Hauling In The Bucks

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Jerry Toste is only 21 and seems to have a perpetual smile on his face. He should – his low-tech startup, Cheap Hauling, is on everyone’s lips: Those trucks are everywhere.

Toste is grossing $800,000 per year after 1½ years in business, not bad for a guy who decided that “college and I just don’t mix.” Toste started hauling, instead.

What’s next? More Cheap Hauling trucks and a new business, Cheap Tree Service.

Toste’s an entrepreneur with at least one idea whose time had come. “I tried to start two companies,” Toste said. “Both failed.”

This time, he invested $1,000 in an old truck and some signs. It worked.

“I figured if I got a second truck, I would double the revenue. That happened, so I doubled the number of trucks to four and revenue doubled again,” he said.

He kept expanding until the company had 51 trucks, which double as rolling billboards. His plan is to reach 250 trucks in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara counties.

His fleet is stocked with 20-year-old pickups, and Toste runs them hard. “We beat ’em up pretty good,” he said, “so I have a full-time mechanic on staff, and he keeps ’em running.”

“It’s a great brand,” Toste said. “I want to take Cheap Hauling statewide in another year. Eventually, we can be the Wal-Mart of the service industry. Sam Walton is one of my heroes.”

Photo by Lucjan Szewczyk.

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