Taking out the trash isn’t just a chore for the four teenage owners of Clean Canz.
Cameron Ackerman, Tyler Blaylock, Ethan McKay and Anthony Grutadaurio launched a business about a month ago that sells subscriptions to 95-gallon trash bin liners.
Customers can choose the length of their subscription, or opt for a one-time purchase. With the subscription, people use one liner a week, which costs 80 cents a piece.
Blaylock said the product is designed to eliminate dirt, bacteria, odors and pests commonly found in trash bins.
People place the liner in their trash bin, fold its top edges over the outside of the container’s rim and use a giant rubber band to secure it in place.
When the garbage truck arrives to pick up the trash, people simply roll down the rubber band. The liner then becomes disposed along with the trash it holds.
“A lot of people say, ‘Can I just go to the store and get them?’” McKay said. “No you can’t, the max offered at the store is 45 gallons at the very most, rarely you can find 55.”
The owners of Clean Canz spent a year testing different trash bin liners and rubber bands before offering their product to the public.
All of the trash bin liners are recyclable. Grutadaurio said Clean Canz will begin selling a biodegradable version next month.
The four boys all became friends while attending Flowery Branch High School. Blaylock said they shared an entrepreneurial spirit, and decided to start their own business together.
“With us four working together and pushing each other, we don’t want to see the other fail,” McKay said. “We want everyone to be successful. I think that’s why this business is booming so fast, it’s because of all four of our mentalities.”
The inspiration behind Clean Canz sparked once Grutadaurio noticed his dad using a trash bin liner.
The four dove into research on the subject, and interviewed trash service companies like Red Oak Sanitation in Gainesville. Blaylock said all of them dealt with the same issue — dirty trash bins.
“Their customers want to replace their bins, which costs them money,” he said. “If they kept the cans clean, it keeps the consumers happy as well as the sanitation service.”
Two weeks after starting Clean Canz, the four owners saved money on marketing by taking their business to neighborhoods like Reunion Country Club in Hoschton.
“We’re going door-to-door, we’re sweating and working everyday,” Grutadaurio said. “Delivering our packages ourselves at first was really fun.”
Because of the influx of orders during the first couple of weeks, the owners ended up moving their stock to a warehouse in Buford.
The target demographic for Clean Canz includes those living in residential areas with trash pickup services. The four owners plan to build their business in Hall County and expand their reach throughout the U.S.
Blaylock said this year the four will attend the University of North Georgia, while managing Clean Canz out of their shared home in Gainesville.
“We’re not just kids trying to run a business out of mommy and daddy’s basement,” McKay said. “We’re trying to balance school, work at the same time and run a business. We’re all making the sacrifice.”
Pitching a product to adults hasn’t been the easiest feat for Ackerman, Blaylock, McKay and Grutadaurio.
McKay said while going door-to-door he encountered people who seemed hesitant to take the advice of teenagers. However, after a couple of minutes of talking about the trash bin liners, he said people recognized their professionalism.
“Some of the biggest companies in the world were started by kids no older than 21,” Blaylock said. “Age doesn't matter.”
If the four owners could give any piece of advice to teenagers wanting to start a business, they would tell them to conduct research about their idea, don’t be afraid of failure and avoid shortcuts.
Blaylock said the ultimate dream of the company entails “becoming a household necessity.”
“Every single day we’re growing and learning more and more about how to run a business,” Blaylock said. “Once it gets to the point where it runs itself, that’s the goal for us.”
For more information about Clean Canz, visit cleancanz.com.