Vet-owned junk removal business makes mark on area after Hurricane Harvey
Veteran owned and operated, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling offers employment to veterans and their families and promotes eco-friendly residential and commercial junk removal.
Region Partner Dave Gravley—who is a Marine Corps veteran—served from 1995-2017 and started his junk removal franchise shortly after. The hauling service covers the entire Lake Houston area.
In the process of starting up his junk removal franchise, Gravley also thought about how he could make it easier for the veterans on his staff transition from a military to a civilian lifestyle.
“We wanted not just the owner of the franchise to be a veteran, we wanted as many veterans on our staff as possible and to help facilitate their transition from military service to a civilian job,” Gravley said. “It’s very difficult. It was easy for me, but I have lots of friends that it wasn’t easy (for them).
Gravley can proudly say that over 80 percent of his staff are veterans.
“When you’re in the military everyone’s on the same team,” Gravley said. “You all have one shared goal and mission. Sometimes in the civilian world that doesn’t always translate. … Every employee that I hire—whether they work with me for six weeks or six years—I want to facilitate what they want to do in life.”
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About a month after JDog’s grand opening in Houston, Hurricane Harvey hit. With few hands-on deck and limited equipment at the time, Gravley and his team rushed out to Kingwood and the rest of the Lake Houston area to help residents and businesses remove their junk.
Gravley remembers working up to 16 hours days post-Harvey removing all the junk left behind.
“When Harvey happened, the scale of devastation was extremely widespread and there were not junk removal companies or trash haulers out there,” Gravley said. “We started in the Humble/Kingwood/Atascocita areas and there was plenty of work out there for us. We cut our prices by 20 percent. Most of our competitors, because of all the landfills and dumps, they were raising their prices. Knowing that we wanted to get out there, get in front of our customers and not take advantage of a bad situation.”
The recent floods in the Kingwood area last week caused a lot of damage in The Livable Forest, resulting in residents dumping out materials out on their driveways.
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Gravley said as of Tuesday they are still on standby to go out that area because a lot of the residents are waiting for the recent floods to be declared a natural disaster to make sure they will be reimbursed for the damages to their property.
“There’s a lot of factors at play right now, but we are prepared, and we’ve also cut our prices by 20 percent just like we did last time to not take advantage of the situation,” Gravley said. “After Harvey, everyone in Houston has learned.”
With only two years under their belt, JDog has grown at a fast pace. Gravley said he wasn’t surprised about the fast-growth.
With over 30 locations in Texas and more throughout the country, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling in Houston is still fairly new to the Houston area with their grand opening in June 2017.
JDog in Houston serves Harris and Montgomery Counties.
“I believed in the model, and I knew what we had as far as advantages. I knew the potential of the market—even without Harvey—and I knew our capabilities as far as the leadership skills that we’ve acquired. It was really a no-fail situation to me,” Gravley said.