With the waste and recycling industry continuing to evolve, a few key points can help you move your business forward.

By John Paglia, III

Our world as we know it, continues to evolve day in and day out. What we do as an industry has not changed since the creation of time—we have only made it more complex. From the earliest days of trash removal, a transport unit (horse and buggy to an automated side loader) arrived at a customer to remove unwanted junk. Of the junk removed, what could be recycled or reused was probably recycled and the remaining items were landfilled. The driver, being the face of the company, was responsible for his action both good or bad. His impression and work ethic shaped opinions of customers and allowed the company to continue to grow or demise.

Moving Forward
Today, while the task for a waste hauler remains the same, how we continue to move our business forward is a serious challenge. Whomever I speak to, no matter the industry, finding good people is a challenge that we are all facing. When I say finding good people, I mean a person or employee who believes in the company and its direction, understands his role and responsibility, and is proud to be a part of the team. Before you can even consider growing your business, you are going to be best served if you can build a staff around leadership comprised of individuals who want to be there. Let’s face it: what we do is not always glamorous, but it is extremely rewarding. I love watching my company, family (employees), grow and evolve over time. It is extremely rewarding to drive around in our service areas and see some form of our services proudly servicing the growth in our economy right now.

Technology’s Role
Technology continues to play a large part of pushing this evolution. The waste industry is making significant strides to keep up with this culture. We recently have revamped our Web site to bring it up to the times. Our Web site serves as a silent salesman, a fact checker for potential new customers, a story teller of our experience and history or a recruiter for the next team member looking to join a growing proud to serve the customer type of company. I also included drone shots and videos on our Web site to make it more interactive. We all loved childhood books with more pictures then words. I tried to instill this when I worked with the team to revamp www.floridaexpress.us.

When you serve a customer, in today’s Internet and social media craze, it is important to receive unbiased reviews. Within a matter of a second, a previously served customer can go online and leave a review, either good or bad. Whether you agree with their opinion or not, it is just another form of communication to earn and retain future business. I personally can attest, when I search for items I do not purchase on a regular basis, I read and research as many reviews as I can. I then compare quotes and choose a decision based on reviews and pricing. Point being, like us, we may not always be the cheapest solution. There is nothing wrong with that if your reviews are positive and out for the general public to see. On a couple of personal purchases, I went with the company with higher reviews than the cheapest price. At the end of the day, the excellent service I received erased the memory of the price difference.

Back to Basics
I encourage every hauler out there to get back to the basics. Service your customers with a 5-star attitude, and then price your services fairly but to make money. We all know how expensive it is to operate our business, do not be afraid to price accordingly.

John Paglia, III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail John3@floridaexpress.us or visit www.floridaexpress.us.