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Rookie Stripes:
The Life & Times of a Startup Sweeping Contractor

Rookie Stripe Button March 13, 2006

An introduction from Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor,

Update, May 1, 2006: Our Rookie got 'busted' by his day job company. Once they found he was starting up a side business, they took steps to make sure he didn't have time to do both. As a result, our Rookie's blogging has come to an end. Still, while we wait for another Rookie to surface to re-start the process, I thought readers would like to see what happened in this instance so have left the previous posts in place.

Over the course of the last several months I have been fielding calls from someone interested in getting into the sweeping business. As some readers can attest firsthand, this is something I've done a number of times over the 15+ years I've been involved with the industry.

Like most who first give thought to starting into sweeping, this individual gave considerable thought to how it would impact the daytime job he'd have to keep during his initial months of startup. He fully recognized that investment in a sweeper would mean a significant capital outlay, and that while starting out he'd have to work two jobs at once until sweeping could start paying all the bills. A not un-typical scenario faced by many startups.

Before making his decision, however, he impressed me with the extraordinary amount of due diligence he performed prior to making a decision one way or the other. He talked to a number of other contractors, both through my referral and on his own; he purchased a copy of my Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business, and he investigated about every sweeper make and model in the market, as well as the primary usage of each. He also weighed all the factors between buying new or used.

The other day, I got a call that he'd taken the plunge. He was now the owner of a brand-new parking lot sweeper. And, as sensible and professional first steps, he'd already joined naPSa, chosen a company name and secured a .com web address, as well.

Over the next few days as I answered, via phone and email, his questions about website hosting, marketing materials, service proposals and more, I had an 'aha' moment: "Would you be willing," I asked him, "to share your startup experience with the industry via an ongoing blog?" After a bare moment's hesitation, the answer was a resounding "Yes."

So, without me or any of our readers knowing where this story is headed -- any more than does this fledgling contractor -- you're invited to ride shotgun with someone entering into parking lot sweeping for the first time. As I write this, and as you'll read in the opening chapters of his blog, he hasn't even taken delivery of his sweeper yet.

Since we both agreed that it was best that he should stay anonymous, the next question was what to title the blog. What he chose provides a clue to this particular person's love of racing.

Rookie Stripe

"Do you know that in NASCAR, all the rookie drivers have a yellow stripe on their bumper the first year?" he asked in a subsequent planning phone call. "That's so the other drivers can recognize and watch out for him. Since I'm clearly a rookie, let's call my blog 'Rookie Stripes.'" The logo we chose is a slightly modified version of NASCAR's system: It's a rookie's yellow stripe merged with a naPSa logo.

So, welcome to a first of its kind, first-person dialogue about the trials and tribulations of becoming a startup sweeper. On the blog we set up, which is hosted by, readers can post responses and comments to the blogs. I encourage all of you, especially you seasoned hands with insight to offer, to take part in this process. Perhaps, as a reward for the sharing of his rookie experiences, he -- and all of us -- can benefit from the collected wisdom of the industry at large.

Rookie Stripe Button

Good Sweeping,
Ranger Signature
-- Ranger Kidwell-Ross, editor

PS If you want to reach the rookie via email, you may do so through the email address we've set up for him. It's We also have an audio interview with the Rookie online.

naPSa Information Design Team Info

Fundamentals of the Power Sweeping Business

Separator Line

"If a man is called a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry.

He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."

-- Martin Luther King, Jr.