Hauling Services as a Sustainable Livelihood

At one time or another, most of us contend with getting rid of big, bulky, heavy things or loads of things, such as old appliances, garden trimmings, old carpeting, and debris from the last remodeling project that  need to be hauled off and a hauling service is called.  Or we want a new sofa purchased at a moving sale, firewood, and new fruit trees be delivered, unloaded, and even put in place.

Sometimes the delivery schedule of a department store doesn’t coincide with the homeowner’s need for a new refrigerator or television set. Somebody who is reliable with a truck and an appliance dolly (plus maybe a helper or two) is welcome, and the money spent to hire this person will be seen as several dollars well spent. A business with a need to move file boxes from the office to storage or from storage to the shredding facility, or dispose of hazardous waste finds a dependable hauling service a real boon.

Since most homeowners and even renters don’t have the time or the resources (meaning a truck) for transporting things from home and bringing new things in, there’s work for light to medium hauling services. Using for-hire hauling services makes sense as the cost of fuel and operating vehicles climbs and local communities need hauling services.

Likely customers for a hauling service include the elderly, busy professionals, single women, men without trucks and strong (willing) friends to do heavy lifting, and businesses with limited custodial personnel. An interior designer with a client who has furniture that needs reupholstering might contract with you to transport dining chairs or an armoire to the refurbishing facility and then to the client’s home after the job is done.

Additional services can supplement income for a hauling service, or they may grow into becoming a specialization if the demand is high enough. Examples include the following:

  • Contractual Work. Possibilities for regular work with a monthly check include making deliveries for a store, picking up inventory or supplies for a company, or delivering small loads for a trucking company. The monthly check can cover up to a set number of loads, with per-load pricing for any additional loads.
  • Firewood Delivery. The need for firewood delivery services is growing. High fuel costs have resulted in big sales of wood stoves. Many people are also interested in the luxurious coziness of a fire in the fireplace. Firewood demand is not limited by region, season, or economics. People from all walks are using it. You should investigate sources and lock in some places to get wood regularly. Mills, the U.S. Forest Service, and construction companies are some possibilities. Wood pellets are also a good choice for hauling because they are most economically purchased by the ton and store charges for delivery may provide a price umbrella for you.  Another source of customers are people who use wood pellet stoves and often need help getting the pellets.
  • Junk Dealing. One person’s junk is another’s treasure. Capitalizing on this old adage using online auctions, listing services, or selling items at flea markets can really supplement the hourly rate you make hauling the stuff away. People throw away old oil paintings, small appliances that still work but feature dated colors, old light fixtures, and heaps of serviceable clothes. Lots of furniture, appliances, and books are left behind when people move. A flea market shopper might see the funky coffee table, the one your suburban client couldn’t stand, as a hip addition to her urban loft, and you might make seventy-five or one hundred dollars on the first guy’s trash! You might have to take a truckload to get one sellable item, but keep your eyes peeled and you could have a second, profitable business on your hands.
  • Hauling refuse after natural disasters, such as floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes, which are increasing as the climate warms. To do this, you need to work with insurance firms and government relief agencies. Sometimes it takes a long time to get paid, but the business is profitable.

A strong back and a reliable, clean-looking vehicle are the first requirements. As the business grows, you might hire a crew. They need to be neatly dressed and polite. You might want to have separate trucks for hauling antiques and garbage, or at least make sure you wash out the bed of the truck before you pick up the eight-thousand-dollar dining room table.

As with any service business, you need to be reliable. The number you give people needs to be one you answer when they call. If you say you’ll do a job at a certain time, then you need to be as good as your word. A twenty-dollar job that gets delayed, without a courtesy call, for a five-hundred-dollar job can cost you more in lost work through negative advertising than the time it takes to either do the job or make the call.

You should like to be outdoors and have a strong back for this job. A squeamish personality is not a good match. But the flexibility and fresh air should make up for any unsavory loads you might encounter. You may need to get a commercial driver’s license for the type of hauling you do.

You can operate  a hauling independently or affiliate with a franchise like 1-800-Got-Junk

For an initial free consultation to explore this or another sustainable livelihood that bests suits your personality and your community, contact us.

Comments on the substance of the blogs are welcome. If you have other questions, please contact me directly for a consulting appointment.

 

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