A simple idea Featured

8:00pm EDT June 25, 2010
Finalist
Services

Michael K. Ferris spent most of his early 20s working odd jobs and playing semi-pro football while hopping from one apartment complex to the next. In the early 1990s, most multifamily housing developments switched to a centralized trash collecting service, using large trash compactors for residents to discard their trash. This made it a bigger inconvenience for residents to throw away trash, as they now had to haul it to a central location. Ferris learned this the hard way — he received many fines from his property management for leaving his trash outside his door rather than hauling it down three flights of stairs and then across the complex to the trash compactors.

In 1995, tired of hauling his trash to the compactors, he thought that there had to be an easier way to do this. He decided to start a service for the residents in his complex where he would haul their trash to the compactors and save them the inconvenience. He got approval from the property management to haul any willing resident’s trash as long as it was done at night and he could find a way for the trash to not leak into the breezeways. He got 90 percent of the residents on board with his proposal and began picking up trash five nights a week in large cloth bags.

Over the next six years, Ferris spent many late nights hauling trash and trying to figure out a way to better build his business, which he clearly saw a need for. He knew his service would help keep residents happy and would then create less turnover in the complex. Throughout the years, he mastered the service and sold the image of valet trash service to property owners. He eventually built it into the Valet Waste it is today and became a full waste and recycling provider.

How to reach: Valet Waste, (813) 248-1327 or www.valetwaste.com