The waste management industry is (for obvious reasons) massive, with more than 250 million tons of trash being generated in the United States every year. All that waste has to be picked up, transported, processed, and recycled by a bustling economy of waste management companies, many of which are privately held.
Overall, the industry is worth more than $45 billion annually in the US, while globally that figure is expected to surpass $560 billion by 2020. With all of that waste to be moved and money to be made, it’s understandable that entrepreneurs would want to get in on the action. However, operating a privately held waste management company successfully will require innovation, diligence, and the right approach.
Rodney Proto, Director of Waste Strategy at GPB Capital Holdings, has more than three decades of experience in founding and running waste management companies throughout the US, and is therefore the perfect person to offer up some tips on how to increase your bottom line, keep contracts secure, and become a staple of the community.
Hire Responsible and Kind Employees
The first point Rod stressed was the importance of hiring the right people. “Hiring people based on their job experience or credentials alone without considering their personality can be a huge mistake in any position where customer service is part of the job description,” said Proto. Instead of just reviewing resumes, he suggests conducting multiple interviews and paying close attention to the attitude and motivation level of prospective employees to really get a feel of what it will be like to work with them.
Set Goals and Deadlines Decisively and Clearly
“You’ve got to be very clear about what needs to be done, how it needs to be done, and when you need it done. Without that kind of stringent clarity, it will be difficult to expand and optimize operations effectively,” said Rod. Essentially, there has to be a high level of accountability and everyone has to know and play their role accordingly in order to prevent service problems that could lose contracts.
Invest in Consultation and Process-Refining
Ultimately, without experience in the waste management industry, you’re going to run into obstacles and hurdles occasionally, which is why it’s best to make sure you have access to good advice. On that note, Rod continued, “paying for consultation or advisory might not be what you had in mind, but it can really elevate your understanding of the industry and how to solve problems, increase profits, and create a more satisfactory service.”
Giving Back to the Community
In closing, Rod emphasized the necessity of becoming a strong member of the community by committing to waste cleanup programs, charitable fundraisers, and other philanthropic efforts in your region. “Branding is a topic that waste management companies often overlook but staying active in the community can definitely help increase awareness, and at the end of the day it feels good, so it’s a double benefit really,” Mr. Proto concluded.
Of course, it stands to reason that, since your company is not only a steward of the environment but also the community, local philanthropy is an effective way to build a positive brand image.