Israel Moore was always interested in owning his own construction company, and that dream came true in 2014.
But something interesting happened a year later: he found a second business in hauling people’s junk away.
Moore launched Trash Bandits, a professional junk removal service, eight years ago.
“My construction company (MyPROcontractor) had bins for tossing away junk,” he said. “Other companies started asking for the bins. I had a dumpster that I rented out to a company.”
Suddenly, Moore found that junk removal was big business.
“And then Jennifer got involved, and she has taken it to another level,” said Moore.
Jennifer is Jennifer Freund, Moore’s friend and business partner. She also has a personal organization business, and she’s helped streamline Trash Bandits.
So just what does Trash Bandits do?
For a fee – depending on what needs to be removed – the company will take away the following items: furniture, yard waste, electronics, appliances, some hazardous waste (such as paint), wood debris, metal, old lawn mowers, cardboard, newspaper, concrete and brick, dirt and gravel, mattresses and hot water tanks.
The company serves the following areas: Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Prosser, Finley, Burbank, Walla Walla, Moses Lake and Pendleton.
They’ll do their best to recycle products to places such as Habitat for Humanity or Goodwill.
“We treat people’s stuff like we’d want our stuff to be treated,” Freund said.
That also means following the latest ecological guidelines with dumping.
“And concerning your sensitive identification, with us it’s secure when we drop it off. No one is going to go through your stuff,” Freund said.
Trash Bandits helps a lot of elderly people, many of whom can’t move their own stuff.
“We go through a lot of these people’s personal items,” Freund said. “We take care to go through their personal stuff for them. We’re making community connections. When you let people into your own home, that’s trust.”
Freund talks about the time while moving an older person’s belongings, they came across an old recipe box that was marked in the toss out pile.
They got the box back to the owner.
Moore said that Trash Bandits’ services have been on the rise over the last year.
“We’ve been advertising on Facebook and Google,” he said. “And a lot of word of mouth.”
The company has four trailers, two roll-off dumpsters and eight junk bins to carry off that unwanted excess on your property.
“We’ve doubled in trailers in a year’s time,” said Moore, who is quick to credit Freund for much of the company’s growth. “This has been Jennifer’s baby. Over the next year, she expects to hire more people.”
Trash Bandits currently has two full-timers (Freund and Moore) and two part-timers.
“My five-year plan is to have at least five full-time junkers, and at least one office person,” Freund said. “I want to do marketing.”
With success comes imitation.
Freund says there are a number of people in the Tri-Cities who have a truck and trailer. Those people advertise that they’ll remove your junk for a lot less money.
Freund says that’s OK.
“But the majority of them are not licensed, bonded or insured,” she said. “If they break something of yours in the house while removing the junk, you have no recourse.”
In a community of more than 300,000, there should be plenty of work for all junk haulers.
Trash Bandits has developed a reputation in the community.
“We work with 80 Realtors and property management companies,” Freund said. “We have done removal in places involving hoarding cases.”
They also get a lot of jobs from people who live outside the area, whose parents in the Tri-Cities have recently passed away and need their parents’ places cleaned out.
“They don’t know what to do,” Freund said.
Trash Bandits also moves personal belongings from place to place, and the company has helped some older folks by helping move furniture inside their homes.
The company also works with the nonprofit iMPACT! Compassion Center, setting up clients with case workers to help meet their needs, whether it is diapers, microwaves, freezers or baby clothes.
“If we hear from specific organizations that they have needs, we keep an eye out for those needs,” Moore said.
Then there are the unpleasant jobs that need to be done, like cleaning out a tenant’s apartment after being evicted. Or cleaning up an apartment that was used to make drugs such as fentanyl.
That’s when the Trash Bandits put on their hazmat suits and dive in.
Still, the No. 1 job for business seems to be junk pickups.
“That’s what most people want,” said Moore. “But No. 2 is full clean-outs.”
Those are usually storage unit clean-outs, when customers don’t want to pay another month’s rent for that storage unit.
And they always happen at the end of a month, and in bunches.
Junk hauling in the Tri-Cities has become big business.
“We put in 10 to 15 hours a day, six days a week,” Freund said.
But they both love it.
“I love a customer’s response when they say it’s money well spent,” Moore said. “What could take someone a number of trips to the dump in their pickup truck, it’s gone in minutes with us. And I like the fast pace of it.”
“Every day is different,” she said. “I love how what we do lifts the weight off of a customer’s shoulders. That pile of junk sitting in their garage for three years is suddenly gone. I just love seeing the relief on their faces.”
Trash Bandits: 509-416-0141; trash-bandit.com.
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