Man makes millions by collecting waste – including finding two Picassos worth £120,000 | Personal Finance | Finance

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Just Clear handles the waste collection and clearing of properties when a person passes away, and in doing so have found a treasure trove of collections and interesting objects. Nine years after its inception, Just Clear continues to be an industry disruptor, finding value in junk and now has plans to continue its franchising operations across the country.

The death care industry is often overlooked and avoided until the fateful moment arrives, but for families it can be rather traumatic finding ethical removal services that they can trust with their loved one’s items and properties.

The sad reality is that there are more individuals living, and dying, alone, meaning there may not be next of kin to pick up the pieces and sort out the properties left behind.

Walking into a home and not knowing the condition or contents creates a fair amount of challenges that professionals outside the death care industry don’t have to deal with.

Mr O’Shea noted: “I didn’t choose the junk removal industry by accident – I identified a fragmented space and decided I wanted to create a household name.

“The business took off, and I’ve never looked back. In 2021, we built a network of franchises across the UK that have helped lots of entrepreneurs start to live their dreams of business ownership.”

Mr O’Shea managed to fill this market gap, and across the Just Clear franchise, is now seeing over £30million turnover in a £21billion industry.

Alongside this incredible profitability, Mr O’Shea and his team have found some staggering finds that require integrity, sensitivity and quality care, such as classic cars, lost Picassos and unexploded war-heads.

Mr O’Shea commented on some of his most memorable finds, and said: “We once discovered two ceramic Picassos in a flat we were clearing, and sent them to auction for the family of the estate. They sold at auction for £120,000.

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“This year we found a spearhead from the stone age, which was pretty cool!”

It all started when Mr O’Shea left an unfulfilling career in investment banking in 2007, starting Just Clear with nothing more than his wife and a small old van to get it off the ground.

“Now we continue disrupting the £21 billion-a-year waste collection industry with a model that works,” he commented.

“Initially our service began as a ‘man and van’ service and has since grown to encompass our own branded trademarked ‘skip bags’ as well as a more tailored solution for larger projects. 

“Together, with our network of franchise-partners, our ‘make more room for you’ slogan has made the business of clearance services transparent and client focused.

“Over the past nine years we’ve created a household brand and this year rolled it out through franchising, and we’re not slowing down.”

When it comes to being a reputable business in this industry, Just Clear is not always the first on-scene and have to pick up the pieces of lesser quality removal services.

Due to the lacking regulation in this industry, Mr O’Shea goes the extra step to ensure an asset management service is on-site from the moment anything of value is spotted, maintaining the integrity of his business.

He added: “Going from a fast paced career in commercial-banking in London to hauling junk was most definitely what you’d call a ‘transition’!

“Family and friends were on the fence about my decision, but the decision was mine to make, and I had a clear belief and vision of what I was planning to do. The business is a very tangible type of business and I was never afraid of hard graft and working on the vans gave me the right type of start to refine the service to how it is today!”

Mr O’Shea relies on a mantra that everything believed to be junk can be turned into an asset, a value that has paid off in full both financially and in his fight to be an eco-conscious business.  

He added the franchise-partners have become like family, helping to better the business everyday: “Which is an amazing feeling for us to help so many family businesses reach their goals and leave a legacy for their future as well as the future generations of the UK and the environmental impact of our business. At a macro level, the environmental side of this business makes me extremely proud.”





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