“This isn’t a garage,” complained my husband Patrick. “This is a landfill. Let’s get rid of this junk.”

Fred Siegel of San Diego Junk Removal and Disposal (aka Fred’s Hauling Service, 619-245-9957, junk80.com) was happy to help. “It’s me, my nephew, a truck, and a trailer,” he said, “and I’m one of the busiest guys in town. We don’t take construction debris or hazardous household materials like paint or oil, but we take just about anything else.”

Siegel didn’t set out to be a junk hauler. “I’d just moved here from Vegas with my pickup truck. Gas prices were going up, so I decided to sell it, but nobody would give me my asking price of $1500. So then I decided to make some money off the truck until it died: I spray-painted ‘Fred’s Hauling’ and my phone number on the side and parked it at Home Depot. I thought people would want me to move lumber, but when they called, they wanted to move yard waste or old couches. More calls came. My old truck died, but I decided to buy a new one.”

He hauled the junk to the landfill, but some stuff seemed too good to throw away. “I’d see a nice couch or coffee table, and I’d save it in my garage until I had enough for a yard sale. After a couple of those, groups started coming up from Tijuana, wanting to buy everything I had. These days, I have a good relationship with the resellers down in TJ, and that’s how I keep my prices low.” Instead of taking everything to the landfill and paying a dumping fee, Siegel says, “We divert things to Mexico, things like washers, dryers, mattresses, and couches. Some we give away, some we sell for very low prices. And if we can’t get rid of something — say, an old refrigerator — that way, then we’ll take it to a scrap-metal yard. They can remove the Freon and dangerous materials in accordance with state and federal guidelines.”

Siegel lists his prices on his website: a twin, double, or queen mattress costs $20 (or two for $30). Stoves, ovens, washers, and dryers cost $15, while a refrigerator is $25. Sofas between six and eight feet go for $35, and a full truckload of junk is $99. “A person might have four couches, and if they go for the truckload price, they’ll pay $99 instead of $140.” But, he noted, those prices are for curbside pickup; items need to be placed where the truck can pull right up to them, be it driveway, garage, or front yard. “That way, we can get in and out quickly, and it saves you money. If we have to bring things out from the back yard or the house, we’ll charge an extra $10 to $20 for the labor.” The only exceptions are mattresses. “For those, I just charge a flat fee as long as I’m getting them out of a residence or the first floor of a building.”

Siegel takes pride in sticking to his posted prices and recommends asking other potential haulers about dump fees. “I’ve had customers say, ‘I was quoted $35 to remove a couch, but when they got here, they charged an extra $15 for dump fees.’ And sometimes, haulers will charge more for people living in wealthier ZIP codes.”

Turnaround is usually pretty quick. “If I’m in the neighborhood, I’ll be there in half an hour.”

Rob Wells at JunkMD in La Jolla (858-864-7763, junkmd.com) will haul anything from old furniture to construction debris. “We’ve handled little things like books and lamps, and we’ve handled big things like sailboats and trailers.” The truck holds nearly 34 cubic yards, “and we charge by the cubic yard, with a $100 minimum for anything under 1/16 of a truckload,” running up to $789 for a full load. “For cement and other heavy items like dirt, however, we charge by the bed-load, because there’s a dumping charge [$151 minimum, $637 full bed-load].” But, he noted, “If we get clean dirt or cement, we can recycle or repurpose it.”

JunkMD is green that way. The truck runs on biodiesel fuel, and 10 percent of the proceeds from every job goes to San Diego charities such as I Love a Clean San Diego and Make-a-Wish. “We also do a lot of free community hauling for our home base here in La Jolla,” said Wells. “We’re involved in the monthly cleanups for Esther Vitti, chair of the La Jolla Beautification Committee.”

San Diego Haulers (619-269-1745, sandiegohaulers.com) offers either a pickup truck ($50 minimum, $90 half-load, $175 full load) or a full-load truck ($200–$400, depending on load) for things like construction debris. Rates vary for heavy materials like cement.

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or Nov. 19, 2009 @ 2:22 p.m.

I certainly don't want to take money out of Fred's pocket, but there are some other great alternatives. For household items in decent condition, you can try places like the Salvation Army and Goodwill. Also, Habitat For Humanity will take your appliances. Salvation Army and Habitat will pick them up; I don't know about Goodwill. You can get rid of them for free, get a deduction for a charitable contribution and know your items will be put to good use.

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SurfPuppy619 Nov. 19, 2009 @ 5:53 p.m.

sorry joshua...i hate to bust your bubble, kid...i found the HS athletic/football jock type to be a total turn off. that's my all time fave movie btw :D

By magicsfive

The chikcs liked the "bad boy" types in HS, at least up to the point when they start getting abused-physically or mentally.

I went to a HS class reunion last month. All the "hot chicks" were no longer hot. Not one. They were all old, flabby, fat, obese, skin problems, wrinkles. Just a 10 from HS. The guys were slightly better, but some guys were MUCH better, with no obvious age problems, skin problems and generally in much better physical condition.

Pretty funny stuff.

Life is good when you're old but still in good shape and loving life! :)

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