Some photos courtesy and copyright of Jon Lisicki, CleanCan.
We met up with Jon Lisicki on the One Wild Life Adventure Lab in Pacific Beach. He was younger and cleaner than we anticipated someone who cleans trash cans for a living would be. We wanted to learn more about his new(ish) company, CleanCan, what inspired it, how it is doing and his plans for the future.
The Story Behind It All.
Jon had plans to be a “hotshot finance-guy”. He interned for two years at Morgan Stanley, before realizing that wasn’t the right path. He traveled Europe with stops in London and Barcelona. Then ended up working for Thrive Market in LA. When that bug for travel and adventure hit again, he left his job and took off for Hawaii. He spent five months exploring before returning home to San Diego to figure out his next move.
Staying with his family, his Mom asked him to take out the trash. What he saw at the trash cans was gross. Spiderwebs, old trash, gunk and grime. He made a comment to Mom and she suggested he clean it. He was staying for free after all. So he did.
He used a small pressure washer and the cleaning supplies from the house and went to work. That first can took about an hour to clean. While he cleaned he started thinking about what he would have charged someone to do the work. He came up with a starting price for his time and effort. That afternoon he went on nextdoor.com and posted his new service. By the end of the day Jon had Mission Beach property management company as a client and 100+ garbage cans to wash. He modified his pricing to reward repeat customers and CleanCan was born.
Seven months later CleanCan has been hustling. Just by being out cleaning cans Jon would gain new clients thankful to have someone doing a job most of us don’t really want to do. Those customers would then rave about his services and spread the word.
They’ve added plenty of corporate and private clients and are cleaning 30+ cans a day. Jon has added three employees, and just last week added an automated truck to the business. enabling them to clean upwards of 3500 cans a month by picking up the cans, spraying the insides with steam and dumping the water into a container to be recycled at the Point Loma waste water treatment center.
Business has been booming, and in addition to being good for CleanCan, Jon has teamed up with Workshops for Warriors (an off-shoot of VetPowered LLC). They’ve been instrumental in the build-out of his new (used) truck, and are receiving a portion of the proceeds from each trash can CleanCan washes. Workshops for Warriors is a “nonprofit school that trains, certifies, and helps place Veterans, Wounded Warriors, and Transitioning Service Members into advanced manufacturing careers.”
Next up for Jon and CleanCan is an expansion of his business in the form of more trucks and new services. Valet is a spin-off business that takes people trash in and out for them each week.
I asked Jon why people use his service besides the convenience of passing along a chore, and he talks about “cleanliness,” “pride of place,” and reducing flies. He seems a bit surprised by his own success and appreciative of the opportunity. He has been following his own path, mixing hard work with an entrepreneurial spirit been able to start a successful local business. Albeit a dirty one.
You can learn more about Workshops for Warriors at workshopsforwarriors.org.