Bottled Water Experiment

Purpose of Experiment: To prove my make money with no money business ideas can work.

Hypothesis: It is possible to take less than $10 in startup capital and make money.

Experiment: Buy a 24-pack of bottled water and sell it on the side of the road. Possibly utilize the labor of pan-handlers.

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Step 1:
I went to my local H.E.B. grocery store the previous night of the experiment and purchased a 24-pack of Dasani water for $5.99.

I put the water in the fridge overnight to let it chill.

Step 2:
Quick Research.
On the way to a party, I stopped to ask a bum what would happen if I sold water by the highway alongside other bums, and it didn’t seem like a pretty picture. He told me, “You are a rich college student, and the guy at the corner is trying to get a meal, the hungry guy won’t be too happy with you.”

To get around this, I wanted to partner with one of the regular bums who knows the in’s and out’s of panhandling. I made an agreement to meet at 3:00pm with this guy, William Austin to sell bottled water with me. I told him whether we sold all the water or not, I would give him $10 for his help.

The picture didn’t come out so well, but in person he was all smiles and very jovial.

I also didn’t want to get arrested or fined. A few nights ago I stopped to ask two very courteous police officers what they would do if they saw me selling water without a permit. One replied, “I can’t speak for every officer, but personally I wouldn’t bother you unless you start causing problems.”

So I now had a partner and no real threat of legal action. The experiment was on for 3:00pm on Sunday Afternoon!

Step 3:
An hour before the experiment I bought two bags of ice for $1.29 each. I packed the ice and water into a cooler.

I could only fit 15 bottles in my cooler, so I improvised and put the remaining 8 bottles directly into the ice bags with ice. I then double wrapped them with clean garbage bags for easy carrying.

Step 4:
Withdrew $20 in case I needed change and to pay my partner.

Step 5:
I made this nifty “Water $1″ t-shirt by taking on old shirt, turning it inside out (it had a logo on the front) and using a permanent marker to write on it.

I had a feeling this little gimmick would work very well.

Step 6:
Went out to go SELL SOME WATER. I went to look for William Austin at 3:00pm by the local Blockbuster like we agreed. When he didn’t show up I asked another bum to show me where he lived. I found him under a bridge, red-eyed and looking extremely tired. He hardly remembered who I was and said he had to cancel on me.

Step 7:
A bit disappointed, I went alone to the highly trafficked intersection of I-35 and Riverside Drive. There I met a bum named Barry:

I’ve seen Barry before. He is one of the bums that holds funny signs like, “I gave up caviar for Lent” and “I need new wheels for my limo”

I told Barry about my water experiment, and promised to give him $10 for an hour of his time/expertise, regardless of how many bottles he sold. He was more than happy to help. We shook on the deal and became instant business partners!

Step 8:
START SELLING. Barry knew a little about water selling. He told me to hold three bottles at once and start walking down the idle lanes of traffic yelling “Water Water!” Barry put the “Water $1″ shirt on and started selling water like a champ! I stood on a different corner in my plain clothes and started selling. My first sale came within 6 seconds of starting (and it was a $2.00 sale!)


In less than 30 mintues we sold all 24 bottles.

Click HERE to see a video of Barry in action. (1 MB video)

Click HERE to see our progress after about 25 minutes. (1.5 MB video)

Step 9:
Tabulate results:

BOTTLES SOLD:
Me: 14 Bottles
Barry: 10 Bottles

So to make a better profit, one would need to: Preferably perform the experiment by themselves, buy cheaper water, buy only one bag of ice instead of two, buy more than 24 bottles.

CONCLUSION: Selling bottled water can be much more lucrative than sitting on your couch on a lazy afternoon!

UPDATE: Bottled Water Experiment Part 2

Blog posted on: April 3, 2005

187 comments on “Bottled Water Experiment

    1. Da Dog

      With a go getta like this, there could be some serious comtetition with the Chinese (or North Koreans) for the lamest capitalists on earth.
      Stay in school dude. Standing on the street is just a good way to get shot. Stay indoors/stay in school.

      Reply
  1. Kate Bean

    LOL! That’s a great experiment and it really proves your point about not needing a lot of capital to start a business. It’s too bad your first business partner didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to sell water this summer! :)

    Reply
  2. Jacob

    Nev, this is awesome. I am also starting up capital experiments in my state here in California. I also believe that little bit of cash can start some capital. Here is a plug for my blog check it out.

    It will work pretty much like yours except im gonnna take one step further. Stay Turned!

    Reply
  3. Canadian Capitalist

    Neville,
    That was an excellent experiment. I can’t believe you sold out in 1/2 hour. Wow!

    Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Nev, did anyone react in a negative way? I.E…did they ask if the water was new, or check the seal around the top? Just wondering…

    Reply
  5. Neville

    Kate,
    Don’t bother “working up the nerve”…JUST DO IT!

    Jacob,
    Looking forward to your money experiments.

    Arbee,
    I can’t believe the water went so fast either. When I first told Barry about the idea, he said, “You’re gonna need a lot more than 24 bottles.”

    Anonymous,
    Surprisingly no one acted in a negative way. I purposely bought only Dasani water so people would be familiar with it, and I was dressed like a regular college student going to class.

    Not that I cared all that much, but I did notice some stares and comments. I’m sure the comments went something like, “Why is that kid on the side of the road.” I didn’t exactly fit the model for the typical bum on those corners. I would also get lots of inquisitve looks when I whipped out my camera or cell phone!

    Funny observation: Kids will stare you down and never break eye contact!

    Reply
  6. Cap

    good read :) I’m a bit surprised you went through with it, or at least, took so much pictures. Must have been interesting to see someone selling water while whipping out their digital camera to take pics and cell phone to take calls.

    Reply
  7. Johnie

    Good job, Nev.

    A couple of thoughts though:
    Your maximum profit minus materials/supplies is $15.43. From the outset, you made a mistake in offering $10 to your partner. That gives him a guaranteed of at least 65% of the maximum profit. Your maximum profit minus labor for yourself is $5.43 and maximum loss is $18.57.

    In addition, for the time that he worked, you were paying him almost $20/hour.

    I think a more equitable rate would have been $5. That comes out to be 1/3 of the maximum profit (which is the amount of work that he actually does). This also accounts for
    (1) the risk that you’re taking on in this experiment
    (2) the time in planning / researching / purchasing the supplies

    The other thing comment that I would add is that you’re limiting your maximum profit by stating straight out the price. The value of something is what others are willing to pay for it. From the pictures, it looks like you’re selling at some intersection where drivers/passengers in hot weather are a captured audience. I may have set the price at $2.50/bottle and haggled down. Maybe say 2 for $3 or something like that. [This price is geography dependent though] The price should also be tailored to the consumer. If you think you can get more from one person, you should definitely maximize that. In NYC, Dasani water from vending machines are at least $1.50, so that may be why I think your price is too low.

    Along the Holland Tunnel leading into NYC, there are always guys out there that sell water and other drinks for upwards of $5/bottle. Sometimes the backup in traffic leading into the tunnels are there for an hour.

    Now onto the positive things I saw. The choice in product was great. Basically, at the price that you set, that is a 300% profit margin. There are very few things that you can sell with such a high profit margin.

    Anyways, keep up the good work..

    Reply
  8. Jonathan

    Volume! You need volume! Also, as graduation comes up, I must say, people were selling $2 waters and they were going like hotcakes at my graduation (you may not want to do this at yours (or maybe you do)). If I recall, Texas is HOT during May. I bet you’d make some bling.

    Otherwise, great job!

    Jonathan@MyMoneyBlog

    Reply
  9. Team Captain

    You are certainly an enterprising young man. Our country needs more go getters like you. Keep it up and you’ll be very rich very soon.

    Reply
  10. Anonymous

    Interesting experiment, but you missed a couple of points.

    First, $1 a bottle is too cheap.
    Second, you forgot to take income taxes out of your profit.
    Third, you forgot to take taxes out for your employee.

    In other words, in a vaccum, it is a profitable enterprise. In the real world, maybe not so much.

    Reply
  11. Neville

    Thanks “Team Captain” for the kind words.

    I think America is the greatest country in the world, and because of all our luxuries, we now have some of the the laziest people in the world too! How quickly we take for granted all the hard work and bloodshed of previous generations to have what we have.

    I grew up in America, but luckily I have travelled a lot and have seen how difficult it is to succeed in other countries (I won’t even pretend to say I “know” how hard it is, because I don’t).

    Therefore I know that to get “rich” you really have to just get out there and DO SOMETHING. I’m not all that enterprising, I just realize how hard I must work to make it on my own.

    It seems ironic that out of at least 10 people I asked, the only hard-working salesman I could find to help me was a homeless man!!

    Reply
  12. Anonymous

    How funny is this? I am amazed at your attitude and laughing like crazy – keep up the good work, Nev.

    Reply
  13. Anonymous

    I agree, I think this site is great. I hope you continue to “investigate” these different money making ideas.

    The pictures and videos are very helpful!

    Reply
  14. Sean

    I saw a refrigerator in a picture, so I assume you have a freezer. You could have made your ice for free with a little planning…. adding $2.58 to the bottom line.

    Reply
  15. joshua estrin

    BRAVO! As a 35 year old social entrepeneur I would offer you the next layer of the onion so to speak.

    Sell your water, but align your
    self with a local charity, perhaps a homless shelter and agree to donate a portion of the proceeds back to said charity

    results:

    1. You can buy the water tax free
    2. the water might be donated by a local distributer
    3.You will be able to garnish some very positive PR
    4.You make money and make a difference

    As the CEO of a nationally recognized strategic consulting firm we call it CAUSE MARKETING

    All kidding aside think global and know that your formula will work.

    You also prove that with a basic strategic business plan no matter how big or small the venture success can stick.

    Job well done…

    Know for the sake of being PC call your workforce homeless..BUM is…well call them homeless

    and know i did a very similar collaboration with my new book Shut Up and Listen to Yourself as the proceeds are gogin in part to charity…it is available at

    http://www.conceptsinsuccess.com and http://www.amazon.com

    je

    Reply
  16. Neville

    Joshua,

    Thanks for the post. Another successful entrepreneur I know told me a very similar strategy, I guess great minds think alike!

    By the way, what other ventures have you pursued?

    I would love it if you continue to visit my site, but more importantly, leave your comments, criticisms and advice!

    -Nev

    Reply
  17. Joshua

    I have added you to my favorites….

    At 35 I feel very lucky to be able to have realized success, but even more blessed to be able to share it and I am constantly looking for new and innovative ways to do so

    Your blog is great contact me at

    jestrin@conceptsinsuccess.com

    and let’s brainstorm, I think we could make some magic together and make people stop and take notice!

    je

    Reply
  18. Anonymous

    Some have suggested that you could or should have sold the water for a higher price … only in America are we willing to pay > $2.00 for water yet complain about $2.00 for gasoline. The water out of my tap (that has gone through a home filtration system and a tap filter system) is still free – this old man doesn’t understand why we buy bottled water.

    Reply
  19. Anonymous

    Remember, though, that even tap water isn’t free. You pay for that tap water either directly via a monthly water bill or indirectly via state taxes.

    And that home filtration system doesn’t make that water “free” either. Although the more water you drink, the lower the marginal cost of that water to you.

    What amazes me even more is that bottled water usually is nothing more than bottled tap water.

    Reply
  20. Dan

    In regards to your post, you didn’t account for the energy used or depreciate the refrigerator as part of your expenses. You also didn’t include the t-shirt or the marker. All said, I think you’ve considerable overstated your earnings and should immediately hire legal counsel.

    Reply
    1. Andy Martin

      Good little experiment there Neville and I feel that schemes such as this could easily be established in towns and cities globally. In Scotland we have a magazine called the Big Issue, which covers various topics. The homeless purchase the magazines at a cut price and then sell them for around £2 each. The problems lies in the fact that it is a product I’d rather save my money on instead of buying. It is a simple case of researching the publics needs and then supplying the demand.

      For those who state profits margins could be greater blah blah blahhhh……..this is simply an experiment that teaches the basics of entrepreneurial skills and will help anyone with a couple of pennies make the most of their money.

      Keep up the good work!

      Reply
  21. F.E.

    I agree with using a variable pricing point. Better to say on the shirt “ICE COLD WATER” – if it’s a hot day, it will make people even thirstier.

    Reply
  22. Smarty

    Great experiment. To increase the profit margin, I would suggest buyer a larger quantity of water in a wholesale place. Sometimes there’s a deal in staples or office depot where you can use a dollar-off coupon to get the per/bottle water down to 10 cents. Make your own ice. If you’re willing to step it up, I would say you’ll bring more water to sell, at least 100 bottles. And hire a few more homeless people to help you out.

    You’d be making money AND creating jobs for homeless people.

    Reply
  23. Casey

    I’s amazing to read all these different comments. Most people don’t even think of the idea, let alone praise someone for thinking and going out to do great things they will always be broke mentaly and financially. All true wealth comes from the idea first then someone who’s willing to roll up there sleeves and make it happen. You are in the top 5% of America just for thinking about the idea and working it out. Congrats, Casey

    Reply
  24. caliraver

    Wow, this is great…I agree with some comments others have already made, so I wont be redundant…but I am working on starting a bottled water company…that’s how I came across your blog. I could use someone like you on my team!

    Reply
  25. jon oropeza

    Nice job Nev, dig the blog and especially this post. Funny thing is I had the same idea last weekend. A migrant was selling roses alongside Ventura Blvd. When he walked by my car I told him that I didn’t quiero any rosas, but that I was hot as hell and that if he was selling water instead of flowers, in my current state of stifling sweatiness I’d happily pay 5 bucks for a bottle. Poor guy just gave me a sad look and walked on…

    Reply
  26. OskarShapley

    Your experiment is really important. It shows that there do exist one-man self-employment opportunities in the economy. It’s sad that the first poster here thinks that’s hilarious.

    Let’s do some back of the envelope calculations (I’ll exclude paying :

    Variable cost per bottle: $0.35
    Price per bottle: $1
    Profit per bottle: $0.65

    Bottles sold by salesman per hour: 24
    (that’s ca 2 per minute, one can’t sell them much faster)

    Profit per hour: $15.6
    Minimum wage in the US: $5.15 per hour

    As you see this job would pay three times the minimum wage!

    This calculates into a full time job bringing in $32,448 per year (8hours*5days*52weeks).

    If you priced the bottle at $2, as other commenters have advised, you would gross in a mindboggling $82,368 per year…

    There is a small problem, at 24 bottles per hour, you would need 192 bottles per day. You would need some means of transport, which translates into higher additional capital expenditure.

    Forgetting about that problem and taking into account only the value of the 192 bottle per day, the necessary capital amounts to a paltry $67,2.

    Reply
  27. OskarShapley

    I ment to write:

    Let’s do some back of the envelope calculations (I’ll exclude paying the homeless guy the ten bucks and will assume it’s a one man company)

    Reply
  28. flyblackbutterfly

    Your experiment is right on point. I recently attended the MegaFest conference in Atlanta, and there is no doubt in my mind that the water/soda vendors hit the jackpot. I had a hard time finding the exhibitors. But, if you wanted water, it was there. And, people were buying.

    Reply
  29. vmospeaker

    http://www.choicechallengechange.com/

    I love this blog. often there is opportunity right in front of us. I especially like the empowerment of the homeless man. I would not however call him a bum because that is a derogative term. It’s clear that given the opportunity he was willing to become an instant entreprenur and probaly realizes that it beats begging.

    It takes a lot of courage to ask someone for help. How much courage do you think that it takes to beg?

    Reply
  30. vmospeaker

    This is great although I would not call your business partner a bum. how about you call him a entreprenur.

    It was he that allowed you through his assistance to make money on his turf. You gave him an opportunity and he was astute enough to recognize and take advantage of it. You supplied the seed money and because he knew the market, he also made the most profit.

    It takes a lot of courage to ask for help. How much courage do you think is required to beg. Bum, I think not.

    http://www.choicechallengechange.com/

    Reply
  31. Dus10 D

    Great idea. Everyone, this is just an experiment. How was he supposed to know he was going to sell it all in half an hour? That is what the experiment was for. He now knows, and he probably came to many of the same conclusions, such as, sell it for $2/bottle, bring more water, make own ice, buy in bulk, etc… Those are pretty obvious once you have the benefit of seeing that the experiment works.

    I think I would throw a twist on this, though. I would go into a high density pedestrian area, like a downtown area. Much more traffic; less likely to be run over. Besides, that is where all the vendors hangout. The only problem that I see is the vendors. They will likely get pissed if you are taking their potential business, and you have no license.

    Reply
  32. Anonymous

    If you sold the water that fast, you should have sold it for $2 a bottle.

    It sounds like you priced the product too low for the location, weather, etc.

    Another $ per bottle would have made $29 profit. Not bad if it sold in one hour.

    Reply
  33. Anonymous

    VERY nice analysis and action. Obvious progression would be to nto buy retail ice, buy water at better prices, and increase price of product, like WATER 2/$3, and buy one get one free deals. Just adapt any marketing you have ever seen to your business.

    Without Barry, and with 45-60 mins, and increasing your price 50%, you should have sold all your product with just one guy. Therefore, you gain $10, from Barry’s wages, and increasing the price 50% realistically should cut sales 30-35%, so you make the case last the full hour, or nearly so….appx $27/hr.

    Additionally, may I suggest one of 2 things have happened. 1) You impacted the bums, or 2) independent of you, someone did this as well. I suggest this, as I bought a sealed bottle at an intersection, exactly as described here, in Austin, on the other side of town, and I have been offered water on several occasions, when I did not buy.

    Reply
  34. Anonymous

    This was a fine experiment and we all know that if Nev was also homeless and quite hungry w/o a warm bed to goto, he would have written $3 on the shirt, and worked it from there, as well as made a different deal with his partner.

    Work done by necessity vs by choice often produces very different results, and its obvious Nev understands this thoroughly.

    I think such as experiment should be undertaken by myself and others to get ‘back to basics’ and think about the fundementals of being an entrepreneur.

    -thanks Nev, what’s next?

    Reply
  35. Cindy

    We founded an e-commerce custom label bottled water company, http://www.bottleyourbrand.com, with very little cash and love your guerilla marketing technique. Who knows, maybe an army of “bums” selling water is more effective than Google Adwords. It certainly would be cheaper.

    Reply
  36. Tim

    Dude, you’re a freakin genius! That’s great! :) Good stuff! I might have to copy cat you later this summer. Today, out of nowhere, it started snowing… :(

    Good job helping the bum too. That’s the best part.

    Reply
  37. Anonymous

    THis is great! It shows how you can get started in business with little money…as long as you are willing to work. I started out selling necklaces and friendship bracelets at concerts and festivals 15 years ago…and have built it into a real company with $13 million in annual sales. People thought i was crazy, so you have to get past that…but as long as you’re willing to hustle, you can do it!

    Reply
  38. Anonymous

    In the UK you can sell more or less anything, as long as you are on private property. Laws and restrictions kick in if you try to sell “in the street”. Loved your experiment – a true test. eoft

    Reply
  39. Anonymous

    “dewdew dewdew dewdew~~~~” (Twilight Zone – right?)
    Full circle or hampster wheel? I mean ‘carrying water’….. now where have I heard of that before? letmethink, letmethink ummmmm ….oh yeah, I remember! The Ages, the Eons, the Millennia, the plight of humanity the deprivation, the drudgery of …. ‘carring water’. Until PLUMBING! (YEAAAAAH! WHOOOOPPIE! HOORAY and HOZANNAS!) Until …. ‘BOTTLED WATER’. (AAARRGH! UGH! OOOPH!) OK, so I don’t like bottled water ( inane concession to the joy and necessity of water + the realities of modern life) but, Neville, what a wonderful idea and intriguing concept. I just need to think of a commodity more suitable to my notions.

    Reply
  40. John of Ford City, Pa.

    I happened across your lessons learned and shared during your experiment in capitalism. I was looking for information on the profit margins of bottled water as compared with profits on gasoline. Perhaps you could go to Congress and demonstrate that capitalism really works in spite of their obnoxious and crippling meddling in the free market; with the latest trash talk of wanting to crucify the oil companies for shortages price increases, due more in part to government regulation and excessive taxation then corporate greed.

    Reply
  41. shandise

    do you think the brand of waters affected your sales? Meaning if you had poland springs or aquafina do you think your profit would have been greater?

    clewis

    Reply
  42. webjockey

    What a coincidence! I had this very same idea today while stuck in traffic with my daughter, and Voila, you’ve already done it and it works!

    Reply
  43. Dividendium

    Really awesome. Kudos to you for your business savvy.

    One way to increase the profits might be to sell advertising to local businesses. You noted that you bought brand name water on purpose. On the side of the bottle opposite the brand name label you could attach printed up advertising. Maybe blocked out with multiple advertisements on each bottle, like your pixel sales on the homepage.

    The customer is now going to be staring at the advertisement until they find a trashcan to throw the bottle away in. And they’re probably not going to find one for a while since they’re driving. Another captive audience just like your urinal ideas.

    And to get the local business even more exposure to the prospects, you could attach ads to your “Water $1″ shirts.

    Reply
  44. walt

    First of all I have a prolem with this. You call them bums therefore no respect. Two you only paid him chump change and at the end of the day he is still homeless. Let me explain I am getting ready to open the biggest homless shelter in Indian because we refer to them as bums and we think we can use them by giving them a little money and use them for stupied stuff. All the money our actors, professionals, wehter in business or athletes we can’t give money to get them off the streets so guess what I am going to be the one you see making a change using the gift of God to help our for fathers and those who may have fell short get back up. If you have any real ideas and not no mess like this kid come and talk to me, whldrorie@peoplepc.com cause forget capital why make it when your not helping the real situations in life. Gods word will come to pass the rich will get poor and the poor will get rich and I mean rich in love. peace

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      Gay…you could have been feeding a “bum” in the time you took to type this response. GOD is now upset with you! You should be working towards the shelter not browsing the internet. In matter of fact why do you have internet or any devices to use on the internet? Those proceeds could be used to give a “bum” somewhere warm to sleep tonight.

      Reply
  45. Jay

    http://www.xoomaworldwide.com/naturalstores

    They took your concept, and made it global. They made super-water though, and you can sell subscriptions and make a lifetime comission on a heckload of levels. if you want to make some serious money with water, easily, THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO GO.

    Nev, please contact me if you need any help with the website, im so certain you will like the opportunity, i am willing to help you with every step of the process if you need it.

    Look at the product, the company profile, and a video, and you will see its the most incredible thing ever

    http://www.xoomaworldwide.com/naturalstores

    Reply
  46. #29

    alright fella,
    just been googlin on the charity water front and spotted your little experiment. good effort my son, get out there and do it. i’ve been thinking on the lines of a brand of waterr with the charity profit built into the price (just found the ‘euphoria water’ site which is knid of the same idea .
    maybe there is something in the combination of both concepts , add that to something that’s well desinged and got a few well meaning celebs behind it and the world’s getting a favour.

    ps not overy impressed by how many comments are purely looking for profits , but then they have probably been raised the american way.

    anyway geezer , nice one
    #29 uk

    Reply
  47. Anonymous

    Interesting. You forgot in your “under $10″ the cost of some things…like the cooler (ie capital investment)…and the electricity to cool down the drinks…and the gas to transport the water from the store, to your house, and to the street. All little things but they add up in an “experiment” like this and might make your numbers come up less rosy.

    Reply
  48. Michael-Alan

    Hey Nev,
    I just happened across your blog and read your Bottled Water Experiment post. This is great.
    In my city, selling water at intersections is more like a religion. Therefore as some would suggest selling for $2 or more wouldnt work here. You have to go with what the market dictates. And besides, I feel selling bottled water for more than a buck is gouging.
    I really like your guerilla approach. Here are some other ideas to consider:
    As someone suggested, you could make your own ice. When my father would take road trips, he would fill up empty milk cartons with water, freeze it and break the ice up. Voila! If you know of anyone on a fixed income that receives food stamps (theyre not hard to find if you’re in the right food market during the beginning of the month), the may be willing to purchase the water for you at fifty cents on the dollar. You could buy twice the water for the same price. And this is definitely a DIY project. If you do hire someone, consider paying less than you paid Barry. Also please stop reffering to those individuals as bums. That’s so not PC.
    If you were going to do this on a long term base, you may want to invest in some of those aprons with the pockets and print your price or message on it. You could wear it or the help. That would make you look a lot more legitimate.

    Thanks for the post, I’m bookmarking this site.
    Peace,
    Mike in Bmore

    Reply
  49. Bob

    Great story! Friends of ours sold drinks at the boat races with there kids. Kind of the same concept. I think they made $800 in one weekend.

    Reply
  50. tomy

    coolI agree, I think this site is great. I hope you continue to “investigate” these different money making ideas.

    Reply
  51. Kelly

    This is a great entry! Can’t wait to read your other posts. Good for you for showing us how this turned out and for seeing it through.

    Reply
  52. scratchdisk

    very cool man. I wonder how much the bum had to do with it? did people really want the water or did they buy it just cause they wanted to give the bum some money.

    Reply
  53. Andres M

    Nev, this is my first time reading your blog, I got here by a search on one of the search engines I’m always looking for the business idea that will fit me right, and once I got to your page I added to my favorites.

    and thanks for the ideas it eally help me. Good job!

    Reply
  54. roman

    It’s really great.
    i know every famous person show their talent like some different as like u.
    i hope one day we’ll see as a owner of worlds largest bottled water industry.
    best of luck.

    Reply
  55. Mary Frances

    I like the idea of selling water. How about partially freezing each bottle prior to taking them to the road? You wouldn’t have to buy ice and the patrons would be getting ice-cold water. Mmm…

    Reply
  56. Finance Matters

    I’m still amazed at how much people are willing to pay for bottled water! This is a great idea though.

    Reply
  57. Anonymous

    You’re a real inspiration, kid! Have you ever thought of charging more based on the year and make of a car? Weird idea, I know, but it would help to drive home a point that if people would spend less on vehicles, they’d likely spend less on fuel and have more money to put food on the table. Also, you could have really gotten cute if you did this late at night by putting up a sign that said “If your chest is bigger than mine, $1 off”. Would be a GREAT way to see some headlights (sorry for the pun, thinking of a certain movie) :D (feel free to edit that, lol)

    Reply
  58. Anonymous

    Can’t believe how many positive comments you’ve been getting. Isn’t it illegal to buy a multi-pack and split it up for sale? It certainly is in this country (UK). I do agree about making your own ice though, as buying ice seems an unnecessary extravgence. Perhaps you could just sell the ice you’ve made??

    Reply
  59. Barbzilla

    Heya mate, I think you had a great idea here.
    I have noticed a tendency from some of the posters to either criticize you on the legality of the set up, or about the word bum and what it means. Most of the people here who are downing you for the use of the word only say so because of the idea that it isn’t politically correct. I feel this is unwarranted as the word itself is only given meaning by the intention behind it.

    Just keep up the good work and don’t let the naysayers get you down.

    Reply
  60. IVSPORT

    You could try using a generic Safeway or Ralph’s brand, which will still be recognizeable since it comes from a major supermarket, but will cut a ton off your expenses since generic cases run a lot cheaper.

    Reply
  61. Anonymous

    Try the stretch of I-35 in K.C., all your profits will be sucked up by medical expenses as the drivers are awful. Great experiment. I dare you to recycle the profits into another round with more employees. It could snowball into a small scale pyramid scheme. Soon they’ll have enough for sexy little yellow lambos. Rock out!
    -mhscheid@gmail.com

    Reply
  62. Anonymous

    I am convinced. I will share from my personal experience. Anyone can make money almost from nothing. I made over $10,000 selling bottled water and US car Flags that you stick on your cars windows. Keep in mind this was when the US car flags flew off the shelves in stores after 911 and no one had them for sale because of demand for these flags was so high. Psychology and economics played into my decision to do this and it paid off.

    So I thought what was the next hottest way to make really good money fast. You have probably seen the news reports about the chemicals leaching into our bottled waters regardless of what brand or type. This creates fear in the minds of 10s of millions of people.

    Also I read a book called “Your Bodies Many Cries For Water” which was written by a well respected doctor. He said there are so many diseases associated with chronic dehydration and not drinking enough water each and every day. I became so convinced that I was chronically dehydrated because of the many ill symptoms I experienced that this doctor talked about in the book and started to drink a lot more water like he recommended.

    I became very concerned and scared about the water quality with bottled waters. The news reports about toxic chemicals leaching into the bottled waters frightened me. I spoke with my family and friends. Everyone I spoke with expressed that they were scared as well.

    I decided to use the water from our sink for our daily water needs. But then I heard news reports that toxic drugs and toxic medications and toxic chemicals were found in like all over the U.S. drinking water supplies. So I did some research and found a really interesting Solid Carbon Block water filter. It was independently tested by (NSF) a non-profit organization which found it to be a superior water filter solution. I was amazed to find out that this water filter was inexpensive compared to all those bottled waters I used to buy.

    I found a video on YouTube that gave a users review about it. The title was “Bye Bye Bottled Water” and was produced by MyNewLifeCoach. I called my family, friends, and everyone I know from work and spoke with everyone about this video. I am so inspired that I have a whole house filter and a portable water filter on order. I also found out that for only a one time fee of $10.00 I could easily become a National independent distributor and make a good residual full or part time income for just $10 dollars.

    I thought about selling water on the street to make some good cash fast and maybe I will do this. Then I thought about the labor and time involved with this so I decided to give this a go. I thought for only few dollars and wow I have my own way to make residual income for a lifetime. It was a no brainer for me and signed up.

    Here is the YouTube video that got me inspired, hooked, and convinced to do this. Note: the video does not mention anything about becoming a distributor. I found out after I called the company 1-800 number. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKUhANhGEsg

    Reply
  63. Pollo

    Great Job! I particularly like how you went to look for the first bum after the ‘no show'(picture and everything). THAT’s going the extra mile.

    Reply
  64. Anonymous

    BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM BUM

    The funniest thing about your expermint is that about 50% of the people posting became so EXTREMELY OFFENDED when you used policitally incorrect terminology for "homeless people" by calling them "BUMS". It's great because most people are more concerned with defending Political Correctness than they are with making an honest living. This is why so many people end up working at places like McDonalds for decades at a time. Anyways…

    I stumbled across this blog because I have noticed that where I live, many people make a good living by doing this… Illegaley. As mentioned in some of these posts, You can't legally sell retail cases of water individually, but many companys DO sell wholesale cases that you can sell legally. Next would be things like food, business & vending licenses and the most illegal and rotten of all, giving the mafia their cut (TAXES). To do something like this LEGALLY in the "Land of the Free" (HA! HA! HA! LOL!), You would need several businesses licenses, health permits, written permission from a land owner (you can't sell on public property without a permit), etc. I seriously wouldn't recommend that a person on parol try this experment. Always remeber that the U.S. has more people in prision that any country in the world. They always leave the light on for you here in the "Land of the Free".

    Some questions for somebody seriously considering doing this legit would be:

    "What would the fine be for doing something like this if I got caught"?

    "Would it reasonably be cheaper and more cost effective to just keep doing what your doing and pay the fine if and when you get caught, just as companys like Walmart, Standard Oil, etc. do, or would it be more profitable to get all of the permits, etc.?

    I have recently been considering starting up a hotdog cart with my father and believe me, it would probably be easier to get a nuclear power plant approved. Ever wonder why you don't see many hot dog carts on the west coast? It's because of the Health Nazi's. Mobile food vending is enforced with an iron fist by the health dept. and California is the strictist state in the U.S. for mobile food vending. So my main question is…

    LEGAL OR ILLEGAL ?

    I'm sure that there are a few people out there who have done this sort of thing before who may be able to share the pros and cons of each way. What do you recommend? And tips or info would be welcome.

    Reply
  65. Anonymous

    So… Where can I buy some water? You got any more? How much? How do I get it? Do you need the money first? Do you deliver? Shipping? Man, I’m getting thirsty.

    Reply
  66. Moneywinks

    In high school my friends and I sold Soda along a busy street. We would buy the 6 packs for $.99 and sell them for $.50 each. We did alright but only did it for day. Great job on the water sales!

    Reply
  67. Payday Loans

    This proves so many valid points that people CAN make money in the simplist of ways. You could take this experiement up a level by selling at sport events / concerts or target really hot days. Well done!

    Reply
  68. Payday Loans

    This is seriously good work, its so good to see some one atleast taking care of the homeless and its about the time the world understands that people dont love to be homeless, and they are good to work and do any job if any chance is given.

    Thanks

    Sarah

    Reply
  69. Monevator

    What a fabulous post – I love the photos and the realism of it all.

    Just found your blog after seeing ultra-serious blogs all day (mine included!) and it’s making me smile.

    Reply
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  75. Pennyroll

    With so many people having a hard time finding work these days, this is a fantastic idea. And it looks like it would pay more than the minimum wage. If you didn’t have to hire anyone and only bought one bag of ice. :)

    Reply
  76. Cash Advances US

    Well, the experiment is really interesting and it really proves that people can make money doing least things. I think that the main thing is wish. Besides, some people are just afraid of risk that have to be taken to start some business even the smallest one. A lot of people are occupied on the Internet and mostly it is not the major occupation, but a kind of additional source of income.

    Reply
  77. Pennyroll

    I love this idea, I’m, going to do it this summer. I think you should try to see how much you can make as an adult with a lemon aide stand. My son made 40 bucks with his friend in one day.

    Reply
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  79. Steffan

    Just hang out at a basketball court they’ll have their own drinks but will run out. If you’re rite there they won’t go 2 blocks to the store. You’ll sell everything within an hour

    Reply
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  84. Sunny

    So ive been taking my 3 wheel bike to the local skate park with a cooler full of water. An been making a killing. Now that ive have seen this expermant work on the street i will expand my waters to the local street corners. Thank you.

    Reply
  85. Lexie Smith

    Art Linkletter did the same thing selling lemons. So I know it works. People have to get over their initial blocks and hurdles when it comes to ideas like this. We tend to stay in the same mode of doing things.

    Once your more open, your able to think outside the box. Your an outside the box thinker. Kudos Nev! Please do some more experiments like this. It just rox!

    Reply
  86. Anonymous

    Nev, you sic fuc, That’s my plan to pay off the IRS for taxes owed due to a liar ex wife that stuck me in the end by claiming all dependants.

    Reply
  87. NolaManBlog

    I tried this experiment outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome prior to and after Saints games. I didn’t realize that I would be able to sell them for $2 a pop (started at $1) until my third try. It is amazing to see how many people buy bottled water especially on a warm day after drinking alcohol at the game. I am willing to try the “help me with rent thermometer” chart as well, just in a different city ;-).

    Reply
  88. LV Granger

    Neville,

    AWESOME exercise.

    If you want to hear about a cool cat—check out David Sandler. He started the Sandler Sales Institute. He’s dead now, but his book YOU CAN’T TEACH A KID TO RIDE A BIKE AT A SEMINAR is awesome.

    He has some tapes where he actually parks his car in a garage that takes $5 to get it out and cant go home until he has made a sale to at least cover the cost of getting his car out.

    Kind of cool. Worth the read.

    LV

    Reply
  89. Jack

    Neville – I’m an instant fan bro. This is great. I just bought a couple AppSumo courses. Renewed interest in stabbing the wantrepeneur in me to death. That said, this test is a testament that anyone can test anything and make a profit if you just execute. Water profit. Love it man.

    Reply
    1. Neville

      Thanks man…glad you’re LEARNING from them!

      This experiment was hilarious, fun, AND a lot of people have repeated it successfully :-)

      Reply
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  91. Dylan Watkins

    I love this water Hustle.

    It reminds me of my of old dear friend, Mike. “The Hustle King”
    He found so many little hot markets everywhere and exploited them.

    He always said, “It is better to make a quick quarter, over a slow dollar”

    He taught me one specific hustle that always blows my mind how simple and effective it is.

    You want to hear it?
    Do you?

    Ok here it is.

    He would wait for a storm, (or just heavy rain)
    He would then go to the dollar store and buy them out of umbrellas
    He would find out where the big events were and stand out sign with a sign.

    Normally for us, (Living in the OC) Disneyland was perfect. No tourist ever expected it to rain and they were planning a long day (OUTSIDE) enjoying the sun.

    So now the tourist they arrive to Disneyland early come to find that it just start to rain. . . what to do.

    They can pay the over priced fee inside Disney or just buy one from me before they head in.

    This will work at any place with large, unhappily wet crowds.
    Just stand in the major traffic sections and just follow these steps.

    1) Get a Backpack filled with umbrellas (Plastic bags just as well)
    2) A Sign or white board {Ghetto Written} “$5 Dollar Umbrellas”
    3) And a BIG PAIR of BALLS.
    4) Not going to Lie. . . It is Hard at first, (So I recommend an Easy Win)
    5) Just give the 1st one away to someone really nice.
    Make small talk with the first person and keep talking with everyone that walks past.
    6) Sell the next one for a just a buck, then $2, then $5
    Note: Much like the internet, Try to find High Traffic areas.

    The Heavy the rain, longer they plan to be outside and the hotter the market will be.

    When I did this I would sell between 30-50 at a time.
    So lets just go with $40 in 2 hours, including the 5 or so discounted ones I got the ball rolling with. (Selling 40 is not hard in a Cold, Wet and Highly Motivated Crowd)

    But lets look at the numbers

    Umbrella cost to me $.99
    Umbrella price I charge $5.00

    Total Cost is (50 X .99 = $50) I Paid for all of them
    Total Sales is (35 X 5 = $175) I made in sales (Only 35 b/c the 1st five were courage builders and until I could raise the umbrellas to the full 5 dollar price.)
    Total Profit is (175 – 50 = $125)

    So that was 62.50 bucks and hour.
    Not bad Just for selling umbrellas in the rain.

    So . . . This PSA Message is – Hot markets are everywhere. Online and off. It is your job as an entrepreneur to GIVE YOURSELF the opportunity, to Find, Capitalize on those hidden, Hot markets.

    Just as long as you provide value. It doesn’t matter if your market is HOT, WET, OR THIRSTY.

    Anyways,

    So why did I right this long.
    It is my hope that someone reading this will now think a little differently about their local 99 cent store.

    Maybe now you too, can start to thinking a little more about those
    hidden little markets that surround us all.

    What will be your HUSTLE

    BEST of Luck. . .

    Reply
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  105. Ben James

    Haha! This was an awesome experiment. I have seen some “Got any spare change?” campaigns do pretty well too, and they have no expenses. There’s this bum that “begs” at the entrance of Sydney Tower, but all he does is prostrate himself with his bum exposed to the air, hiding his face whilst holding a cup; he looks completely pathetic, but he probably goes home to a mansion – those bums are crafty secret millionaires, I bet ya.

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  115. Kasia

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