FALL RIVER: Andrew Willison never imagined at 19-years-old he would be the general manager of any business, let alone his own. But that’s exactly what the Fall River man is doing.
Willison is the main contact with Junk-Works Halifax for those looking to have junk removed from their property at a reasonable price.
Andrew’s dad Chris and mom Sherry purchased the Eastern Canadian (Quebec to NL) rights to Junk-Works with part of that being that they would have the ability to open a Halifax franchise several years ago.
While it’s taken some time—because life has been busy for Chris, who has a regular full-time job and Andrew who was away for almost a year at school—the time was right to get it off the ground.
“I was looking for a business that I could get involved with as an investment over time,” said Chris Willison. “We just didn’t have the time with my day job, and then when Andrew became available we did.
“He basically setup the business. He’s done all the setup and is running it as the general manager.”
On a breezy, sunny Saturday morning in late October, Andrew and dad Chris invited me along for a morning job they had to see what they do and what Junk-Works, founded in 2005 in California under the name Junk King, is all about. The day is the type that you can tell fall is in the air, with winter not too far off as there was frost on the car windshields.
After meeting in Fall River, in their shiny truck emblazoned with Junk-Works (it stands out whether you’re walking or driving) we head to the job site. A homeowner in Cole Harbour called them to take away some wood, fencing and other junk. It’s job six of the first week in operation for the business, which has a 1,300 square foot warehouse in Bedford.
Andrew Willison, a Lockview High graduate, said there have been a lot of ups and downs getting the business started, but he doesn’t regret any of it.
“It’s something totally different,” said Andrew Willison as Chris put the truck into drive towards Bedford. “At this point last year I didn’t really think I would be on a junk truck driving around or even starting my own business.
“It’s been a challenge, but at the same time it’s been a lot of fun.”
It’s not your typical job.
“It has a lot of different facets to it,” said Andrew. “You’re out and about meeting all kinds of different people, and providing a client-based service. It’s all a variety all the time. You don’t know where you’re going to go the next day, what you’re going to be picking up or who you may be helping.
What has been Andrew’s favourite part of the job?
“Meeting the clients and talking to them,” he said. “Everybody has been really nice.”
Junk Works has varying prices for the junk they remove from clients properties, and a lot of it depends on how much it takes up in their truck, which is 20 per cent bigger than most junk removal companies. Their truck also puts out almost zero emissions. That’s because it runs on bio-diesel, making the company very environmentally friendly.
Bridgewater; Eastern Passage; Bedford; Elmsdale; Lower Sackville; Lantz; Wolfville; Timberlea; Hammonds Plains; Dartmouth; Middle Sackville; and New Minas are just a few of the areas they provide junk removal services to.
Approximately 45 minutes after beginning the cleanup, the job is done and there’s about 1/3 of the back of the truck full with garbage and junk to be hauled away. The two even go the extra mile in cleaning up their work area along with the driveway.
“We could do another four or five jobs like that or until the truck is full, then we would strip off the stuff we could keep or recycle, then we may have half a truck left,” Chris Willison explained. “We still wouldn’t need to go to the dump because the next day we may have two or three more jobs, and again will strip off what we can recycle, repurpose or re-use.
“Because we’re recycling and we have a spot we can take it, we’re trying to minimize what we take to the landfill.”
Andrew thinks it’s cool they’re keeping Junk Works in the family. More information on the company can be found at http://www.junk-works.ca/locations/halifax.
“It’s nice because I feel I can be really honest about what we’re doing with the business with my dad,” he said. “If I was working for someone else I don’t think I could have the same freedom.”