Turning garbage into money
Turning garbage into money
Company: North Coast Sanitation
Who: Mark Gagner
Where: Minot, N.D.

Even trash can be a lucrative business in a boomtown. Mark Gagner, 52, a North Dakota native, is making a living renting out dumpsters to construction companies as growth explodes in the small town of Minot.

He had previously been flipping homes, given the current housing shortage in the area. But soaring home prices made it harder to find good deals, so he began looking for a new line of business to get into.

After noticing garbage building up around town, Gagner and his wife, Tina, launched a dumpster business, North Coast Sanitation. They started out with only one dumpster in August and now have 17, holding 20 to 30 cubic yards each.

Gagner charges $200 per dumpster for up to seven days, plus whatever fee the landfill charges when the trash is dumped. During a typical day, he makes about eight trips back and forth from construction sites to the landfill and dumps an average of 20 tons a day.

But he realizes it's risky to start a business during an oil boom. "Businesses like mine, they're all driven by the oilfields, so if there's a moratorium on fracking, this place will turn into a ghost town in no time," he said. "The only saving grace I have is that I can pretty easily take my trucks and dumpsters somewhere else where the economy is good if all of this ends."


By Blake Ellis @CNNMoney - Last updated June 11 2012: 7:25 PM ET
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