Tired of trash pickup delays, Lee's Summit man starts own waste solutions company

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - After noticing several local garbage companies failing to adhere to pickup schedules, Jarrod Gravatt spent the last year researching the waste management industry. He recently decided to go all in and buy his own garbage truck to start his own trash pickup business.

"I saw a big issue with the trash here in town. Myself, I've had issues,” said the Lee’s Summit native.

Jarrod Gravatt hopes his new trash pickup company will be a fresh change from what many local customers experienced in 2016.

"They're not being able to cover those routes,” said Gravatt. "There's a huge need here. I've heard a lot of complaints. There's a great opportunity to get into it and I'm excited to be a solution to the problem here in the community of Lee's Summit."

Gravatt Waste Solutions started picking up trash in Lee’s Summit this week. Gravatt only has two employees, but already has 100 customers.

"I've got some downtown Lee's Summit businesses already inquiring,” said Gravatt.

While the new business owner plans to only service Lee’s Summit for now, the trash pickup woes were widespread throughout the entire metro in 2016.

RELATED | Deffenbaugh apologizes for trash pickup delays

After receiving hundreds of complaints, Prairie Village ditched Deffenbaugh and signed a ten-year contract with Republic Trash Service. The city of Kansas City warned WCA (formerly Town and Country) to “clean up” its act that same month.

Communities in Belton and Brookside experienced trash pickup delays, sometimes for weeks at a time, from WCA. Deffenbaugh held customers with lengthy delays from Overland Park to Parkville.

41 Action News met with Deffenbaugh in August, who blamed the trash pickup delays on the truck driver shortage in the workforce.

"That doesn't meet our service levels and we know it doesn't meet the customer service levels either,” said Paul Howe, Deffenbaugh senior district manager.

Deffenbaugh has had several career fairs since last summer, trying to lure new truck drivers to their force. Gravatt is hoping people in Lee’s Summit see there’s a new solution available now.

"Never thought I'd get into the trash industry but it's recession proof,” said Gravatt. "I'm going to out work the competition. I mean, really customer service is my number one priority."

Gravatt said he is in discussion with other area HOAs. He is currently offering recycling and yard waste year-round and also offers quarterly or yearly contracts.

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Josh Helmuth can be reached at josh.helmuth@kshb.com

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