Picking Up Trash: A Surprisingly Lucrative Side Hustle

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How to Make Money Picking Up Trash

If you were to create a list of careers that offer six-figure earning potential, would picking up trash be on your list?

If someone asked you for a suggestion of a side hustle that requires no specific skills or experience and gives you the potential to earn a full-time income, how many could you think of?

Probably not very many.

Brian Winch has been earning a six-figure income picking up trash since the 1980s. He started while he still had a full-time job, and the income from this business exceeded the salary from his job in just two months.

Explaining the background of his business, Brian said, “I started doing this as a side hustle while working a full-time job in 1981. I wasn’t satisfied with my income or job and decided to investigate opportunities. I didn’t have much money to invest, a college education or special skills, so my options were limited.”

It was actually an experience from many years earlier that caught Brian’s attention. He says, “My dad (who had recently passed away) did some odd jobs to supplement his income, including cleaning up litter outside a nearby shopping plaza each morning before going to work. He had taken me along with him a couple of times and I remembered it being almost as easy to do as going for a walk – and making money!”

Since his dad had made money picking up trash, Brian decided to try it for himself. He contacted a few real estate management companies and with just a few phone calls he quickly landed work to clean up the litter from three local strip malls.

Now, with more than 30 years in the industry, Brian’s business bills about $650,000 of work per year. He says, “It’s possible to charge your time out at $30-$50/hour.”

Describing the work and the business, Brian says. “This is a service that’s provided daily to maintain a property litter free. It takes only minutes or almost the time to walk a property to clean it. It’s possible to service multiple properties each day. It’s very easy and not much time to build/manage/grow the business.”

Because of his success in what he calls “America’s simplest business,” Brian now shows anyone who to duplicate it through his book Cleanlots.

Brian Winch, 1984
Brian Winch, 1984

Why Picking Up Trash is a Great Side Hustle (or Full-Time Business)

Businesses have a need for litter pickup. Parking lots and outdoor areas at retail stores, offices, and warehouses need to be cleaned on a regular basis, and the property owners and managers usually prefer to pay someone else to do the work, rather than doing it themselves.

In addition to making money, you’ll be helping to clean up the environment.

Here are a few specific reasons that it can be a great opportunity.

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1. You Don’t Need any Specific Skills or Experience

Some side hustles require you to have certain experience or skills in order to have success. For example, if you have no design ability, your future as a graphic designer is limited.

Picking up trash is simple and anyone can do it. All you’re doing is sweeping the trash into a simple handheld litter collection tool.

2. Very Low Startup Costs

Aside from basic office equipment like a cell phone, computer, and printer, Brian says there is not a lot that you need to invest in. “A vehicle for transportation, broom and litter collection
tool are really all you need.”

You can easily operate this business out of your home and be profitable very quickly.

3. You Can Work Around a Full-Time Job

Possibly one of the best things about this side hustle is the fact that you can make it fit your existing schedule. Brian started part-time while he still had a full-time job. He says, “It surely can be done on top of a full-time job as my experience proves. I also hire others who have jobs who supplement their incomes.”

Getting started, you won’t need to invest a lot of time to be able to make some money. As Brian explained, “This work can be done in as little as an hour a day. You can market your business and clean one property in not much time.”

4. Start Making Money Quickly

It’s possible to land your first client and starting making money very quickly. Some side hustles and part-time businesses require you to put in a lot of hours before you see the payoff, but this type of business gives you a chance to make money quickly.

For more side hustle ideas, please see:

5. Excellent Income Potential

Brian’s income from this side hustle exceeded the salary from his full-time job in just two months. That was more than 30 years ago, but many who have purchased Brian’s manual Cleanlots have been able to earn a significant income while still holding a full-time job.

Regardless of whether you want to make some money in addition to your full-time job, or replace your job with your business income, the potential is there.

6. The Business Can Be Scaled

Of course, you could pick up trash as a side hustle and make some extra money if that’s your goal. But, the potential to build it into something bigger is also there.

Many people are looking for side hustles that will allow them to make some money AND give them a chance to eventually replace their full-time job.

Typically, the types of businesses that are easiest to grow and scale are the ones that involve work that can be easily passed on to someone else. With a litter cleanup business, you could easily find people who are able to do the work since there is nothing complicated about it. That makes the business excellent for growing and scaling.

As Brian told me, “You can operate this business as a simple one-person operation or recruit an army of people to do the cleaning for you. Your choice.”

Brian Winch
Brian Winch

How to Get Started and Make Money with a Litter Cleanup Business

After more than 30 years working in the industry, Brian created Cleanlots, a manual that fully explains everything you need to know in order to make money with this type of business.

According to Brian, “Cleanlots is a book that details how to start and operate a simple ‘green’ parking lot litter removal business based from home and starting with little money. It’s written from my experience in this business since 1981. This service is performed on foot using simple hand tools outside commercial properties. I offer free support to everyone who purchases.”

I asked Brian who would be the ideal fit for this side hustle. His response was, “Someone who is motivated to create their own wealth, enjoys working outdoors and working by themselves. Male or female.”

Getting started is not complicated. Brian recommends simply contacting property management companies and asking who deals with their litter maintenance in order to speak with the right person. With low start-up costs and a small amount of time needed to do the work, it’s a realistic option for many people.

If you’re interested in learning more about this unique and surprisingly lucrative side hustle, be sure to check out Cleanlots.

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