Lee Godbold is the co-founder of Junk Doctors and built it to a $2 Million a year business by the end of year 5. Now with Junk Removal Authority Godbold looks to help others reach the same level of success Junk Doctors achieved in their market. One of the keys Godbold attributes to his success was their overall ability to keep focused on junk removal. Though they lost focus a few times with adding other services or expanding too quickly they always came back to junk removal. https://junkremovalauthority.com/
Hey guys! I hope everybody is doing great today. What I want to talk to you today about is staying focused and that’s one of the most difficult things for an entrepreneur to do. It has certainly been one of most difficult things that I’ve ever had to do and been capable of and in my business career. The lack of focus at times early on in my entrepreneurial career has certainly hindered us and definitely set us back several years. First of all, who am I? We’ve got a couple hundred subscribers now. A lot of you know who we are and you follow our videos. You comment, like and you’ve subscribed. I certainly appreciate all that. We do have some new people that have started watching and commenting. Wondering who is Lee Godbold and who is Junk Removal Authority.
Again, my name is Lee Godbold. I have been in the junk removal business, six years now. Started it in North Carolina. My business partner and myself, build it up to a $2,000,000 a year business by the end of year five. Our business model is all junk removal except we do some demolition now. We didn’t start out doing demolition, but demolition pairs very well with it. We use dump trucks. We have one dump trailer for demolition work. We’ve got 10 trucks total. Three locations, one in Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte, North Carolina. Junk Removal Authority was founded as a kind of our expansion plan out into the market international. Eventually starting as national became international, we offer. It’s a consulting and support business for the junk removal industry. Offering a complete business packages such Google AdWords management, search engine optimization, general consulting or websites. All that kind of stuff that had been built, tested and proven for the junk removal industry.
We also have several other services that we’ll be talking about. I’m very excited about it. We know a lot of people can be interested in moving forward. We’ll be announcing those soon. What I want to talk to you about today in this video is staying focused. It’s one of the hardest things that you’ll ever do. A true entrepreneur will ever do in his or her entire career. It’s been very difficult for me. Most of you all are watching this video. Not all, but most of you all are either you’re currently in the junk removal business or you’re considering getting into it. Into the very exciting world to be a part of.
There is a lot of money in junk removal. I think a lot of people either getting into business or that have already been in it. They really underestimate how much money is in just junk removal. I mentioned we did $2,000,000 a year after our fifth year. We are still growing. In our Raleigh location, the original location did somewhere around $1,200,000. Just over $1,200,000. Then a Greensboro and Charlotte kind of split the rest. That Raleigh location we’re on pace to grow probably another 30% this year. We’re going to pass $1,500,000 or $1,600,000 in just Raleigh location. So, even that Raleigh location after that period of time is just growing. In Raleigh, it is not a huge market. It’s about 1,700,000 people. I believe 1,700,000 or 1,800,000 people. Charlotte is our largest market. It’s about 2,400,000. Greensboro is our smallest at about 750,000. We’ve been successful in every single one of those markets using a proven formula. What’s really easy for junk removal business owners, entrepreneurs and business owners in general is after they get that initial startup done on their business. They get it up and going. They’ve gotten past that initial excitement of getting everything set up. Maybe their sales all of a sudden, they’ve had a week or two or a month or two where their sales have kind of leveled off. It’s very easy for that particular entrepreneur to think that he’s maxed out the junk removal market or whatever service he’s currently in. He’s maxed that out in his market, so he needs to start another business. Another service, or he needs to expand into another location.
That right there is false. If you’ve been doing anything for just a year or two, even three years or four years, I will 100% guarantee you. You have not maxed out your market. You could have potentially maxed out how you’re getting your customers. So, if you’re focused just on Craigslist. If you’re focused just on flyers. If you’re focused just on Facebook. If you’re going with just the three ways to get business or the very inexpensive ways to get business. I want to use inexpensive with quotation marks because too many of you are looking at investments which advertising is an investment. Too many of you are looking at an investment as an expense and that’s not the case. You very well could have maxed out the ways you’re getting customers.
What you need to do in that case is you need to find other ways to get customers. The best way without doubt is Google. There’s no doubt about it. Every single one of you should know this. Every single one of you, if you’re in an unfamiliar area. If you’re looking for a service and you’re not familiar with somebody. What’s the first thing you’re going to do? You’re going to go to Google. There’s some people out there that talk about just doing free advertising and not doing Google. Then they talk about every single time you turn around and somebody asks a question. This guy is on YouTube. I got some guys on YouTube and they’re harping on “Don’t use google.” All of a sudden, a viewer comes up. They might ask about insurance or something like that. It might be in a different area with these people.
These people probably the area pretty well, but the first thing they say is, “We’ll go to Google and research what business licenses you need in your market? What insurance you need in your market?” Their very first thing is going to Google. Your potential customers, the very first thing they’re going to do is go to Google. That’s why you’ve got to have a great presence on Google. If you don’t have a great presence on Google, then you’re certainly leaving a lot of money on the table. That’s the reason so many of you all are tempted to get into other services before you’ve maxed out junk removal. Perfect junk removal, get to be the number one or number two in your market. Don’t even think of expanding into additional markets until you’ve maxed out that first business and junk removal business.
One of the easiest things to get tempted for people to do is go into dumpsters and that’s a mistake. The reason people get tempted by dumpsters because “Hey, I can take this dumpster to their house, charge them 350 bucks or whatever. I can drop this dumpster off. Then they load everything for me, so I’m not having to do the labor.” I haven’t been on a truck in probably 2 years. I literally have not been only junk removal truck in probably two years. I’m stopping on jobs from time to time. Christian mainly does that. I have other people to manage Junk Doctors. Everything I think about is big picture. My main focus is JRA right now.
Even before that it was an expansion for Junk Doctors. It was how do we get team members more motivated to do a better job? It was managing our trucks and that sort of deal. I myself had not been and done the labor on a junk removal truck in over two years. I was full-time on the truck for one year and after that I had other people doing pretty much everything as far as it is all the labor. I work 7 days a week. You’re going to work a lot. Work for 7 days a week, but you’ll be working on the bookkeeping, getting the sales and more business. The hiring and firing, that’s the kind of stuff that your focus needs to be on. It needs to be 100% on expanding your junk removal business. With dumpsters, they think “Alright, I don’t have to do the labor. That’s great!”
I’m not having to get out there, break my back and all that kind of stuff. Do all the heavy lifting. Let us let the customers do some of it. The issue with that is you shouldn’t be on the truck after a year and a half of operation. You should have other people doing that work so you can focus on sales. You’ve got to have multiple dumpsters to even begin to be competitive in the dumpster market. If you all want to go out there piddle and you can with three or four dumpsters. You need a minimum 10, but you need more like 15 or 20 to actually be a serious player in the dumpster game. Dumpsters that are brand-new, we’re going to run you about $2,500 each. You might be able to find a company going out of business that has a bunch.
You might want to ask yourself why are they going out of business though? Anytime you see a dumpster company and they’re selling off the 25 of their bins and the trucks. What’s going on here? Why are they selling that? That doesn’t mean it’s a bad market. I know I’ve got a couple of friends that make a tremendous amount of money in dumpsters, but they don’t also get in junk removal. They focus on dumpsters. If you’ll notice Junk King, College Hunks Hauling Junks and the Junkluggers have gotten into dumpsters recently. They’d been in business for years before they ever got into dumpsters. There was a company called Rubbish Works. Rubbish Works did the dumpster and junk removal game. They got like 25 locations. It faltered. The model was broken and it never became anywhere near the size of 1-800-GOT-JUNK? even though one of the guys that founded Rubbish Works was older than 1-800-GOT-JUNK? guy.
He had a Scootamore. We’re kind of in together and they were older, so the story goes. I’ve had several people told me that before. Dumpsters is very tempting, but you got to own the dumpsters. You have twice the mileage. You got twice the wear and tear on your vehicle. You’re not controlling what goes in those bins. That’s a very easy thing to get tempted on, but you want to maintain focus on junk removal. I mentioned before the mistakes that I’ve made being an entrepreneur. Generally, comes from my focus. Swaying to a different idea. We were going to create a kind of a website to compete with Angie’s List. A customer review service to compete with Angie’s List. It’s called Ask Your Neighbors. It was askyourneighbors.org. It actually paired with Facebook where you could see if your Facebook friends have reviewed a particular service. and liked it. The theory being that a neighbor posting a review on a business and having used the service before, it’s going to be much more valuable than just some random person. Somebody can actually verify. You could call them up and say “Hey! You were really happy with these people.” That was the theory behind it. We spent about $25,000 developing that. I never used it because luckily, I didn’t keep making that mistake and actually put it in operation. Which would’ve took my focus away from Junk Doctors and prevented us from starting JRA. The other thing is our second year in operation, we started a shredding service. We had a mobile shredding, service that was a mistake. Again, we’re just going into too many different directions. You can’t build two businesses, multiple businesses at the same time. Unless you have plenty of money where you can go out there and you can take losses in one or two of them and hire people that to actually run each individual. You kind of oversee the whole deal.
We weren’t in that position, I don’t think most of you are either. So, that’s the reason you got to stay laser focused on what you’re doing. We went off in this shredding direction. Luckily, we sold that business before we lost much money. Then the Ask Your Neighbors was $25,000 that we never recovered. Sites pretty much built out. We have no plans of pursuing that anytime soon. I think Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor and Thumbtack, there’s so many of those services out there. I think over time they’re going to go away. They become diluted. I think Angie’s List was probably balled out by HomeAdvisor or somebody here pretty soon anyway. I don’t think any of those businesses are going to stay long-term. They’re too much of a pain for business owner and the entrepreneur.
Like with HomeAdvisor, the customers a lot of times don’t realize when they submit the information, they’re going to get blasted by a bunch of different companies about services provided. They’ll get four calls in an hour and they just want it to be able to research different companies. I don’t think any of those are going to stay long-term, so that’s one of the reasons we’re not going to pursue Ask Your Neighbors and we just have to stay focused. Another thing you don’t want to do is you don’t have a bunch of different truck sizes. When you have a bunch of different truck sizes, it makes it a lot harder for your guys to quote because every single truck size is a little bit different. You want to get used to one truck size and it’s having quoting one truck size. It is also a little bit more difficult to drive multiple different vehicles. Again, a lot of you guys are inexperienced drivers. You don’t want to throw them several different vehicles all the time. It’s just asking for trouble.
Think about of Southwest Airlines probably been the most successful airline over the past 30 years. If not ever certainly been the most profitable year after year. One of the greatest things they ever did is they have one type of airplane. They have the Boeing 737. So, every single pilot within that organization is qualified to fly in the 737. They’re very good with it. They understand the airplane. They’re not getting confused. They’re not flying multiple different types of planes which all fly a bit different. Which the avionics operate a bit different. They’re all different sizes so you got more chances of thing in a wing tip if you’re in a 737. You were just in a smaller Embraer or something like that. They can’t be the same plane size. For the most part keep everything the same truck size. It makes everything very easy for people. That’s just part of staying focused. Not going off in a million different directions.
If you’re in a market over 750,000 people, I would not even consider another service until at minimum you reach $500,000 in a year in revenue. I’d love to see you closer to 1 million. Literally, if you’re in a market above a million people, it is possible if you use proven methods. If you’re not afraid to get on Google. If you’re following up with your customers. If you’re got a follow up campaign with your previous customers. You’re willing to hire and train people. You’re willing to fire people. You’re willing to really get out there and get known Chamber of Commerce and Rotary meetings. If you’re willing to get out there and do all that stuff. You have more than a million people in your market and it’s a reasonably good economic climate or at least certain. There are at least certain areas that people have jobs and they’re making good money.
There’s a potential for you to have a million dollars a year income in your junk removal business. I don’t want to see you going into another service or expanding into another area until you’ve gotten a million dollars in revenue. I just want to remind everybody, just to make sure you stay focused. It’s definitely one of the greatest assets an entrepreneur can have. An entrepreneur can really keep their eye on the ball for not days, weeks, year, 2 years, but 5 years, 10 years and 20 years. It is going to be extremely successful. It’s going to have a world class organization. It is going to be just extremely successful business owner. I have a lot of freedom in their life. The people that bounce from idea to idea with no focus and no direction are going to be the ones that ultimately falter.
The ones with the most stress, disappointment and failure. You got to stay very focused on what you’re doing. Junk removal is a proven model. We’ve done it with Junk Doctors. $2,000,000 a year after year five, were helping people now with Junk Removal Authority. Do exactly what we did and actually maybe even better than what we did because we had to learn along the way. So, people who come with us at the start are certainly going to be in a much better position than we were when we first started. Do not underestimate junk removal. I’ve had people before. I was talking with a guy the other day in Richmond. He was getting advice from people and they were saying “Well, you need to do dumpsters. You need to do cleaning. You need to do junk removal.” Because there’s not enough business in junk removal.
There’s plenty of money in junk removal. There’s a tremendous amount, but if you’re not willing to do what it takes to reach those people then you’re not going to be able to have a $750,000 or a million dollar a year business. You’re going to get stuck at $100,000 or $200,000 something like that if you’re just focusing on the free advertising. I always harp on advertising. One of the best things we’ve ever done is go out there and we were willing to spend money to get customers. We hustled. We made phone calls. We made cold calls. We put a Craigslist ad. We did up flyers. We did all that type of stuff, but we were not afraid of spending money to get customers. It doesn’t matter if we did advertising and it broke even.
That was a potential long-term customer. That’s potential review you’re going to get which is going to help you convert more people. You have more Google and Yelp reviews. There is a good chance that people are going to choose you over a competitor. That’s potential referral, friends and family members. Potential Facebook posts they might put out about your business. That’s a repeat customer over there. Even if you’re breaking even on adverting, you got to keep banging. You got to keep doing it. If you’re breaking even on advertising, keep doing it because that’s going to be a long-term customer. All I can say is stay focused. Don’t get tempted. It’s very easy as you become more successful and you get more money to lose focus. To go into additional service and additional market. Most of the time, it’s a mistake. Stay focused on junk removal. Become where you are the first or second largest junk removal company in your market. Then maybe consider an additional service. Until then keep hitting that junk removal business really hard and it’s going to be the greatest thing that’s ever happened to you in your life. I promise you. Thanks guys.