: Yes! Remix Market encompasses our entire donation/recycling branch, which is a huge task to take on for all of the incoming donations received from our 16 trucks daily. 90% of all the items will go directly to a 501(C)3 through a free donation pickup at our warehouse and the other 10% will be sold through our Remix Market. We love the fact that we can give so many great items a second home and our customers love that their items won’t end up in a landfill. Check out our Instagram @remixmarketnyc to see the latest furniture and inventory.
D&D: What are you most proud of in relation to your business?
JL: I’m proud of a lot of things. This year was our true test with COVID and keeping our entire 75 employees on payroll even during the toughest financial times. Even though we believe NYC will come back stronger than ever, we never took lightly the fact that most of our employees have families and children, and the income generated from our business was what everyone was relying on to continue bringing food to the table.
I’m proud of how fast we pivoted our safety protocols to keep our customers and employees safe while trying to mitigate exposure as much as possible.
I’m proud of how many organizations we were able to help by providing gently used furniture (for free) enabling them to set up their home offices/classrooms/charities.
I’m proud that even though we complete tens of thousands of jobs a year, our customer service seems to consistently get even better and our value proposition has also gone up year-by-year.
I’m proud of the team we’ve built to handle everything under the sun from running operations 7 days a week, our strong sales team who can now provide competitive quotes for larger jobs before our luggers even arrive, our Remix team for circumnavigating donations when everyone else gave up or put donations on pause.
I’m proud that our team believed in our mission and believe that we’ve got bigger and better plans for 2021 (as long as everyone keeps wearing a mask!)
D&D: What is the strangest thing the Luggers have ever picked up?😳
JL: When you’re talking about an on demand service business and removing tens of thousands of items, we’ve taken away almost everything you can imagine. My favorite item that we’ve taken away recently was a 10 foot paper mache whale, which we were successful in donating to another organization!
You can see now why we’re honored to partner with The Junkluggers! We try every day, in both our personal and professional lives, to leave as small a footprint as possible. Knowing that there are other companies who share our desire to leave the planet better than we found it is incredibly rewarding!
If you need help getting ready for a move or just need to declutter your home, call them! Tell them Done & Done sent you 🙂