Since April, 2020 I’ve listened to more than 5,000 junk removal calls, and this is what I’ve learned. I will start with a few basic tips, then I will go over what I believe is the absolute best way to answer the phone when someone calls and is looking for junk removal services.
Disclaimer: If it works, use it. Every market is different, and everyone has their own strategy and a solution that works for them. If you are making money and booking jobs that’s awesome. The ideas below are my own, and my only intent is to help you book more profitable jobs and make more money.
- When you answer the phone, clearly state your company name, your name, and ask how you can help…. “Junk Removal, this is Dan, how can I help you today?” You have no idea how many people answer the phone with just a simple…. “hello”. Every single time the customer is clearly not impressed. Don’t be that guy or gal!
- PICK UP THE PHONE! This seems like an easy one, but you would be shocked how often people don’t pick up the phone when a customer calls. If a customer calls in and gets sent to your voicemail, I guarantee they call the next company in line and you just lost a deal. If you cannot pick up the phone, consider setting up an account with AnswerConnect or a similar service. It will pay for itself with one extra job per month. Two extra jobs and you are in the green.
- Be nice on the phone, to eveyone. You don’t know who might have a big job that needs to be completed so be nice and don’t make any judgements until you hear them out. Jerks don’t make money in this business.
- Let them know your minimum right away. This will filter out all the bad customers. We set a low minimum of $89, but we completed very few jobs for this amount.
- Tell them what makes your business different. “We are a green company and we donate and recycle as much as possible” and “We are one of the most affordable junk hauling companies in the area” are two good ideas.
Now that we got the easy stuff out of the way, let me tell you my personal opinion about what works best for making more money. Notice I say “making more money” and not “booking more jobs”. More jobs don’t necessarily mean more money. You want to book the right jobs for the right price.
First rule: Only give a firm price over the phone for single item pick-ups, and start with a high price. You wouldn’t believe how many calls I’ve listened to where people agree to have a mattress picked up for $160. It sounds crazy, but it happens all the time. If they don’t like the high price, offer to give them a discount and do the job for what you think it’s worth. Example: Me “For a full size mattress that would be $160.” Customer: “okay, thanks I’m going to call around” Me: “Actually, what part of town are you in? (they tell me). You know, since we are going to be over there anyway I can knock $50 off and do it for $110, would that work?” If they don’t like your discounted price, let them call the next company. Single items that are okay to quote over the phone are mattresses and appliances…. AND THAT IS IT!
Second Rule: When people call in with furniture that needs to be removed, give them a broad range and tell them “we give discounts for any items that can be donated, reused, or recycled, so we actually have to see the items before we can give you a firm price”. For example… if someone calls in and they have a couch, a love seat, a coffee table, and an ottoman I would say the following. “Our minimum is $89, for those items I’m guessing the range is somewhere between $150 and $300. We are a green company so we actually give discounts for any items that can be donated or reused, so let me come out and take a look and I will give you a very fair price. Are mornings or afternoons normally better for you?” Note: you should actually give discounts if the items can be donated or reused, and if you don’t have a plan for donating, reusing, or selling items, then you should make one.
Third Rule: Always give a range for multiple item pick-ups, and never agree to a firm price over the phone. Only give a firm price on-site. When you get onsite, follow this four step process for bidding onsite. If you give a firm price for a multiple item pickup one of two things will happen…. 1. They will keep calling other companies until someone gives them a lower price over the phone (and you will lose the job), or 2, You will get the job at a low price and won’t make much, if any, money.
Fourth Rule: Use an assumptive close, this one is my favorite…. “Are mornings or afternoons better for you?” After I tell them my minimum, that we are a green company, that we are one of the most affordable haulers in the area, and give them a range for what they can expect to pay, I always use the assumptive close… “Are mornings or afternoons better for you?” Once they tell you “mornings” or “afternoons”, pick a day and it’s a done deal.
Note: Don’t be afraid to offer discounts. Discounts do not devalue your service. There is a reason every major company in America offers coupons and discounts, and that’s because it works. Consumers are conditioned that coupons and discounts benefit them, and they do not view discounts as a negative. For example… if you got $10,000 off a brand new Ford F250, would you view that brand new Ford F250 as less of a truck? Nope.
Strategies that are less profitable
- The Low Price Guy – The low price guy gives a very low price over the phone in an attempt to win the job. The close rate using this strategy is very high, but this isn’t a very profitable method. Most of the low price guys I’ve seen make $50,000 to $70,000 per year and are single operators. The guys who bid onsite make twice this amount, and have the opportunity to scale their business.
- The Give a Firm Price for a Huge Job Over the Phone Guy – You will win big jobs, but you won’t always make money on these jobs. Anytime you agree to doing a big job for a low price without actually being onsite two things happen… 1. There is ALWAYS more stuff than you saw in the text message picture when you arrive onsite and 2. You always are less profitable than you expected to be.
- The Text Me a Pic Guy – I used this strategy for a few months when I first started my junk removal business, until I won a job removing a bunch of sod for a guy who sent me a pic via text message. The pic showed a pile of sod in his driveway that would fill up about half of my trailer and I bid it at $250. About halfway through loading I realized the guy added way more sod than he showed me in the picture, and there was now enough for a full trailer load. I showed him the picture he sent me vs the amount that was actually there and he told me wasn’t going to pay me another dime. At that moment I was very thankful to have a hydraulic dump trailer, and I started to dump all the sod we had just loaded back in his driveway. As soon as the trailer started to rise he agreed to pay $500 and I completed the job, but I never gave a firm quote on a text message pic again. THERE IS ALWAYS MORE STUFF THAN WHAT YOU SEE IN THE PICTURE.
If you want more junk removal leads let me know. Happy to send some your way.