Any Junk?: Jason Mohr
The founder of waste collection service Any Junk? explains why one man’s unwanted stuff is another's goldmine
When Jason Mohr left his City job to start his own venture he decided he didn’t want to go near a business with lots of consumer interaction. He did not succeed. Any Junk?, the waste collection service he started in 2004, is about as customer interactive as it gets. Two-man teams in bright red vehicles turn up at the customer’s home or workplace and clear away anything they don’t want hanging around. And while Jason hasn’t avoided the customer, he does at least recognise “it’s a good space to be in”.
Jason came across a similar business model in the States while he was taking some time out to consider various business ventures. “I thought it was really interesting and it was growing fast,” he says. “From a basic service presentation there was space here and, added to that, there was the whole green dimension.”
At present, the company diverts more than 70% of the waste it collects away from landfill, either through recycling or resale. Since starting with one vehicle in the South West London area, Jason has gradually built the fleet up to 30, and the past year has seen seven new national depots open, increasing revenues to just under £4m. Much of the recent growth has been fuelled by commercial clients including B&Q and Magnet as well as work with local authorities.
Those commercial relationships, which currently make up around 95% of the company’s turnover have been carefully developed over the past six years, alongside the strong brand Jason has cultivated. It doesn’t really matter what angle you look at it from, rubbish just isn’t sexy. Trying to build a memorable, and more importantly, appealing brand in waste disposal has obvious challenges. Jason has overcome some of these issues by putting fun at the heart of it all. The bright red vehicles sporting funky elephant logos are working hard to gain recognition, while more recently a viral campaign featuring an Any Junk? team disposing of X Factor duo ‘Jedward’ proved popular on You Tube. With the motto “If it’s rubbish, we’ll clear it”, Jason’s plan is to make the company synonymous with rubbish clearance of any kind.
The strong brand, coupled with the national coverage the company boasts should go a long way towards protecting the business from competitors. Jason says the firm is “unique by a country mile” in the B2B sector as similar offerings with a national presence simply don’t exist. And, while the local competition does “nibble”, he has a lot of confidence in the company’s scale. “This is a replicable model for 2-3 trucks, but it gets too hard after that. We have an awful lot of IT and exterior credentials at work. In our industry you need various ticks next to your name. Local authorities are bloody hard work and they won’t even speak to a two-truck business.”
As growth has continued, Jason has also become less inclined to sell. “Exits were on my mind initially. A year after starting the business I considered putting it up on eBay for £1m. But I’m in a good space. Waste and recycling can only grow and smart collection and recycling is the way forward.”