Waste management is one of those industries that people take for granted. A lot of cities have some sort of publicly-funded waste service, so most people don’t really think about who takes out their trash. But waste management is actually comprised of lots of small businesses, which often work together to service the needs of their city. So what does it take to get started in waste management? And is there still room in this industry for a new small business?
How do you get started in waste management?
Waste management and garbage disposal is actually so much more than the big trucks that drive through neighborhoods once a week. Anyone who offers to haul away garbage, waste, recyclables, or junk is technically a part of this industry. So really all you need is a DBA, a truck, the right licenses and insurance, and you’re ready to go. However, anyone who dumps in a landfill has to pay for the privilege, and if you manage a lot of waste, you should try negotiating a cheaper rate with your landfill – most offer a set, per-ton charge.
Are there any special contracts or parameters a waste management company needs to consider?
Yup! First, the landfill you use likely has limits on the type of waste you’re allowed to dump. Check with the landfill and see what you are allowed, and what you aren’t allowed, to bring in, and then create a contract for your customers that clearly defines what you are willing to pick up. In most cases, landfills try to encourage recycling, so they’ll ask that recyclable material be separated from normal garbage. And, of course, hazardous material has to be handled very differently from normal waste.
If you want to service and entire town, or other locality, then you need to negotiate with the local government. Every city is different though, and how it deals with waste management will largely depend on its size. Smaller, rural areas, for example, will be more amenable to a new, small business because the larger waste management companies likely don’t service those areas. If you want to operate in a larger city, though, you might still be able to bid for a particular service area and simply be a part of the wider waste-management department.
How healthy is the waste management industry?
This is a very healthy, but highly competitive, industry. Waste management is seen as a necessity, it’s normally paid for by taxes, and most cities will offer a limited monopoly for their jurisdiction. In other words, there is a lot of guaranteed income in this industry, so there are a lot of people looking to enter it. Despite this, it is possible to succeed in it as a small business. You just need to be able to identify a niche and offer a solid service at a fair price. After you make a name for yourself, and if you want to try and break into the publicly-funded sector of this industry, you can try talking to the city about bidding on a waste management contract.
And that does it for our ABCs of Small Business Industry series! Thank you so much for reading, it’s been a pleasure to write on all of these great small business industries. As always, if you’re interested in starting a small business in waste management, but aren’t sure where to start, just give us a call at 1-877-692-6772!