Leaving his family, friends, and a sense of familiarity behind in Duitama, Colombia, Juan Gonzalez, owner of Junk Monkey Removal, moved to Orlando seven years ago.
While he moved to the area optimistically, he said it did not come without challenges.
“At the beginning, it was a process with a lot of changes and adaptations, but Florida is an extraordinary state with amazing people and weather, and this made it easier to get used to it,” Gonzalez said.
He began working as an architect assistant using the architectural experience he had from back home but said he felt like he was helping someone else get closer to their goal, instead of working toward his own.
Shortly after moving, his friend mentioned a junk removal company he owns in Georgia. After hearing about it, Gonzalez was intrigued. He said he began analyzing the business market to see if a service like that could fit in the Orlando area.
After much research, he said he saw the necessity to provide an “honest and trustable junk removal service with great customer service” and decided to go for it.
“Before Junk Monkey my life was basically working in an office for someone else’s dream, now I am working for my own dreams,” - Juan Gonzalez
Building up the company, he said his passion for the business came from being able to help people and put smiles on their faces once their junk is gone.
The business specializes in removing unwanted clutter from homes. Their service takes care of any “nonhazardous trash and debris that two crew members can lift,” as listed on their website. Items they handle range from appliances to furniture to yard waste.
Throughout years of removing items from clients’ homes, Gonzalez said they have come across items that have left impressions on him and his team.
He said one of his favorite stories was when he and his crew went to pick up a sofa from a client’s house. On the way out, they were about to close up their truck when they noticed a cat jump out from underneath the couch they just carried out.
While surprised, Gonzalez returned the unexpected visitor to their owner.
“We had so many stories some really funny and some that touched us, especially when we have to do services for people who had passed away,” Gonzalez said. “We pick up a lot of new items that we can’t believe people throw away, but we always donate them to donation places or churches.”
Based on the condition of the items picked up, he said their team will either donate, recycle or dispose of items.
Throughout the five years of business, Gonzalez said he has continued to see it grow. They started with one truck and a trailer and now have three trucks and a dumpster, and a bigger crew. As Junk Monkey continues to progress, Gonzalez said he is closer to his dream of making his business a franchise.
“Since the first moment we started the company we treated it as a baby with love and passion, and focusing on making it grow and providing the best customer service,” Gonzalez said. “Junk Monkey is like son.”