Last summer, Jeffrey Swanson left his teaching job at Marana Middle School and quickly found a new calling: hauling other people's junk.
He began cleaning up properties after applying for a job with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. By the time the agency called with a job offer, Swanson said it was tough to renounce his fledgling business, Junk Buddies.
Within a couple weeks of starting his one-man company in June, the phone started ringing off the hook.
He now has a full-time employee and a part-time employee who help him out. When the job merits it, he calls on a few other people. Launched in the midst of a housing meltdown, Junk Buddies soon focused on vacant, foreclosed properties.
"Now, most of our work is for the banks," Swanson said.
Before hauling away any junk, Swanson said, he first snaps pictures of the property and everything on the grounds.
He cleans up the mess and hauls the debris – broken appliances, old tires, batteries, car parts and whatever else people discard – to landfills. Salvageable items are recycled or given to charity.
Even though the bulk of his clients these days are banks, Swanson said he still works with just about any homeowner who needs junk removed.
Swanson expects the foreclosure market to dwindle eventually. But he's not worried. There will always be junk.
Photo by Arizona Daily Star.