valet trash employee putting trash bags into dumpster

[Ultimate Guide] How to Start a Valet Trash Business

Have you ever dreamed of starting a business of your own? You must’ve thought about it once or twice but you didn’t know exactly what to do or how to start.

A lot of people can struggle when making this decision. It might be a bit tricky to determine what sort of business might be good for you.

This is why we’ve put together this helpful guide on how to start a valet trash business. In this article, we’ll discuss why this business might be the perfect way to make money.

What Is Valet Trash Service?

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, we’ll give you our best valet trash definition.

Valet trash is a trash collection service where a service valet goes door to door to pick up trash and take it down to the dumpsters.

Valet trash service is usually done in apartment complexes where residents can easily set out their trash for servicing.

How Valet Trash Works

The services is pretty simple overall. Let’s take a further look at just what is involved.

  • You provide each apartment resident with a company-branded trash container.
  • The apartment resident uses the trash container as their kitchen garbage can.
  • When the trash is full, the resident sets out the trash can with the tide garbage bag in it outside their door in the hallway between 6pm-8pm.
  • The Service Valet shows up on the property promptly at 8pm.
  • The Service Valet uses the proper equipment to start servicing the trash bags left outside the doorways. (equipment includes an over the shoulder valet bag, gloves, reflective vest, and more).
  • The Service Valet starts at the furthest end away from the community dumpster and starts to pick up the trash bags, filling their over the shoulder valet bag and disposing of the trash into the community dumpsters.
  • They repeat picking up trash bags until the full property has been serviced.
  • While serving the trash, they will notate any valet trash violations and let management know by the morning.
  • They do this same service Sunday thru Thursday night starting at 8pm and finishing up no later than midnight (depending on the size of the apartment building).
  • Once all of the trash bags have been services, they make sure all loose trash is picked up by the dumpsters.
  • When all tasks have been done, the Service Valet leaves the property.


Of course, you can see why most property management companies choose this service over any other option. It’s effortless, efficient, and can be done with maximum professionalism.

As for the residents, it makes getting rid of their everyday trash much easier. Gone are the days of having to walk their own trash down to the dumpsters.

For them, the process is as simple as opening their apartment door and throwing their trash in the provided trash can.

Also, to help bring about a green initiative, you can offer to take the recycling down to the necessary on-site bins if the community already offers it.

Now that we have answered what the service is, let’s find out how starting a valet trash business can be beneficial to you as well.

Why Starting a Valet Trash Business Is a Great Idea

As a business owner, there are a lot of factors that you need to consider before starting your company. No matter how big or small it is, there’s always plenty of decisions associated with what business you’ll be starting, so let’s dive in.

A Lot of Potential

If you’ve gotten our Free Revenue Calculator, then you can see how much money can be made for each type of apartment complex.

Signing up any size complex can be life-changing. Not only have you started a business, but you can lock in long-term valet trash contracts to make sure you have steady profits to grow your business.

Rising Demands

Valet trash services have gained a lot of popularity lately. In fact, it’s become one of the best apartment amities offered by property management companies to their residents.

It keeps their environment clean and their residents happy that they don’t have to deal with trash on a nightly basis.

Also, the apartment complex receives some for the money charged for the service. This is what makes this amenity so unique, in that unlike the pool, gym, or volleyball court, it makes them money and drives additional profits to their owners.

Just to give you an idea of why this service is so popular in the multifamily industry, if you look up the percentage of people who rent apartments in the US, you’ll find out that it makes about 37%. Therefore, a large slice of the population depends on apartment rentals and those residents will have trash that needs to go out nightly.

An Affordable Option

When going through the mental checks of how to start a valet trash business, you’ll most likely come to the questions of startup costs.

Like all businesses, you will need to inject some money to get some of the items you need upfront to operate. To make this a little easier here are two lists, one of the things you need right away and the other of what you can wait on until you get your first contract.

Valet Trash Start-Up Expenses

  • LLC
  • Phone Number
  • Website
  • Business Cards
  • Marketing Materials
  • Business Email Account
  • State/County Licensing (each municipality is different on this)


Valet Trash Expenses to Wait On

  • Business Insurance
  • Valet Trash Containers
  • Service Valet Supplies
  • Hiring


There are some other items that you’ll need to purchase along the way like an accounting system, service integration marketing information, but a lot of the big cost items can be put off until you ink your first contract.

As you can see, the costs might not be as overwhelming as they seem. In fact, if you compare them to the ones required to start other types of companies, you’ll find them quite affordable.

Once you’ve secured everything, your business should be ready to go.

A Rewarding Path

Starting a valet trash business can be rewarding on many levels.

On the financial side, it can be a relatively cheap and great way to make more money. Also, it can open many doors for your business to grow since it’s almost always in demand.

On a personal level, being your own boss can be satisfactory to no end. You’ll get to choose your daily schedule while working the portions of your job that make you happy. For the majority of people, that’s a dream come true.

Yes, it might be stressful every now and then with all the responsibilities. However, after a while, you should be able to handle everything as you create your own systems that work for you. It’ll be easier to find a balance between your mental health and your business.

If you think about this professionally, being a business owner will teach you a lot. With experience in contracts, services, and sales, and marketing, you should be able to step further into the business world with confidence.

Of course, it all depends on how hard you work to achieve this. The more you put into your business, the more rewarding it should be in the end.

8 Essential Steps for How to Start a Valet Trash Business

Now, we get to the fun and critical part of this article. We’ve put together the following 8-step guide on how to start a valet trash business.

Let’s dive in!

1.   Find Your Identity

The key to every successful business is to have a clear and promising identity. This captures the customers’ attention and helps them pick you over any other company in the same field.

Your company must have its own unique selling proposition or USP. To determine your USP, you should do the following.

  • Review your experience and skills
  • Do your market research/competitor research
  • Narrow down your options for services to offer
  • Come up with your business name
  • Create your USP and define what your company will truly offer


The most essential part about forming your identity is to choose what to specialize in.

For instance, will your company only provide its services for apartment complexes? Or will you try to widen your net and look at student dorm buildings or care facilities?

Also, you can choose to pick up certain types of materials to recycle. Some companies prefer to work with regular household trash. Others can pick up more complicated items like electronic appliances.

It’s all based on a combination of what the market needs in your area and what you think will work best for you.

After honing in on your identity and creating a USP, it should be easier to promote your services and start your marketing campaign.

2.   Write a Business Plan

Writing a business plan is a crucial step. This is where everything comes together. Writing a valet trash business plan will make you research your competitors, estimate your expenses, estimate your revenue, create a SWOT Analysis, and gives you directions as to where your business will be going.

Think of your business plan as the blueprint for your success. It really makes you answer some questions about your business to make sure it will be viable in your market. As an added bonus, if at any point you need additional funds or a bank loan, this will come into play since you will need it to show investors. It will inform them if you would be an investment worth backing or not.

3.   Form Your Entity

In this step, you should get all the official paperwork done so that your business will be recognized as an entity. This includes forming an LLC or any suitable corporate entity as well as getting your company registered (if needed).

In order to do that, you’ll have to pay your local county business office a visit or go online and see what forms need to be submitted. If you do go, during this visit, you should be given all the insight into the regulations of your city related to your business.

This step also consists of getting all the necessary business licenses as required by state law. As you know, each state or city has its own rules and regulations when it comes to taxes and other details.

4.   Startup Funds

I would suggest starting with enough money to cover the expenses listed above to make sure you look professional and start off on the right foot. Depending on where you get those services from I would suggest anywhere from having $500 to $3,000 budgeted for expenses.

If you already have these funds in your personal account great! If you need to find them there are a few avenues you can take to get them.

Startup Fund Resources

  • Ask a friend for a loan
  • Ask a family member for a loan
  • Use resources like Lendio, Prosper, or Lending Club
  • SBA Loan
  • Other creatives ways like garage sales
  • Trade (trade services for what you need)


5.   Prepare Marketing Materials

A huge part of your business now comes into play. You’ll need to start putting together your marketing materials with the correct messaging, visual appeal, and production level that makes you presentable to companies when you approach them.

Make sure to do this with some lead time before going out. Printable items could take a few days to prepare, while a website could take several weeks to months to create.

Here are some suggested marketing materials you’ll need

Business Card – A must-have, as anyone you meet should receive one of these. It should have your logo, phone number, email, company name, title and address on it.

Leave Behind – This is a short marketing flyer describing what you do. Think of it as an “elevator pitch”, something a property manager would look at and instantly know what you did and how it can benefit them. You can also use add in a unique gift to help differentiate you from the other vendors that come in.

Sales Kit – When you start to get meetings, you’ll need your go-to informational items to take them through what you do, benefits to the community, benefits to the management company, how you handle violations and your pricing for the service.

Website – This is your most important marketing piece. Your valet trash website is the first thing that potential clients go to and verify if you are a legit business. Also, the great thing s about a website is that it’s a 24-hour a day marketing tool for your company. No matter what time someone finds you, it is there to answer any questions or bring them in as a lead.

6.   Source Leads

Another important area is to source the best leads possible before you go out or cold call. This is where your business plan will come back into play. Are you just focusing on apartment communities or are you looking at a condo complex or an elderly care facility?

You can find these leads a few ways.

Property Management Companies – this can be the companies that take care of apartment complexes or an independent company that focuses on condo complexes. You can find these through a quick online search.

Google Search – Just search exactly what you are looking for and you shall receive. A little tip, if you put it in “quotes” it searches just that exact term. For instance, “luxury apartment complexes in Phoenix”, it will show you the best matching results for this search term.

Yelp – You can easily go onto Yelp and search for apartment complexes. This will bring you info on all of the local complexes in your area. Not to mention all of the reviews with it. It is a good way to find out if the complex would be a good fit for your services.

Driving Around – You likely drive in certain areas and have noticed apartment complexes around town. Just keep a notebook in your glove box or middle console and write down the name and possibly address. When you get home, do a little research and verify if they would be good to add to your leads list.

Apartment Finder – Use or to refine your search criteria. Maybe you only want to try and sell to high-end apartments. Just go in and alter the filter to show higher-priced rentals along with more luxury amenities. Or if you want just keep it broad, because you never know when a complex will want to move forward with a valet trash service like yours.

7.   Start Marketing Your Business

A good marketing approach can change the game when it comes to business. It can lead to ultimate success when done right. If not, it can have negative effects on your business.

Of course, you don’t need to hire a professional marketing team to promote your services. You can do the simplest things yourself to deliver the message that you want the public to see.

Here are some easy marketing ideas.

Walk-Ins – One of the best ways to market your business is to walk into the management office and speak with someone in charge. They are usually receptive and will take your information. From thee try to schedule a meeting or follow up later.

Email Marketing – Another way to market your services is through email. When someone visits your site, you can set a pop-up asking for their email to get newsletters and offers. This is a great way to get them on your list. Additionally, all of the business cards you collect can also be included in this list. Just make sure to email once a month to stay top of mind.

Social Media – One of the best and easiest marketing methods is social media marketing. You can create an account for your business on multiple platforms to be able to interact with more people. This is the case for creating a Facebook business page and also a LinkedIn business page. It gives you instant credibility when speaking with a property manager about valet trash.

According to statistics, about 56% of social media users are active on Facebook on a daily basis. Also, about 9% of users have Twitter accounts.

Therefore, creating an account on such platforms can be the best option to get the recognition that your business needs. It all depends on knowing your audience and targeting individuals with the right marketing techniques.

8.   Expand Your Company

After taking care of all these details, you can now start running your valet trash business. In a few months, you will gain more confidence and experience with marketing, sales, lead sourcing and eventually servicing a property.

I recommend that once you get your first property, you work out all of the issues you might have as you grow. This way you will be prepared for any sales question or servicing issue that may arise.

Once you are comfortable with your business practices, you might think about expanding. In this case, you’ll have to think of every detail on a larger scale.

This also means hiring and training more employees to manage your business and make sure all goes well. The more your company grows, the more staff you’ll need.

This is a good issue to have because that means you are truly becoming more than an employee of your own company but eventually a full owner who thinks makes the bigger moves and has hired the right people under them to grow at the pace you feel comfortable with.

To Wrap Up

Starting your own valet trash business doesn’t have to be as stressful as it sounds. All you have to do is take measured steps to make your most precious dream become a reality.

After reading our ultimate guide on how to start a valet trash business, your road to success should appear clearer to you. Not only is it a fairly easy business to start, but it’s also relatively affordable and always in demand.

The prosperity of your business depends on how hard you’re willing to work to make it grow. It also depends on paying attention to details and making the right decisions.

At the end of the day, you should be able to watch your business start from the hard work you put in on the front end to enjoy the benefits and freedoms that come with being your own boss.

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