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Blog March 2024 Updated April 2024

Seven Steps to Ramp Up Your Roll-Off Revenue

Did you know that acquisition spending in the waste industry is higher than ever before? Whether you’re on a path for acquisition or plan to grow independently, unlocking your company's potential for growth is key. And, whether you're just starting out or a seasoned waste warrior, ongoing success lies in finding then harnessing your business potential. Here are seven essential steps to guide you on the path to unlocking your business growth potential.

1. Digital Technology Means a New Audience

Place your customers at the heart of everything you do. Understand their needs, and their unique challenges, as deeply as you can. Gather feedback whenever possible through informal surveys, social media, and direct communication—on the phone, and on the street. And then use these insights to tailor your service, enhance customer experience, and build long-lasting relationships. Make every interaction with you as easy as possible for them. The routine of reliable service, the daily grind which never ends, is the hallmark of your reputation. And then there is the opportunity in every transaction to create a champion customer.

Adopting this mindset will give you lasting and loyal advocates who amplify every marketing dollar spent.

2. Make the Most of Your Assets

Trucks aren’t cheap, we know this much. Knowing when to buy the next truck (or set of trucks), or perform the right repair at the right time, absolutely cannot be a guessing game. Successfully deploying capital and maintenance for not just trucks, but also containers, at the right time is a major factor that separates the winners from the losers.

How do you go about planning your routes? How much time do you need to spend on this process every day? How do you make sure that your decisions do not mean burning any more gas than necessary? To avoid the empty rail that kills your efficiency. Adapting to economic conditions and the changing market landscape is a must. But getting buy-in from existing drivers while smoothing out the kinks in training and best practices just to make change happen, is no small task. What other resources can you pull in to make the change management around this critical matter easier?

3. Making Your Business--and Your Customers’--More Sustainable

Sustainability is more than a buzzword in 2024. Many customers and business operators--as well as state regulators, increasingly--want to know more about the impact our choices have on the world we live in. Like it or not, this hot topic can no longer be ignored.

Your mileage may vary, and so may your reporting requirements about fuel economy, depending on where you operate. Fortunately, this is not just another cost center. Doing the right thing for the environment not only saves money on gas, but also appeals to a broader customer base. Of course, now that the National Sword is well and truly in the rear-view mirror, source separation more often means diversion from the landfill. For some materials, this can provide yet another boost to your revenue as you capture more value from the waste stream. And helping your customers keep waste streams separated at the source provides a premium service with higher revenue.

4. Managing and Developing Employees

The challenge of recent labor trends seen in the waste industry are not going away anytime soon. More than ever, there may be nothing that matters more to your business success than the people with whom you surround yourself. What can you do? Foster a positive work culture in leading by example, invest in staff development, and set the stage for your people to grow with you. Technology that makes their lives easier, and therefore makes them more efficient, is one way to do this. A motivated and skilled workforce is more likely to contribute creatively to overall success. What are the things you can do to make your drivers’ lives easier when it comes to every step, and every stop, of their day?

5. Do the Numbers Add up?

Keep a keen eye on your fiscal health, especially if you’re still both the CEO and the CFO! Review and refine your budget often, trim expenses, and invest wisely in ways that directly grow your business. How long before you must buy that next truck, and hire that next driver? How long will it take to break even?

Our industry is one of the hardiest when it comes to weathering the economic cycle, but you must watch cash flow to ride out the eventual storm. And not just overall profitability, but at the route and customer level too. Effective pricing is key to unlocking the potential for ongoing growth, protecting what’s yours and eventually gaining what yet isn’t. And one day you might be looking to exit the business, so having the tools in place to get pricing right is critical.

6. Use Technology That Makes Your Life Simpler

When weighing the choice of investing in a new equipment or new technology, it’s the latter that offers a continuous and compelling return on your hard assets. Capabilities from container inventory management to online invoicing fuel vital operational efficiencies, drive better margins, and keep organizations a step ahead and prepared for growth in a competitive market.

Adopt technology when it means simpler process and makes your business more efficient. Not for its own sake. Use what you learn by doing so to make better decisions. Adopt the software and tools that match your business needs to automate routine tasks, freeing up time for more valuable, high-level efforts and relationship building. Keep it simple, but know that your technology will meet the needs of your business as it expands.

7. Trash or Treasure?

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, the old saying goes…however, it is 100% true that commodity prices are constantly fluctuating. For example, cardboard and fiber were winners not so long ago, but saw declines of more than 30% in recent months.

What does this mean for your business? There may be creative ways to structure your fees and service that allows for easy wins for you and your customer. When is “contamination” in fact missing revenue? This may not always be an easy task, but again a small operation may enjoy flexibility where others struggle to adapt.

To summarize key questions for your business:

The only constant is change, so you must be adaptable. Foster a company culture that embraces change and values ongoing improvement. Take stock of your approach then do it again, adjusting to the changing market. Stay agile in the face of emerging trends and challenges, ensuring your business stays strong and positioned for growth.

Growing your roll-off business needs your attention at every step, and in multiple areas. Paying attention to your customer, growing a talented team and an efficient business that’s adaptive to market conditions are all keys to unlocking growth.

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