After eight years in the Army, Joshua Schaefer’s dream of being a business owner came true with the opening a company that allows him to create jobs for veterans while helping to tidy up the community.
Schaefer is the owner of the JDog Junk Removal and Hauling franchise in Pflugerville. The national company is dedicated to helping military veterans run their own franchises and hire fellow vets.
In October, the U.S. Department of Labor said the national unemployment rate for veterans was 2.7%. JDog officials say they want to get that number down to 1%. Schaefer said it is great to be part of a company that has a goal to help decrease unemployment among veterans.
“There are other goals than just making money,” said Schaefer. “I think that’s a bigger mission.”
In Pflugerville, JDog Junk Removal and Hauling also offers the cleaning of carpets, upholstery, tile and hardwood floors. Schaefer’s company also services Austin, as well as Kyle, Dripping Springs and Elgin. The national chain also has locations that cover Williamson County, New Braunfels and San Antonio, according to its website.
Schaefer said the business, which has one employee, a veteran, has been open since November but will have its grand opening in the spring. Since opening, business has been slow but he attributes that to the holiday season.
Schaefer served in the Army for eight years, four in active duty at Fort Hood and four in the reserves. He said it is important to have work opportunities for veterans, especially where they can work with one another to help the transition to civilian life. He said he finds it “completely satisfying and fulfilling” to be a resource for them as they learn to navigate life outside the service.
“It’s hard for them to figure out a way back into civilian life,” he said. “It can feel like a comfort having somebody that served and being around one another.”
Schafer said the job they do is “not for the faint of heart” and takes a lot of endurance, but the camaraderie and teamwork that he and his employee Miguel Zamarron have developed, makes the job easier and faster. Additionally, he said, seeing and hearing the appreciation from customers makes it all better, especially coming from a “thankless job,” he said.
“Helping each other out and working like a well-oiled machine is something the military teaches us all,” he said. “This is a job most veterans can relate to and embracing the suck is definitely a term that comes into play from time to time.”
To recruit veterans, Schaefer relies on VA employment services and online job search sites. Schaefer said he is actively looking to hire more veterans.
Zamarron, 22, said finding the job was a miracle. He served in the Army on active duty for three years, stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
Zamarron said that when he began looking for work, he did not expect to find many options because his infantry duties were not skills that could be used in most civilian jobs. He said it is helpful to work with someone who also has served and can relate to life in the service.
“Having someone that knows what it’s like being in the military, it’s pretty cool. You have something to talk about. You don’t feel like you’re the only one.”