This is a follow up story for SOCO Waste. If you're interested in reading how they got started, published almost 3 years ago, check it out here.
Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.
Hi, My name is Dustin Maze. I own and operate SOCO Waste, a residential waste service in Colorado Springs, CO that offers weekly curbside residential trash pick up, Weekly curbside recycling service, curbside junk removal and roll off dumpster rentals in the Colorado Springs, CO area.
Originally SOCO Waste was a start up of a dumpster rental company with intentions to eventually build it into a residential weekly trash service.
We started SOCO Waste with my Chevy pick up truck and a $35k loan to purchase our first roll off dumpster trailer.
We have since grown to service well over 10,000 homes in the Colorado Springs area utilizing 20 trucks and our awesome staff of 20 to generate well over $230k per month in sales.
Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?
Not only has the dumpster rental portion of our business grown by at least 30% since the last article we had worked on with the starter story but we have also grown the residential portion of our business.
In 2020 we had approx. 400 residential trash service customers and today we have grown to well over 7000 residential customers with about 3000 of them recycling.
The best thing we could have done to promote growth was answered the phones and keep our word to our customers. Word of mouth is the best advertising and if you take care of your customers, they take care of you!
To do this we do not add random fees to our customer's accounts and any time there is an additional charge, we notify them well ahead so they do not have any surprises.
Since 2020, we have grown to approx. 20 employees (The best in Colorado Springs) and recently we have added curbside junk removal to our trash routes along with bear resistant can service to our customers on the west side of Colorado Springs to help with the laws that were put in place to keep bears healthy and deter them from getting into the waste bins.
We have been growing steadily up until now but we have noticed a slight decrease in dumpster rental sales which we believe is due to the economy slowing down a tad we think if that is the case we should be able to weather the storm since we have built a name that people can trust and depend on.
A new entrepreneur is to keep pushing your name and be true to your word and the work will come.
To continue our growth, we went looking for new ways to advertise and we decided to stick with the current forms of advertising with flyers, social media ( Facebook and instagram) , signs, and word of mouth.
We decided instead of throwing money into websites or traditional forms of advertising, we are going to invest in our community and donate to local nonprofits in and around Colorado Springs that help clean up the city and get kids involved in the outdoors.
We have also recently decided to become sponsors for some of the little leagues and other community events in Colorado Springs. We have noticed a trend when we give back to the community. It not only feels good but we all grow and become closer to each other so we feel the money is well spent.
We did spruce up a couple of yard signs for Halloween just to have a little fun though.
What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?
Even though we have had some fun with our advertising, we have still faced a few problems over the last two years.
Over the last two years not only did inflation skyrocket causing just about everything we use to run our business to get more expensive, but it also caused the cost of living to go up drastically which caused the cost of employee wages to increase.
As a small business, it’s been hard to compete with the big corporations for the best drivers when there is a consistent “wage war”. Luckily for us, it’s not always just about the money, and most of our guys like the feel of working for a small family-owned operation where the management cares about them and they know they’re not just a number.
When we started this business we could not afford the cream of the crop benefits due to the tight line we had to walk financially and most of our employees knew that. The reason we believe they prefer to work with us now is we show them we care and look into the things they are concerned with.
Some of the additions that we were extremely excited about this year were the benefits for all of our employees! In the last year, we have added a 401k plan, medical insurance, 100% paid life insurance, dental, and vision insurance and we plan to add more!
What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?
One of the biggest things I have learned in the last couple of years is it’s about the people. If you build them up they will build you up and everyone wants to grow and be a part of something big. It's not always just about the money.
The best advice I can give you as a new entrepreneur is to keep pushing your name and be true to your word and the work will come.
Many people give it a good push in the beginning and then fizzle out but you have to be persistent and slightly annoying so people will remember you when the time comes.
What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?
People always ask me what do you plan to do next. I usually have an idea but to be honest, at this point, I am not sure. As of now, I believe in the next year we are pushing to reach over 10,000 residential customers and we would like to add a few more roll off dumpster sizes to our line up so our customers will have more variety to choose from.
As for the next 5 years, I believe we will figure that out as it comes our way!
Scream your name from the highest mountain top!
Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?
Looking for a company you can grow with?
At SOCO Waste we are always looking for full time CDL Class A or B drivers and also Under CDL drivers with a clean driving history and the drive to grow. Depending on the position and your experience we hire drivers starting at 19.00 per hour and up with bonuses and benefits starting after 90 days.
Where can we go to learn more?
Check us out:
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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