Today, the owner of Wildland Forestry & Environmental, Inc. performed a controlled burn for a client. About 5 miles from the nearest major roadway, it was one sweaty, tiring day. Upon returning home, he checked his beard for tics and fleas, washed thoroughly to rinse away the Poison Ivy, blew the soot out of his nose, and threw his jeans, sweatshirt and bandana directly into the wash with extra detergent.
Welcome to a typical, grungy day in the life of Brandon Price.
At first blush, it sounds good to be out in the woodlands, breathing in the fresh forest air. But to work the forests, says Price, “you’ve gotta be ready for some serious grunginess.”
His Liberty, NC-based Wildland Forestry & Environmental, Inc. is a forest and wildlife consulting business offering specialized landowner services. Among other things, Brandon Price does prescribed burnings and manages upland hardwood forests.
Doing What Others Won’t
On a daily basis, his employees are steeped in smoke, coated with soot, up to their waist in mud & briars, covered with spider webs, dealing with ill-tempered wildlife, traveling 5-8 miles per day across unimproved terrain, mixing herbicides, spray-painting trees in the wind, walking through acres of woodland with a poison-ivy understory, using chainsaws in 90-degree heat, digging fire lines in a hurry, gathering data in pouring rain and talking somewhat nervously to scary individuals they happen upon in the middle of nowhere.
Launched in 2005, Price loves what he does, enough to laugh at the grunge factor and aggressively pursue the accolade he’s now earned from StartupNation as THE grungiest home-based business of 2008.
He’s not unlike other winners from this year’s Top Ten Grungiest. Take Morgan Dresser and her Mo-bile Suds Laundry Service. This Phoenix, AZ-based entrepreneur has no fear when it comes to dirt and grime as a lifestyle. After all, her business as a contractor to FEMA takes her to the front lines of natural disasters where she’s responsible for cleaning the clothes and gear of forest fire fighters, tornado recovery teams, earthquake rescue teams, and more. Clothes lines on the front lines – yes she finishes clean but starts out each washing extremely grungy in large quantities.
Of course, there’s the repeat winner, Coldsweep, Randell Heath’s Mountain Green, Utah-based dry ice blasting business, which takes him into smokestacks and other grungey hotspots. And a favorite from this year’s Top Ten Grungiest, OdorSweep, LLC, based out of Garner, NC. Owner Stacy Blackman has made a business out of odor busting. He goes into people’s smelliest disaster areas, bathrooms, basements, rented apartments, and rids the places of their odoriferousness.
The key, it appears, is being willing to do work that others would shy away from. In contrast with the Most Glamorous, these businesses and the people behind them would be bored with celebs and fashion and days filled with all things ritzy. Instead, they’re all about getting their hands dirty. And faces, and clothes, and shoes. The only thing that’s not dirty about these grungey winners is their money, which, by working hard at things nobody else is willing to do, helps them make a good, clean living.