Much like indoor plumbing and electricity, efficient and hassle-free trash disposal is a primary hallmark of modern civilization. Long gone are the days of unsightly backyard trash heaps and rusting vehicles being left out in the woods. Nowadays, citizens at every level of the socioeconomic pyramid expect access to effortless trash removal. Unfortunately, municipal services sometimes fall short in the performance department. One sensible alternative in many cases is privatized trash removal. If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, a valet trash pickup venture can be extremely profitable.
Identify a Promising Niche
Regardless of the demographics that you plan on targeting, your valet trash service should cater to customers from a variety of housing backgrounds. Whether you choose to contract with singular apartment renters, multifamily units or senior care facilities, settling on the right mix of trash pickup options is important. Some valet trash pickup outfits only work with standard household garbage while others will take away everything from electronics to furniture. Figure out what you can afford to do at the outset and sketch a broad plan.
Structure & Fund Your Business
Naturally, you should form an LLC or other corporate entity and register your new business with the local Secretary of State’s office. The necessary licenses will depend on how your city or state handles sales taxes and so forth. In addition, you’ll need to line up funding to get your valet trash pickup venture off of the ground. As you might expect, starting a trash-hauling firm can be fairly expensive. Get a loan from a local credit union, a P2P lending service or the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Clear Any Regulatory Hurdles
While you’re sketching out your new trash pickup enterprise, you need to be mindful of any local ordinances that could derail your plans. For instance, some cities will only allow a set number of trash collectors to operate within their jurisdiction. In addition, you’ll need to read up on the relevant local laws that pertain to recycling hazardous and electronic waste. Once again, the Secretary of State’s office or the local chamber of commerce can help you to negotiate the red tape you’ll encounter.
Assemble Your Gear and Staff
As far as hardware goes, you’ll need plenty of garbage and recycling bins to pass out to your customers. In addition, a reliable work truck or van will be a necessity at the outset. Invest in dollies and other transportation tools to make the pickup process as seamless as possible. Furthermore, it’s likely that you’ll need to hire a few employees for anything beyond the smallest of trash pickup services. Be sure to acquire the appropriate level of automotive and employer’s insurance for your business.
Locate a Good Landfill Operator
Before you can start to collect trash and recycling from clients, you’ll need to set up a contract with the right landfill to receive your trash. Generally speaking, a landfill or dump will charge a garbage collector by the ton. You may want to rent commercial space to store trash temporarily while you wait to drop it off. There may be special incentives in your area related to recycling things like electronic trash and used motor oil that can significantly reduce your costs.
Experiment with Pricing & Contracts
Last but not least, you’ll need to fiddle around with your service contracts to determine the pricing sweet spot that will attract the greatest number of clients. It’s best to start out with a month-by-month contract at a low rate that can be altered as you go. This will allow customers to try your services on a trial basis and give you a way to figure out the best price point for your basket of services. Within a few months, you should have a good idea of what will work on a long-term basis for your trash collection outfit.
Market Your Venture to the Public
It goes without saying that raising your nascent company’s profile in the local community will be a difficult proposition at best. Most people don’t spend a lot of time thinking about garbage collection providers, so a niche valet trash pickup business will require you to focus on branding. Use the usual social media suspects like Google+, Facebook and Twitter to bolster your local reputation. Joining the local chamber of commerce to make business contacts is a good idea. Also, leverage word-of-mouth advertising by directly contacting local landlords and real estate rental firms.
Build Out Your Operation
Once you’ve established your valet trash pickup service by securing serious, long-term clients, you can work on expansion. If things really take off, you’ll no doubt need to hire employees to handle the day-to-day bric-a-brac. Choosing the right people to entrust with your side business and maintaining a competitive edge over would-be rivals are the keys to reliable profits. With the right consumer demographics, a sound business plan and a little promotion, a valet trash pickup side business can be a resounding success.