Teenage Brothers Hit $910K in Annual Revenue With Junk Removal Business

What started out as a hobby for Massachusetts native Kirk McKinney collecting audio equipment from the local dump, has quickly turned into a money making machine.

In 2021, at the ages of just 17 and 15 years old, brothers Kirk and Jacob started the junk removal service “Junk Teens”. Now, just three years later, and the brothers have eclipsed $910,000 in top line annual revenue.

With a growing team, expanding resources and an explosive marketing campaign, the sky is truly the limit for this teenage duo.

Did I mention Kirk is now also a full-time student at Babson College?

In this interview, Kirk offers step by step details on how he and Jacob initially funded the company, the organic grassroot marketing tactics they deployed early on and how they’ve started to use paid ads to scale quickly.

He also describes how the company overcame their first major set back and offers a glimpse into where he sees this all heading.

The Junk Teens story is genuinely inspiring and provides a clear blueprint for aspiring young entrepreneurs everywhere.

Tell Us About Yourself and the Service You Started. How Did You Land on the Idea You Are Pursuing?

My name is Kirk McKinney and I am the co-founder of a junk removal service called Junk Teens.

The idea for the business came to me a few years ago when I was riding my bike with a buddy though a trail near my house. Along the way, we came across the local dump and decided to stop and poke around.

Westwood Dump in Massachusetts.

Almost immediately, I spotted a pair of speakers that looked brand new. I was stunned. So I tracked down the employees that worked there to ask if I could have them and they said of course, we could take whatever we wanted.

“That day I could only take the speakers home on my bike, but I noticed there was a ton of great stuff laying around. I was immediately hooked. I ended up going back to that dump for months.”

To be clear, it’s not like I had some grand plan. I was just obsessed with audio equipment and the dump had a seemingly endless supply. I literally filled my bedroom with this stuff.

At one point, I was demonstrating borderline hoarder behavior. Eventually, my room was out of control and my mom was over it. Everything had to go, but I refused to just throw it away…again.

So I decided to sell one of the radios on Facebook Marketplace. Almost instantly, it sold for $50 bucks and the buyer picked it up the next day.

Lightbulb moment #1.

After selling more and more of the speakers and audio equipment, I decided to quit my job bagging groceries at Roche Bros. There was just too much potential here. I felt I had to try my hand at going full time selling “junk”.

Before long, the guys at the dump started to appreciate my hustle. So much so, they ended up hiring me to help them with their own junk removal service.

Right off the bat, their compensation was nearly equivalent to the amount of money I was making reselling these products.

Lightbulb moment #2.

I realized, if they were able pay me this much AND make a profit for themselves, this seemed like something I should be doing myself.

I stuck around for a bit longer and learned as much as I could about the business. And by early 2021, I had saved enough money to buy a $4,000 used pickup truck with my younger brother Jacob.

The first pickup truck Kirk and his brother Jacob bought for $4,000 to start K&J Remove and Disposal (later renamed to Junk Teens).

The guys I had been working with went out of their way to support us (something I’ll be forever grateful for). They even gave us a couple leads to get us started – $100 job to move a couch and then a $300 job to fill up one load of junk.

You have to understand, at the time this was a crazy amount of money to us for what felt like very little work.

Again, in the beginning there was no grand plan. I had no idea what this thing would turn into, but one thing I did decide from that very first job was my brother Jacob and I would be equal business partners.

Kirk and Jacob in the back of their pickup truck in 2021.

We initially decided to call ourselves K&J Removal and Disposal (we didn’t change our name to Junk Teens until about a year later). That first year, we took pretty much every job that came our way. Junk removal, moving, landscaping, tree work….you name it.

After 12 months we had cleared $120k in revenue and we genuinely felt like we hadn’t even begun to scratch the surface yet.

We decided to reinvest all of the money we made that first year back into the business.

We were all in.

Who or What Inspired You to Start Junk Teens?

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been naturally curious and I’ve always had that resourceful, entrepreneurial spirit.

When I was younger, I built tree houses in the woods, saved up enough money to buy my first dirt bike and even bought my first car and fixed it up myself.

My Uncle was a real inspiration to me through these projects. He’d often take the time to talk me through different builds for hours on the phone.

When it came to Junk Teens, my parents (who have owned and operated a tree service company for 30 years) as well as the employees at the local dump, were crucial mentors for me.

Kirk and Jacob helping their Dad when they were kids at McKinney Brothers Tree Service.

From getting an LLC, to ensuring the company was properly insured, my parents taught me all about what it takes to properly run a small business.

At the same time, by helping me secure those first jobs, explaining how to price a job and how to do marketing, the guys at the dump were the ones who introduced me to the junk removal industry.

Outside of mentors, I’ve drawn inspiration from guys like Alex Hormozi and Graham Stephan. Their mindsets and their general business advice have had a positive impact on me over the years.

I’ve also gotten a ton of value out of conferences like VidSummit. More recently I’ve been putting a ton of effort into building our brand and there’s just something to be said about being around like-minded content creators and entrepreneurs. Getting to meet Chris Williamson and a bunch of the guys on the Mr. Beast Team was pretty cool too…

And finally, while it doesn’t get talked about a lot, I just want to acknowledge that this country and our freedom is really what has afforded us this opportunity.

The people around us have been nothing but supportive and it really feels like everyone wants to see young entrepreneurs succeed.

It’s resulted in a wave of momentum that we’ve been riding since the beginning.

What Has Your Growth Trajectory Been Like?

Starting from zero that first year in 2021 was definitely the hardest part. We still didn’t really know what we were doing and we had to sacrifice a lot to keep the business on track, including our social lives.

But with that experience, our new connections and a steady increase in the resources available to us, we’ve definitely started to hit our stride.

Junk Teens has gone from $120,000 in revenue in 2021, to $460,000 in 2022, to $910,000 in 2023.

A significant amount of the jump in revenue from year 1 to year 2 can be attributed to our decision to buy a dump truck.

Junk Teens' Kirk and Jacob in front of their new dump truck and pick up truck in 2022.

In terms of advertising, we bought a billboard in 2022 for $3,000. But because we ask all of our customers how they heard about us, we were able to determine that the billboard barely broke even.

Junk Teens billboard in Massachusetts in 2022.

We also experimented with some paid ads on Next Door and Facebook for the first time, but our lead generation still remained mostly organic through year 2.

“Up until this point, all we had been doing was asking our current customers for referrals, having them post on Facebook and Next Door on our behalf and putting up inexpensive yard signs. All of which were, and continue to be, extremely effective.”

For year 3 we went all-in on paid ads and that’s what really allowed us to scale quickly.

With the added work, we went from mostly just Jacob and I working together those first two years, to bringing on 3 full-time employees during our 2023 busy season (April to August), in addition to roughly 20 part-timers.

We also have a new warehouse now, which has been a game changer.

Both Junk Teens dump trucks in front of the new warehouse in 2023.

By dropping off items at the warehouse, we’re able to quickly free up our trucks. In turn this means we can accept and execute more jobs.

Beyond increasing job capacity, the warehouse has allowed us to store materials there that we later either sell, donate or repurpose. By not having to pay disposal fees, we’re able to further improve our margins.

Finally, there’s been a real emphasis on content and growing our brand lately (we’ve recently surpassed 160,000 followers on TikTok).

Describe the Most Significant Failure, Setback or Stumbling Block You’ve Faced Along the Path to Growing Junk Teens.

In the early days, one of the most difficult things to work through mentally was just the uncertainty of everything.

Was this just a side hustle or was this a full time business? Did we have what it takes to keep a company alive?

Being young and having a lack of experience came with some self-doubt and it’s something I needed to work through daily.

And then, right when we started to get our legs under us in 2022, I was out on a job one afternoon and got into a pretty serious car accident.

First and foremost, I’m incredibly grateful that no one involved got injured.

When it was all said and done, the car I hit was totaled and our dump truck had a two-inch bend in the frame and was also nearly totaled.

The cost to get it fixed? Over $50,000.

How Did You Go about Tackling the Issue?

We ended up going over 6 months without our dump truck while it was getting worked on. Needless to say this created all sorts of logistical challenges for the business.

It was important to me that Jacob didn’t pay for my mistake. It was MY mistake after all.

So, to fill the void during this stretch, I spent nearly $20,000 out-of-pocket to rent a U-Haul.

U-Haul rental in 2022 following Kirk's accident with the dump truck.

Unsurprisingly, not having the dump truck introduced inefficiencies all over the place, which we paid for in the form of opportunity cost.

If You Could Only Choose a Single Lesson Learned From This Experience to Pass On to Other Founders, What Would It Be?

Nowadays I never take our success for granted. The whole experience reinforced the fundamental importance of keeping everyone at our company safe.

Our team is young, we have a ton of energy and we love having fun – but never at the expense of safety.

I’ve also realized just how incredibly valuable seeking out the right mentors can be.

“If you know the right people, who teach you the right things, you can avoid costly business mistakes.”

In the case of this accident, my parents took the time from day 1 to show us the ropes and help make sure we had proper insurance coverage in place. This alone ended up literally saving the company.

Where Do You See Yourself and Junk Teens in the Near and Long Term?

In the near term, we’re seriously considering opening a second location.

And while expansion would be great, we want to make sure we get this right. So we’re not rushing the process.

In terms of growing our current business, we have a couple kids who are not currently planning to go to college (for their own reasons) and plan to be with us full-time next year.

The growing Junk Teens team in 2023.

With this added support, we’ll be ramping up our paid ad spend either further to make sure we keep everyone busy. We’re also considering buying either a box truck or a second dump truck.

Moving forward the plan is to have Jacob run the operations, while I spend more and more of my time on marketing and content creation.

We have no intention of selling. All my passion and purpose is tied up in this work and I ultimately want to help show other young entrepreneurs what’s possible.

Right now, we don’t even have a revenue “end goal” in mind. We just want to do everything we can to continue to grow this thing and see how far we can take it.

What Resources Could You and Your Business Not Live Without?

All of the mentors I previously mentioned have been instrumental to our success. Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Beyond our mentors, a few resources our business could not live without include:

  • Our growing team
  • The trucks
  • The warehouse
  • Facebook and Nextdoor for paid ads
  • Our website and main landing page

Where Can Stumblers Go to Learn More?





Interested in starting your own junk removal company? Looking for ideas on how to scale? My DMs are always open – give me a shout on Instagram @kirk.mckjr!


Keith X. Donovan

Hey, I’m Keith! Since 2011, I’ve been working for and with startups. More recently, I’ve founded a few websites and rediscovered my love for storytelling.  Startup Stumbles is where I get to fuse these two passions. I hope you’ll discover what I have – that failures are often far more informative and interesting than accomplishments.

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