Starting a cardboard recycling business can be a great way to reduce your environmental impact while also making some money.
Here are the 9 steps you can take to get started on building your very own cardboard recycling business.
9 Steps to Launching a New Cardboard Recycling Business
1. Name Your Cardboard Recycling Business
Give your cardboard recycling business an identity so people will think of it as a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your cardboard recycling business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your own name among other options.
The main goal for naming your cardboard recycling business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that customers will want to use your services.
2. Determine Your Cardboard Recycling Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a cardboard recycling business including:
- A pick-up service where you go to collect cardboard from businesses and residences.
- A drop-off center where people can bring their cardboard to be recycled.
- A processing center where you sort and recycle the cardboard yourself.
No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
Read more about choosing the right business model for your cardboard recycling business.
3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your cardboard recycling business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your cardboard recycling business will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common cardboard recycling business structures.
4. Write a Cardboard Recycling Business Plan
All cardboard recycling business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team among other things.
When developing your cardboard recycling business plan and strategy, you should think about the following questions your customers might have:
- What services do you offer?
- What are your prices?
- Do you offer any discounts?
- How often do you pick up and drop-off cardboard?
- Which materials can I recycle through your business?
- Can I drop off my cardboard at your location?
- What areas do you serve?
- What are your hours of operation?
- Do you have any minimums or maximums for cardboard recycling?
- What forms of payment do you accept?
Read our article about how to write a cardboard recycling business plan.
5. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
There may be required licenses and permits you need to obtain before launching your cardboard recycling business.
For example, if you will be handling hazardous materials, you will need to obtain a Hazardous Waste Management permit from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Or if you are running a pick-up service, you may need to get a commercial driver’s license (CDL) from your state.
You must also register your cardboard recycling business as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper cardboard recycling business licenses.
6. Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your cardboard recycling business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your cardboard recycling business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your cardboard recycling business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a cardboard recycling business to help you determine if funding is needed.
Read our article about how to fund your cardboard recycling business.
7. Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your cardboard recycling business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You definitely need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help you manage your customers, as well as a project management system (PMS) to keep track of your tasks and deadlines. When it comes to recycling cardboard, you will need access to a baler. A baler is a machine that compresses cardboard into bales for easy transport and storage.
8. Market Your Cardboard Recycling Business to Potential Customers
Before you start selling your services, you have to let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the cardboard recycling industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Cardboard recycling businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Develop a catchy slogan that communicates what your business does and how it benefits consumers.
- Design attractive marketing materials like business cards, flyers and posters.
- Get involved in local community events related to environmental causes or recycling drives.
- Partner with other businesses in complementary industries to share customers and cross-promote.
Read our article about how to market your cardboard recycling business for more tips.
9. Get New Customers & Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your cardboard recycling business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your cardboard recycling business to learn more.
Starting a Cardboard Recycling Business FAQs
Cardboard recycling businesses provide an important service to both commercial and residential customers. By recycling cardboard, these businesses help to reduce environmental waste, save energy and conserve resources.
In addition, starting a cardboard recycling business can be profitable. These businesses generate revenue by charging customers for their services, as well as by selling the recycled materials to manufacturers.
In order to start a successful cardboard recycling business, you need a few key things:
- A passion for environmental causes and a desire to help reduce waste
- An understanding of the recycling process
- The right technology and software to run your business efficiently
- A strong marketing strategy to attract new customers
- The ability to effectively grow your business
Starting a cardboard recycling business from home is a great way to get started with low overhead costs.
To do this, you will need a dedicated space for storing and sorting the recycled materials. You will also need to invest in the right technology and software to run your business efficiently. Finally, you need to create a strong marketing strategy to attract new customers.
Starting a cardboard recycling business online is a great way to reach a larger audience of potential customers.
To do this, you will need to create a website and promote your services through social media and other online channels. You will also need to invest in the right technology and software to run your business efficiently. Another essential is a space where you can collect, store, and process recyclable materials. Finally, you need to create a strong marketing strategy to attract new customers.
Here are a few tips to help you get started with starting a cardboard recycling business:
- Find a niche market: focus on a specific type of customer or cardboard material to recycle.
- Develop a strong marketing strategy: this will be key to attracting new customers.
- Invest in the right technology and software: this will help you run your business efficiently.
- Create systems for consistency and growth: these will help you effectively grow your business.
- Hire the right people: find and train employees who share your passion for environmental causes.
A simple checklist to use when starting a cardboard recycling business is as follows:
- Name Your Cardboard Recycling Business: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Cardboard Recycling Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Cardboard Recycling Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget & Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology & Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Cardboard Recycling Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Customers & Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Starting a cardboard recycling business can be a great way to make a difference in your community and help the environment. It’s important to research the market and plan carefully before starting out, but with the right tools and resources you can be on your way to success. Follow these tips to get started and continue marketing your business.