Another million-dollar business idea

July 16, 2019 by Joshua
in Entrepreneurship

Years ago I’d write business ideas as I came up with them. I don’t remember how long ago I posted the last one, but one of them ended up getting a large number of posts by people considering doing it.

Readers of my latest book Initiative, which I recommend reading, know the principle The idea of a lifetime comes once a month, so why hoard ideas? Doing them takes the time and resources that may take a lifetime, but the idea itself? They’re abundant.

The origin

The other day I noticed how many free couches are available all the time on Craig’s List, at least around New York City.

I just checked. There are at least 53 free couches available now around New York City and I don’t think there was anything special about today:

53 free couches!!

Nearly all, I’ll bet, end up in landfills. They’re free. I’m sure some are garbage, but it’s tough to beat a non-stop supply of free.

The idea: 500 couches

The idea is to buy a van, hire a few movers, rent a large, empty space, pick up the couches, and sell them from the warehouse.

I propose calling the company 500 Couches, or however many will fit in the space you rent so people can see them.

There are no capital costs — maybe the truck, though you can start by renting. Your product has zero marginal cost. You have mainly the fixed costs of rent and salaries. You can market your company as green since you’re saving stuff that would have gone into landfills.

You just keep picking up couches, only taking ones better than the ones in stock, getting rid of them either by selling them or throwing ones nobody wants out.

Throwing them out doesn’t seem so harmful to the environment given that you saved them from going to landfills.


The main problems I see are hidden stains or broken parts the customer finds after the sale and bedbugs. These problems seem surmountable.

Also, you motivate people to throw out couches in the way that putting the word “recyclable” on something leads people to see it as environmentally benign even when it isn’t, as Trader Joe’s does with all its products, which I find disgusting.

Next steps

If you want to make the idea happen, go for it. I’m sure I missed some problems and it may not be easy to implement, but my tells me it could work.

If you do it, let me know.

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