Episode Forty Four Features Brian Winch Talking Trash.
My Key Takeaways:
Brian Winch was a lot of fun to talk to and has a business model that blows me away with its simplicity.
In this episode Bryan shares:
In this episode Brian shares:
That he was a ...
Episode Forty Four Features Brian Winch Talking Trash. My Key Takeaways:
Brian Winch was a lot of fun to talk to and has a business model that blows me away with its simplicity.
In this episode Bryan shares:
In this episode Brian shares:
That he was a pretty good Hockey player and at one time thought about playing it professionally.
How his Dad had prepared him to do this although he didn't realize it at the time.
What he was doing as a job before he started his business.
How he started CleanLots.
That he advises people wanting to start their own CleanLots business to do it as a side hustle first to see if they like it.
That it was only three to four months before he was making more money at his side hustle (CleanLots) than he was at his full time job.
That he learned to diversify his client base and how referrals have helped him grow.
What led him to take on employees.
That shockingly, his tool set hasn't changed very much from when he first started.
The hours that typically work the best for his customers.
How he prices his jobs and the time it takes to clean each property.
Why he doesn't take on other projects despite his customers requesting it.
What led him to write his book, CleanLots, and who the target reader might be.
To learn more about Brian Winch, his website is Cleanlots Is America's Simplest Business.
[00:00:00] Greg Mills: Our guest today was the creator and author of clean lots. America's simplest business. He's been involved in all aspects of the parking lot, literally cleaning business. Since 1981, he can show you how to start and operate a simple business based from home and make money from a green service. That's almost as easy to do is go in for a walk without further ado, Brian, which.
[00:00:25] Brian Winch: Hi, Greg.
[00:00:27] Greg Mills: Great to have you. So, Brian, can you take a few moments and throw in the gaps from that intro and bring us up to speed with what's going on in your world today.
[00:00:38] Brian Winch: okay.
[00:00:39] Brian Winch: Well, um, I started, uh, my business of 40 years, uh, as a side hustle back in 1981. Um, I was working a full-time job, uh, as a shipper receiver in a large sporting goods company. And I quickly realized that, uh, Yeah. You know, working for somebody else wasn't for me, I needed to find some sort of a business that I could work, uh, for myself.
[00:01:05] Brian Winch: And, uh, I knew what I wanted. I knew what I didn't want and what I wanted was to provide some sort of outdoor service. I really enjoyed working outdoors, just getting out within the confines of the same four walls every day. And, um, you know, I was 21 and I, um, Dad had recently passed away. And, uh, with that in mind, um, I recalled that, uh, he was a janitor, um, and he often did various side jobs.
[00:01:34] Brian Winch: Uh, you know, part-time jobs like clearing snow, cutting grass, but also cleaning up litter from a parking lot, uh, which was a couple blocks away from our family home. Um, and, um, he'd taken me along with him a couple times when I was a young teenager and, uh, I remembered how. The work was to do. I mean, with the proper hand tools, we would walk the sidewalks, parking lots surrounding landscape, uh, outside and clean up any litter material.
[00:02:02] Brian Winch: And this was done several times during the week. So we, our job was to maintain the property, let her free and not go in and clean up an accumulation. And, uh, you know, I thought, well, you know what, maybe there's a business. And, um, I didn't have, you know, because he passed away. I didn't have his, his, uh, contact list or his experience to call upon other than the memory of, of, uh, of helping him out a couple of times.
[00:02:27] Brian Winch: And, uh, I just jumped into it. Uh, the internet of the day back then was the big fat, thick yellow pages telephone. You remember that? And, uh, so I started going through her know, let my fingers do the walking through the real estate or property management, uh, uh, listings and, uh, um, cold calling and just, uh, you know, phoning up and, you know, asking, you know, who's the decision maker.
[00:02:53] Brian Winch: Do I need to talk to the person who's in charge of the, your parking lot, literally cleaning it. Would you be interested in my service and about three or four calls in it was. Um, I, I guess I struck gold. Um, uh, the property manager was telling me that they were just having a conversation in the office that day, that they weren't happy with the service that they were currently getting.
[00:03:15] Brian Winch: And, uh, you know, they, they needed to make a change. And so they asked me if I would be interested in taking a look at, uh, uh, three or their properties and getting back to them with some prices and I jumped at it and that's how it all began.
[00:03:31] Greg Mills: okay. Now you had a nice, safe job with a sporting goods department store, basically, right?
[00:03:37] Brian Winch: Yeah. I mean, it was, it was comfortable. I mean, nothing too challenging. I would just show up every day and do my job and, uh, It was boring. I, you know, I was looking for a challenge and I decided, you know, if I want to control the amount of money I make, uh, I, I really needed to work for myself as opposed to, you know, just working, you know, for this employer.
[00:04:01] Brian Winch: And, you know, basically I didn't have a lot of skills. I barely graduated high school, um, uh, not a lot of money in the bank and, you know, so, uh, I thought that. You know, I, I need to look at some different type of business opportunities and you know, how they say, you know, there's always a ton of money to be made, cleaning up after somebody else.
[00:04:21] Brian Winch: And, you know, I, I can attest to that. You know, being in the business for over 40 years, uh, people litter, they always have, and they always will. I don't understand the psychology behind it, but there's a market there for you for those of us that want to go out there and clean up after.
[00:04:39] Greg Mills: Is that department store, is that still around or is it gone by the wayside?
[00:04:44] Brian Winch: actually, that's what that sporting goods store was one of only two, uh, that started out and now it's a chain right across the country.
[00:04:53] Greg Mills: Wow. I was really expecting you to say, now it's been shuttered for years, the only safe, job is one that you can make yourself or one that you control
[00:05:04] Brian Winch: exactly. And you know, there's challenges. It's not necessarily for everyone. Um, you know, um, but, but for those of us that, uh, uh, have the self motivation and, uh, and the creativity. Uh, uh, you know, it's a great life, uh, on and after, you know, 41 years of it, uh, I have no regrets. And if anyone is thinking out there, uh, of, uh, working for themselves, Um,
[00:05:30] Brian Winch: uh, I would highly encourage them, uh, recommend it, but just make sure that you're doing something that you, you enjoy doing.
[00:05:37] Brian Winch: And don't just follow the money. Don't chase the bucks,
[00:05:40] Greg Mills: now you've mentioned your dad was entrepreneurial. Did anybody else in your family have their own business?
[00:05:48] Brian Winch: Um, my, um, mom's, um, youngest brother, um, you know, it's kind of funny. She came from a large family and every single one of her brothers and sisters went to, uh, to college and graduated with degrees, but the most successful of her brothers. I actually only had a high school education and he went out and started an oil business of his own and he became very successful, but unfortunately he passed away at an early age in his, in his forties.
[00:06:18] Brian Winch: But, uh, there is that entrepreneurial spirit, uh, on my mom's side. And then of course my dad, I mean, you know, he was a. He was a janitor. He was an immigrant to the, to the country. Uh, he could speak English very well, but he couldn't write it very well. He was, uh, from Poland, but, you know, he realized he needed to do certain things.
[00:06:39] Brian Winch: He never complained. He never complained that, you know, you know, things were tough or whatever. He just went out and found these extra gigs or side gigs to make extra money, just to support his family.
[00:06:52] Greg Mills: What did you want to do coming out of high school? Did you have any idea? I know I did.
[00:06:57] Brian Winch: Well, you know what, actually, as a, um, uh, as a teenager, I was quite the accomplished hockey player. And I thought for a time that, you know, well, maybe I could be, uh, be a pro hockey player. And, uh, um, but, uh, all of a sudden, you know, my, uh, the last year I played, I, for whatever reason, I just decided it wasn't fun anymore.
[00:07:18] Brian Winch: And, uh, um, that was, uh, Uh, it was quite the eye-opener because I always thought that I would be a pro hockey player, but when I decided it wasn't fun anymore, I thought, well, what am I going to do? So then I thought, well, you know, maybe there's a career in sports. I could take my knowledge of hockey and turn it into.
[00:07:41] Brian Winch: To something else. And, uh, I briefly looked into, uh, um, you know, a broadcasting career and, you know, thought maybe I could become a sportscaster, but that didn't work out well or that didn't work out, uh, at all. So, so that's when I, uh, started working at this, uh, uh, again, full-time at the sporting goods company that I had earlier worked.
[00:08:02] Brian Winch: Uh, at as a teenager, uh, part-time one when I was still playing hockey and, um, you know, it all started basically from there, you know, deciding what I wanted to do and what, what I didn't and what my passions were.
[00:08:17] Greg Mills: When you started this business where you married or, unencumbered, no kids.
[00:08:22] Brian Winch: Unencumbered. I was single. I was 21. And, uh, so I had the luxury basically, uh, starting out and, and I would encourage a lot of people if you're starting out a side hustle to do just that, uh, start the business out just as that. And while you're working a full-time job, and then it's a, it's a great way, uh, to learn the business and grow the business.
[00:08:46] Brian Winch: And you have the security of the paycheck still coming in.
[00:08:51] Greg Mills: Okay. You've got your first client at this point. How much did it cost you to start up? What kind of tools did you have to use?
[00:08:59] Brian Winch: Well, you know, back in 1981, I estimate it was about $250 when I started out. And, uh, um, you know, with my business, I just use?
[00:09:09] Brian Winch: simple hand tools. That don't cost a lot of money. You can readily buy it, your, uh, your home center to get started. And, uh, um, so, uh, yeah, it doesn't take much to get started depending on the business you start.
[00:09:24] Greg Mills: One of the majority of the $200 go towards was where you legal fees
[00:09:29] Brian Winch: you got it. Exactly. , I. Tested the market. And I had a willing customer wanted to utilize my services. So, so basically I had to learn how to S to structure, how to set up a business, you know, how to name your business and, and, and what type of insurance you needed, what type of, uh, licensing and permits.
[00:09:50] Brian Winch: And, uh, I did that because. You know, I knew it had to be done. I mean, I was working for myself, so I had that self motivation and it's just step-by-step and I didn't get overwhelmed. You just break down what you need to do into a plan and chip away at it until you get the results. And then before you know, it, uh, uh, you're in business.
[00:10:10] Greg Mills: now, did you undercharge or overcharge at that point?
[00:10:14] Brian Winch: Well, I guess I was a bit lucky. Um, what I thought I should charge, uh, worked out. Right. And, but that's a great question because sometimes, you know, everybody works at a different pace and in some cases you might undercharge. Um, if you overcharge, well, if you got the contract, are you really overcharging? I mean, your customer's paying for it, but down the road, you might get some feedback.
[00:10:38] Brian Winch: And, and I tell everybody, uh, that you know, what the feedback's important, you know, you know, learn from what your prospects are telling you and adjust your pricing. Of course, every market throughout the country is a bit different, but you will find that sweet spot and then just keep going.
[00:10:54] Greg Mills: okay. Now, how long was it before you were making more than your day job?
[00:11:00] Brian Winch: Well, actually, it was only a matter of a few months, about three months, three, three or four months. And, Um,
[00:11:08] Brian Winch: Yeah. I was making more money working part-time, uh, than it was full-time. And then I, you know, it dawned on me, you know, why am I still working? Okay here. I, I should devote, devote all of my efforts towards growing my, expanding my business.
[00:11:22] Brian Winch: And so, so I left my job and, um, I've never looked back. Yeah.
[00:11:28] Greg Mills: How many clients did you have that first year? How'd you prospect and how many could you get a night?
[00:11:37] Brian Winch: Uh, well, I started out with that one, um, client and, uh, with the three properties and the great thing about my clientele, uh, property management companies, um, they matter. Multiple properties. Um, you know, they, they don't just manage one or two. They manage multiple properties. So if you do good work for, for that one client, they're, you know, they're going to ask you to quote another property.
[00:11:59] Brian Winch: So, but the trick is you don't want to put all your eggs in one basket. So, um, you know, I, I diverse diversify my client base and, um, um, so, you know, I, I started getting, you know, getting. Yeah, other customers, you know, 2, 3, 4, 5, and then, uh, you know, each one of them would have me do one or two or three or four of their properties.
[00:12:19] Brian Winch: And it wasn't very long before I was working full-time hours. Just as much as. And when I started this, my intent was to keep it very simple business and a simple one man operation. I didn't want to have the headaches of managing staff and everything, but, but at some point, um, you know, there's only so many hours in the day for Brian to be cleaning parking lots.
[00:12:44] Brian Winch: So, so I didn't want to turn my clients to. So, um, I brought in other people that do a lot of the cleaning for me, whether it would be part-time on weekends or, or, you know, uh, you know, um, I could meet the needs of, of all sorts of people that are looking to make extra money on the side, whether it be part-time or even full-time.
[00:13:03] Brian Winch: And so, um, you know, uh, it wasn't very long before I had an army of people that were, that were helping me out, uh, you know, uh, cleaning, parking lots, uh, all over the city. So I started out as a. It was a one man operation. And then I, I scaled into a, uh, an operation with people all over the city and, and, and it continued to grow from there.
[00:13:24] Brian Winch: So, so, you know, when I first started out, I was quite happy to be making six figures as a one man operation. But, but you know, now we routinely, uh, you know, below anywhere from 650,000 to $700,000 a year, you know, just in parking lot, literally.
[00:13:41] Greg Mills: Wow. That's that's amazing. Have you gotten any more specialized equipment or is it still pretty much the same equipment you were using?
[00:13:51] Brian Winch: Well, no, that's a great question because, um, you know, our service is, uh, is best provided on foot where we can walk the entire property that the sidewalks parking lots surrounding landscape, and we use simple hand tools and, um, uh, utilize, uh, a unique tool that allows us to clean up more material in less time.
[00:14:11] Brian Winch: And I've been using that same tool. They still manufacture it. You know, for, for 40 years and there there's nothing quite like it on the market. And I will see some competitors out there with, you know, various other tools, like, you know, the little grabber tool where they pick up one item at a time or, or, you know, only a little poker stick with, uh, uh, you know, uh, and then they're walking around with trash bags, but, uh, you know, the tools I use just makes the job so much easier and so much more profitable.
[00:14:40] Brian Winch: And, um, you know, I, I'm just kind of amazed that more people aren't using?
[00:14:43] Brian Winch: them.
[00:14:45] Greg Mills: What are the typical hours?
[00:14:48] Brian Winch: Um, well, you know, this service is best performed after hours?
[00:14:53] Brian Winch: You cannot provide this service during the day. When stores were open and, and, uh, cars are parked in the parking lot because you know, those vehicles will be parked in tight on top of the, the litter material that you need to clean up, like, you know, cigarette butts, uh, fast food wrappers, uh, you know, tossed, empty coffee cups, you know, things of that nature.
[00:15:12] Brian Winch: So, uh, early morning hours, so. No. When I first started out, when I was 21, I have to admit I was not the, the early morning riser. I was the night owl. So, you know, I would work a bit earlier then, but, uh, but really the best hours. And it works out really well for people who want to do this as a side hustle or, you know, part-time, uh, because you can start at 3, 4, 5, 6 in the morning, seven goes as long as, uh, till nine o'clock in the morning, uh, you know, cleaning up, uh, the parking lots before the businesses typically open for.
[00:15:45] Greg Mills: okay. So you're not having to work 7:00 PM till 9:00 AM.
[00:15:50] Brian Winch: No,
[00:15:51] Brian Winch: you know what I mean? When I was younger, I would put in the longer days I would work at like an eight hour day. But, uh, you know, as I hired, uh, you know, more people to do the work for me, Um,
[00:16:00] Brian Winch: you know, I, I cut back my hours and now, you know, I'm 62. I'm getting older. I'm I wouldn't say I'm slowing down, but, uh, um, I, I, I have scaled back the number of hours that I worked.
[00:16:12] Brian Winch: Um, I enjoy doing the work and, uh, but now I'm sharing my opportunity with other people across the country. So, you know, that takes up a little bit of my time during the day.
[00:16:23] Greg Mills: It sounds like a great opportunity to be outside and get some exercise, you know, walk around. I had one other guest on that had a Nordic walking, and I couldn't fathom that you could actually, get paid to teach people how to walk. But, you're doing the same thing.
[00:16:42] Greg Mills: I can't fathom that. You're getting paid, great money to pick up trash.
[00:16:47] Brian Winch: It is I don't question the psychology behind it. And like I say, um, you know, it literally does not take any days off. It does not take the seasons or, you know, off, it doesn't matter if it's winter, summer, whatever season. There's stuff to clean up and, um, you know, and you know, when I was younger, you know, sometimes I'd seen people do it right.
[00:17:09] Brian Winch: in front of me and I'd kind of get ticked off, but, you know, you know, I quickly learned that they're putting money in my pocket.
[00:17:15] Brian Winch: So, you know, it is What it is.
[00:17:20] Greg Mills: What they do the same thing. But, yeah, that's, I guess that's a conversation for another day.
[00:17:28] Brian Winch: That's right.
[00:17:30] Greg Mills: I will say that I think that the wind has a lot of, culpability too. If somebody doesn't secure their, their trash and just blows all over the place and that helps or hurts
[00:17:42] Brian Winch: yeah. Yeah. I mean, um, you know, when sometimes it helps us because the wind will typically blow a lot of the, uh, litter material into a certain area of the parking lot, which makes it easier to gather up as opposed to it being all kind of all over the place. But like, like I say, you know, w w we perform our service mostly on a daily basis or, or, you know, frequently throughout the week. So.
[00:18:04] Brian Winch: it's just me kind of upkeep or maintaining our customers, uh, properties later.
[00:18:10] Greg Mills: Okay. Now, how does winter impact your business? Because you know, like you said, I know that, there's always going to be trash,
[00:18:20] Brian Winch: Yeah, well, you know, what I mean? We, we still have to go out, um, uh, the snow may temporarily mask the litter material, but the larger items you you're still gonna see. I mean, if somebody has gone through a drive-through and, and tossed out their bag, uh, you know, uh, you know, fast food wrappers, Yeah.
[00:18:39] Brian Winch: you're still typically typically going to see, see that and clean it up.
[00:18:43] Brian Winch: Uh, you know, any of the common area, uh, litter containers on the storefront sidewalks, the trash liners still need to be changed out. Doesn't matter what season it is, you know, if it's raining in the summer or snowing in the, in the winter. And then of course, you know, if it does melt, uh, at some point the snow will melt and then.
[00:19:02] Brian Winch: So some of the material that, uh, you didn't see earlier and maybe had an easy night or easy day, uh, now it becomes visible while you got to put that time into, to clean it up. So it all averages out through the year. Uh, the services performed, uh, regardless of the weather, you just dress accordingly.
[00:19:20] Greg Mills: Would a Walmart parking lot be a typical, venue for you?
[00:19:25] Brian Winch: Exactly. One of my students has had great success with, uh, Walmart super centers and, uh, and actually another student of mine from a few years ago, uh, reached out to me a few years, actually, probably a few years ago. And he never contacted me for free support. So I had no idea who he was, but other than the fact, he told me, he bought my book a few years ago.
[00:19:49] Brian Winch: And, uh, uh, he, uh, had some contracts with some, a Walmart super centers and he, he put his two kids through college. And so he's a testimony, he's a testimonial on my website, but, um, yeah, most, most of the properties we tend to service are small to medium-sized. Commercial properties of various natures. I mean, they could be a strip Plaza located in a neighborhood, or it could be a small office building or, or even a small industrial property where, you?
[00:20:19] Brian Winch: know, you've got warehouse, uh, uh, office space in the front and the bays, the loading dock.
[00:20:26] Brian Winch: Uh, the larger properties, um, like the big mega malls, the enclosed malls, uh, typically you're done in-house, um, or, you know, are, are done by the, their own people that they hire. But, but there's far more of the small to medium sized property. So plenty of business out there.
[00:20:44] Greg Mills: Now the small to medium size. How long does it typically take. Per property. And I guess we need to define what smaller I'll let you to find what smaller, medium sizes.
[00:20:55] Brian Winch: Okay. Well, if you can imagine almost every neighborhood in the country where you live in there, there there's typically a, uh, a little small retail or strip Plaza in your neighborhood where maybe late at night, you need milk for the morning breakfast or a loaf of bread, or some peanut butter and zipped down there and, and, uh, and pick it up.
[00:21:15] Brian Winch: And, you know, maybe there's, you know, five or six or seven, you know, a little, uh, shops located. And, uh, so that would be a candidate. And, uh, you know, if you're servicing that property three days, five days a week, you know, you could be in and out of there in 10, 15 minutes, you know, to walk the property and clean it.
[00:21:34] Brian Winch: And then, you know, we've got some larger properties, maybe, you know, 15, 20 bays or maybe a grocery store. A grocery store as an anchor tenant and you know, around it or some other shops and services, um, uh, maybe a two or three story office building where there's a lot of medical or professional services, engineering companies, law firms, et cetera.
[00:21:59] Brian Winch: Um, and yeah, so, and there's, you know, we've also, throughout the many years we've been in business, also done some of the larger, uh, you know, like the town centers or the high streets where, uh, you've got some, you know, like, oh, you know, office Depot staples, or, or like you mentioned before, even the, the Walmart super centers or the Costcos actually are, are a really good for this.
[00:22:22] Brian Winch: And so, uh, yeah, I mean, buildings of all different sizes.
[00:22:27] Brian Winch: and different prices.
[00:22:29] Greg Mills: How do you charge? Is it about by square foot?
[00:22:33] Brian Winch: Uh, actually good question. Um, some people think, oh, well, you know, w you know, you have a formula for square foot?
[00:22:38] Brian Winch: but you can't do that because you can have two identical properties in size. Um, you know, one's in a high traffic area, maybe with a high school across the street. And a lot of the tenants, you know, a pizza, but they sell pizza by the slice.
[00:22:53] Brian Winch: And there's a convenience store, a lot of types of tenants that generate a lot of litter material. And then you might have an identical size property, which is largely professional and don't, uh, doesn't tend to generate a lot of folate or material. That isn't going to take you as long to service. So, uh, in my book, um, you know, I, I, I give you a guideline, uh, you know, how to charge for your service by basically walking the property.
[00:23:18] Brian Winch: And, uh, and then you learn a lot from experience too. So after a while, you can just quickly go in, take a look at our property and, and know what to charge.
[00:23:28] Greg Mills: How many properties would you say you average Joe on a typical light.
[00:23:33] Brian Winch: Um, well, you know, depending on the size of them, um, and you know, there's usually a variety. I mean, you could, you could typically service about 15, 15 to 18 properties tonight. Um, and like I say, everyone, everyone moves at a different pace, but you know, some of these properties. Five minutes. Some are 10, some are 20, you know, some might be 30 and, uh, you know, just, you know, bang, bang, bang, and you knock them off.
[00:23:57] Brian Winch: And you, you learn from experience to be very efficient in how you walk the property and, and the shortcuts that make the properties more profitable for you. So, you know, while you might go in initially and price a property, you know, from thoroughly walking it to provide the best possible service after a while, you're going to learn certain.
[00:24:17] Brian Winch: Uh, efficiencies like, you know, for you give you an example. I mean, you know, maybe after six weeks of starting a property, uh, you're walking the whole rear lane and you discover, or the thought occurs to you, you know, usually there's only two or three items back here and you know, it doesn't really make sense for me to continue walking.
[00:24:37] Brian Winch: When I can slowly drive my vehicle around back where I can still see what I'm doing and, uh, and then just get out of my vehicle and, and clean up these items. And then just be more efficient in how I service the property.
[00:24:51] Greg Mills: I imagine you've come across some strange items in a parking lot before. What are some of the weird items you've come up with?
[00:24:59] Brian Winch: Well, you know what? People tend to be careless with?
[00:25:02] Brian Winch: their valuables, uh, find, uh, people's phones, uh, uh, wallets, but, uh, mainly money, uh, you know, Paper bills $5, 10 twenties. And I think it's because, you know, a lot of people, you know, will, will go into a restaurant or a bar. And, uh, you know, they put their, their, uh, their, their bills in their pocket and their car keys.
[00:25:24] Brian Winch: And then afterwards, they come out and they pull their car keys out, but I'll come the bills and, uh, you know, and so. Uh, they're there, they're there for me to clean up. Uh, but you know what? I find all sorts of things and, uh, it it's, you wonder why, you know why these items are in the parking lot, uh, you know, various pieces of underwear, if you will.
[00:25:46] Brian Winch: There's probably a family show, so I don't want to get too much into it. Uh, but, uh, but the most I've ever found once, and it doesn't happen all the time, but, uh, one time I found a roll of $600. It was right in front of a waste dumpster that, uh, I had emptied the context of contents of my collection tool into the waste dumpster that are always on site.
[00:26:10] Brian Winch: And I happened to look down and I saw this roll of bills in a tightly wound elastic band. And it was pretty grubby, you know, Dirty. So I picked it up, took it home and dried it off. And then later I, uh, peeled it apart when it, when it dried off and I counted about $600 and it's just amazing. Um, you know, uh, I I'll care.
[00:26:31] Brian Winch: Like I say, careless people can be, uh, w you know, with their, with their valuables. Uh, but in most cases, like if I have five phones and wallets, I, I, I do the very best I can to re you know, uh, you get these items back to their people. It just, by going through and finding contact information.
[00:26:48] Greg Mills: I'd love that $600. Thank you for finding that for me.
[00:26:52] Brian Winch: Well, it's already been spent to him, sir. And can you tell me where you left it?
[00:26:58] Greg Mills: in Canada,
[00:26:59] Greg Mills: Are there any other services that you provide or recommend that someone should offer other than the cleanings
[00:27:07] Brian Winch: Well, you know what? There was a period of time where we branched out into a couple of other services because we had, uh, some clients ask us if you know, Brian, do you want to do some, you know, uh, cut some grass forest. Do you want to shovel some snow in the winter months? And we did that for a while because you know, we hadn't learned yet that the customer isn't always right.
[00:27:27] Brian Winch: And, uh, you know, um, it kind of defeated the whole purpose of why we went into business and, you know, we enjoyed providing the service we did, and we weren't, we weren't landscapers, we weren't snow removal contractor. So we got out of that and, uh, and we, we did it fairly easily. I mean, we only lost one client.
[00:27:45] Brian Winch: The rest of our clients were very happy with the service that we're, we were providing. From then on, we decided, you know what, we're going to stay a niche service provider and focus on doing one thing better than everyone else. And, you know, there's the saying, you know, uh, Jack of all trades master of none.
[00:28:02] Brian Winch: And we didn't want to go down that road and try to be everything.
[00:28:08] Greg Mills: Yeah, I could see that being a little bit of a temptation, but I can also see from the property management perspective, Hey, I got this company doing a great job for us. Maybe they could do a great job with landscaping or a windows or, whatever. Have you.
[00:28:24] Brian Winch: Yeah, well, and you know, a lot of cases, that's the way it is. I mean, um, you know, when you're prospecting, you'll often find, uh, that your, your prospects, property management companies, um, are using a landscaper or a large cleaning company to provide their, their literate cleaning. Uh, but that doesn't mean that they're happy.
[00:28:43] Brian Winch: The, the litter specifically the litter cleaning. They may be happy with the landscaping and the other cleaning. Uh, but they're utilizing this service finder because they're not aware of their alternatives. So, um, you.
[00:28:56] Brian Winch: know, that's one of the keys when we're marketing, as we, uh, we let them know that, you know, um, uh, this is a service that we provide, uh, and that's the only service we do.
[00:29:06] Brian Winch: And, and this is why we can give you better results for less.
[00:29:11] Greg Mills: Have you ever offered bounties to other companies like say a snow removal company or, a window washer or landscaper, you know, to find customers.
[00:29:26] Brian Winch: Um, no, no, actually, we've been very lucky over the years where we get a lot of referral business and, um, the way you market yourself, um, no, one's social media. You don't need to be everywhere and be seen by every. Everyone because, you know, basically we're a B2B business. We, you know, um, the only people interested in our service are other businesses which are property management companies.
[00:29:52] Brian Winch: So it's, it's great to have a profile on linked. And, uh, and then reach out to property managers and invite them to like your page and then, uh, then they follow your page and, and, um, um, you know, just, you know, be where you're going to have your prospects looking for you. And, uh, and you, you can pick up plenty of business outweigh.
[00:30:17] Greg Mills: Have you ever felt unsafe when you're doing this at night or had any problems with any of your employees getting harassed or anything
[00:30:26] Brian Winch: Uh, no, no. Uh, I guess we've been pretty lucky. I mean, you know, we've been doing this for over 40 years now, but you know, we're not out at, uh, you know, midnight or 11 o'clock or
[00:30:36] Brian Winch: you know, like when people are at the bars or whatever, where we tend to get out there, uh, early morning hours when the city sleeping and, uh, um, you know, it's easy to get around the city and, and, uh, you know, easily see what you're supposed to be cleaning up and get in and get out.
[00:30:52] Brian Winch: And, uh, but you know, there there's been the odd times where, you know, someone, um, you know, usually vagrants that have approached us, asking us for money. So you just use common sense and be aware of your surroundings, and you're not going to whip out your wallet and, and, you know, fish through it, you know, to see if there's any coins or change, because that's an opportunity for them to grab your wallet.
[00:31:13] Brian Winch: So we just, if we're ever approached by anyone, we just simply tell them that we don't carry cash because we have. Yeah. You know, whether that, whether that's true or not, you know, it's, it's not, it hasn't been true, but, but then that satisfies them and then they just move on to, you know, moving on down the road, looking for someone else to get some spare time.
[00:31:34] Greg Mills: Okay. Now you wrote your book clean lots back in 2018. Is that correct?
[00:31:41] Brian Winch: Well, you know, the, the F the idea first came out, uh, about four years into my business. So 1981, about 1985. And I started putting together some rough drafts and it first came out is like in a booklet form and I didn't really know what I was doing. So, so, you know, that was a different business to learn, you know, you know, uh, you know, where, where to get found and you know, well, self self-publishing and everything, but then, you know what, well, yeah, well, 2018, um, you know, the first edition of the current book, uh, clean lots of America's simplest business came out and.
[00:32:15] Brian Winch: Um, yeah. Um, it's done quite well for us and, and, uh, you know, the, the majority of my income still comes from cleaning parking lots, but, um, you know, I thought this is a great opportunity for other people that are starting out, that maybe were in the same situation that I was back in 1981, and I'd like to help them out.
[00:32:33] Brian Winch: And it's one way that I can kind of pay homage and honor the memory of my dad. Uh, cause it was originally his side hustle. And, uh, um, I, you know, I provide free support as well. Um, and I can do that because it works and, uh, not everyone reaches out to me, not everyone who buys my book. Uh, I hear from, uh, cause I understand from the price point, a lot of people that buy my book, probably buy other books and with good intentions, you know, one day they're going to start a business.
[00:33:04] Brian Winch: Um, you know what, I don't question their, their, uh, uh, motivation, but, uh, I am there, you know, if people are serious about starting the business, uh, I offer you can, my contact information is in the book.
[00:33:18] Greg Mills: Can you describe, a little bit of what the book is basically an operating manual for how to do this,
[00:33:25] Brian Winch: Yeah. I mean, um, one of the things I decided when I, uh, put the book out there is I didn't want to franchise it because it is such a simple business. I wanted to make it available to, to my market. Like, you know, people that don't have a lot of money and, uh, uh, to get, you know, when they want to start a business of their own and, and they, they have the passion for it and they're going to be self-motivated.
[00:33:49] Brian Winch: And so. Um, you know, I, I that's when I decided to, to market it as a, as a book, as opposed to a franchise, but like a franchise, uh, I likened the book to be like a, an instructional manual and it comes with support. In my case, I provide the free support. Uh, the only difference is you don't have to pay royalties or franchise fees.
[00:34:10] Brian Winch: Uh, you learn the business. Every penny you make is you.
[00:34:14] Greg Mills: What are some like some typical support questions you might get?
[00:34:19] Brian Winch: Well, uh, you know, a lot of people they're starting their first business and they, they want to know, well, where do I begin? You know? And, and in my book I have a 10 step, uh, action plan, you know, like listing one, one through 10, this is how you should start the business. And, uh, and then, you know, my contact information is in the book as well.
[00:34:40] Brian Winch: If they want to reach out and say, well, you know, I I'm overwhelmed. And so, um, I basically tell them, just break it down into steps as is outlined into the book or in the book. And, um, you know, just chip away at it, you know, uh, you know, day by day, week by week, month by month. And at some point, if you work your business, your business will work for you and you'll be.
[00:35:04] Greg Mills: Is there a typical profile of somebody that excels doing lists of, following the steps in your book?
[00:35:12] Brian Winch: Well, I know, like I would say, you know, someone who is self-motivated. You know, I will admit not everybody, uh, will start or can start a business or should be in business. Uh, and so the greatest attributes you should have, uh, or the passion, the patients, and the persistence that you bring to whatever endeavor that you're, you're going to start and.
[00:35:35] Brian Winch: Uh, and then like, I'm perfectly willing to be your coach and coach you through it. And then you, you learn from doing and, um, you know, you're gonna make mistakes along the way, but you learn from those. And then at some point you can look back at those and, and, uh, and, and oftentimes be glad that you made those mistakes because you've learned from them.
[00:35:54] Brian Winch: But, but then you, you become better from them and you it's a growth experience. And, um, you know, anyone who started a business can attest.
[00:36:04] Greg Mills: Now you mentioned a few success stories do you have any others of people that have implemented, the clean launch program for their own.
[00:36:14] Brian Winch: Oh, well, there was one fellow early on, uh, actually ran a sweeping business up in the Northeast. I can't remember if it was New Hampshire and, uh, and he decided to get into, uh, you know, the parking lot, literally cleaning business. And you became so successful that he ended up selling all of his, uh, street sweepers and just focuses on providing the, uh, the, you know, the, the litter cleanup.
[00:36:40] Greg Mills: Is there anything I haven't asked that you feel like we need to cover? Maybe somebody should know about.
[00:36:48] Brian Winch: Well, like I say, I kind of touched upon it earlier. Um, you know make sure you get involved in a business for the right reasons. So you have to decide what you're willing to do, what you're not willing to do. And, um, you don't necessarily have to be passionate about.
[00:37:04] Brian Winch: it, but you the very least have to like what you do.
[00:37:08] Brian Winch: And if you don't. You're going to give up. Uh, so don't chase the money. Don't get involved in something where you think, oh, you know, I can make a fortune doing this because if you, if you don't care for it, you don't really like what you're trying to sell. Uh, you know, the first sign of trouble, you're, you're going to find any excuse to get out of it.
[00:37:28] Brian Winch: And then, you know, move on to something.
[00:37:32] Greg Mills: okay. What's the number one piece of advice that you can give for our listeners and you may have just given it, but.
[00:37:40] Brian Winch: Well, besides that, like I say, uh, um, you have to be self-motivated and I mentioned earlier, um, I have a saying, if you work the business. The business will work for you. And so it just means quite that simply, uh, you know, if you, if you make excuses that, you know what, uh, I know I'm going to, I'm going to do that tomorrow.
[00:38:01] Brian Winch: If you procrastinate and say, now I'm going to make those calls tomorrow or, or, and, and you don't do anything that day. You know, nothing's going to happen. So, you know, you are responsible if you work for yourself for getting the results. I mean, you don't have to do everything. Um, you can always find experts.
[00:38:19] Brian Winch: You can find people to, to help you out. Uh, uh, but you know, you're in charge of finding solutions and taking those steps.
[00:38:29] Greg Mills: okay. What's the best way for people to check you out, Brian, and get in touch with.
[00:38:35] Brian Winch: Uh, well, I tell people to go to my email@example.com and, uh, um, for a couple of reasons, uh, on the homepage, there's a free report. Uh, people can download a free PDF and it kind of goes into, is this the right opportunity? You know, so it's not a hard sell. I mean, I don't want to sell my books to people that aren't sure you know, or, or don't want to do it.
[00:38:59] Brian Winch: And cause I don't want to waste my time providing support to somebody who's really not into it. And then also on my website on the second page, or, you know, if you scroll down to the opportunity page, there's a three-minute video and it, uh, I, I encourage people to check that out because it shows me.
[00:39:18] Brian Winch: Doing the work and using the tools that I use to clean up the litter and, and yes, you can clearly see it. It's almost diseases to do is going for a walk.
[00:39:28] Greg Mills: That's a wrap. Thank you, Brian, for being a guest on entrepreneurs over.
[00:39:33] Brian Winch: Thanks, Greg. It's been a pleasure. I had a great time.