Jay Gardner, sales manager for Castaway Trash
Haulers in Nevada, explained that “most everybody
here” used to work together at another waste
hauler. That local company was bought out by
a national waste hauler, and some of the employees
didn’t like the new corporate culture.
Spike Duke wasn’t one of the people working for
the waste company, but his wife was. He saw the
opportunity, started a new, smaller company,
and started making calls to people who could
staff his new business. Gardner was one of those
people who got the call and who was with the
company “since before the beginning” in March
Gardner said that the business started with just
two trucks, but that for each of the first four
years, the company grew by 100 percent before
it settled into a more moderate rate. Now, after
over six years in business, the company has a
dozen collection trucks, and about 25 employees.
Even so, he said “it hasn’t changed a lot.” The
business is bigger, but the business philosophy
is the same – to be “faster, better, cleaner,
cheaper” than the competition. Gardner said that
for the customers, “They know that when they
call us, we’ll be there.” Most pickups are done
within two to three hours of the call, but that
it’s “absolutely guaranteed same day. We do what
we say we’re going to do.”
As far as being better, Gardner said that about
two years ago, “Spike took on two more partners”
adding to the services that the company can provide.
The partners are involved in portable toilets,
fencing and site services, which are often the
first services contracted for at a construction
or demolition site. When it’s time to look for
a waste hauler, the customers don’t need to contract
with a different company.
Castaway is serious about being cleaner than
you’d expect a waste hauler to be. All the trucks
are purchased new instead of used, and each truck
is washed every Saturday by an outside service.
Drivers are expected to clean inside the cab
of the truck every day, and are given all the
cleaning products they need to get the job done.
The cleaning is done during working hours, so
there is no excuse for having a dirty truck.
Besides the regular washing, the trucks get a
thorough detailing every 12 weeks. All of the
aluminum is polished and the paint is touched
up as needed. Gardner said that he knows people
notice – he’s had people notice the name on his
work shirt and comment that they’ve seen how
good the trucks look.
Besides keeping the trucks themselves clean,
the company has spent money on automatic hydraulic
tarpers for the roll-offs, so that the drivers
don’t have to get up on the trucks to tarp the
loads. It keeps the drivers safer, and keeps
the loads contained on the road.
As far as being cheaper, Gardner said that it’s
not always possible, and that it takes some expertise
to manage the waste in the most efficient manner.
“The solid waste business is pretty technical,”
he said. “Sort, recycle, re-use.” So, besides
hauling trash, the company also handles recycling
for customers, including a local school district.
The recyclables go to a nearby recycler. “We’re
just the haulers,” Gardner explained. “If you
focus on one aspect of a business, you can get
good at it.”
Gardner said that although a lot of the business’s
market share was tied to the construction business,
“we’re still expanding.” Besides handling standard
waste and recyclables, the company is a licensed
asbestos hauler. He explained that in Nevada,
asbestos is classified as a special waste, but
in California, it is considered a hazardous waste,
so if it’s generated in California, it has to
stay there, and Castaway can make it happen.
The company also contracts for special events,
and Gardner said that Nevada has a lot of them,
some of them more interesting than others. For
example, he said, “We’ve signed up to do the
Burning Man event.” The Burning Man event has
a zero-trace policy for its attendees, who strive
to avoid polluting.