Today I want to give a shout-out to a very cool group of kids who deserve it.  They call themselves The Snow Angels.

12-15-09 © Chad Truemper

Here’s the story about this.  A few years back a group of African American high school kids in our neighborhood got together and did something really cool.  They started a little business for themselves.  Their business proposition was simple:  we shovel, you pay a reasonable fee, and we donate 10% to a local charity (One Warm Coat.)  Simple idea, right?

But get this. Here’s their marketing plan.  They made flyers and put them in everyone’s mailbox.  The flyers had tear-off phone numbers that went to the lead kid’s cell phone.   If you wanted your walk or driveway shoveled, you call them.  They show up and work their little tails off doing a great job.

We tried them out that winter, and honestly were blown away by how great a job they did.  They were thorough, polite, and fair with their prices.  They were unfailingly courteous.  (Quite impressive for teenagers!)

That year, those kids were skinny as all get out.  A couple of them looked like they wouldn’t last 5 minutes on the end of a shovel.  But they did. Every time.  If a call went into a voice mail, it was returned same day. They always showed up when they said they would, and did a fantastic job.

This year these kids are in college and their schedules are a little bit more challenging.  Their voices are deeper.  They are taller and have filled out more; they actually all look like they can shovel your long steep driveway and then some. As I watch them working out there this winter, I am happy to pay them their still reasonable fees for a service I don’t like to do any more.  It’s worth every penny.

And you know what?  I want to keep my eyes on these guys.  I think they are going to be tremendously successful at whatever they do.  Maybe you know some kids in your neighborhood who might need a little inspiration.  This “cottage industry” is a great one.  There are probably more you could think of — like leaf raking, or things that need doing around the house.

All it takes is a great idea, a plan, a fair price, and a way to connect with the people who need what you are wiling to do.  If a group of entrepreneurial neighborhood kids can do this, what’s stopping YOU?  Just saying.