By Jeff Theodore, Contributing Writer
MARLBOROUGH – It initially started out as a side hustle for William Shomphe. But Haul Away Junk Removal has since taken over as Shomphe’s chief career focus, thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When COVID happened, I was laid off from Ford Motors, where I was a collision technician. I had been doing collision work, painting cars for about 15 years,” Shomphe said in a recent interview. “Because I didn’t want to collect unemployment, I sold a couple of cars, [a] boat and a motorcycle to buy two trucks to start this junk removal business. And, to my surprise, it’s been successful.”
Shomphe has decided not to return to Ford, instead opting to focus on his two-year-old junk removal business full time.
The word is out in the community about the quality of the services that Haul Away offers. Just ask Marlborough resident Lina Lofrumento.
“They were very professional, kind and friendly, and stuck with the price they quoted,” said Lofrumento, who contacted the company to remove a treadmill, table, couches and a couple of bags of rubbish. “I’d definitely recommend them to anybody.”
Haul Away, which is licensed and insured, offers basement, attic and storage room cleanouts in addition to mattress, appliance and snow removal. Haul Away also conducts demolition work.
Shomphe said he has established strong ties with residential and commercial clients, developing good civic relations with the City of Marlborough as well.
He’s donated his time and services to help the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce with their junk day program where customers can drop off junk they want removed and disposed of.
The average cost of Haul Away’s junk removal services varies between $280 and $350. Haul Away’s biggest job-to-date was clearing out a Marlborough motel, which called for the emptying of 75 units, including as many as 250 mattresses.
As it relates to mattresses, Shomphe is eyeing recycling them as a potential way his business can grow.
Such a move would coincide with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection’s proposal to add mattresses to its list of banned disposal materials in landfills.
“Mattresses are 90 percent recyclable,” Shomphe says. “We’re trying to facilitate a means to take care of that, especially since there are only about one or two other places in the area that cater to that.”
Shomphe would also like to ramp up the dumpster rental side of his business, which would allow clients time to dispose of junk in their spaces at a leisurely pace before Haul Away removes it.
For all that Haul Away removes, one thing the business won’t remove is the 10 percent discount it offers to senior citizens, military veterans and first-responders.
“We’re respectful of the elderly and appreciate the service of the military,” Shomphe said. “All of them deserve a break.”
Consequently, Shomphe is grateful that he’s gotten his big break.
“I knew the business would do OK,” he said. “But I didn’t know it would do so well so fast.”
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