Making Money Burning Man

Published on September 15th, 2011 | by Tom Wake

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Could you make $100,000 in 5 days from the world’s most remote festival?

Burning ManWhile I was stateside I stumbled upon what could potentially be a very lucrative, very niche, festival-based business opportunity. One that no-one seems to be taking advantage of right now…

I’ll warn you, for this to work you’d a) need to find a trustworthy contact in the states (or get hold of a US work visa) and b) be prepared to get your hands dirty.

On the plus side you’d only actually physically be working on this for 5 days each year (even less if you farmed out the grunt work)… and the payoff could be enormous.

What’s the idea?

It’s simple: a mobile RV cleaning business.

An RV is a  ‘Recreational Vehicle’. A giant motorhome that sleeps several people. At Burning Man (the festival I attended recently) there were a whopping 50,000 guests. A large number of these guests bring RVs and many of these are rented.

The festival takes place in once of the most inhospitable places on earth. It’s desert, but not your typical desert. Rather than sand you’re surrounded by acres and acres of super-fine alkaline dust.

Here’s where the business potential comes in…

This dust, while making for hauntingly beautiful landscape, gets EVERYWHERE. Your clothes, your skin, your lungs… not to mention your living quarters.

After a week of dust storms, dirty footprints and clambering to bed in dusty clothes, everyone’s RV looks like an absolute mess. No one escapes it. Every inch is covered in a greyish-brown alien muck.

That’s where the RV cleaning business comes in. The most lucrative customers are likely to be the rental market. They’ve already spent thousands of pounds renting an RV and they’re going to want to make sure they get their deposit back (or not have their card charged extra) at the drop off.

If you hit these people as soon as they leave the festival you could make an absolute fortune.

People are tired from the festivities, the lack of sleep and the harsh environment. Furthermore they will have used up their water supplies for drinking and washing. If someone offered them a full RV inside clean to them for a decent price, most would jump at the chance.

When I say decent price I’m confident you could charge anywhere from $150 – $300 dollars for this service. That might sound expensive, but split between 6 to 8 people, which is what most of these monster vehicles carry, it’s actually very reasonable.

How much could you make?

There are probably in excess of 5,000 RVs attending the festival every year. If you could assemble a team and clean just 10% of those (500), charging $200 a pop you’d be looking at a turnover of $100,000 (£63,267) over the course of a few days.

What tools would you need?

Strong hoovers, water, rags and maybe even some kind of blowing device to bring up dust in hard to reach corners. With several willing pairs of hands you could easily cover each RV in a couple of hours.

We were so amazed that no one was offering this service nearby we asked some students in Lake Tahoe (several hours away) if they’d be happy to do a quick clean of our RV. Needless to say, they absolutely jumped at the chance – and did a fantastic job.

That’s the other great thing about this. There’s not just a huge amount of demand for this service, there’s also an extremely willing workforce of local, low cost labour.



About the Author

My name's Tom Wake and I'm the editor of Insider's Edge. I bring you tips, tricks and shortcuts to help you save money, make money and save time.



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