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Starting a Waste Management Business – A Complete Guide

Do you want to start a waste management company? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a waste management business with NO money and no experience.

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample waste management business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample waste management marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for waste management businesses. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a waste management business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Why Start a Waste Management Business?

As an aspiring entrepreneur who is looking towards starting a business in the United States, it is good to know that there is hardly any industry that you would pitch your business tent in, that you wouldn’t reap good returns from your investment.

For instance, if you decide to start a business in the waste collection industry, you are sure of making huge returns from your investment. This is so because reliable statistics show that the waste collection industry in the United States of America rakes in a whooping sum of about $45 billion dollars annually.

If you want to partake in this thriving industry, then you would need to obtain the necessary license and then launch your own waste management company. The truth is that, the market is still pretty much open for new investors to come in. Although there are competitors at various levels in the industry, but if you are able to come up with a good business strategy, then you are sure of getting your own fair share of the available market in the industry.

So, if you have decided to start a waste management company, then you should make sure that you carry out thorough feasibility studies and also market survey. This will enable you properly locate the business in a community or city with the right demography; a location that can readily accept your services.

If you are interested in starting a waste management business, then you should ensure that you read through this article.

Starting a Waste Management Business – A Complete Guide

  • Industry Overview

Companies that operate in the waste collection services industry basically collect hazardous and non-hazardous waste and recyclable materials. Non hazardous waste includes municipal solid waste (household waste), industrial and commercial waste.

Transfer stations where waste is transferred from local vehicles to long-distance automobiles for transport to disposal facilities are also included in the waste management industry. It is important to state that this industry does not account for government-provided services of a similar nature.

A close study of the industry shows that the Waste Collection Services industry has benefited from the recovery of the industrial, construction and commercial business sectors. As these sectors expand, it is natural for them to produce more waste.

So also, steady demand from the residential market has helped stabilize the overall revenue generated by the waste collection services industry. Going forward, the demand for waste collection services will continue to be driven by population growth, privatization and business creation. Additionally, the industry will benefit from the public’s growing interest in the recycling industry.

The Waste Collection Services industry will continue to experience growth in all parts of the world especially in developed countries such as United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, South Korea, Japan, China et al.

The companies with the leading market share in the industry are Republicand Waste Management. Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 7,676 licensed and registered waste management companies scattered all across the length and breadth of the country and they are responsible for employing about 206,928 employees. The industry rakes in a whooping sum of $45 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 0.6 percent within 2011 and 2016.

A recent report published by IBISWORLD shows that the distribution of establishments in the Waste Collection Services industry across the United States largely reflects the size and distribution of the US population and economic activity. Densely populated areas that are particularly economically active tend to generate large quantities of waste, necessitating the presence of greater numbers of industry establishments.

The report further stated that other factors that contribute to the relative concentration of industry establishments in a geographic location include the structure of the local economy and the commitment to and level of recycling. Some industries, particularly in the service sector, generate relatively little waste.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own waste management business could be that the business is easy to set up and they can easily get support from government.

Despite the fact that the waste management business involves both government establishments and the private sector, that does not in any way make the industry to be over saturated. The fact that people and industries generate waste on a daily basis means that there is always a ready market for waste management companies.

Just like any other business, if you are able to conduct your cost analysis, market research and feasibility studies before launching your waste management company, you are more likely not going to struggle to grow the business because there are loads of people and businesses out there who are looking for waste management companies to help them handle their wastes as required by the law in the United States of America.

Over and above, starting and operating a waste management company can be challenging, but the truth is that it can be rewarding at the same time. One good thing about the industry is that it is open to both big time investors who have the capacity to start the business with fleet of waste collection trucks and aspiring entrepreneurs who may want to start with just one waste collection truck.

Starting a Waste Management Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic and psychographics composition of those who hire waste management companies is not restricted to a group of people or organizations. There is a wide range of both corporate and individual clients who cannot successfully dispose their wastes without hiring the services of a standard and licensed waste management company.

As a matter of fact, the target market for a waste management company should involve, construction sites, farmers, dry cleaners, printing companies, manufacturers (chemical manufacturers, textiles manufactures et al), automobile repair shops, exterminators, photo processing centers/photo labs, electroplating companies, households that generate sludge and hazardous waste, corporate organizations who generate hazardous waste, small business owners who generate hazardous waste, hospitals and oil and gas sector amongst others.

So, if you are looking towards defining the demographics for your waste management business, then you should make it all encompassing.

List of Niche ideas Within the Waste Management Industry That You Can Specialize in

The waste management industry is one of many industries that is highly regulated by the Federal Government and also an industry that issues license to operate on a niche area within the industry. It means that before you can venture into another niche area from the one your operating on, you will be expected to acquire new license.

For example, if you got a license for operating a hazardous waste management company, you can’t just venture into medical waste collection and management. You would need to apply for a new license that will give you permission to operate in that line of business.

These are some of the niche ideas of specialization a start – up waste management company can specialize in within the industry;

  • Non–Hazardous Waste Collection and Management
  • Hazardous Waste Collection and Management
  • Medical Waste Collection and Management
  • Radioactive waste collection and local hauling
  • Recyclable material collection and hauling
  • Removal and hauling of rubble, construction and demolition debris
  • Waste transfer station operation
  • Municipal solid waste (MSW) collection and hauling
  • Animal Waste Management

The Level of Competition in the Waste Collection and Management Industry

No matter the line of business you decide to pitch your tent, you are still going to compete with others and even the government who are into same line of business.

The level of competition in the waste collection and management industry to some extent depends largely on the location of the business, your niche area of operation and of course the capacity of your waste collection and Management Company.

If you can successfully create a unique niche for your waste collection and Management Company, you are likely going to experience little or no competition. For instance, if you are the only waste collection and management company in your location that is into radioactive waste collection and local hauling, you can successfully monopolize the market for a long time before you start having competitors.

It is important to also state that the competition in the waste collection and management industry depends on the scale of your waste management and collection company. There are waste collection and management companies in the United States that are competing with government agencies that are into waste collection and management; and there are waste collection and management companies in the United States that can compete with only private waste collection and management companies at municipalities.

List of Well – Known Brands in the Waste Management Industry

These are some of the leading waste companies in the United States of America;

  • Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc. Rumpke is a facet of the waste management industry
  • Recology Inc.
  • Advanced Disposal Services LLC.
  • Covanta Energy Corporation.
  • Waste Connections Inc.
  • Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd.
  • Stericycle Inc.
  • Clean Harbors.
  • Republic Services Inc.
  • Waste Management Inc.
  • Burrtec Waste Group Inc.
  • EQ – Environmental Quality
  • Schupan & Sons Inc.
  • Veolia Environmental Services North America Corp

Economic Analysis

When starting a waste collection and management business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profit, grow the business and perhaps expand the business and start competing at national level.

When conducting costing and economic analysis for your waste collection and management business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; place, pricing and promotion. As a matter of fact, you would have to review these key factors at regular interval while running your waste collection and management business. As a waste collection and management business owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profit and be in the frontline of the industry.

It is important to note that trucks fueling, servicing and maintenance cost is one of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of a waste collection and management business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.

This is why standard waste collection and management companies would prefer assembling in – house maintenance and servicing team as against contracting the maintenance of their haulage trucks to an automobile maintenance and servicing garage.

Starting Your Waste Collection and Management Company from the Scratch Vs Buying a Franchise

When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will be of great advantage for you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise.

Besides, it is easier to start and run a waste collection and management company from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name. People will patronize your services based on accessibility and pricing as against relying on a brand name.

Please note that most of the big and successful waste collection and management companies around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success and of course you can build your own waste collection and management company to become one of the best waste collection and management companies in your area of specialization and even go ahead to start competing at national level.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Waste Collection and Management Business

If you decide to start your own waste collection and management business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established waste collection and management companies in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on households, individuals and also start–ups production companies who need the services of a waste collection and management company.

Some other threats and challenges you are likely to face when you start your waste collection and management company are mature markets, bad economy (economy downturn), stiff competition, volatile costs, and rising fuel price.

So also, unfavorable government policies, seasonal fluctuations, demographic/social factors, downturn in the economy which is likely going to affect consumer spending and of course emergence of new competitors within the same location where ours is located. There is hardly anything you can do as regards this threats and challenges other than to be optimistic that things will continue to work for your good.

Starting a Waste Management Business – Legal Matters

  • Best legal entity to use for a Waste Management Business

Starting a waste collection and management business is indeed a serious business so the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big you want the business to grow. No doubt choosing a legal entity for a business can be a bit challenging.

When it comes to choosing a legal entity for your waste collection and management company, you have the option of choosing from general partnership, a limited partnership, an LLC, a “C” corporation, or an “S” corporation. It is important to clearly state that these different forms of legal structures have their  own advantages and disadvantages; which is why you must weigh your options properly before making your choice.

These are some of the factors you should consider before choosing a legal entity for your waste collection and management business; limitation of personal liability, ease of transferability, admission of new owners and investors’ expectation and of course taxes.

If you take your time to critically study the various legal entities to use for your waste collection and management business, you will agree that limited liability company; an LLC is most suitable. You can start this type of business as limited liability company (LLC) and in future convert it to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation especially when you have the plans of going public and international.

Upgrading to a ‘C’ corporation or ‘S’ corporation will give you the opportunity to grow your waste collection and management business so as to compete with major players in the industry not just within the United States of America, but also on the global stage; you will be able to generate capital from venture capital firms, you will enjoy separate tax structure, and you can easily transfer ownership of the company; you will enjoy flexibility in ownership and in your management structures.

Catchy Business Name Ideas Suitable for a Waste Collection and Management Company

Normally, when it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

If you are considering starting your own waste collection and management business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Thomas Parker® Waste Management Company
  • Ozone Hazardous Waste Collection and Management, Inc.
  • Charles Carson Medical Waste Management Company
  • Cleanest Platform Waste Management and Recycling Ltd.
  • Bravo Radioactive Waste Collection and Management Company
  • Harbor Hope Waste Services Company
  • Blue Truck Solid Waste Collection and Management Company
  • Zed Teddy Construction Waste Services
  • Inland Waste Collection and Management Company
  • Bally Brothers Waste Management and Recycling Group, Inc.

Insurance Policies

In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance cover that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance policy cover and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your waste collection and management business.

Here are some of the basic insurance policy cover that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own waste collection and management business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Equipment and Auto Insurance
  • Risk Insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance
  • Payment protection insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own waste collection and management business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

On the other hand, if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even operation concepts, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection. If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Start a Waste Management Business?

If you intend starting a waste collection and management company in the United States of America, you are strongly encouraged to pursue professional certifications; it will go a long way to show your commitment towards the business.

These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own waste collection and management business;

  • Certification for Solid Waste Facility Operators
  • Landfill Operator Certification
  • Type IV Waste Disposal Operator or Inspector Certificate
  • Animal Waste Management System Operator
  • Landfill and Composting Facility Operator Certification

Please note that all waste collection and management companies, especially those that operate as hazardous waste management companies are mandated to obtain the appropriate certification.

List of Legal Documents you need to run a Waste Collection and Management Company

The essence of having the necessary documentations in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations.

These are some of the basic legal document that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own waste collection and management business in the United States of America;

  • Business and liability insurance
  • Commercial Vehicle Operator’s Registration for haulage trucks
  • Appropriate driver’s licenses for drivers
  • Assistant’s licenses for assistants
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Proof of ownership, proper identification and vehicle license
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Tax Payer’s ID
  • Fire certificate
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Business Plan
  • Non – disclosure Agreement
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Employee’s Handbook
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Apostille (for those who intend operating beyond the United States of America)

Financing Your Waste Collection and Management Business

Starting a standard and well – equipped waste collection and management business can be capital intensive especially if you choose to launch a large waste collection and management company with the capacity to service your immediate community and also to engage in waste recycling.

Securing a land facility, fleet of haulage trucks, building a waste recycling plant and purchase of equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your start–up capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale with just one haulage truck, you may not have the need to go source for fund to finance the business.

No doubt when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things and perhaps the major factors that you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for start – up capital for your waste collection and management business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Applying for loan from your bank/banks
  • Pitching your business idea and applying for business grants and seed funding from government, donor organizations and angel investors
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.

Choosing a Suitable Location for your Waste Management Business

Starting a business such as waste collection and management company comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location of your choice. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to start a waste collection and management company in a residential estate in the United States of America. The only location you can be allowed to start a waste collection and management company is in a land designated for waste collection and management companies and for waste recycling plants.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to start your waste collection and management company is key to the success of the business, hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power, and a location that has minimal hurdles to cross especially as it relates to construction of a waste recycling plant.

Starting a Waste Management Business – Technical and Manpower Details

When it comes to starting a standard waste collection and management business, you will need the following equipment/machines; waste haulage trucks, Rigid Outer Containers to promote accessibility via lid options, attached Lid Containers, AFL Industries’ Specialty Wastewater Treatment, Two-Sided Carts to increase picking/stocking efficacy, Hazardous Material Overpacks,Toledo Metal Spinning, Cleanline Waste Receptacles and Garbage Sorting recycling amongst others. It is important to state that these equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you are operating on a low budget.

When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a facility for your waste collection and management company, the size of the waste collection and management company you want to own and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice.

If you have enough capital to run a pretty large and well – equipped waste collection and management company with a standard waste recycling plant, then you should consider the option of long lease or out rightly purchasing a land; when you lease or purchase a land, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.

As regards the numbers of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. Averagely, when it comes to starting a standard waste collection and management business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals; Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), Admin and HR Manager, Transport and Logistics Manager, Marketing and Sales Executive (Business Developer),  Accountant, Hazardous and Non – Hazardous Waste Operators/Cleaners, Waste Truck Drivers and Customer Services Executive/Front Desk Officer.

Over and above, you would need a minimum of 10 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard waste collection business. Please note that there will be times when you are expected to go out of your way to hire experts to help you handle some job function.

If you are just starting out you may not have the financial capacity or required business structure to retain all the professionals that are expected to work with you which is why you should make plans to partner with specialists in the industry.

The Service Delivery Process Involved in a Waste Collection and Management Company

The operation process as it relates to waste collection and management companies depends largely on their niche areas of operation. For example, the operations of a hazardous waste collection and management company is far different from a non–hazardous waste collection and management company. Those that are involved in hazardous waste collection and management business are extra careful and they pay attention to details because of the nature of the business.

Basically, the process of waste collection and management involves waste haulage trucks driving through designated locations to collect wastes that are well packed in a waste drum/waste bin and then dispose them in government approved locations for sorting and recycling.

Starting a Waste Management Business – The Marketing Plan

  • Marketing ideas and strategies

The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale waste collection and management business is low means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with creativity and innovations if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.

So, when you are drafting your marketing plans and strategies for your waste collection and management company, make sure that you create a compelling personal and company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state in practical terms what you have been able to achieve in time past as it relates to waste collection and management. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your services.

Please note that in most cases, when you bid for waste collection and management from corporate organizations/industries, you will be called upon to defend your proposal, and so you must be pretty good with presentations.

Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your waste collection and management services;

  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to construction sites, farmers, dry cleaners, printing companies, manufacturers (chemical manufacturers, textiles manufactures et al), automobile repair shops, exterminators, photo processing centers/photo labs, electroplating companies, households who generate sludge and hazardous waste, corporate organizations who generate hazardous waste, small business owners who generate hazardous waste, hospitals and the oil and gas sector amongst others. In the United States (if you are just starting out, you may want to concentrate on start–ups and smaller businesses).
  • Promptness in bidding for waste collection and management contracts et al.
  • Open your waste collection and management company with a party so as to capture the attention of residents who are your first targets.
  • Engage in roadshow in targeted communities from time to time to market your services.
  • Advertise your services in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations.
  • List your business and products on yellow pages ads  (local directories).
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your waste collection and management company.
  • Engage in direct marketing and sales.
  • Encourage the use of Word of mouth marketing (referrals).
  • Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people would consider you an expert in the field).
  • Join local chambers of commerce around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your services; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you.

Strategies to Boost Your Waste Management Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Your corporate identity has a lot to do when it comes to building a business that is profitable and can last long.

Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create corporate identity for your waste management business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events/programs.
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your business.
  • Install your Bill Boards in strategic locations all around your city or state.
  • Engage in roadshow from time to time in targeted neighborhoods.
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas.
  • Contact corporate organizations and residence in your target areas by calling them up and informing them of your waste collection and management company and the services you offer.
  • List your waste collection and management company in local directories/yellow pages.
  • Advertise your waste collection and management company in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site.
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles and waste collection trucks are well branded with your company logo.
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