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How these small businesses are succeeding 6 incredibly dirty industries

Not all successful small businesses are glamorous.

In fact, many of the small businesses in the United States are stressful, dangerous, tiring, and downright unhealthy.

But you’ve heard the phrase, “It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.” Well, these 6 little entrepreneurs are not just doing “it” – they are doing very well in areas that you do I could not imagine working at all.

We asked them how to run successful small businesses in areas that few people dream of.

1. Treat your employees well

When you hear “the air quality industry in the environment”, it does not seem so bad …

Well, if you know the indoor air quality sector, then you know that the real daily job is to clean the air ducts and garbage cans. You may never have thought of that, but the canals and metal pipes that run through the walls and ceilings of buildings are magnets for dust, dirt, and, at worst, dead rodents.

For obvious reasons, air quality systems should be cleaned regularly. Maria Vizzi, President of Indoor Environmental Solutions, knows how dirty this service sector can be.

“When we cleaned trashcans, our technicians asked New York City sized rats to load them in. Our technicians found all sorts of bugs and bugs in the most luxurious buildings, and as if creatures were not enough, they also experienced smells Get others to choose a different profession, “says Vizzi.

If you’re in such a dirty and demanding industry, how do you prevent your employees from throwing in the towel?

Well, for Vizzi it’s about hiring the right people and investing in their safety and

happiness at work:

“This industry is not for the faint-hearted, it’s such an unwanted job to make sure our employees are not intimidated by anything.”

“If you have a similar” dirty “business, you should give top priority to your employees, with extra measures to ensure your employees are protected by proper personal protective equipment, and let your employees know how much they care to be appreciated.

-Maria Vizzi, President of Indoor Environment Solutions.

Maria Vizzi

2. Build your reputation
The dangerous materials industry is a double killer for unwanted industries – it’s both dirty and dangerous.

Whether asbestos, lead or biowaste, you can not live near you – someone must remove and dispose of these hazardous substances. And this is where Ted Gallagher, Vice President and Partner of Environmental Risk Management, comes in.

Like many other small business owners in similar industries, Gallagher does a job nobody else wants to do or even qualify for. And because no one else can or will do the job on their own, Gallagher and other companies in the hazardous materials industry can demand a premium for their services.

As a $ 214 billion, growing industry, the hazardous waste sector houses many successful small businesses.

“I knew that I was able to sign my first reduction project in 2004. Since the first contract was signed in the basement of this Lancaster City townhouse, our growth has been exponential and this first project would not be the last thing my business partner and I have done developing our business By 2016 we have more than 50 employees and have completed projects worth $ 1.5 million, far from the first $ 1,200 underground project, “said Gallagher. ,

With a small business of two and a multi-transaction business of $ 1.5 million, Gallagher has managed to position itself in a dirty and dangerous industry that no one wants to reach.

But if you want to exploit the potential of the Hazardous Waste Removal Industry, then Gallaher has the following to say:

“Here are my tips for companies in similar” sales “areas: If you want to be successful, you always do things right and with integrity, even if it costs you money, your reputation is the most valuable part of your business and without you becoming yours Doors closed.

-Ted Gallagher, Vice President and Partner of Environmental Risk Management.

Ted Gallagher

3. Invest in your business
Did you ever wake up on a cold and snowy morning? Are you afraid of the moment when you have to go out and shovel the front steps?

Well, imagine the feeling of being in the snow, which cools the bones, but actually much, much worse. This is the work of Joe Palumbo, owner and operator of The Ice Dam Guys.

If you live in a northern climate with frequent blizzard emergencies, you may have already experienced a flood of ice. An ice dam is what it looks like – an accumulation of ice on the roofs of buildings, which can ruin attics and cause rot and mold in all homes. When a blizzard occurs, Palumbo and the Ice Dam Guys save the owners headaches caused by a poor ice dam.

But it’s not as easy as shoveling the driveway. “The only way to erase them is to stand on the sloping roof, in snow and ice, in freezing temperatures, with a steam gun to melt them, it’s really brutal, cold and unwanted,” says Palumbo of his Company.

If the industry of Palumbo is not unique enough, here is another aspect of the industry that threatens its success: As an emergency sector, homeowners in need will pay almost everyone for any help.

“One of the keys to success in this sector is to overcome the downward spiral.” Many roofers, gutter cleaners, do-it-yourselfers and other contractors who often do not work in winter will do anything. , Elimination of ice dam, “says Palumbo.

“They will give the phone unrealistic estimates, they will hire someone and not train them before they send them to a rooftop, they will buy cheap equipment or they will not even come to work with enough equipment, they will not win the right insurance so that when one of their employees falls off the roof and breaks his neck, the owner is persecuted until the Stone Age.

The key to a successful business in this sector?

For Palumbo, she invests in the quality of her business and does her job well:

“My business, the Ice Dam Guys, was partially successful in investing in our equipment and not giving customers sunny phone information and bad news when we were on the roof and stayed there 20 years old … Now we know exactly What to do to get the job done in an emergency We traveled overnight in Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, BC and many other places where a storm arrived to help the victims of local ice dams and provide adequate service Offer.

– Joe Palumbo, owner and operator of The Ice Dam Guys.

Joe Palumbo

4. Respect your values
Due to the nature of the trade, the cleaning industry is dirty.

But did you know that it is not just “dirty” in the traditional sense? Rune Sovndahl, co-founder of Fantastic Services, experienced the “muck” of the cleaning industry.

“Entering the cleansing industry without experience was a revelation, it was a dirty industry, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that our competitors cut our tires in the first month to shirk” their “industry,” says Sovndahl.

How can you stay in an industry where all your competitors want to kick you out with such aggressive actions?

Well, Sovndahl wanted to define their values, respect them and be far better than their competitors they wanted.

“It was not a nice industry, it was the first thing my partner Anton and I decided differently, we wanted it to be easy, easy to pay and just rely on the quality of the service – what we wanted to do fantastically In short, we wanted to clean the cleaning industry. ”

When they defined their goals and values ​​among similar companies that apparently had none, Sovndahl really reached its peak. The closest employees of both companies decided to join the industry, which they tried to clean up.

“We quickly found out that there were many motivated people in addition to cowboys and quacksters, people who were not market-economy, who were not properly trained or who could not afford to buy a franchise, but they were motivated, successful So we came up with the logical solution: to mobilize these dedicated people because they had the passion and the values ​​that allowed our society to integrate into what it is today.

Now, Sovndahl and co-founder Anton Skarlatov have 650 employees, 2,000 franchise companies and more than $ 30 million in sales. If it’s not a small business success in an unwanted industry, we do not know what it is.

– Rune Sovndahl, co-founder of Fantastic Services.

runen Søvndahl

5. Clean something with something dirty
Collecting and recycling old cigarette butts found on the ground seems like one of the dirtiest jobs. With all the toxins and germs found on cigarette butts, the cigarette recycling and recycling industry has no idea for a contractor.

But for Ken Beck, in such a dirty industry, it was about offering clean solutions for the good of the public. As the owner of Cigarette Pollution Solutions and founder of the Butts to Watts recycling program, Beck and his team recycle cigarette waste into electricity.

“Every year, the US releases more than 100 million pounds of cigarette waste,” says Beck. That’s more than 576 million watts of energy.

Why did Beck enter such a dirty industry? To do something green:

“I started my business because I hate cigarette waste, but if you do not do something to solve a problem, do not complain, use that time to find a solution, it feels better and thrives, and that’s exactly what I did, “says Beck.

Well, an industry that is so dirty and unwanted is a positive thing for Beck:

“At least when I see somebody smoking and throwing a cigarette butt in a flowerbed or on the street, I can tell them that there is a place where you can put your buttocks down, placing the cigarette butt in the right place is too become an energy production program …

-Ken Beck, owner of Cigarette Pollution Solutions.


6. Be proud of your work and build lasting relationships
If you think of “dirty business”, we would not be surprised if the first industry you visit is involved in septic waste management.

That’s the dirty work that someone has to do.

However, this does not mean that a septic tank management company is not a successful company. For Jared Gustafson, head of Gustafson’s septic service bureau, it’s about recognizing that work has to be done and proud of the facility his family has built.

“Operating a septic service may be undesirable because of the nature of the industry, but our family business is proud of the personal relationships we’ve built in our 30-year history in North Dakota,” said Gustafson.

By building relationships in their community, Gustafson has expanded his activities far beyond their region.

“We not only work with our neighbors and other small businesses to maintain their wastewater systems, but also work with several Fortune 500 companies in the oil field to provide portable toilet and wastewater services.” , Our success in the industry is the result of building relationships with our local contacts and we are not afraid to do the dirty work when needed. “

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May 2019
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