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Cleaning restaurant floor for $1000 per night (reddit.com)
217 points by ThomPete 62 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 99 comments

I am a master diesel engine mechanic by trade, and $100/hr is the lowest shop rate ive seen for a journeyman mechanic. I havent earned less than $150/hr since getting my ASE certs.

That having been said, it (like floor cleaning) is not easy work. Personal protection and safety is critical. Slips, trips, and falls are the #1 killer in these jobs

The video talks about de-greasers and gloves but shows the guy wandering around in a pool of degreaser with tennis shoes, no gloves and short sleeves, so im guessing he hasnt had a major accident yet. Degreaser is a base, so it is very slick. It reacts with fats to form soaps, so it only gets slicker. Do not wear keys on slick surfaces, or youll be picking them out of your leg after a fall.

The idea that any of these blue-collar jobs "print money" is laughable. We get overtime, sure, but we can also get canned quickly if we dont agree to take it on. Expect to work nothing but third shift as a floor cleaner. expect guys like me to yell at you when you move a rack or a tool chest and dont put it back exactly where it was before.

To anyone whos thinking of doing this, Scrub your driveway every day for a week and see if its still appealing.

I don't think you have to take it so literal and more importantly I think there is a bigger point than printing money.

It's the same point that's made in Fish https://www.amazon.com/gp/search?index=books&linkCode=qs&key... which is that you can turn things that sound really boring into a labour of love and make a profit along the way.

In other words there are opportunities all around us which can be turned into a more interesting business even though they sound really unattractive.

Now apply that to technology (something like Pingdom.com as an example) and you might just have changed your perspective enough to get an idea you didn't have before.

Scrubbing your driveaway for yourself isn't really comparable to supporting yourself financially scrubbing clients floors. 80% of jobs aren't sitting in front of a computer and most of them are not a joy to do for most people either.

I think it is very interesting that many people see the dollar per hour ratio and think easy money. Sometimes the pay is high because you are sacrificing your health to earn that money and to do your job. Safety is important but it doesn't make the job any easier, you are just reducing the risk of sacrificing even more of your health. There are some seriously tough jobs out there and I applaud those who have the willpower to do them.

The lesson here is to do your job with passion. This man loves his job, otherwise he wouldn’t be posting and making videos about it.

It’s the same in tech. If you don’t have passion, you’ll bounce around tech companies, never moving up, always making money, but never enough. But it’s the passion that gives you the edge to deliver something 1% better than the next guy, and so you get the big bucks.

Be passionate and the money will follow.

Edit: uhh did I say something wrong? Why the downvotes?

You're probably getting downvoted because the idea that a passionless developer can't deliver good solutions is stupid. Lots of developers are passionless about software development and deliver software "better than the next guy".

Passionless developer here. Can confirm. All that matters is that I'm the best available option. I grew up with the Linux community and agree with Stallman on pretty much everything, but I still generate a mountain of proprietary software for pay.

Feels bad, but I gotta eat.

I didn't say that at all. I said that a developer with passion has an edge.

That's not what he said though.

Passion gets you shitcanned when your desire to get stuff done conflicts with office politics. Unless you are a founder, and actually are a unicorn or can provide a much needed service, fuck passion. Do it for the money.

I’ve never experienced that. If you’re passionate, you can leave a poor environment like that behind and pick up new work easily.

I think that has more to do with competence than passion. If you are good (and good at interviewing) getting a new job is easy. If you have passion... losing your current job over differences in how to do things is... common.

If you're good AND good at interviewing AND have a personality the hiring manager really likes AND have a background the hiring manager really likes AND HR doesn't intervene AND there are few other qualified candidates in your market AND you have literally everything else go your way... getting a new job is easy. Otherwise you're in for some struggle, and definitely financial hardship for the months you'll be unemployed.

right. I mean, getting a new job has always seemed easy for me? but I don't think that disproves anything you say. (Another big part of why I think finding a new job is easy is 'cause I kinda like interviewing, and can do it a lot before it starts feeling hard.) but I'm just saying that passion, at least as I define passion, seems to be more of a career hindrance than a career help; I know several people who are fairly technically competent who are un/underemployed because they have a lot of passion and can't stand to see their work being used except in exactly the way they think is best, and that attitude really only works if the power imbalance is hugely in your favor or if you can do the whole project yourself.

That depends on what you're passionate about.

which is why you should work for yourself.

My highschool job was at a smallish mom and pop grocery store. I took care of the floors every night; sweep, mop, buff. There's a real zen to doing this kind of work, I really enjoyed it.

I found the same thing with farming. During my first few University years, I financed myself working on a dairy. A couple of four day weekends each month I would drive around 150km to the job and also the same work for three months solid over the summer holidays.

While I wasn't crazy about the 05:00 starts and shifting hundreds irrigation pipes twice a day isn't a whole lot of fun (but great fitness training), I did find tractor work to have a zen of its own. Around and round and round a paddock ploughing, sewing or mowing was pretty therapeutic and allowed my mind to think on all sorts of things.

At one point I seriously considered following a more agricultural focused career. Ultimately I didn't go this route, but still often wonder about my life if I had of made that choice.

Worked in an office with a hall overlooking a couple acre field.

Everytime the guy was mowing it, there would be someone taking a break looking out the window watching the guy. It was sort of our Koi pond.

I started out with that attitude and had major passion and a real serious interest, but so far the alienation and exploitation of salary work in my last two corporate fortune 100 jobs has me wanting to end tech all together. I don't even enjoy tech anymore due to work, even in my personal time. Burn out is real.

Thinking about another career.

What alternative career options are you considering?

I don't think that you just have to be passionate and the money will follow. Making money depends on many other personality characteristics than just passion.

It’s easy to quantify physical health ailments which is a common side effect of physical jobs. Desk jobs can have negative menta health impacts, and their effects can be much more difficult to measure.

A lot of research has been done to quantify the physical health ailments caused by sedentary desk jobs. Common problems include: back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, obesity, and hypertension.

how diesel mechanics make so much more than regular (gas) mechanics?

A couple notes, as my father owned and sold two carpet cleaning businesses.

$100/hour is actually fairly standard/reasonable. My father always shot for $150/hour as his standard rate (he had no employees). 30 years ago he wasn't making this but for the last 10-15 he was.

The assertion that his supplies and overhead are essentially "nothing" is hilariously naive. I watched his video, he has equipment, not to mention the other costs of running a small business (insurance etc.) I get that he's just starting but it's just silly to assume no overhead if you're looking to emulate.

Reading further, he says "I think you can get started for less than $15k". Expect to spend at least that every year.

Cleaning floors is hard work. Much of my father's focus in the later years was spent on reducing fatigue, and streamlining the services offered. It's good, decent work, but not easy physically and mentally (worrying about equipment failure)

Lastly, my father worked for some restaurants. The % of restaurants that never clean their carpets is huge. There's a good chance that most of your local restaurants have never cleaned their carpets.

Less than $15k seems questionable. He has a van to carry the supplies around. Sure, you can lease or borrow, but there's $5k (for a used beater) to $20k (for a new Transit Connect cargo). Two commercial buffers at $1000/each (less used). Good shoes, heavy duty work clothes, another couple hundred. It adds up pretty quick.

Then you add insurance. No idea what that costs, but between risk of injury and liability, it's probably not pennies.

Then you add the health risks of traveling all the time (driving is the riskiest activity most people take on, and more miles means more chance of collision. Also the health risks of having to sit many hours in a car, although could be negated if you are able to get a workout in on the job.

The biggest risk of all though is that there's a much greater chance any injury can ruin your income potential, as opposed to office or desk jobs where many times you can still keep working. And overtime, rote physical activity will wear away at the body, especially bending over or being on your knees and carrying heavy things on your back.

Health is wealth (quite literally too in the USA), and if you have an option of being well paid without sacrificing it, I suggest taking it.

Carpal tunnel almost killed my father's business completely. He used a "wand" with a trigger that sprays water/soap requiring him to squeeze his hand hundreds of times per job. After 20+ years of doing this, his wrists and forearms were shot/inflamed. He required surgery, and was able to resume work.

Image of wand: https://www.worldwidecleaningsupport.com/media/catalog/produ...

It's a shame we don't have more public health efforts to inform the public about the long term damage from repetitive motions. Especially when the person willing to do long term damage to their body is heralded as a hard worker, and the person that protects against it by working diligently and not over exerting themselves will be punished by not getting work. Similar situation with office work and skipping on sleep.

> I get that he's just starting

He says he's been doing this for 5 years.

My bad, I got the impression he was just starting. Thanks for the clarification. Not sure how in 5 years he still thinks he has almost no overhead - maybe on relative terms? He claims to make "6 figures" which was similar top line income to what my father generated.

It may be that he thinks of overhead as fixed costs (as opposed to variable costs). If you have very low fixed costs, your business can scale up and down on a whim, without terrible consequences.

Good point. My father operated the business out of his home, the most expensive thing he "needed" was a heated garage which prevented his machine/lines from freezing. Before this, he used space heaters inside his van.

Machine maintenance was his largest cost, and because he had to perform most repairs himself (due to financial restraints), it kept him up at night.

When he started the business again after we moved, he saved enough to buy a new truck/machine which helped ease him mind. However a machine you use everyday stops being "new" rather quickly.

Or his profit margin is large enough he's never needed to actually consider his costs.

If that's the case, I'm guessing he learns a thing or two if he ever expands to the point where his margin gets compressed enough to need to be managed.

It could also be that cleaning hard flooring and cleaning carpets have different levels of overhead. Carpet cleaners are nowhere near the mechanical simplicity of a spinning floor brush. The floor brush probably lasts 20+ years, needing only scrubbing pad replacements.

You're probably right, although many carpet cleaners also clean hard surfaces/flooring with the same equipment (truck mounted hot water extractor machine) Probably not 20+ years if you're working daily, but not every year.

I worked in various restaurants for about 7 years before becoming a Software Engineer.

I knew the floor cleaner of one of the larger chains I worked for. He was making $100k+ cleaning 5 or 6 restaurants and this was during the height of the recession. He put maybe 60k miles or more a year and had to get a new car often. The work required him to work 7 days a week overnight. It was extremely hard for him to hire reliable people. His marriage failed in his late 40s due to the hours and never having a vacation.

He did not like the work and it was very backbreaking. The overnight hours ruined his marriage and friendships. Once he had enough money he was going to retire to Costa Rica. One thing he did like was getting new trucks after about 80-100k mikes.

This guy broke his back to buy multiple new trucks which is almost...tragic.


"and if he can't drive with a broken back, at least he can polish the fenders."

Billy Joel, "Movin' Out" (1977)


>Once he had enough money he was going to retire to Costa Rica.

Not a bad idea. The US is a terrible place to retire.

It’s possible to retire there and only live on Social Security. My brother in law was there for 10 years, married a Tica, but they are back in the US so his kid gets a real education. Things like mail, road maintenance, power, and water are not always guaranteed.

There's some special exemptions for US citizens who are getting social security from what I remember, but it's also really really hard to legally live there if you're from a different country. I knew a Canadian woman who had lived there for over 10 years, married a Tico, and owned a successful business for 5+, and she was still on her third lawyer trying to become a citizen. First one took the money and ran, second one actually died before the process was finished, and who knows how the third lawyer worked out.

Before he got married he would have to go to Nicaragua every 90 days for a few days and then come back so he would have legal status. They mentioned this changed a few years ago but he already had passport by then. Some people would have business licenses to get things like local cell phone plans. If you employed people it made things much easier.

Your lawyer story is similar to theirs including trying to immigrate her to the US. Once they decided to get a US lawyer things actually started to happen and they got answers about the US process.

If you have a young school-age child, and are worried about the quality of education, then by definition you're not "retired".

Personally, I'd rather retire in someplace like Europe, where you get all those nice social services. America might have those things, but they're completely unaffordable if you're in a nice city: even if you own your house, the ever-increasing property taxes will force you to move out at some point, to some low-cost area, but that place will be full of Trumpers and generally not be a very interesting place to live; you'll just be sitting in your house waiting to die.

If you're unemployed with no intention of working again, is that not retired?

So this guy has a young, school-aged child or children, and doesn't have to work to continue to bring in an income to support this family? That's an extremely rare case, if so.

And even here, if you have that much money saved, why on earth would you go to the US? The public schools here are terrible, generally the worst in the developed world (some of them in extremely high-cost-of-living locales are ok). Of course, you could send your kids to private schools, but if you can afford to not work at all, live in the US, and send your kids to really nice private schools, then by definition you are extremely wealthy.

> extremely wealthy

Many wealthy people don't realize how unusual they are, because all their friends are the same. It's like the story of a PhD student joyously exclaiming he was graduating and the professor replies, "That's nothing special. All my friends are PhDs."

On the opposite end of things, a friend of mine refused to believe the proportion of US citizens who are millionaires. He explained that he knew about 1,000 people in his hometown and none of them were millionaires. I couldn't convince him that things were different in other places, partly because of the number of beers we'd drunk that night.

He makes it look like it's easy. There are a lot of different outfits competing in the same space, a whole industry set up to clean restaurant Kitchen Hoods, Grease Traps, Floors, etc and it is super competitive. The only plus is your costs are not super high (pressure washer, mops, buckets, hoses, and vacuums). Detergent can be purchased as you need it. Labor will be difficult with employees calling sick, not showing up, not doing a good job, etc.

The most successful part of this industry were the outfits making their own soaps, detergents, etc and providing them to the cleaner/cleaning companies.

There is no easy money unless you know someone who can help you get some big contracts. Otherwise you will be chasing the same nickle the other 10 guys are.

my father in law did commercial HVAC work as an independent and his wife did the books. He made 250k/year before retiring.

The work was very physically demanding though. He wanted to hand the whole business to his son but the son wasn't interested. Ironically, his son is a phd at the University of Chicago studying ancient turtle teeth, or something like that, and can barely pay the rent for his apartment.

High school my best paying job was assembling busses for Chance Coach for $18/hr (in 2002 dollars). I mainly installed windows, seats, and A/C units. This was not easy work, it was not in air conditioning, and coworkers didn't like working with "a kid". I truly appreciate my SE career now though and I think it taught me a lot about resiliency and getting your hands dirty.

A buddy of mine owns a commercial carpet cleaning business in the NYC metro. His company operates at around 20% profit after salaries, benefits, equipment repair/replace (replaced all generators this year), chemicals, garage rent for his 3 trucks, etc.

I'm not saying you can't get away with less equipment, staff, etc, but you aren't able to scale the work up.

That's sounds pretty great and you could probably replace yourself, leaving you with some nice residual income.

Lots of talk about professionals earning more than this. But you can do this kind of thing with no education at all. Right out of school. All you have to do is, be willing to get your hands dirty.

One of the best business models is, selling something that is mandated. Like cleaning restaurant floors (health and safety rules).

Willing to get your hands dirty, wrecking your health, and never having time to socialize because you sleep when others are awake. Nightshift work is associated with all kinds of health problems.


In a previous life I earned good money doing re-modelling in banks and office buildings. Because these businesses needed to stay open with minimal disruption, a lot of work was done at night and weekends.

I never got used to switching from day to night and days off were spent mostly sleeping.

Eventually it came to an end, after about 8 years, and I returned to the land of the living, working 9-5. The adjustment was difficult and the drop in income wasn't much fun either.

I ended up changing jobs every few weeks because there was always some reason to leave and eventually I just stopped working altogether. I didn't know it the time but I was drifting into a severe depression that lasted several years and ended with me living on the street.

I can't say for sure that working nights for so long set me on that road but I have a strong suspicion that it was a major factor.

I got lucky after a short while, got back into work and it's all just a bad memory now. I do wonder where I'd be now though if I'd just stuck to working days, like most people do?

Mowing lawns; repairing sidewalks; testing car emissions. Many public-mandated jobs can be done during the day.

Restaurant knife sharpening is another small business that prints money.

There's tons of businesses that "print money" as one or two man LLCs but they don't scale well beyond that point. There's several overhead jumps as your company grows to a point where you have to pay someone else to do something because you can no longer do it yourself (hiring your first few employees, company gets so big you need to get someone to do HR/payroll stuff, company owns so much stuff you need to hire someone to specifically maintain the equipment, etc, etc). Sure you can scale but then some other smaller business with lower margins comes along and out-competes you. For businesses where the cost of entry is low this happens fast.

It also is worth mentioning that owning a small business is not nearly as good of a work/life balance as being an employee. Expect to work 40hr week managing the business directly and then another 20-40 doing all the behind the scenes stuff that the business needs in order to run. Obviously conditions vary a lot based on what you do and the local economy.

Yeah, our 2-man devops consulting business was printing money until we tried to scale up. Consulting needs a constant stream of new clients so you need a sales guy, then you need to carry a bench so you can start working on new contracts ASAP, then you need benefits and salaries to attract the kind of senior talent you expect from a consultancy, computers, desks, space...

It's even worse in blue collar industries where you have OSHA and possibly DOT circling like vultures waiting for you to slip up. The regs are basically written in a way that it's impossible to comply with the letter of the law 100% of the time at scale. You can't possibly be sure every employee will do everything perfect all the time. It's like speeding. Everyone does it and the unlucky pay the price. One person can't be bothered to tie off to the scissor lift and there goes everyone's bonus.

In the UK we also have a VAT tax cliff that further compounds this problem. If your business makes more than £80k you have to add 20% VAT, but before that you don't. It results in strange scenarios like an accountant recently told a family friend to take more vacations as she was getting too close to the cliff.

Makes a lot of small businesses unscalable, but also makes a lot of smaller business ideas viable.

Do they bring the equipment in and sharpen on-site or do they bring freshly sharpened knives and take the dull ones to be sharpened? Seems like if you had enough initial capital you could buy a ton of new sharp knives, swap them every day, and then spend a whole weekend day doing the sharpening of the knives you rotated out. Then you could keep your 9-5 M-F and make some cash by working a pretty low stress weekend day.

I worked in kitchens for about 10 years and the most common model I am aware of is to pick up the knives weekly and drop some other ones off. I assumed the knives belonged to the sharpening folks. They were garbage knives, but garbage knives are as good as your $300 tempered Japanese knife if you sharpen them.

And then for a couple of days after you gotta tell all your fellow cooks "watch the knives" or you'd all cut yourself after a month of handling what amount to stainless steel rods.

A blunt knife is a dangerous knife. It's stupid to use a blunt knife at all, let alone for weeks on end.

While you can get a good edge on a knife made with garbage steel, the edge goes away quickly.

Those cheap restaurant supply knives he's talking about can hold an edge just fine. They look cheap because they have that plastic handle, but they are very durable in my experience.

Durable yes, good edge retention? Not so much. Restaurants like this tend to prefer softer more durable steels, like that found in your classic Henkels (usually refereed to as German stainless). A chef's personal knives tend to be a very different style. Usually modeled after the Japanese style of knife (very thin stock, very high (62+) hrc). And the steel tends to be either carbon steel or vg-10 or better for stainless.

But if you think about it, maybe that's much better type of knife for the sharpening company. You need their service all the time.

Many sharpening companies provide knives and keep them sharp for a flat rate. The more they have to be sharpened, the faster they get worn out. If it is on the sharpening company to replace worn blades, they will want to strike a balance between lifespan and replacement costs.

The fancy "Japanese steel" knives cost the earth, but high-quality commercial knives (99% identical) don't. Commercial knives are designed with a different approach to safety. They usually have larger grips/guards that, while cumbersome to noobs, reduce injuries. A blade destined to be used constantly and resharpened many many times will also be substantially heavier. That may seem a problem for cutting tomatoes in your kitchen at home, but try prepping a few hundred chickens each day for a week and you will appreciate the heft.

My dad pays a guy to come to his house in a van and sharpen his fishing knives in the driveway. He fishes a few times a week and has quite a few knives. I was surprised at the price he paid (although I forget exactly what it was), but he only does it a couple of times a year (I assume due to his large knife collection).

The guy has all the equipment in his van and does everything on site, and it's his full time job. We're a coastal town with year-round fishing, and the guy apparently makes a decent living because of that.

I cook a lot and I like having sharp knives (makes keeping all of my fingers easier). I get mine sharpened every few months and pay about $5/knife at a mom-and-pop sharpening shop. I could learn to sharpen them, but it's not very much fun, and for $5/knife, there's really no reason other than having an extra bit of knowledge.

When I was a kid there was a knife sharpening truck that'd come to my block (Queens, NYC) twice a year. Think ice cream man / food truck, but for sharpening knives. They would take your knives, and you come back some time later and they're as sharp as can be. For straight blades you can do it yourself, but to hone something with serrations is much more difficult and they'd do it no problem. They'd also let curious kids watch from just outside the truck :)

so how do they sharpen knives with serraed edges?

Probably Mike & Son Sharpening Service , just used them last month, such a great guy, highly recommended.

I discussed this with my barber. Professional grade scissors used to cut hair are very expensive (over $1000). They have them sharpened regularly. They swap them out for another pair to take them off site to be sharpened but I believe they swap back after.

Both, some are full knife contractors so the restaurant doesn't need to buy any, and drop off freshly sharpened replacements and others are just somebody with a van onsite. Large butcher shops and delis need this service too.

I heard a podcast where the guy did this out of his house. He had a self-serve dropbox in his front yard that people could deposit knives into (in addition to going around to businesses).

I know a guy in Sacramento with a lawn mowing business. He hirs high school guys and pays them minimum wage. He has 4-6 teams going 4 days a week, and he clears $300K a year. His expenses are 6 trucks, 40 riding mowers, and gas. His employees tend to be high school burn outs.

Perhaps I should add he's a mid-50's immigrant from Vietnam with a giant extended family, and he's their only earner. The guy works his ass off.

He clears $300k selling weed on the side :)

don't understand why they would pay $100/hour to have floors cleaned when restaurants pay employees $15/hour or close to minimum wage for low-skilled work. is cleaning floors so difficult that it necessitates a specialist who charges $100/hour?

Because of laws stating you have to professionally steam clean kitchens/floors at X intervals, this guy probably is doing a few dozen restaurants per month on a weekly basis not the same one every night.

Normal non grease/kitchen specialist cleaning is ten cents per sq.ft per month or so for cleaners so even cheaper than having your own employees do it, with liability protection.

How often do you think the floors get cleaned?

How much equipment or tools do you think the average linecook brings to work? How much do they pay to maintain it?

> It usually comes out to no less than $100 per hour

So the person works 10 hours a night?

Across their team, sure. In the Reddit thread, the OP said he has employees.

"no less than", but yes, it does sound like that

Nice to see /r/entrepreneur get linked here. If you can get past the wantrepreneur BUY MY EBOOK spam bullshit there's a lot of good information in that sub.

I especially like the more location-sensitive, small business posts like this one. I like to think that someone can provide good advice and someone else from a totally different region can apply that knowledge in their own community, which is a net gain for that local economy.

r/EntrepreneurRideAlong used to be another one, with a specific focus on starting a cleaning service in 27 days.

> wantrepreneur

I'm super curious... when does a wantrepreneur convert to an entrepreneur? Like... if you call somebody out/knock them for being a wantrepreneur but calling themselves an entrepreneur, you are "hating" and it "fuels them" until they "finally make it"

How many actually make it though?

In the context I provided, I think a wantrepreneur is anyone presenting themselves at a far higher value/position than they are in reality, usually in a matter that is detrimental to others.

I know starting a business is all about "faking it until you make it", but there are tons of braggarts talking about "wielding influence and connections" (because they purchased 20,000 twitter followers) or "becoming a product visionary" (because they hopped on the instagram/twitch/dropshipping bandwagon at the right time and have no redeeming differentiation). Usually these personalities are just annoying, but sometimes these people have hostile intentions.

I personally call myself a wantrepreneur occasionally, as someone who is interested in the culture and community of founders, but who hasn't actually delivered a product yet.

Follow the hustle porn. My empirical studies show 1/10. Most of them I see who makes a good living does so with repeated failures in their business history and new knowledge going into the new venture.

Getting back up -> grit -> extended network -> new business idea -> better support -> ??? -> $$$

Being at the right place at the right time also helps.

Many posts here mention the physical difficulties of the floor cleaning business, presumably from moving heavy equipment, etc. One person mentioned carpal tunnel syndrome from repeatedly working a valve on a spray wand.

So there might be even more money here for someone who can figure out how to solve these problems: lighter tools, ergonomically designed handles and triggers, etc.

As they say, “Where there’s muck, there’s brass”.

The way to do it is bill $1000/night but pay someone $50/night to actually clean the floor.

I love this sort of thing.

One of my favourite things to read about are entrepreneurs (although they were doing this before they was even a name for it) in an industry that seems simple to outsiders (say, freight haulage) and building a business out of nothing. No fancy education, no world-changing technological insight, just pure hard work and business smarts to see where the opportunities lie, when and how much to bet, and building on each success to make a bigger one.

It's not romantic to most people, so these kinds of stories don't get heard much, and there's a sneering snobbery about people who, when they got rich, don't have a good story which complies with the enlightened public's idea of a "genius" - they tend to assume rich people must be academically brilliant, or they could only have got rich doing something unethical.

Read up on Marks and Spencers (first retailer in UK to pass £1bn in profit), founded by a poor Polish immigrant and a cashier. There are tonnes of stories like that, much better inspiration than a lot of the SV Ivy League grad gets showered with VC money story (which, incidentally, feeds into the mistaken notion that there are only opportunities for the rich and well-connected under capitalism).

The beautiful thing about business opportunities is that you can create them by mastering a niche.

And once you do, You can charge a lot more.

I'm interested in learning how to do this.

It's a business, so you'll have to figure out some of it yourself. Otherwise it would be a job.

“where’s there’s muck, there’s money”

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