Pando

In praise of things that just work

By Paul Bradley Carr , written on April 29, 2016

From The Lessons from the Trenches Desk

I spend a lot of time writing about things that don’t work as they should. It’s refreshing to find something that does.

I’ve just finished moving house. During that time I’ve tried all kinds of services for the first time -- most of all Task Rabbit which, few frustrations aside, is pretty decent.

This isn’t a post about Task Rabbit.

It’s a post about a company you’ve never heard of, and likely will have no use for unless you live in San Francisco. It’s a service called Delete.ly and, for now at least, it’s wonderful.

In brief, the “Uber for junk” (ugh) promises to collect any kind of junk -- from furniture and mattresses to clothing donations and recycling -- from your home, often in an hour of less. There’s no app, no sign up process. You take a photo of the junk and text it to the company with your address and they’ll text back a quote.

There’s not much more to say about Delete.ly, except that I found it via Google, tried it and it works.

I texted a photo of the junk I needed to get rid of after my house move to Delete.ly and within a few seconds was quoted $80 to collect it. 90 mins later, at exactly the time promised, a man arrived to haul it away. I paid cash, but could have used Square too.

Delete.ly knows its San Francisco audience well. If you’d rather donate your junk to Goodwill or similar, rather than trashing it, Delete.ly will haul it at a discount and will even send you the donation receipt for your taxes. Anyone who has tried to dispose of trash in the Bay Area will know the hoops you often have to jump through. Junkaroo jumps through the hoops for you.

So far as I can figure out, the company is tiny: Less than a half dozen friends responding to the texts and hauling away the trash. Perhaps perversely, I hope it stays that way.  It’s sadly inevitable that once Delete.ly gets bigger they’ll try to build an app, or scale their hauler network with all the attendant background checking and fraud issues. In fact, that ecolution has already started: When I used the service just a few days ago, it was called "Junkaroo." Between then and now, it has been rebranded with the very "let's raise some VC money for this thing" name, "Delete.ly." Ah well.

For now, it’s just nice to find a service that a) works as it promised and b) hasn’t been fucked up by scale.

Have a good weekend.