With a goal of educating women on the vast world of waste to inspire more to get involved, Julie Stilo, Owner of Stilo Disposal, believes that the industry can benefit from sharing knowledge with one another as that will all help us grow to our highest potential.
Stilo Disposal (South Plainfield, NJ) was established in 2015 by Bob Stilo who found the need for dumpsters on his own construction job sites. With much of his time and focus on being devoted to his established and successful construction company, Stilo Excavation, he handed the company over to his daughter Julie Stilo in 2017 when she graduated from Rutgers Business School. “I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a concentration in Supply Chain Management,” says Julie, who now has the day-to-day job of the Manager of Disposal Operations, focusing on dispatching and scheduling. “I was able to root my business in the fundamentals I learned at Rutgers. I’m also grateful for other owners and business people in the industry who took the time to share their knowledge on how their businesses operate. Through this, I was able to find my own way of operating Stilo Disposal and I built the company from the ground up, establishing the current systems and processes that we now have. It was always my father’s vision for Stilo Disposal to be more than just for his personal use on his own job sites.”
When Julie took over the company, she grew the fleet of 23 dumpsters to more than 100 dumpsters and seven figures in revenue within three years. “We have seen a steady increase in business each year and I can accredit this to our service. We try diligently to never let a service call go over 24 hours. Our customers can contact me at any time to schedule service or if they have any questions or concerns. I feel as though that makes the biggest difference in our business. Our customers are more than just that to us. They are the lifeline of our business. We establish a personal relationship with each one and hope to continue to do so for years to come, for customers new and old.”
Servicing Middlesex, Somerset, Union, Hunterdon, and Monmouth Counties in New Jersey, Stilo Disposal is an A-901 licensed business as well as licensed to haul hazardous waste. Most of the material that is disposed of is type 13C, construction debris. A large part of their dumpster fleet is rented out to commercial clients for large jobs such as demolitions, renovations, or new builds.
Dealing with Change
During COVID-19, small businesses around the country felt the wave of impact that this had on operations and Stilo Disposal was no different. “It was devastating to see so many people sick and pass away due to COVID. I think I can speak for many people when I say that was a very fearful time in our lives, both personally and professionally. Thankfully, we were able to operate throughout the duration of the lockdowns,” says Julie. While there was a slight decrease in service initially when the lockdowns were enforced, Stilo Disposal soon began to see a tremendous increase in the number of rentals for homeowners. With people staying home, many reallocated their travel funds, for example, to improve their homes where they were spending most of their time. “To deal with the changes in increased residential collection, we acquired a few more dumpsters to keep up with the demand and were diligent with implementing a rental time frame. Regarding operations, we had to adhere to the laws and regulations enforced by state and federal governments, so we provided our employees with the proper PPE needed and ensured that all service orders were digital to minimize social contact with customers.”
The current state of the economy, as it is now, is certainly affecting the business. The company recently had to implement a fuel surcharge due to the rising cost of gas. “Gas prices have made an impact on not only our business, but also many trucking and hauling companies nationwide. Each transfer station that we dump at has increased the cost per ton to dispose of waste. All throughout the waste management industry, the impact of the current state of the economy has been felt,” comments Julie. “The price of steel has also made an impact on our business regarding us expanding our dumpster inventory. A brand-new dumpster a few years ago was significantly lower than what they currently cost. Even used containers are being sold for prices close to what a new one would cost. While we are grateful that we’re in a position that we can expand, the high costs of doing business now impacts the future of other entrepreneurs hoping to break into the waste management industry.”
In addition, other challenges that they have encountered over time is adjusting to and implementing the numerous waste regulations and laws being enforced regarding the disposal of various types of waste. “To stay ahead of the curve, we make sure that we stay up-to-date on current policies and regulations to minimize the impact that they can potentially have on business operations.” Current policies and regulations that Stilo Disposal must stay current on are various waste flow laws, such as dumping at specific transfer stations when disposing of waste in various counties in New Jersey. The most recent regulation that is being enforced is known as the Dirty Dirt Law, which will regulate the flow and disposal of dirt throughout the state of New Jersey. “In terms of this law affecting operations, this means that more reporting will need to be done and sent into the NJDEP as required. However, at the current moment, we aren’t accepting dirt as a material that we dispose of,” says Julie.
Growing the Business
Stilo Disposal not only has GPS in all of their trucks, which is crucial for their daily operation, but the company also recently integrated a new software system from ServiceCore that digitalizes their entire process. While this was a large undertaking, now that the conversion is complete, they have been able to streamline the process of dumpster management and order taking systems, making it much more efficient for daily operation.
Training programs include keeping drivers up-to-date on their software programs through training when needed. Julie explains that they train employees as needed or when new updates are released through ServiceCore. “When we train new hires, we have them shadow our current roll-off drivers, usually for a few days to a week, depending on their level of comfortability with our system. I feel very grateful that our drivers are welcoming and willing to train new employees along my side. I have always felt proud of the communication and eagerness to learn and grow together amongst our team.”
Safety is also the company’s top priority. Safety procedures include performing vehicle checks daily to maintain the integrity of the equipment, ensuring all loads are properly secured and tarped, wearing high visibility clothing, etc. They also keep a maintenance log of all dumpsters and update that as needed with information regarding the integrity of each container. Should a dumpster need to be repaired, they have a welder that is able to do so. “We are proud that due to always operating in a safe and efficient manner, we have never had any injuries in our workplace,” says Julie.
She says that they are proud to be an integral part of their community outreach by supporting their local sports team in the city of South Plainfield and donating to the various sports clubs in the school district when applicable. “It is a pleasure to be able to give back to our local community. Knowing that the work we do here has a ripple effect on our community means so much to us and I hope to be able to continue to support various organizations in the surrounding area.”
For now, the company’s future plans are to continue to establish their customer base and grow within the counties that they currently service. “A personal goal of mine would be to get involved with speaking to other female entrepreneurs to share my experience and expertise within the industry with hopes of helping others develop and succeed in their own businesses,” explains Julie. “It’s empowering to be a female in a male dominated industry and my hopes would be that by educating women on the vast world of waste that more would be inspired to get involved. It’s a fast-paced work environment, but that’s what makes it thrilling. I believe we can all benefit from sharing our knowledge with one another as that will all help us grow to our highest potential.”
Julie is proud of their business growth over the last several years. “We are repeatedly being told by people we know and have met that they see our containers all over the counties that we service. This is a tremendous accomplishment for us. I have said it many times before—without our loyal customer base using our service and recommending us, we wouldn’t be where we have gotten today. Our service sets us apart from our competitors and that shows.” | WA
For more information, contact Julie Stilo, Owner and Manager of Disposal Operations, at (908) 754-0776 or e-mail [email protected].