Lee goes through a basic rundown on the trademark process for a junk removal business, and rather you should take the time and go through the expense to do it.

Hey guys! How’s everybody doing today? Quick little tidbit here. I’m a member of a Facebook group and one of the things that people have been talking about is should you trademark your name. Junk Doctors is trademark. Junk Removal Authority is going through the trademark process. We trademarked our stuff because we’ve got expansion plans. Not so much with Junk Doctors anymore, but we do operate outside of our state as well. We operate all the way out throughout North Carolina. We do go into South Carolina, Virginia. At one point we thought we’d franchise off Junk Doctors and then we decided to go to JRA route. We could eventually still franchise Junk Doctors. In the future, should we choose? If JRA takes off in everything, we’re not going to move. If we would almost contract Junk Doctors rather than expand and just contract like our single location in Raleigh potentially.


Who knows what we will do there. It just depends on how things progress. JRA is going great so far, so we probably won’t expand. In your case, a lot of people think about that I should trademark my name. Federal trademark is if you’re going to go into multiple states. Those of you thinking about franchising off your concept or expanding into multiple states. That needs to be another conversation as well as franchising. It is very expensive to set up and get it set up right. You’re $150,000 investment between legal fees, operations manuals and everything else to get it set up. There’s also a bunch of competition out there on the franchise route. You’ve got probably 20 companies that franchise now. Of which I’d say about 8 or 9 are serious franchise players. People still selling franchises though, so franchising is not a bad way to go.


The junk removal companies, a lot of the other franchises are getting sold out in many markets. That allows another franchise to come in and people are still in the junk removal industry. Still growing and a lot of people don’t know about it. It’s still a great business to get and expand. Those of you are looking to expand in other states. You’ll likely want to get a trademark. The other bit about trademarking is, just because you have a trademark does not mean that somebody is not going to copy your name. For example, Junk Doctors, people copied the Junk Doctors name all the time. They use “The Junk Doctor” They use “Dr. Junk” or whatever else. I’ve seen it all the way throughout the country.


When that occurs and once we find out about it, we have to send what’s called a cease and desist letter. An attorney prepares that. It’s a couple hundred dollars to have that letter sent off. If they don’t respond to that cease and desist, then you’ve got to take legal action. You actually sue them. At that point, you take legal action against them. Then it can be a couple thousand dollars in legal fees defending your brand. Defending your trademark is very expensive. If you choose not to defend it and once you find out about a violation then it’s possible that the next time you go around, trying to defend your brand. You could actually lose that battle because it’s been proven that you haven’t taken the steps to properly defend your brand. We send out a cease and desist letter probably quarterly.


I’ve just found out about another violation that will get a cease and desist letter. Majority of the time, they keep operating. A lot of times some of these guys go out of business. What you’ll notice is I’m not going to list any examples or say if I’ve done this or not. Let’s say theoretically, if you see somebody start operating and they’re very small time. They’re out of a pickup truck trailer. They’re not actively really advertising. They might be putting up Craigslist ads. Maybe on HomeAdvisor or something like that. They’re not hitting google. They don’t have a real professional website. They don’t have a super professional look. Then maybe you just allow them to keep on operating. Keep an eye on them. If they stay small, there’s a good chance that they eventually will go out of business. The majority of junk removal companies don’t last more than two years and that’s a stretch. The majority of businesses total don’t make it five years. You kind of keep an eye and all of a sudden, they started expanding. They become where you see them a lot more then you take that legal action. I’m not saying if we’ve ever done that or not. I’m saying theoretically that something you could do. Should you become aware of the situation and then somebody is infringing on your trademark. If it’s in your area, you probably want to just shut it down right off the bat.


The other thing is if you go out and you get a trademark on your business that does not mean you have more right to that name than somebody else that has been using it for longer than you. For example, there has been a Junk Doctor. The Junk Doctor in Miami, Florida has been open I think for probably 12 or 13 years now. Much longer than Junk Doctors has been in business. We had the federal trademark. We’ve held it longer than five years, so we have the right to that name. If we wanted to go down into Miami, our trademark is not enforceable in Miami. What we would do in that case is we will try and work something out with him. So, we would try and arbitrate. Can we buy you out? Is there a price we can pay you for you to switch your name? What can we do to potentially operating your market? The lawyers would take care of that. Those of you who think you’re going to go out there to get a name and you will file for trademark just because somebody has it. Then you’re going to be able to make them change their name. You’re greatly mistaken. There are companies out there that have been operating for 50 years without a trademark. You’re not going to come in there in your very first month of operation and get a trademark and be able to kick them out where they don’t use that name anymore. The other thing is the way that trademark process works is you’ll file the trademark and you can follow them online for several hundred dollars. I think 500 or 600 bucks, something like that. You can file a trademark online. The online ones work and we’ve done it before for certain marks. More complicated ones, you’re going to be working directly with an attorney. For example, when we trademarked Junk Doctors, a defunct business in Georgia had a trademark for it, but they haven’t been operating. We had to pay another couple thousand dollars for an attorney to get that one canceled for ours to go in effect.


When you filed the trademark for a period of time. I can’t remember how long, 6 months or something like that. Basically, they’re going to post it for dispute. They’re going to put it out there and say, ” Hey someone is trying to trademark this name” whatever it is. Does anybody dispute it? If anybody that’s already been using that mark for longer than that. Disputes that mark, maybe they have a similar trademark or they haven’t trademarked yet, then all of a sudden, they want to trademark. They have the right to that name. You’re going to figure out how much you want to pay in court cost if you want to continue, try and trademark that name. That’s a brief overview of trademark. I am by no means an attorney to get any more information for it. You’re going to want to talk with an attorney. When it comes to choosing your name, try and avoid choosing a name that somebody’s already trademarked. It’s just setting yourself up for a potential to have to maybe change your website. Change your branding. Re-educate your customers on your new name. Change your truck graphics. Just try and avoid it. All you got to do is type in. Just do a basic trademark search on the US patent and trademark office website and do that search. If your name is in the clear, then you’re probably good. You might want to do some more research. If you do some research, you see somebody in the country is out using your name. Your proposed name, look into them. If it looks like it’s a company that might expand, you probably want to avoid it because you might be setting yourself up for problems later on down the line. There are a bunch of junk removal companies out there. It’s hard to choose names. All of our partners we’re working with. We’re working with a guy right now. He’s been operating, but he is deciding to change the name he’s currently using. We’re working right now creating another name. There are still plenty of names that have not been used. Don’t think you got to go out there and trademark. Those of you wanting to franchise. Look into what franchising takes. It’s a completely different game. When you get into franchising, you get out of the junk removal business and you get into the franchise sales business.


It’s a huge investment upfront. A lot of times you’re going to make more money just by expanding your junk removal company and then by going the franchise route. Hopefully this was helpful to everybody. I know that’s a common question. If you’ve got any other questions about it, specific trademark. You might want to just contact an attorney, but anything else for junk removal related you can always reach us at +1 919-466-9322. You can visit our placeholder site, We got a new site, that’s going to be going out. It’s going to have just a tremendous amount of free information. We’re actually going to be looking for others to post content as well. We’ll be contacting junk removal companies throughout the country and see if they would like to place content on the junk removal authority site as well. We will be looking for consultants around the country as well. So, that’s going to be something we’ll announce and provide more details on moving forward. Thanks guys! You all have a great day.