1-800-GOT-JUNK? Blue wigs turn junk into gold; local franchise is a model business for winter climates.

Author:Morgan, Barbara
 
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Lewis and Marisa Garrett, owners of Anchorage's 1-800-GOT-JUNK?, opened their business in April 2006, after buying the business in 2005 and taking the appropriate training in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Already the business has grown in size and expanded the coverage area. 1-800-GOT-JUNK? is a full-service junk-removal company. They do all the sorting, loading and cleanup of unwanted items mirrored on the same caliber as FedEx delivers packages. The franchise adheres to four Quality Focus Areas: On-time Service; Clean Shiny Trucks, Friendly Uniformed Drivers and Up-Front Rates.

The Garretts' business hasn't fallen off during the winter months as typically happens in other states, so this franchise may prove to be a model for businesses in winter climates elsewhere.

The recognizable blue wigs, trucks and uniforms of the worldwide franchise have been featured on the Today Show, Oprah, USA Today, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press.

The backbone of the business is a state-of-the-art intranet business software called JunkNet. JunkNet is 1-800-GOT-JUNK?'s information hub as well as job-booking and dispatch tool. Drivers retrieve their daily schedules directly from Web access phones. The whole business is managed online. Customers can even schedule their appointments online.

Establishing the business included buying two trucks to start out with, as well as office uniforms, equipment and insurance.

Their staff now includes four full-time workers and one part-time employee.

Employees are chosen for their ability to be forthright, honest and interact well with the public, said the Garretts.

Previously in health care as a radiation therapist, Lewis and his wife, Marisa, a special education bilingual administrator, decided they wanted a new direction and the opportunity to work in a business together.

SLOW, STEADY GROWTH

The Garrett's purchased three territories servicing Wasilla, Palmer, Chugiak, Eagle River, Anchorage, Girdwood, Seward, Kenai, Homer and Soldotna.

One of the first business goals was to cover the Anchorage area.

The first month was quiet. The Garrett's were busy putting up door hangers, making signs, and parking their trucks in visible locations. The business received one or two jobs a day.

The second month the business really took off, receiving four or five jobs a day. Within 90 days, the Garrett's required the use of both trucks, and will soon need a third. In fact the business has done so well, they...

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