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Airbnb hosts are happily paying this startup $49 a month to take out the trash

Dan Latu   

Airbnb hosts are happily paying this startup $49 a month to take out the trash
  • One Arizona man was tired of taking the trash out from the house to the curb.
  • He started Can Monkey, which appeals to Airbnb hosts wanting to spare guests from checkout chores.

Marc Zagoury was sick of forgetting to put his trash on the curb and bickering with family over whose turn it was to take out the bins.

Zagoury, who lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, outside Phoenix, discovered his neighbors were similarly fed up with the chore.

In 2018, he founded a startup called Can Monkey, which allows homeowners or property managers to outsource a simple task: wheeling out full cans for pickup on the correct day, and then taking them back inside when empty.

Can Monkey initially served about 100 properties in the Scottsdale area. Then, in 2019, Zagoury's cofounder Alex Shapiro overheard a friend who ran an Airbnb complain about the logistics of taking out the trash at three different properties.

"I'd pay someone $100 a month to take care of it for me," the friend said, according to Shapiro.

Today, Can Monkey takes out the trash for more than 7,000 properties in 18 cities from Miami to San Diego. The company estimates that over 80% of the homes are Airbnbs or other short-term rentals.

Some Airbnb guests have protested loudly that cleaning fees are too high and the chores some hosts request upon checkout are too onerous. Some hosts have responded to the criticisms by getting rid of cleaning fees and chores. Can Monkey's offer to take out the trash so that guests and hosts don't have to especially helps people who may manage their rental properties from afar or as a side hustle to their day jobs. For $49 a month, it's one less stressor for short-term rental property owners or managers in an increasingly competitive business.

Shapiro said hosts have called Can Monkey's services a "godsend."

"The two biggest issues for guests are 'What's the Wi-Fi password?' and 'When do we take out the trash?'" Shapiro told Business Insider. "We're able to take away one of those main issues."

Can Monkey works like DoorDash for trash

For $49 a month, Can Monkey customers are guaranteed to have their bins picked up and returned on time and in accordance with local schedules.

Users download the Can Monkey app and can write in custom instructions for their trash taker-outer, called a runner. The company currently has 500 active runners.

Runners function much like Doordash, Uber Eats, or Grubhub drivers, Shapiro said. They log into the app whenever they want to pick up some hours, and Can Monkey presents them with a route that, for example, will take an hour to complete and pay out $40. Runners can choose to do as many routes as they want in their area.

Shapiro said many drivers pick up Can Monkey routes during off-hours from their other gig-worker jobs. Take noon to 4 p.m., when lunchtime food deliveries wind down but rush hour for rideshares hasn't started.

Finding Airbnb-host customers on Facebook

Can Monkey has found customers by starting Facebook groups for Airbnb hosts and owners. Members use the forums to seek advice, like how to find good cleaning services, or share problems, like how to deal with a guest who damages property.

Shapiro said he used to get kicked out of other Facebook groups for Airbnb hosts because he posted about Can Monkey, so he started his own. Now, one of the groups has grown to over 12,000 members.

Since its founding, Can Monkey has expanded into 18 different markets including Miami, Austin, Denver, and San Diego. Shapiro says its busiest markets are its original base of Scottsdale and Orlando, which both attract travelers year-round.

It's been a learning curve handling the large trash pickups generated by bachelor and bachelorette parties in Nashville, Shapiro added.

Can Monkey runners have seen guests throw out brand-new suitcases, expensive pool floats, and barely-used elaborate party decorations, he said.

"There could be a whole other business buying and reselling the stuff guests leave behind in Airbnbs," Shapiro said.


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