In the Dumps
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski
Anthem-based North Valley Custom Hauling is about more than taking bulk items from customers’ homes. Dustin Holm and his staff are looking out for the beauty of the North Valley and its environment.
“The illegal dumping problem is out of control,” the Sacramento-born Holm says.
“It’s kind of sad, but my crew and I team up with local businesses to coordinate community events. We clean up the desert at our own expense. One of the biggest cleanups we had was in March. We hauled away four to five 12-foot to 14-foot trailers filled with junk and debris from the North Valley desert. The next weekend, someone went to the same spot and threw a load of drywall. I picked it up again.”
Holm calls it a great way to network with the community, but the task comes with its own set of risks.
“Twice we were pulled over by the police, who thought we were dumping when we were actually cleaning the desert,” Holm says.
“We document every cleanup with videos and photos. One time, we picked up a hot tub from Cave Creek Boulevard and the police thought it was the craziness thing to pick up a hot tub in the desert. I was pulled over by a sheriff for a sofa I had in the trailer, but he could see it was full of cactus. He knew we weren’t dumping.”
All of that aside, Holm says he doesn’t own the most glamorous company, but it’s certainly necessary.
“I really enjoy getting outside and meeting new people,” Holm says. “I consider my customers my employers. Word of mouth can make or break a business. When they’re satisfied, they spread the good word.”
The 3-year-old North Valley Custom Hauling serves 85086, 85085, North Scottsdale and all along the Carefree corridor. Holm goes Valleywide, but he has traveled as far as Flagstaff, Mesa and Buckeye. His company consists of him; his wife, Elizabeth; daughter Kailey, who’s studying pre-med at Grand Canyon University; Colten Winter, who attends Glendale Community College; and Kyle Harris, who plays basketball for Phoenix College. Elizabeth, Harris and Winter are Boulder Mountain High School graduates.
Holm says he primarily works with real estate agents, who must clean out homes before they’re moved into; local businesses; and those who are moving.
North Valley Custom Hauling doesn’t move trash or chemicals. His definition of “trash” is anything one would throw in a trash can.
“We move large items like furniture, hot tubs, sectionals and refrigerators,” he says. “We’re on-demand, bulk pickup. If someone’s moving and they have a pile of what they don’t need to take, we’ll take it.”
Owning North Valley Custom Hauling is appropriate for Holm. In his early 20s, he was in the furniture business. His resume also includes stints in construction, commercial truck driving and home loans. They all provided Holm with experience to accomplish his tasks.
“The furniture business correlated to moving furniture out of people’s homes,” he says. “We have to be safe with houses. I’ve been in construction. That knowledge helps with tearing down sheds, small garden walls or fountains.
“For a short period of time, I was a commercial truck driver. I have a truck and a trailer now. All these past experiences tie in with the junk removal business.”
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, North Valley Custom Hauling has remained busy. His business is unique in that most customers are new.
“We have several repeat customers, but we don’t have a whole lot of residual business, like landscapers would,” he says.
Holm loves his business, but he finds caring for the community even more enjoyable yet frustrating.
“Dumping clothes and bags of garbage is just senseless,” he says. “Education is the key. The cities and towns need to educate the public on where to take these items. If it was easier for people, it would be less of a problem.
“It just feels good to clean up the desert. I take my guys with me. They help out and volunteer, too. I tell them we’re making a difference. It’s a small difference, but every little bit helps.”
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