The key to providing a good yard waste collection service is connecting with your customers and ensuring their needs are met, McBride’s Yard Waste Co-owner Jonathan McBride said.
“I think in any business that deals with service — customer service is important,” McBride said. “For us, it’s really important, because the service in itself is pretty simple. People like to work with companies that do a good job taking care of their people.”
The Laramie City Council contracted McBride to start collecting curbside yard waste after determining the green waste bins were an unsustainable portion of the city’s green waste program.
While registration for McBride’s Yard Waste began in mid-summer, McBride said his company was slated to start the service Tuesday.
“We set an Aug. 1 deadline to receive free pickup for the rest of the year, but we decided to go ahead and open it up,” he said. “That’s a no-commitment free trial through November.”
Starting in 2018, the voluntary service could cost participating residents $69 annually.
“Because we partnered with the city, the cost per season is one of the most competitive for curbside service you’ll find in the region,” McBride said.
Although the service is new to Laramie, McBride said he and his business partner, Jene Russel, are not.
“We both went to (the University of Wyoming), and it’s a joy for us to have a reason to come back and help out the community,” he said. “We’re excited to be providing a service in Laramie.”
After attending UW, the duo found themselves looking for a spot to deposit grass clippings in Sidney, Nebraska.
“Jene had moved to Nebraska to be a principal, but he had mowed lawns for 10 years before that,” McBride said. “He mentioned the city didn’t have any kind of service, and the residents had to haul all their own yard waste to the landfill.”
Putting their heads together, they created a business plan and pitched it to the city.
“They didn’t have any plans to do anything about it,” he said. “So yeah, it just kind of took off.”
While the first year kicked off without a hitch, Cabela’s, a major employer of Sidney residents, was bought out by Bass Pro Shops during the second year.
“Then, the (Cabela’s) layoffs started happening, and we started losing customers,” McBride said.
Without a customer base, they decided to look elsewhere to continue their yard waste business.
“Through some friends, we found out Laramie didn’t have a yard service,” he said. “So, we started talking to the city about what it would take to set up here.”
During the process, McBride said he learned about the problems Laramie was experiencing maintaining the green waste bin program.
“The biggest benefit of curbside pickup is it’s significantly more convenient,” he said. “Even with centralized locations, you would still have to tow the yard waste off the property.”
Although the Laramie landfill is slated to continue accepting green waste free of charge, McBride said there is a market for other options.
“Not everyone has trucks or wants to bag their yard waste and haul it to the landfill,” he said. “Curbside service alleviates a lot of those issues.”
The pickup up program is not without its own challenges. One of the most common concerns McBride said he heard was placing the containers in the street.
“The gutter itself ranges from 16-21 inches, so in some instances, the bin fits in the gutter,” he said. “But if getting it in a particular spot is an issue, we can just work with that.”
Customers could place their collection bins in driveways, on top of the curb or talk to McBride, who drives the pick-up vehicle, about the best solution.
“We try to communicate with everyone signs up,” he said.
With the service beginning just before school starts back up, McBride said high-volume parking in some areas could be cause of concern for some customers.
“If there’s a ton of parking in front of someone’s house and they are already rolling out their trash bin into the street, I would ask they do the same for their yard waste,” he said.
Collection is slated to run three days a week, and a scheduling map could be posted on the company’s website, www. mcbridesyardwaste.com, in coming weeks. The website also includes a frequently-asked questions section and bin size specifications.
Go to the website or call McBride at 399-2028 to sign up for the curbside yard waste service.