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Brian started CleanLots.com in 1981. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on CleanLots.com ?
I was working a full-time job at a sporting goods store when I realized that I couldn’t see myself doing this for the rest of my life. I didn’t really mind the work but didn’t enjoy working within the same four walls every day, making the same income regardless of how hard I worked and having to put in my time before being able to go home.
The great thing about starting your business as a side hustle is being able to learn and grow and eventually be in a great position to decide for yourself if you want to quit your job or have the best of both worlds.
I started thinking about the possibility of working for myself rather than someone else. But what kind of business? I didn’t have much going for me as previously noted. So I started to evaluate opportunities to match my interests and resources. Keep in mind there was no internet in 1981. I bought a number of business opportunity magazines from the news-stands and started the process of elimination.
I narrowed my possibilities down to some type of cleaning service. One could get into this business fairly inexpensively. The necessary skills could be quickly learned. And fortunes have been made cleaning up after people.
The memory of one of my dad’s side gigs popped into my head. He was working as a
janitor full-time and needed to supplement the family income. He had a few gigs (at the time the terms used were part-time or spare-time job or moonlighting) such as cutting grass or shoveling snow. The one that came to mind though was his cleaning up litter outside a nearby shopping plaza. He had taken me along with him a couple of times when I was a kid before he went to work and I school.
All we had to do was walk around the property - sidewalks, parking lot and landscape - and sweep up any litter material (cups, cans, paper wrappers, cigarette butts) into our litter collection tools. Since this was done more than once a week it didn’t take us very long to do. I enjoyed working outdoors and it was almost as easy to do as going for a walk!
I decided to test the market for this service. Unfortunately, my dad had passed away a couple of months before so I didn’t have his experience to call upon. I started calling property management companies to gauge their interest in this service. The big Yellow Pages directory was how I found companies to call. This was the internet of the day! I made about 4 or 5 calls when a prospect requested prices for 3 properties. I did the best to provide what I thought at the time were fair prices for service, submitted contract proposals and obtained my first client!
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater