What It's About
An enterprising college student's Odyssey to create a successful moving company.
Words of Wisdom
It's encouraging to hear stories of young entrepreneurs. There's a lot to learn from their resourcefulness and willing to try different business ideas. Go towards the bottom of the page to see more episodes featuring young business people.
Peter created an incentive system (known as GAST, or “Good As Shit Tickets”) that inspires employees to be on time and mindful when on the job. It instantly resulted in better employees, teamwork, and reviews.
Notes from Chris
Episode 1120Peter Kaffen was like a lot of college students—short on cash—so he got a job working at a restaurant. It did the trick for a while. But at some point Peter heard the adage, “If you don’t work on your dreams, you’ll work on the dreams of others,” and a fire was lit. He didn’t want to be an order-taker or a tool for someone else’s success. He wanted to build his own. Peter started toying with a few ways he could start his own thing, and it didn’t take long for him to pick house cleaning. A lot of people hate chores and cleaning—especially his upperclassmen friends at college—so he bought a book (“How to Start a Cleaning Business”) and some supplies. In December of 2015, he started Odd Jobs Incorporated. His childhood home was good practice for his new cleaning skills, but he really wanted to challenge himself. He talked to a few seniors in his fraternity whose house was in a state of squalidness and offered to clean it for free if he could take ‘before and after’ pictures. They agreed and Peter labored for several hours. It was hard work, but worth it. The upperclassmen were so impressed they paid Peter anyway—then quickly referred him to their sister sorority! After a while, he began to get consistent house cleaning gigs at $20 per hour, mostly from word of mouth, but also from a platform called Thumbtack Pro, which enabled him to bid on local jobs. After spending some time on the platform, however, he realized something: there were way more moving jobs than cleaning jobs—and they paid a lot better. So he started bidding on these moving jobs. He still remembers the first one he got—he hired two helpers, did the job in an hour, and walked away with $100. It was good money, even at his low price. So in December of 2016, he switched the business name to “Greek Movers.” (He knew he wanted to go big or go Homer.) Now a junior in college, Peter started being more intentional about marketing. He set up a professional Yelp page. He emailed people who were asking for help with moving on Craigslist. He dropped business cards off at local businesses. He even started experimenting with Google AdWords, although that turned out to be the riskiest option. Running ads was a completely different skill—a fairly technical one—and Peter found that if he got cocky and tried to run too many too fast, he’d just end up wasting money. There are only so many people looking to move at any given time. The initial strategy was simple: start off with a very low wage to quickly gain testimonials and experience, and make the customer cover the cost of the U-Haul truck. With these unreasonably low prices, Greek Movers was able to smite the competition and quickly earn a good reputation. When Peter graduated college, he didn’t change course. Greek Movers was working—and he was going to keep growing it full-time. He opened up an Excel spreadsheet for the very first time to examine the state of his business—something we usually suggest doing a bit sooner—and discovered something that made his heart skip a beat: he was on track for a $7,000 month. No matter how he grows the business this year, Peter’s not building someone else’s dream anymore. He’s building his own Parthenon of freedom in the form of Greek Movers.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Greek Movers: Learn more about Peter and his business at his website.
- College Student Earns $20,000 a Month Cleaning Houses: A Washington, D.C. student identifies problems in the cleaning industry, then starts a customer service-driven company.
- College Student Manages Large Ad Campaigns for Businesses: A teenager learns online marketing techniques by watching YouTube, then goes on to manage ad campaigns of up to $50,000/month.
- Teenpreneur Skips College to Build Pet Care Company: A young animal lover goes from walking dogs to owning a multi-city pet care company.
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