This is a follow up story for CleanLots.com . If you're interested in reading how they got started, published over 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
I’m Brian Winch, creator of Cleanlots - America’s Simplest Business. I teach people how to make a 5-6 figure income providing a simple “green” service that’s almost as easy to do as going for a walk!
Cleanlots has been a successful business model since 1981. We offer an on-foot litter cleaning service using a unique tool outside commercial properties for property management companies. We can clean litter from the entire site - sidewalks, parking lot, and landscape - for less money while providing superior service.
I started this business as a side hustle and grew it into a 6 figure full-time business that I still operate today. I had little money, education, and skills at the time but plenty of passion, patience, and persistence. I offer FREE support as my way of giving back and assisting those people who are looking for a simple, low-cost start-up business that makes a difference in their community.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to! Has the business been growing?
The pandemic created both uncertainty and opportunity. Which businesses were forced to close due to lockdowns? How could they create other streams of income to replace the ones they had lost?
Don’t be afraid of making sales calls or cold calling to build a prospect list. If you want something and believe in what you’re selling then you will be motivated to do it.
We were classified as an essential service being a cleaning business. But many of our clients requested a temporary reduction in service frequency to reflect their sudden loss of income from their tenants. Thankfully, this lasted only 3 to 4 months.
We decided to reach out to all of our customers to remind them of our classification as an essential service and the measures we had implemented to safely provide for the sanitation and security of their properties. Besides the typical litter material - drink cups, fast food and candy wrappers, cigarette butts - people were now tossing their used masks, gloves, and sanitary wipes to the ground. Nobody felt comfortable with seeing these items littered about a property!
We began posting more often on LinkedIn and our Google My Business page about the benefits of our service. We saw an increase in inquiries for our service and landed 3 new clients and 10 more properties. We had grown our business more during the pandemic than in the previous year!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
When we first started noticing the discarded PPE I thought that this would be a great opportunity to obtain free publicity from the local media. The intent was for our clients to see and hear how we were keeping their properties litter-free.
I contacted the news tip link on the largest local T.V station's website. I pitched a story idea as to how people were thoughtlessly discarding their used PPE in parking lots across the city and we were doing our best to clean it up. I was contacted within the hour and met a video reporter at one of my job sites early the next morning to do an interview.
I couldn’t believe the response! The story aired near the beginning of the dinner time news and then again the following day on their lunchtime newscast. The story went viral on their website. I was contacted by a couple of reporters elsewhere in the country and my story went national.
What I was reminded of was the old saying, “If life gives you lemons then make lemonade”. You too can generate publicity for your business if you can tie it to a newsworthy event.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
I believe that property management companies have never been more aware of the importance of a regular litter cleaning program at their properties than now. This has created an increased demand for our services and also other parking lot litter cleaning businesses across the country.
I look forward to providing our maintenance service into the future and also assisting others across the country in starting this business in their own communities. I love what we do and hope to inspire others who would also take pride in providing this simple “green” service.
Have you read any good books in the last year?
I recommend $1,000 - 100 Ways by Nick Loper. It profiles how real people make real money on the side (and how you can too). Check out Nick’s community at: SideHustleNation.com.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?
Don’t give up. Refine your pitch if need be. Sell the benefit(s) of your products or services to your prospects. How will they benefit from using them?
Don’t be afraid of making sales calls or cold calling to build a prospect list. If you want something and believe in what you’re selling then you will be motivated to do it. Everyone can recall times in their past where they “sold” themselves; wanting a new toy or raise in allowance, asking someone on a date, or interviewing for a job.
Work your business and your business will work for you.
Where can we go to learn more?
If you have any questions or comments, drop a comment below!
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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