I’m Betty, a self-proclaimed neatnik, when it comes to organization. In walking to school down my alley, I pass house after house with clutter filled garages, that don’t appear to allow them to be used for anything except storing stuff. I’m small statured but with 1-2 helpers could easily remedy neighbor garage messes in perhaps two to four hours of concentrated work. So I decided to give it a shot by leaving a 3″x5” card describing my service and me.
I left the cards just inside my neighbor’s screen doors telling them about my new service and that my first signed up client is free if they promise to pass on their satisfaction with my work to at least 3 other neighbors. Wow – I had 5 responses within one day, from just two blocks of neighbors. But I had NO helpers!!! So I quickly placed a free ad in craigslist and my school newspaper, with very specific qualifications I was looking for in the helpers, and that I would pay them $10/hour. I also preferred students with teacher recommendations and access to a truck.
Again, I hit the jackpot. I had 12 inquiries and telephone interviewed 4 finalists and picked 2 students with strong backs, good recommendations, and access to a truck. Within a month we had 12 customers, each willing to pay $200 for junk removal, floor cleaning, and space organization. For another $100 my guys would haul off all of the throw away junk that would fit into the pick up, excluding any Hazmat items. After 1 month of operation I had netted $2,400 in sales minus $500 in help or $1900 net for about 6 hours of labor and 2 hours of neighbor contact per week. In effect I made $230/hour on my own time.
Where Do I go from here? Honestly, I didn’t anticipate this success, nor that it would be this much fun to make people happy for doing something that’s really easy for me to figure out and orchestrate with a couple of helpers. I don’t know if I want to continue this Sideline even though I think there’s an almost endless market within a 5 mile area of where I’m going to school. Perhaps it’s time to get serious and think about another Sideline I might do now that I know I can pull it off. Or maybe I can hook up with a realtor or developer to help people that are putting their homes up for sale and need to have their garage spruced up before putting it on the market – then I don’t have to go search for new clients. That might work! Its easy to find college student helpers. If I doubled the current team approach I use, it would be possible to make about $50K a year in my spare time, without doing a ton of the work!