Some of the most brilliant ideas have the humblest beginnings – for Cassie Collinson, it came to her while at lunch with her father when she was just 20 years old and scrawled out her business plan on the back of a paper placemat. After graduating high school, she had been working full-time for the family rooter business. After drawing up the proposal for a business Cassie admits she truly knew nothing about, she was approved for a $68,000 business loan and used it to purchase her first flatbed, tank, and 20 toilets from a portable toilet manufacturer. This was the start of portable restroom business CASSIE’S CANS.
Cassie remembers the first toilet she delivered to a jobsite in Westerly: “I dropped it while taking it off the truck in front of my first customer ever!” she says. “They helped pick it up and carry it for me, and clearly knew I had no clue what I was doing.” Though embarrassed, Cassie recalls the feeling of pride on the ride home.
Over the first two years, Cassie serviced all of the portable toilets herself, learning the ins and outs of the business and practically running her office out of the service truck. It was a lesson in work ethic, failures, and growing up, Cassie remembers, and it was entirely worth it. Fast forward to today, and Cassie’s Cans boasts three full-time service trucks, hundreds of signature lime green toilets, a growing list of clients, and an “awesome crew of girls getting it done every week,” says Cassie of her team.
“Some of the day-to-day responsibilities of the girls include servicing job sites throughout RI every week, stocking supplies, managing routes, fixing and repairing toilets, maintenance on their service trucks, and more,” she explains. Cassie’s Cans operates around Rhode Island year-round, hired by both small builders and large corporations, for everything from monthly projects to two- year-long construction contracts.
“I started this company to offer customers a new level of cleanliness when it comes to the portable sanitation industry,” says Cassie. “My goal is to change the way customers think about these restrooms.” And thanks to careful indoor storage and thorough cleaning, their tagline rings true: “The Greenest & Cleanest Can serving all of Rhode Island!”
When the young entrepreneur looks back on her journey, she says, “Building a business from the ground up feels like you never get to clock out. But it’s been a very rewarding process driving around Rhode Island and seeing more and more of our lime green toilets on different job sites.” Cassie is excited to see what the future holds, and plans on giving it everything she’s got as she continues to redefine the trade.
“I would describe my company as providing a service in a man’s world,” says Cassie. “The waste industry is not for everyone, but it will never go away.”
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