By Lauren Sable Freiman | Photo by Gery Petrof
The seven-year Navy veteran, who had been commissioned as a Naval Flight Officer, met the requirement that JDog franchisees must be military veterans or family members of a veteran. In addition, his experience as the vice president of Goodwill Industries retail services gave him an in-depth knowledge of the types of discarded junk that could help — or hinder — area charities and homeless shelters.
When he approached his wife with the idea, Kelly, who had been raised in a military family, saw both irony and opportunity.
“When Pedro pitched the idea to me about a junk hauling business, I laughed,” Kelly Barnes says. “When my father died he left behind 2,600 square feet of packrat that we had to sort through and dispose of.”
After talking to JDog’s corporate office, submitting paperwork that verified his veteran status, speaking with other franchisees around the country, and sitting through in-depth presentations about the business, Pedro Barnes says he was looking forward to owning a business that focused on the military standards of respect, integrity, and trust.
“In the military, you always approach a job with the mindset that everything can be done with the time and energy to analyze and figure out the best plan of attack,” Pedro says. “No matter your rank, you treat everybody with respect, and when you start a job, you don’t stop until it is done.”
Although many hauling companies offer similar services, Kelly Barnes says JDog’s commitment to military standards means that they pride themselves on leaving a job site in better condition than they found it, even if that means stepping outside the scope of work they were hired to complete.
“We cleaned out a rental property on the east side, and after we were loaded, there were a lot of candy wrappers, leaves, and broken pieces in the driveway,” Kelly says. “None was from our hauling, but we swept the driveway and picked up trash from around the yard. We’re not going to do a white glove test, but we do believe in leaving it better than we found it and better than the owner expects it to be.”
Because of the Barnes’ experience cleaning up Kelly’s father’s property following his death, Kelly Barnes says she is in the process of developing a program aimed at helping hoarders by removing junk as well as providing emotional counseling and support during the difficult process.
“We are fine-tuning the plan to truly help hoarders and get them to the next step, because I’ve been through this with my dad’s estate,” Kelly says.
Since the Barnes launched JDog in January to serve Summit, Medina, Cuyahoga, and Lorain counties, they have hauled 59,600 pounds, or nearly 30 tons. Nearly 25 percent, or 14,040 pounds, have been reused, repurposed, or recycled, while 76 percent, or 45,560 pounds of junk, has gone to the landfill.
Whenever possible, the Barnes pull out any items that might be useful to local charities. When one house had baby products in like-new condition, the pair donated them to a family care center supporting at-risk moms. When another house had stacks of books, they donated them to a group promoting adult literacy.
“It is more labor intensive to sort items, but we do it because we want to keep things out of the landfill when we can,” Kelly Barnes says. “For us, we are committed to trying to reduce, recycle, and reuse. With Pedro’s experience, he knows what charities can reuse. Otherwise, they have more expense for disposal.”
In the next six months, the Barnes plan to add two additional vehicles to their fleet and bring on a couple full-time employees, most likely veterans. They are also planning for a brick and mortar location, which would allow space to better sort items and coordinate distribution with local agencies and charities.
For more information: jdogjunkremoval.com/franchising/brunswick
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