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Marty Metro, CEO of Used Boxes

A great idea

Beginning with the modest goal of purchasing used boxes for “say, $.10 apiece,” then reselling them to new customers, Metro took advantage of the constant need for boxes that were being used only once before being thrown away. After a brief shutdown, Metro’s company now deals with Fortune 500 companies. He cites a scalable business model, high volume transactions and low overhead as the keys to his idea's eventual success.

Wanting to make a difference

What brought Metro into this entrepreneurial, green attitude? In his former career, he was a software engineer and, in his own words, “I was just travelling around the country either fixing people’s software or designing software that, to me, made very little impact on the world.” In his 30s, realizing that he wanted to make his mark on the world, he found a way to connect the people who were throwing moving boxes away with those getting ready to move.

Learning from failure

Metro talks about how his first attempt to make OnceUsedBoxes.com was unsuccessful, and points out that his major mistake was not having a solid business plan. He cites three questions that new entrepreneurs must know the answers to if they want to succeed at their business:

1. How much do you sell it for?

2. How much do you buy it for?

3. Now, how many times do you have to do that transaction in order to cover all your overhead?

Green business, Metro says, must make money – it can’t be just a feel-good company if it’s going to succeed. It’s a principal he learned the hard way, and one he claims governs all his green business choices now.


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