[Heyo! Got an email from a guy who’s made a living out of picking up trash around business complexes, and thought it was so fascinating that I asked if he’d write up a little something something for us. He obliged, and our Side Hustle Series continues forward! (And now I’m seriously considering trying this out myself! Sounds like a great way to make money on the side!!]
Does earning $30-$50/hour sound appealing? How about the freedom that comes from working outdoors, whenever you want for as long as you want, and having the rest of the day to yourself to do as you please?
These are just a couple of the benefits of being a parking lot litter removal contractor.
You don’t need any special skills or expensive equipment to be successful in this business. All you need is the motivation to work for yourself. It’s an opportunity for people looking for an honest business and an ideal side hustle since the after hours nature of the service won’t conflict with your day job.
How I Got Started
Let me take you back to the year of 1981…
I was working at a sporting goods store, completely uninspired by my job and lacking motivation for it.
My prospects were slim as all I had was a high school diploma and a small savings account. But what I did have was the motivation to change my life for the better and a willingness to work for myself.
That’s when I remembered my father used to make extra money on the side by cleaning up litter in a neighborhood shopping plaza. I had gone along with him a few times as a kid, and I remembered thinking how easy it was. It was literally a case of us walking around the property cleaning up litter before the stores opened the next day and getting paid for it.
It was then that I decided to start a home-based litter cleanup business part-time so the work didn’t interfere with my full-time job. I contacted property management companies and offered to clean their retail, office and warehouse properties on a daily basis.
After just two months I was making more money than in my full-time job. I bet you can guess what I did next… I QUIT MY JOB!
I turned my $200 investment into a $650,000+ per year business. I never dreamed I could turn a trash business into such an enjoyable lifestyle, but I did. And I know others who are making an extra $20,000 – $50,000 a year on the side by doing the same.
How It Works
Parking lot litter removal is mostly done daily, on foot, using inexpensive hand tools. You simply walk the exterior property of any retail, office or industrial property and sweep up litter into your litter collection bag. When your collection bag is full, you just empty it into a waste dumpster right there on site.
It’s almost as easy as going for a walk!
The selling point is that your service can be provided for significantly less than what the power sweeping contractors charge. (Don’t worry, you’re not expected to sweep up any gravel or dirt. Their services will still be required for that – albeit less often – you’re just taking over the daily litter part of the job.)
Look around your city on your next walk or drive. It’s amazing how many commercial properties with parking lots are all around you! Each one must be maintained litter free on a regular basis. The potential is huge.
How to Get Business
Commercial Real Estate Management companies are your best source for business. They are contracted by property owners to manage their commercial properties. A management company typically has several properties in their portfolio.
You’re looking for small to medium sized properties to handle (shopping plazas, office buildings, free standing restaurants, dollar stores, drug stores, warehouse clubs, banks, clinics and even landscape contractors ). These smaller properties can easily be covered by foot in only a matter of minutes.
This your market.
For more tips, check out this step-by-step manual I created on how to start and run a parking lot litter cleaning business: Cleanlots.com. It really is America’s simplest business!
Pros of Being a Litter Removal Contractor
- Great pay
- Great for the environment
- Ideal side hustle as the hours won’t conflict with day job
- No expensive equipment to buy
- No special skills or education needed
- (Editor’s note: tons of time to think, listen to music, learn with podcasts??)
Cons of Litter Removing
- Late night/early morning work required (after the stores have closed and there are no vehicles parked and in your way)
- It’s all outdoor (must be able to work in all weather conditions – rain, sleet, snow)
- Working alone can get lonely
- It’s manual labor
- (Editor’s note: maybe a safety factor for women during nights?)
Other Nice Perks
I get to take pride in performing a green service that makes a positive impact on the local environment. The daily routine is also nice, and the job is never boring.
I’m constantly amazed at how careless people can be with their money too. A few times a year I find paper bills on the ground usually outside a restaurant or bar. People seem to unintentionally drop them as they reach for their car keys in their pockets.
Years ago I found a crumpled $2 bill on the ground, and 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.
If you’re looking for a simple, easy way to make some extra cash around your community, this is the gig for you.
Start picking up the phone or check out my book for an illustrated, easy-to-follow manual on everything I’ve learned over the past 36 years. Someone’s trash really is your treasure! (<— Editor’s note: sorry, had to do it ;))
Brian Winch is the founder and owner of Cleanlots, America’s simplest business. He’s been perfecting the litter removing business for over 30 years and enjoys sharing the benefits of it with others. Links to his book above are affiliate links.
Trash not your thing? Check out the last few hustles we’ve featured here:
- Hustle #70: Making Rings and Jewelry From Coins! ($20-$100+ an hour)
- Hustle #69: Making Frozen Meals ($10/meal profit)
- Hustle #68: Running a Christmas Tree Stand ($7,500/season (5 weeks))