This conversation took place on Linkedin between two professionals in the electronic recycling business. I’m one of them and the other we will call Mr. Resykal. I am not revealing his real name because I didn’t ask permission to use his questions.

Another disclaimer, right up front, is that I am not using the entire questions and answers. We had a very lengthy conversation. I also paraphrased some answers to make it easier reading for the lay-person.

Mr. Resykal: I like your business model and website. I like the no-bull / no nonsense approaches to e-waste collection, transport & processing. Your ‘free’ ‘any size’ pick-up / transportation of e-waste intrigues me. I have experience with free e-waste pick-ups for businesses and also with variations on such themes too. Back-side values typically having significant impact on those strategies. While your approach ‘seems’ to defy such fluctuations? 2—Does Florida have a Landfill Ban and/or a Producer Law in place already or perhaps pending legislation? Is there any push-back from the commercial haulers about your picking-up e-waste from residences curb-side? How is it sustainable to send a truck to pick-up the Grandparents old keyboard and mouse at their residence over such a geography as the those counties your site lists? Was targeting only a back-side revenue stream prompted by local competitive forces?

Wow! A lot of questions. Let me try to unpack these one at a time.

Q: How is it sustainable to send a truck to pick-up the Grandparents old keyboard and mouse at their residence over such a geography as the those counties your site lists?

A: Your question is a common one. In other words, how can we make money? I see that as feather in our cap. My partner runs the operations, including logistics. We route our trucks to pickup business and pickup residents between. It actually blows my mind sometimes, how we do it. One other thing the website does not mention is our callback timing. My partner has a voice message that says, “I will call you back in 5 minutes.”. I suggested that he says “an hour”, but he insists of 5 minutes and he really does answer his calls in 5 minutes. I am sure, eventually, we will grow too large to keep that kind of customer service up, but it has been a catalyst to our growth so far. Another point, we know, from experience that people will put in a request for one or two items to test us out. They find it hard to believe we do not charge for our services; no strings attached. We get a huge amount of repeat business.

Q: Back-side values typically having significant impact on those strategies. While your approach ‘seems’ to defy such fluctuations?

(Back-side-receiving profit from recovered elements and not charging the customer for pickup, data destruction

[shredding of hard drives] and certification)

A: Doesn’t matter. Back to logistics and operations. We do pickup for free and dismantle but we also buy escrap. Yes. There are others in the business that make more money (at times) but we are consistent. We make a good living, employ 15 people and live modestly.

A: Doesn’t matter. Back to logistics and operations. We do pickup for free and dismantle but we also buy escrap. Yes. There are others in the business that make more money (at times) but we are consistent. We make a good living, employ 15 people and live modestly.

Q: Does Florida have a Landfill Ban and/or a Producer Responsibility Law in place already or perhaps pending legislation?”

A: No….well, yes but not enforced. It is against the law to dispose of electronics improperly, but seldom do any get caught. As you can imagine, it is very hard to police.

Q: Is there any push-back from the commercial haulers about your picking-up e-waste from residences curb-side? *

A: Commercial haulers, I am assuming you mean “1-800-GOT-JUNK”? No. Not at all. They don’t like e-waste. It cost them money to get rid of it. And, furthermore, we discourage people from leaving any e-waste curbside. More than likely, it will not be disposed of properly, if we don’t get there first.

Q: Was targeting only a back-side revenue stream prompted by local competitive forces?

A: Sort of. What we realized is no one was going after the small to medium size companies, so that’s where we focused. We could see where we could make money without charging, so we formed our model as such. In our 4 years, we have tweaked our model, but basically, it’s the same from day one. We say, (and believe) our biggest competition is the landfill. Other folks, in our industry, are in our network of buyers and sellers. We try to work with everyone within reason.

“Sorry about the million questions, it is just really interesting to be able to compare notes with a recycler 3,000+ miles away.”

SERIES II

Q: Dell, How do you address the elderly person who calls and asks you to recycle the 150# Sony Trinitron TV from an upstairs (I was going to say ‘basement’ but I don’t think that there are a lot of sub ‘basements’ in FL) bedroom? My own response is to decline, reminding them that we are recyclers rather than ‘movers’ simply because of liability issues (insurance. regulatory, etc). Our perspective is that the item needs to be accessible. Do your pick-up crews work solo or in teams of driver & helper?

A: On our list of items we don’t take is CTRs and TVs. We have a handy list of places to take them, usually free of charge; depending on the county. We have all kinds of recycling questions come in from styrofoam to office furniture. We try to be a resource of them all, by referring them to places they can recycle the items. We just had someone call about 160 mattresses yesterday. We referred them to a place and they actually called us back to thank us for helping them. As far as the solo, or team. That also depends. On our form for pickup request, we ask for a list of items. We route trucks and drivers per pickup route. Sometimes we call to change the requested time if we can’t meet their request, but surprisingly, we are able to manage most requests that come in. The hard request is when they say, “come anytime”. Those ones seem to be pushed to the back burner. Then they call or email, wonder when we are coming.

We have all the liability insurance, Workers Comp, and vehicle insurances and everything we need to go anywhere. That’s never been a concern. We usually have a team of two because you never know what we are going to encounter. Our team goes over and beyond to help anyone out. We do expect them to, but they seem happy to do it. People compliment them all the time. I email all the employees when we get 5 Star reviews from Google, Yelp or Trustpilot. We believe in kudos.

*Oh, by the way when I was referring to ‘commercial haulers’ earlier I was thinking more along the lines of the 900# gorilla “WM” (Waste Management). I GET what you said about what might happen to e-waste left at the curb (same here), but I was thinking more along the lines that local gov’t is actually very protective of the ‘curbside’ as the sacred domain of Waste Management, Republic Services, etc. Any large scale trash hauler. (Mr. Resykal)

 

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