Today I’d like to bring you inspiration for simple, yet profitable, side hustle ideas. Brian Winch started his lucrative six-figure business with nothing more than a broom, dustpan, phone and a few business forms. Brian enjoys the freedom and flexibility of being his own boss and says you can do it, too.
Meet the Millionaire Next Door
Decades ago I read and was inspired by the best-selling book “The Millionaire Next Door” by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. In it, the book reveals that about two-thirds of America’s millionaires who still work are self-employed. The types of businesses they own tend to be simple, such as dry-cleaning or welding.
Their profiles show that you don’t need a family pedigree, an advanced education or a fancy job title to become rich. I discovered what many successful entrepreneurs have found over the years – you should study your community to discover a need that isn’t being met. Start a business that fills that need. Be creative and open-minded to opportunities. Often it’s the simplest side hustle ideas that can lead you to success.
How I Got Started
In 1981 I was earning a modest income at a sporting goods store, but I had a desire for more money. I dreamed of being an entrepreneur, but I was hesitant because I only had a high school education and hardly any start-up cash.
One day, inspiration hit as I recalled that my father used to moonlight cleaning up litter in a local shopping plaza. I had gone along with him a few times as a kid, and I remembered thinking how easy it was. It was a case of us walking around the property cleaning up litter before the stores opened the next day and getting paid for it. I decided to see if there was much money to be made from this simple service.
My motivation kicked in, and I began to think about how I could successfully develop this side hustle idea. I contacted property management companies and offered to clean their retail, office and warehouse properties on a daily basis. Cleaning litter was work I could accomplish before and after my full-time job at the sporting goods store!
As I began signing on more and more properties, I realized I had a viable business on my hands. After just two months I was making more income than at my full-time job. Can you guess what I did next? I quit my job and turned my side gig into a profitable full-time business.
Today, I manage an operation that bills out over $650,000 yearly in parking lot litter removal contracts. I know entrepreneurs who are only working part-time (following my Cleanlots system) and making an extra $20,000 -$50,000 a year, just by cleaning up litter outside of commercial properties, and you can do the same!
How It Works
Parking lot litter removal is an after-hours service performed on foot using simple hand tools. You walk the exterior property and sweep up litter into your collection tool.
When your gear is full, empty into an onsite waste dumpster. Almost as easy to do as going for a walk!
You can clean up litter from the sidewalks, parking lot and any surrounding landscape almost as fast as you can walk. You don't have to sweep up any dirt or gravel from the parking lot as this is done by a power sweeping service.
Benefits of Operating a Parking Lot Litter Removal Business
- Flexibility. Parking lot litter removal is done out of the sight of customers-which means late nights or early mornings. Personally, I enjoy working outdoors in the early morning of the day.
- Freedom. Self-employment means no time clock to punch. You set your hours. There are also no traffic jams to stress out over. My parking lot litter removal business is where I found my independence, freedom, and empowerment.
- Autopilot. I find comfort in having a daily routine. I can go on autopilot but still accomplish the task at hand. It is also a great use of time to listen to music or your favorite podcast while you work.
- Low risk. When I decided to start Cleanlots, I only had about $200 to invest. The service didn’t require any extraordinary skills or training. (Remember: I started this business with only a high school diploma!). My original $200 investment has grown into a $650,000+ per Year Company.
- Recession proof. Are people littering less than 30 years ago? NO! And property managers have a hard time keeping up. That’s where we step in! Live in a high growth area? Even better. Isn’t it amazing how many commercial properties with parking lots there are? Consider how many of these were built within the past ten years. All of these areas must be maintained litter-free on a regular basis.
- Environmentally friendly. I have a great sense of pride and satisfaction knowing that my business is making for a cleaner, greener environment. It’s by no means glamorous. However, I do enjoy creating a noticeable impact in my community with this green business.
- Low overhead. When I first got started, I used everyday tools such as brooms, dustpans and litter grabber tools. Eventually, I discovered a gem of a litter collection tool that allows me to sweep up nearly as fast as I can walk. Not only did it speed up my cleaning times but it can also pick up even the smallest litter materials resulting in increased efficiency.
- Exercise. In this side hustle, you can be guaranteed to walk a few miles a day. Put on your personal fitness tracker and see how many steps you take! You are taking care of yourself as well as your customers and the environment.
- Treasures. You would not believe some of the items I’ve come across during my litter removal adventures. In addition to typical litter (food wrappers, drink cups, cigarette butts), I sometimes find articles of clothing, cell phones, wallets and even money! I return any valuables that can be identified, however, crumpled up bills are thrilling to encounter and go right in my pocket. Years ago I found a crumpled $2 bill on the ground, and I was even more surprised to discover a $100 bill wrapped inside of it. Another time I noticed a grimy roll of bills next to the waste dumpster as I went to empty my collecting bag. After taking it home and drying it out (it looked like it had been there for quite some time), I counted up all the bills – $600! Someone’s careless loss turned into my profitable gain.
Like the Outdoors? Make Extra Money Going for Walks!
If you think that a parking lot litter removal side hustle might be right for you here are three steps you can take today to make extra money on the side.
- First, head out to your community. Just think of all the possible cleaning contracts you have in your area. Look at all the commercial properties in your neighborhood. Shopping plazas, office buildings, warehouse sites are all potential contracts. Most property managers don’t want to do the “dirty job” themselves. But you do, and they’ll pay you handsomely (on average $30-$50 per hour). Month after month. Year after year.
- Second, build a contact list. I have found that Commercial Real Estate Management companies are your best source for business. One good one could result in a dozen prospective contracts.
- Third, let me be your guide. I developed a step-by-step operations manual on how to start and run a parking lot litter cleaning business. I’m also available by phone to talk you through any questions you may have at no extra cost.
You may have your financial future mapped out through retirement. But wouldn’t you like to get there quicker? Consider various side hustle ideas to help you earn that extra cash and accelerate your financial progress.
No matter which side hustle idea you choose to pursue I implore you to get started as soon as possible. Talk to business owners about what they would like to see in the community. Take a walk or drive around your area and evaluate the options.
While you’re doing that, don’t forget to scan all of the parking lots you pass. How do they look? Are they littered? If they are, order my book! I might just have the simplest side hustle opportunity for you!
I hope you all enjoyed this interview with Brian! I loved hearing about his unique story and business. What other work from home or entrepreneur stories do you guys want to hear about? Share in the comments!
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