Express Disposal - Providing Uniformed Portable Sanitation Builds Business Identity
Tuesday, March 1st, 2022
In 2015, while working for a real estate auction company selling land and commercial property, Jason Wiggins came across a ready-mix concrete business for sale and saw an opportunity to do something different. He contacted his childhood buddy, Luke Bryan, and the pair bought the Albany, Georgia, company. While Bryan operated as a silent partner — busy with his career as the 2021 Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year — Wiggins took on the role of chief executive officer running day-to-day operations.
Although Concrete Enterprises had been successful, Wiggins saw the potential to make improvements, grow the company and expand services. Within a couple years, Wiggins added portable restrooms and then roll-off containers in order to provide more services for their construction customers.
“He started seeing these other things,” explains general manager Clint Eudy. “His thought was that concrete is one of the first things on the job and so are portable restrooms, so why wouldn’t we be in that as well?”
Wiggins started with 28 Armal restrooms and a pickup truck carrying a KeeVac Industries slide-in tank. The new service lines quickly grew, and he soon separated the division from the concrete company and formed a new company, Express Disposal.
In the fall of 2020, during the depths of the coronavirus pandemic, the company quadrupled in size when it entered into the trash collection business. Outstanding employees were a key factor in managing the explosive growth, Eudy says. “This has all been done within the last four years — from zero portable restrooms to 685, zero roll-offs to 550, zero garbage cans to 25,000. The biggest thing in how we’ve been able to make all this go and grow is we do put the employees first.”
Express Disposal operates out of a 5,000-square-foot warehouse/office building on five acres in Leesburg, Georgia, 15 miles north of Albany. The team includes 11 office staff, 3 salespeople, 19 technicians handling portable restrooms and roll-offs, and 45 working trash collection. The company’s service territory encompasses all of Southwest Georgia.
In addition to its 685 Armal Wave standard units, the company has five ADA-compliant units and 200 hand-wash stations, also from Armal, and 25 TOICO Industries 250-gallon holding tanks. Equipment is hauled with an Isuzu flatbed truck that carries 10 units. Their three vacuum trucks were built by FlowMark — two 2020 Ram 5500s with 1,100-gallon waste/400-gallon freshwater aluminum tanks and National Vacuum Equipment pumps, and a 2018 Isuzu with a 900-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater aluminum tank. They use J&J Chemical deodorizer products. Waste is taken to the Albany wastewater treatment plant.
The company does not focus on events, but is active in the community. They provide units for local parades and charity fundraisers, Albany State University’s homecoming activities and events at the Albany fairgrounds such as the Southwest Georgia Car Show. They also keep units at area high schools for softball and football games and other activities.
Construction accounts for about 30% of their portable sanitation work. “We’ve got a lot of homes being built here right now, and commercial is going well, everything from new construction to renovations,” Eudy says. They also supply units for boat landings and at some of the plants and factories in the area such as a Georgia Pacific lumber plant.
About 35% of their portable sanitation work is for agriculture and 25% solar fields. Both industries have a need for trailered units that can be moved around by the customer as work progresses through fields. A local fabrication shop made their 35 trailers that carry two restrooms and a hand-wash station. The trailers are provided for the laborers at the farms that grow blueberries, watermelons, cabbage, squash and peanuts. The company also provides standalone units for seasonal workers at peanut shelling plants. Drivers have a list of equipment at each farm, but locate the mobile units through constant communication with on-site contacts.
Solar fields are handled a little differently. For security purposes, technicians are met at the main entrance to the field and escorted through the property. These construction projects typically last from four months to a year-and-a-half and require from 10 to 75 units depending on the size of the field. Permanent units are placed around office trailers, while the construction work requires trailered units. Equipment is serviced two or three times per week. Customers often keep a few units on site after construction for maintenance and upkeep personnel. The company has been involved in five solar field construction projects to date and are currently working on three.
Express Disposal has a contract with the city of Albany to provide trash pickup for residents and also offers subscription services to individuals. They have eight Peterbilt garbage trucks and 12 Freightliner grapple trucks with Pac-Mac bodies for hauling yard debris and junk waste. Residential customers are given 96-gallon waste carts (SSI Schaefer).
For commercial customers they provide 4-, 6- and 8-yard front-loading bins and 20-, 30- and 40-yard roll-off containers (both from Lewis Steel Works). Their nine Mack, International and Kenworth trucks with Galbreath hoists are used to transport roll-offs and 20-foot storage containers used at construction sites and solar fields.
For routing, billing and service verification the company uses EZTrakR software for portable restrooms and WISTAR ONE from SSI Schaefer for trash collection. They also have a fleet-tracking system from Samsara. Vehicles are outfitted with internal and external cameras. “It helps us keep accountability on our drivers as well as keeping track of other drivers around us,” Eudy says. “When a wreck happens, the blame will always be on the big truck, not the little car. But that little car pulling out in front of the big truck is not always in the right, so the camera helps us stop some of that.”
EMPLOYEES ARE KEY
Because of a good reputation, high visibility and excellent pay and benefits, Eudy says the company generally doesn’t have trouble attracting prospective employees. In fact, a lot of people contact them. “We provide a great salary or hourly rate, great health insurance and a 401k,” he says. “We’ve grown from 18 to 78 employees in the last year without having to use temporary labor. We have hired every employee full time and provided full benefits to every one of them. We pride ourselves on finding the best employees, providing a good wage and taking good care of them.”
New hires ride along with a driver for a few weeks learning routes, procedures and policies. The company likes to provide opportunities to promote its people. “We make a lot of decisions with our gut of people who really put their time and effort into us and try to work them up the ladder if we’re able to,” Eudy says. “I like to watch these employees grow from what I knew they came here doing. Employees are the backbone of what keeps this all growing and we want to invest our time and money in helping them grow, as well.”
Each division holds weekly safety meetings and the whole company has a monthly meeting held early in the morning before everybody heads out. “We always bring in something,” Eudy says, “whether it’s biscuits or donuts. Sometimes we’ll cook sausage dogs on the grill.” They also enjoy more casual get-togethers that might include a fish fry or catered lunch.
The company has no immediate plans for further drastic changes while they catch their breath, but they hope to continue expanding geographically and are always looking for opportunities. Wiggins, whose office is at the concrete plant 10 miles away, comes in daily to work with Eudy on plans and procedures.
Eudy admits it’s been a hectic past few years and challenging to keep up with the growth, but everyone has stepped up to the plate and successfully navigated the transitions.
“It’s been a struggle for everyone to take on this kind of growth,” he says. “But we’re still a relatively small business and still have that mom-and-pop feel. And we know in our hearts and minds that we can’t do this without our people.”