Attention Houston: There is a New Garbage Woman in Town

Garbage Woman Brooke
If you have been following BigKidSmallCity from the beginning, you may know about Garbage Man Joe.  When he was 4 years old, Joe asked our neighbors if he could roll out, and then back in, their garbage cans on trash day. In return, they would pay him 25¢ each week.

The business was started in lieu of an allowance, as a way to teach Joe about money but also to avoid a situation where he felt entitled to it. The work was easy enough for a 4-year-old, but just hard enough to create learning opportunities.  Read more HERE.

Over the last 3 years, Joe has learned a lot of valuable life lessons, including about responsibility, self-reliance, independence and the value of a dollar.  The best part about starting the Garbage Can Business is that the lessons have been automatic. We have not had to stage discussion; we just do the weekly work.

We’ve been doing the weekly work for years, and it has greatly benefited the entire family.  That said, it became clear that it was about time for a change.  The two main reasons were:

1.  Joe was getting really really good at the job.  No complaining, no trouble with heavy trash cans, no urge to blow his savings, no difficulty counting money, spending money or giving away money.  He needed a new challenge.
2.  Joe’s sister Brooke is now 5 years old.  There should be no “pass” for our second born child or for our only girl.

We couldn’t think of another businesses that was as appropriate for a little kid, with just enough challenges to make it rewarding, but that was also easy enough on the parents. So, with Joe’s approval, we brought in a new Houston garbage woman… Garbage Woman Brooke.

Brooke is now in charge of hauling out the trash cans and hauling them back in again the next day. She gets to collect the money (now 50¢ each), save the money, count the money, and get a visceral understanding of responsibility, self-reliance, independence and the value of a dollar.

Just like Joe, she gets to make the decisions. If she blows her money on ice cream, she finds out she can’t buy her favorite doll as quickly. If she wants an American Girl Doll, she knows she needs to work for a lot more weeks than if she wants a basic baby doll. She even gets to decide if she wants to quit the business… but knows she must do it the proper way, so no neighbors get left with stinky trash cans.

Joe has been promoted to managing the business. It’s his job to remember trash can days, to invoice the customers and to advertise to new potential customers.  This is a good new challenge for the boy that has mastered hauling out the cans.

Of course, all of this requires some work from my husband and I.   The kids are too little to go out on their own and Brooke is not quite strong enough to pull out a extra full trash can.  However, helping to haul out some trashcans on Sunday evening is a small sacrifice for the life lessons the kids learn through the garbage can business.

Encourage Children to Learn Vital Life Skills through Personal Experience – Set Up Your Own Kids Marketplace!

See the ABC13 Kids Marketplace story HERE.

If you have followed BigKidSmallCity for some time, you know about Garbage Man Joe, our very own Kindergarten Kingpin.

Joe still pulls out trash cans each week and we are still passionate about teaching our kids about money, life and entrepreneurship.  My husband and I feel that it is important to not only tell our kids about these things, but to let them experience them.  We want them to know what a bad decision and good decision feels like, with the hope that they will continue to make good decisions for the rest of their lives.

For example, if the kids blow all their money on ice cream and then can’t by the the Lego set they have been begging for, they know how that feels.  Also, if they decide to not do their job and the neighbors are upset, they also know how that feels.  Of course, the opposite is also true, and in the long term, good decisions feel better.

Eda at Kids Market
In our small way, we’ve been teaching these lessons to our kids.  But what if someone turned this into an elementary school course?  This is exactly what Eda Morita did at her daughter’s school.

Bubble Jarvis Bubble at Kids Market
Eda started with a Kids Marketplace in the fall and then expanded it into a weekly after school class for elementary school students!  Her goal was to encourage children to learn vital life skills through personal experience.

Some of the weekly topics included “How to Greet Someone”, “Listening”, “Rapport” and “Money”.  Then, in May, the kids set up 40 booths at an after school marketplace.

Advice from a Kid
There were pizza, lemonade, baked goods and ice cream stands, bubbles and hula hoops, snacks, art work, bows, second hand goods and much more.  My favorite was the booth where you could get advice from a kid (with the disclaimer that it was not guaranteed to be good advice)!

ABC 13 Filming Kids Market
The kids did the selling, collected the money and decided how they would spend some of their earnings. Eda met with the group afterwards to find out what they learned.  Some comments were:

“It takes money to make money.”
“Being friendly helps with sales.”
“You have to make more money than what it cost you.”
“I should not eat my product.”

Seems to me like the kids felt what it was like to make money!

Eda did a great job with the kids at the Kids Marketplace.  The great thing is, any group could put it together with the right parent in charge.  What do you think about a Kids Marketplace at your school?

Find the ABC13 story HERE!

Two Cuties Shop

Kid’s Marketplace – Preparing My Kids for the Future & Encouraging Entrepreneurship!

At BigKidSmallCity, we are passionate about encouraging entrepreneurship and giving our children a chance to experience success (and failure).  These lessons, taught simply by doing work, have lifetime benefits.

I recently found another Houston family with the same beliefs and was excited to learn about the Kid’s Market they organized outside their elementary school.

Kids Market7
In his own words, Yusuke Morita tells us about preparing his kids for the future!

My 6 year old daughter participated in National Lemonade Day for the first time this past year. The event is designed to encourage entrepreneurship and teach children the financial basics of starting and running a business.

I was initially worried that she was too young to learn and appreciate the value of money. Why should she be concerned with the value of a dollar at such a young age? My naive thought was to shelter her from such adult concerns. If I can provide for her every need, I’m being successful as a parent — right?

As a child, my parents never discussed financial matters with me so I always assumed everything was ok. I didn’t learn of their struggles until after I became a father myself. In the same way, I felt it was my responsibility to “protect” her from this burden.

As a parent, I was measuring my success by how well I was providing for my family. I was denying my daughter the knowledge of basic finance because I was measuring my own success by how little she needed to be concerned by it.

The irony is that by doing so I was ensuring that she would make the same rookie financial mistakes as an adult when she’s out on her own for the first time. After realizing this fact, I decided to educate her on basic finance early and encouraged her to open a lemonade stand.

Lemonade Day arrived soon enough and it was a resounding success! I provided the initial capital for lemons, cups, napkins, etc. My daughter priced everything reasonably well and made a small profit in the end which she proceeded to spend some, save some, and share some by giving to charity. I wanted to make sure we taught her responsible financial habits if she was going to start learning at a young age. The seeds have been planted.

Kids Market3
[Read more…]

Five Business Tips for 6 Year Old Garbage Man Joe from Joe Eitel of Hometown Dumpster Rental

Garbage Man JoeIn February 2012, Joe started his own little Garbage Can Curbside Service. He asked our neighbors if he could roll out, and then back in, their garbage cans on trash day. In return, they would pay him 25¢ each week.

Through the job, Joe has learned many life lessons.  You can get the free download HERE on the benefits we’ve seen from Joe starting a small business and how to start your own.

We have been fortunate to be in contact with many businessmen offering tips to our now 6 year old Garbage Man.  Today we hear from Joe Eital of Hometown Dumpster Rental!

5 Business Tips for Garbage Man Joe:

1. Customers recognize and appreciate companies which deliver an honest product or service. Don’t be fake just to earn a few bucks. Long term wealth is only achieved with hard work, honesty and a love for what you do.

2. Humility really goes a long way in the business world. If your product or service is really that good, your customers will rave about it – you don’t have to.

3. Start small and plan for the long run. Every company starts with an idea and grows from there. True success takes years of hard work and dedication. Prepare for the long haul rather than getting in, making a quick buck, and getting out.

4. Communication is key. At Hometown, we make sure each and every customer is satisfied with our service, and we respond to every single call or email we receive as promptly as possible. It’s one of the reasons we’ve been so successful in the home services industry over the past 5+ years. Communication amongst coworkers is equally important to ensure everyone’s on the same page working toward a common goal.

5. Love what you do. Quite possible the most important business tip to ensure long term success is to enjoy your work. As the saying goes, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life” (Confucius)

What tips would you give kids starting a small business?

How one person can make a difference. Garbage Man Joe gets way more than a quarter for each pulled-out recycle bin.

Garbage Man Joe

This article was provided by Joseph Eitel of Hometown Dumpster Rental of Houston.

Can one person really make a difference?  Yes, I think they can.

Waste in America and how you factor in.

You’ve probably seen these statistics before, but the numbers are still alarming enough to rattle your teeth. The U.S. generates about 250 million tons of waste each year (EPA, 2011). Less than 35% of this waste is recycled. That’s pretty poor if you ask me considering modern mass recycling technology has been around for decades in America.

So, how can one person make a difference when we’re dealing with millions of tons of garbage? It seems a bit overwhelming, but let’s break it down a bit.

The average American generates about 4.4 lbs. of trash per day – more than 1600 lbs. per year. Can you imagine if you were to spend the next 365 days tossing all of your trash into a nearby lake or stream? Would that have an impact? You better believe it!

Making a concerted effort to recycle, reuse and compost waste can potentially reduce the amount of garbage you generate by more than 75%. Many items people toss in the trashcan should instead be going in the recycle or compost bins. This includes things like:

Recycle Bin

  • Paper products: Newspaper, magazines, paper, cardboard
  • Cans
  • #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 Plastics
  • Glass
  • Scrap metals

Compost Bin

  • Shredded paper products
  • Fruit and veggie scraps
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Used tea bags
  • Yard debris: Sticks, dead leaves, grass clippings, dirt
  • Egg shells (not the egg itself)
  • Vacuum residuals and dryer lint

This is just a short list of items that are recyclable and/or compostable. It’s easy to see how you can really make a dent in reducing your impact on the waste stream by amping up your recycling and composting efforts.

What’s cool is that you’ll begin taking pride in the fact your curbside trash cart is only half full – rather than overflowing onto the ground – each week when you wheel it out to the curb.

Set a Good Example

Kids are naturally conscientious and observant. Children watch their parents and ultimately will follow their lead.

Involve your kids in your household’s quest to reduce waste output. They’ll be very receptive to the idea, and it will help lay the groundwork for a more sustainable way of living in their life as they get older and fly away from the nest.

Some kids take these type of life lessons from their parents and ride with it. Garbage Man Joe is the perfect example. He’s able to combine the knowledge and guidance instilled in him from his parents, along with his strong initiative that’s obviously embedded in his genes, to form his own waste removal business by the ripe age of four.

Garbage Man Joe is learning about responsibility and the value of a dollar, among other life lessons. It’s a priceless education that you really don’t get in school.

How it all ties in

Garbage Man Joe has influenced many children his age, not to mention adults in need of some motivation and inspiration. If he can do, so can I!

Joe is just one person, but through his hard work and help from his parents, news media and the Internet, has really made a positive impact in his community and beyond.

The same is true for anyone who decides to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle by recycling, composting and reducing waste. One person can make a big difference in reducing our impact on the environment. It all starts with you.

Even though the moral of the story here is to reduce the amount of trash shipped off to landfills, we’ll still always have a need for a curbside trash and recycling pickup. So don’t worry Garbage Man Joe, your job security is looking good!


Four Lessons Learned by Joe the Garbage Man: Featured on Money Saving Mom

Garbage Man JoeBigKidSmallCity had the great honor of being featured on Money Saving Mom last week. Here Crystal provides tips on saving money, setting goals and raising kids.

Please head over to Money Saving Mom to check out her post and website!

As a teaser, the posts talks about Joe learning the following life lessons through his Garbage Can business.

1. Responsibility
2. Self-Reliance
3. Independence
4. Understanding the Value of a Dollar

Go HERE to see the post!

Joe the Garbage Man, 6 Year Old’s 1st Business: Interviewed on ABC 13!


In February 2012, Joe started his own little Garbage Can Curbside Service. For details, go HERE. In short, he asked our neighbors if he could roll out, and then back in, their garbage cans on trash day. In return, they would pay him 25¢ each week.

He was lucky enough to be interviewed by ABC 13 this week! Montrose family teaching son value of money at young age.

Go HERE to see the ABC 13 interview with Patricia Lopez!

Joe the Garbage Man – Mentors, Like Justin Anderson from WOATS, Know More than Mom and Dad

Justin WOATsIn February 2012, Joe started his own little Garbage Can Curbside Service. He asked our neighbors if he could roll out, and then back in, their garbage cans on trash day. In return, they would pay him 25¢ each week.

Through the job, Joe has learned many life lessons.  He has learned to be reliable, that you cannot just quit, that hard work brings you recognition and the value of money.

You can get the free download HERE on the benefits we’ve seen from Joe starting a small business and how to start your own.  As stated in this booklet, it is our opinion that a childhood business is not started to save money. It is started to reveal human behavior in regards to money and opportunity.  Once experienced, the child can know what behavior works and self-correct what does not work.

And this has been effective for us.  But now we have had a lot of experiences, and corrected our behavior, and are ready to learn more.

We have been fortunate to be in contact with several successful entrepreneurs and business owners who have encouraged Joe to start 3 funds:  Spending Fund, Giving Fund and Wealth Fund.  Joe has done very well at this.  He tucks away money without question, he spends money freely on Legos and he gives generously to US Soldiers.

But now it has occurred to me that Joe will soon know more than me.  Not that he will think he knows more than me, but that he will, in fact, have a better visceral understanding of entrepreneurship than me.  After all, I did not start a business as a child.  And as an young adult, I went to work for someone else.

We needed someone to help guide Joe.  Just as we were looking for a mentor, we met Justin Anderson.

As a teenager, Justin was eating granola and broke off a bracket of his braces.  This inspired him to create a softer snack and, by the time he was 16 years, he had started his own company.  Now he is the Founder and President of WOATS.

WOATS mission “is to inspire kids and young adults to discover and harness their passions, make a difference in their communities and change the world for the better”.  How cool is that?

Justin reaches out to kids with big ideas and he stopped by our house to pull out trash cans with Joe.  He offered his encouragement and his time to help Joe the Garbage Man.

And it’s not just Joe the Garbage Man.  WOATS will work with schools and kids everywhere to “harness their inner oat”!  Just go HERE to learn more.

This is just what we were looking for.  I just didn’t know it would come in the form of whole grain oats.


Joe the Garbage Man Interview on Sunny 99.1!


In case you missed it, go HERE to see Joe’s interview on Sunny 99.1!



Garbage Man Joe and the Guitar Lessons – Decision Making is Powerful

In February 2012, Joe started his own little Garbage Can Curbside Service.  He asked our neighbors if he could roll out, and then back in, their garbage cans on trash day. In return, they would pay him 25¢ each week.

This little job has accidentally taught many useful life lessons to our kids.  One of them being that you cannot just quit.

There have been many weeks when we have had to drag a tired 5 year old from house to house and listen to him grumble about his job.  It is exhausting as a parent, but I understand.  I often grumble about my own job (but in a slightly less dramatic way).

On one particularly hard week, Joe was certain he would quit his garbage can job.  We told him that if he was going to quit, he needed to give a weeks notice and write a letter to each of his customers.

He begrudgingly finished his duty for the week and went home to write the letters.  He waited a few hours and then decided his job was actually pretty good and he would not deliver the notice.

Not every week is hard, but we have noticed that when the going-gets-tough, and we give him control and time to make decisions, he usually makes good ones.  This has been the case when he has wanted to quit and when he’s wanted to spend his money frivolously.

Now let me tell you what this has to do with Guitar Lessons.

For about 6 months, Garbage Man Joe, aka Johnny Cash, has been taking guitar lessons.  He is a big fan of music and when we found a kid sized guitar at The Guild Resale Shop, he was certain he needed to learn how to play it.

We found a local teacher who would take young students and he has been mastering “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and “I Walk the Line”.  Each morning before school, Joe has been practicing for 10 minutes with dad.

And it has gotten harder and harder.  It was to the point where he complained about practicing more than he practiced.

Finally we said that he was in control.  We did not want him to quit, but he could decide.  He is the one that loves music, he’s the one hollering, “turn it up”, from the back seat of the car and he is the one that wants to be a guitar player.

Joe quit for a day.

The next morning he willing grabbed his guitar and practiced before school.

Goes to show that making your own decisions is powerful.