A large cardboard box at the self-storage facility just down the street from my home costs $3.50.
My wife rents a storage unit at the facility because she is a sales representative and needs to keep her product samples somewhere secure. There are several other sales reps. like her that store their samples at the same facility.
Every time I visit the storage facility, I see a dumpster full of broken down cardboard boxes that are waiting to be picked up for recycling. The majority of the boxes that I’ve seen in the dumpster appear to be brand new. So, I got to thinking:
Why doesn’t the storage facility sell these boxes at a discounted price to people who need boxes? Why bother to send them to a recycling center when they can first be reused?
Reusing Boxes – A Win-Win Situation
I’m willing to bet that when given a choice, a lot of people who are shopping for cardboard boxes would prefer to pay $2.00 for a gently used large box instead of $3.50 for a brand new box. So, why doesn’t my storage facility buy gently used cardboard boxes from its customers and sell them? If the company paid $0.50 per box and sold them for $2.00 a piece, they’d make quite a profit. It’s a win-win situation for everybody:
- Current renters of storage units have to do something with their empty boxes, so what’s better than selling them to the storage facility? All things being equal, when given a choice in selecting a storage facility, storage unit renters would surely choose to rent a unit in a facility that would pay its customers for their used boxes.
- The storage facility would be able to offer box buyers an eco-friendly, less-expensive alternative to purchasing a brand new box. And they’d still sell new boxes to customers who don’t want used boxes. I can only imagine that overall sales would increase.
Take a look at your current business practices. What tasks do your customers complete at your place of business, on your website, or over the phone with you every day? Are there ways to tap into their normal interactions with your company in a way that can generate new lines of business? One idea would be for you to open an “outlet store” on your website to sell products that have been returned for a refund but have slightly damaged packaging. Are there other ideas that you come up with? I’d love to hear them if there are.
There’s never a lack of ideas.