Did you know that $11.5 billion is spent cleaning up litter every year? That’s a lot of money – and perhaps you want to get in on it by cleaning it up where it’s commonly found – parking lots.
But can you really make money cleaning parking lots? Yes, you can earn money cleaning up parking lots. How much you can earn largely depends on how much effort you put in, but some people charge upwards of $30 per hour which isn’t bad for picking up trash.
But before we get too excited, let’s take a deeper look into what the process entails, how much you can charge, and if it’s all worth it.
How to Make Money Cleaning Parking Lots
Cleaning parking lots seems like a pretty straightforward process, but there’s a few important steps that you don’t want to overlook. Those are:
- Get the tools you need
- Market yourself to local businesses
- Get to work and get paid!
Let’s look at each aspect a little bit deeper to get a more orbed understanding of the process.
1. Get the tools you need
The first step is to make sure you have all the tools needed for success. Unlike other side hustles listed on this site, you would benefit from investing a bit of time in planning up front.
You’ll want to make sure you have the right things to market yourself to businesses, as well as the proper equipment to get the job done before you go ahead and get started.
Here’s a quick list of some things you might need:
- Business cards
- Outdoor broom
- Debris scoop with a handle
For starters, you might want to get some business cards made up so you can hand them out when you go introduce yourself to business owners. They should look professional and have your name and contact information on it.
You’ll also want a broom that can handle rough asphalt, cement, or payment and a debris scoop. A debris scoop is basically a dustpan with a long handle, so you don’t have to bend down and pick it up.
You’ll want some type of phone so potential clients can get in touch with you if they have questions or want to hire you. And you’ll want a computer with some type of software to keep track of your invoices and be able to bill out to your clients.
2. Market yourself to local businesses
This is most likely going to be the hardest part of the job – finding clients.
The most effective way to do this would simply be to approach businesses yourself. And you’ll want to target local, smaller businesses as opposed to larger ones like industrial complexes or shopping malls.
That’s because most of the more established businesses probably already have someone to clean it up for them. Instead, you’ll probably find more success going after smaller businesses, particularly ones with litter on the ground.
All you’ll have to do is go into the business, ask for the owner (or manager, if the owner’s unavailable), and offer them your services. Most of the time, they won’t hire you directly on the spot, which is why it’s important to leave them with a business card.
3. Get to work and get paid
Once you start getting calls and new clients, the next thing would be to get to work! Cleaning up a parking lot shouldn’t take very long, so you should be able to complete multiple parking lots in one day.
You’ll get to negotiate your own schedule, but you’ll want to take into consideration what your client wants. Oftentimes, they’ll want you to come by early morning before they open or late night after they close.
Because you’ll be acting as a business owner, you’ll be required to set your own pay rates, pay schedules, and be responsible for sending out invoices.
To better clarify – and show how much money you could potentially make – let’s look at a quick example.
I recently wrote an article about the different ways people make money cleaning up trash, and in the process discovered a guy named Brian Winch, who makes over $650,000 per year cleaning parking lots. He turned a small side gig into a huge business called Cleanlots, complete with his own book, appropriately called Cleanlots.
He started way back in 1981 alongside his full-time job. After two months of signing on more and more companies, the income from his side gig surpassed that of his full-time career.
So, logically, he quit his job and eventually grew this simple idea into a business that brings in hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.
How Much Could You Make?
As to how much you can make, obviously Brian Winch is a radical example, and not one you should expect for yourself. However, you do get the flexibility of setting your own pay rate, and you could easily charge $30-$50 per hour.
Be careful not to overcharge for your area, though.
If you are inexperienced and have a lot of competition, don’t go charging top dollar. And if you’re in a small, rural area, you might not want to charge something businesses might be unwilling to pay.
So, let’s say you charged the lower end of the spectrum, $30 per hour, and you cleaned parking lots for four hours every weekend. That’s $120 extra per week, $480 per month, or $6,240 per year.
What Are the Startup Costs?
Starting up a parking lot cleaning business has some costs associated with it, though they aren’t excessive.
The first cost to consider would be business cards. If you order them from an online retailer, like Vistaprint, you can pay $15 for 100 of the lowest quality, plus shipping. However, you should always be careful when ordering online, because there’s always upsells, and there’s bound to be some inconsistencies upon arrival.
Instead, you could go to a local print shop, like ARC Copy for example, and get 100 for $7 – half price – plus it would be more tailored to you personally, and there would be no shipping costs!
As far as a broom and debris scoop go, you could get both for around $25.
The only things that would potentially cost a lot would be a computer/laptop/tablet and a phone, but most people have those already.
What I Like
- Has the potential to earn a lot of money
- Can turn into a full-time job
- Doesn’t require any prior knowledge or experience
What I Don’t Like
- Has higher startup costs than some other options
- Requires a big time investment up front
- Generally has really early or really late hours
Overall, there is definitely the potential to earn a decent income – especially as a side gig. It can act as either a part-time job or build up to a full-time career. Plus, it doesn’t require too much effort once you get going with a steady flow of clients.
Still, there are downsides.
It does require time, a bit of money up front, and physical activity. If those things repel you from this type of job, you might want to look into earning money by helping the elderly or selling old batteries.
Either way, hopefully this article helped you in making a decision as to whether or not you want to start cleaning up parking lots.