If you’re after a simple business, they don’t get much simpler or hands-on than this. This is a simple business idea that requires nothing more than hard work and – but offers a good cash profit for your efforts.

Potential: The UK currently has in more than 60 million wheelie bins – around one for every man, woman and child in the country – and, with the rise of recycling, most households now have several bins.

A dirty wheelie bin is probably the single most unhygienic thing in any home or workplace. And it’s one of those jobs that all of us know we should do, but rarely if ever get around to doing every month. So there’s a regular demand to set up a monthly (or even more often) cleaning round.

And that’s where you come in: This is a great business opportunity for anyone willing to work hard, who has plenty of enthusiasm and initiative (a little bit of common sense doesn’t hurt either).

Based on the figures I’ve seen it seems absolutely reasonable to get a customer database of 1,500 customers within six months and (depending how much you charge for the service) could generate a turnover of around £60,000+ annually.

Are you suited to this opportunity? You’ll need plenty of enthusiasm and the ability to work hard on your own. It is the kind of business that you can employ others to do, but in the beginning you would need to be a hands on manager to ensure the success of it. You have to be organised. Working hours are typically 8.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, but you could operate evenings and weekends at first if you just want to test the potential.

What you need to start up: The two main options are investing in an automated vehicle where you can load the bins on to the back and they are cleaned automatically. Or you can go the manual route and use a handheld high-pressure spray.

If you take the manual route (which seems best for domestic customers) you’ll need some capital to cover a vehicle, machinery, stationary and advertising literature. But once you start, the overheads are low, especially if you do the cleaning yourself.

Building your round: It should take around about six months to build a customer database of approx 1,500 customers and their bins will be cleaned every month (or even fortnightly). After the initial six months everything should be falling into place and it then becomes automatic.

When it comes to marketing your business door-to-door canvassing is simple and cheap. You could expect to generate around 10-20 new customers per day per canvasser. Another way is ‘bin tagging’ – this is where you travel neighbourhoods and attach your promotional material to the bins left out and then generate prospects …. maybe by using a special offer for the first three months.

How much could you make? Once you’ve paid your initial start up costs, there are very low overheads. At £3.50 per clean (which is taking things on the low side) this generates a turnover of £5,000+ per month. Take off costs and you could be netting around £4,500 per month.

I’ve seen similar franchise operations showing a potential earning capability of over £90,000 per year. Of course this all depends on your own efforts and the time you invest into your business.

Once you’ve built your database you get repeat business – so it only needs topping up rather than constantly having to canvass and advertise. If you’re entrepreneurial then I could easily see this kind of business rolled out across different areas.

With a couple of years experience it is also perfect for turning into a franchise.

You should also consider the potential of rolling out your service to the commercial market. Food, hotel and catering premises are the types of business most likely to be interested in keeping their bin areas clean and hygienic.