C & M Parking Lot Sweepers LLC, Interview With Chris Griffin

You are new to the sweeping industry. How did you get the idea to start your company?
Not that long ago really. We’re pretty new in the business. I started off as an investigator, and I also own another business, which is an inflatables company. I was at a chamber meeting to discuss the town building a new Walmart, and the manager was in the meeting. Brand new Walmart, which was pretty exciting stuff.
I was sitting next to the manager, and we were talking so I told him that we should ride around and I would introduce him to some important people. While we were driving he asked me if I knew any sweepers.

How big of a town is Adel, Georgia?
It’s only about a town of 6500 people. So when the manager of Walmart asked me about sweeping, I told him that I knew a lot of people with trucks. I wasn’t really sure about the cost of cleaning the lot, so I started looking into it to find out. Then I told my wife this might be something we should get into doing. I did some more research, and became a vender for Walmart. That’s how I originally got into it. This was just back in October of 2015 when he and I spoke. In Feb of 2016, I bought the truck and had my first contract. First three lots followed quickly after. My wife is an owner in the company as well.

So it was just circumstance that led you to starting the company?
Pretty much. Everyone was complaining about Walmart at the meeting, but in talking to the manager I saw a good opportunity. It has brought more business into the community, even if the “mom and pops” had a problem with it at first.

What does your business model look like so far with your new business? Your total employees and office locations?
Right now our total employees are just two. We’re looking into buying another because we’re maxed out on that alone. We service eight different lots. So we have one full, one part- time employee. The way I do my business is different. In other companies I’ve noticed that their theory is to get as many contracts and lots as possible, but do the minimum amount of sweeping.
The way I see it I, set myself up to be different. We aim to get every piece of trash out of the parking lots, curbs, backside, lawn, for total curb-to-curb service. The best place is to hand pick the parking lots first and then go back and do a better job. The managers appreciate the work for a cleaner lot that we do.

How do you find new customers?
By just walking up to them! I give out my business card and introduce myself. Then I tell them my motto and just go from there. I do all of the legwork because we’re new. There are more stores in neighboring communities that I plan to market to very soon.

How many contracts do you work on each week?
There are seven weekly and one is once per month. My crew works seven nights per week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays we are a little slower. But mostly it’s 10 to 11 hours on the other days.

Have you grown the business lately by adding on any new services for your customers?
Right now it’s just power sweeping. I’m going to go to the Pavement Expo in Nashville in a couple of weeks to talk about getting into stripping and pressure washing. Just different avenues to get into that will make us more substantial. We want to get into more industrial type work overall.

How did you arrive at creating a unique brand for your company?
I don’t even have a website yet, just a Facebook page for C & M Parking Lot Sweepers. Eventually we’ll get into having a website, I just havn’t seen the need yet, because the only thing we do is the parking lots and I’m maxed out. Don’t get me wrong, I would take another lot if someone calls me, but I’m just doing the best I can with what I got.

Tell me a little bit about the day-to-day operations and how your working shifts are handled?
The majority of the work is done at night from 10-11 hours. It’s usually from about 8:00 pm until 7:00 am, or a bit later.

What kind of sweeping trucks, equipment, and machinery technology do you use?
My brand is Schwarze, which is an updraft pickup truck. Since we’ve only been in business about 10 months, that’s it right now, but it’s holding good. I’m talking to a Tymco dealer now about a second truck.

How does disposal get taken care of in Georgia?
Picked up from the dumpsters by my office. That’s about it. It’s not that complicated here in Georgia.

Do you have an environmental concerns that you try to address with your company?
Honestly the best thing right now is that I wash my truck on a regular basis.