How a JRA Customer Landed a 32,000 Square Foot Clean-Out

Two weeks ago, Sean with Junk Smiths in Huntington Beach called me.

He said, “Lee, this estimate you guys had put on the schedule for me today is massive. I have no idea how to quote it. And I’m not the only one here. Junk King and another company are here looking at it as well and the owner says he wants all three companies to provide bids.”

First thing I did was congratulate him. Sean, find his company at, bought our business package back in July and he opened in September. Though he routinely gets large jobs and is in the process of adding a second truck, he has yet to get anything of this size. The first thing I wanted to know was, what are the other companies doing and saying.

Sean goes on to tell me that they, like him, were walking around looking overwhelmed. I told him,”Stop that shit. Look like you’ve seen this before.” Customers will notice if you look overwhelmed and will be hesitant to hire you. You must always look like the professional, even if you are telling yourself, “What the hell am I supposed to do with this?”

Sean then tells me that all the companies came together to the customer and one of them came forward and said: “None of us are going to be able to quote this job with a firm price because it is so massive. Instead, we can give you our per load rates and let you know how it looks as we go.” When I heard this I knew right then that, as long as the other companies were going to approach it that way, then Sean was going to get the job because I was going to tell him to do the opposite. Find ways to do things differently from your competitors. 

I told Sean that we needed to get the company a firm price. Sean had no idea where to start. I told him to start at the beginning and break it down into individual loads. “Forget about that big job as a whole. Break it down into smaller jobs.” I also had him take a video of everything to show me. When you are overwhelmed with quoting a large job, break it down into smaller pieces and don’t worry about the job as a whole.

Once Sean had finished looking at everything and sent us a video, I told him not to tell me how many loads he thought he had. Instead I was going to look at it, and so was Christian.  We were each going to come up with our own estimate as to how many loads we thought there were. After we had all looked at it, I came up with 55 loads, Christian came up with 50, and Sean came up with 40-50. We were all in the general ball park. It was important that Sean didn’t tell me and I didn’t tell Christian before we looked at the pictures. When you want someone’s input on a situation, it is often best not to tell them your opinion or thoughts. It can cause them to alter what they actually think. Offer your input after their original answer and come up with a decision.

The next step was to determine how this job was going to be done logistically. One of the most important things to consider when presented with a large job is how to avoid turning away other work to finish the large job. You can literally wipe out the majority of your short term profits of these large job by doing so. And long term you will lose out. A large job might prevent you from servicing ten other customers who would review you, refer you, and use you again. When quoting a large job, always have a plan to not have to turn away other jobs.

In this case, we decided to rent 40 yard containers and use a temporary labor agency for workers. Luckily, Sean’s dad, Norbert, used to work for a local waste hauler who had many trucks and 40 yard containers. They worked out a great price on the bins. We then took our 50 load estimate and determined the cubic yardage. From that we determined how many 40 yard containers we would need and estimated how long it would take to do the job, as well as what our other expenses would be. We then added in desired profit margins and a cushion. Always have a cushion added in on large jobs. Something will go wrong, guaranteed. It’s better to lose a job by being a bit high on price than lose your ass by being too low.

Sean had just recently gotten a crew trained up. That crew was going to handle all the other jobs that come in while they are completing this big one. He, his dad, and the temp labor guys were going to do the big job. Now it was a matter of winning the bid.

Sean was ready to provide the bid to the customer. I stopped him, saying, “Not so fast. Let’s put together a professional proposal.”  I had our team here at JRA draw up a professionally formatted proposal for the customer that listed the scope of work, estimated time to complete, payment terms, etc. I provided that to Sean and off he went. A day or two later, he called to say he got the job. Sean said the owner told him that he was not the cheapest, but was chosen due to the firm estimate and the professionalism of the whole process. Being the most professional will often times get the job over the cheapest price.

This is the type of job that many junk removal business owners would have messed up on. They would have not given a firm estimate, not given a professional proposal, under quoted if they did give the price, and turned away other work they could have gotten so they could complete the large job. This is just one example of many that you can avoid by choosing the JRA Business Package, the junk removal industry’s only alternative to a franchise. Call us at 919-617-1975 for more info.

-Lee Godbold