Now he employs seven people, has expanded his services, and has earned a solid reputation in the community. “One of the keys to my early growth is very simple. I answer the phone. It’s that simple. And lots of people don’t.”
There are countless people offering junk removal services on online platforms such as Kijiji, but Cheal believes that, given a choice, customers will go with a known company. “Lots of people see my fleet going. We have insurance, and we’re in full uniform,” he says. “It’s important to do your homework on who you use.”
Junk Away offers comprehensive service, from taking away piles of junk in the backyard, to light demolition jobs (for example, an old shed.) If you are unable to take out the junk yourself, Cheal’s crew will come and do it for you. Junk Away can also drop off a bin that you can fill yourself for pickup, or they will provide both a bin and the manpower to fill it up. The only things they can’t take are hazardous materials.
“We have an aging population. People want to reclaim their space, but don’t have a truck or means to get their stuff moved,” Cheal says. “We deal with a lot of hoarding situations. We work with most of the realtors, many contractors and restoration companies. We make life simple for them.”
Cheal picks up junk from camps in the area - at Loon lake, Shebandowan, Kashabowie - and has been as far east as Nipigon.
The company doesn’t simply send everything to the dump. They recycle what can be recycled, steel goes to the scrap yard, and some things like doors and light fixtures can be reused. He is working on a website where some of the things he has picked up, such as collectibles, will be sold.
“We also give back to the community. I’ve donated things to Peter Panetta’s Underground Gym. I also donate my truck and labour for cleanups around the city,” he says.
Cheal hopes to continue growing and expanding his company. He’d be happy if he could branch out to other cities in the future, but for now, he is focused on Thunder Bay and the surrounding areas.
“We’re 100 per cent local. I want to grow this company, employ local people, and give people the best experience that they’re going to have.”