Turning trash into cash

Goode expands horizons with garbage collection enterprise

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Willie K. Goode admits the trash business is not an easy undertaking, but it’s a lucrative one. Goode, 31, is president of a garbage collection enterprise which includes Goode Trash Removal Inc., GTR Inc. and Unity Disposal and Recycling L.L.C. in Hyattsville, Maryland. His first company, Goode Trash Removal, was started in 1991, and has grown into a $4.4 million business.

When his previous employer, Amco Disposal, sold the company to Waste Management Inc., Goode was given the opportunity of working for the new concern or taking over an Amco account in partnership with Amco. Realizing he would be paid more with Amco, he chose to partner with them.

When he received his first account, he didn’t have a truck to manage the route, so he worked for a small trash company during the day (for no pay) in exchange for the use of the company’s truck at night. For three years he put every dollar he earned from his night route back into his business until he was able to save $10,000 to purchase a collection truck. Adrianne, his wife, covered their bills.

His business grew quickly, and Goode began bidding for additional accounts and acquiring smaller companies in the area to further expand his business. His clients include Waste Management Inc., a $13 billion trash collection company, Jack Kent Cooke’s Redskin Stadium and such municipal accounts as Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, which generate about $96,000 and $18,000 per month respectively.

“We were doing great service at a reasonable price,” Goode says. “I gained a lot of business by word-of-mouth and opportunities started coming my way.”

With the good fortune of his first business, Goode started his second firm, GTR, in January 1996, which transports trash from transfer stations to landfills along the East Coast. The $1.2 million firm subcontracts with Waste Management Inc. to collect recyclables for 30,000 homes for the District of Columbia Recycling Project.

Later that year, Goode and a friend, who is also a competitor, Bruce Bates, owner of Bates Trucking Inc. and B.T. Express Inc. in Bladenburg, Maryland, joined forces to start Unity Disposal and Recycling, a $2.4 million trash disposal and recycling firm.

Despite the challenges of fierce competition and finding others to support his entrepreneurial mission, Goode hopes to branch out into Virginia, North Carolina and Atlanta, which have good opportunities for minority businesses, he says.
“It’s a dirty business, but if you focus and weather the storm, there are great opportunities for minorities.”

Goode Trash Removal Inc., 4700 Lawrence St., Hyattsville, MD 20781; 301-779-4208