Having the dirtiest of dirty jobs, chimney sweep Mark Stoner wrote the book on becoming a blue collar millionaire…literally. But over a decade ago he was a failed blue collar worker with a company that wasn’t even worth a penny. From a struggling one-man chimney sweep to becoming one of the top chimney services in the country, Ashbusters Chimney Service, with over 30 employees, is sweeping up $4.6 million annually. Mark might be filthy but he is filthy rich too and is now able to afford the country lifestyle he’s always dreamed of.
Joe and Kristen Souza
Business: Kanile’a ‘Ukulele
Hawaiian natives Joe and Kristen Souza say the greatest reward of their ukulele business is spreading aloha through music. However, raking in millions every year isn’t too bad either. Out of a small shack in Oahu, Hawaii, Kanile’a Ukulele has grown to become globally recognized as the leaders in the handmade ukulele industry and they have the bank accounts to prove it. With a net worth of $7 million, the Souza’s have been able afford the good life while still keeping their humble Hawaiian roots.
Business: Hightower Petroleum
As a kid, a blue-collar work ethic was instilled in Steve as he worked nights and weekends for his parent’s janitorial service. He continued the cleanup work for his parents while attending college, but after graduating he set out on his own blue-collar path and started a small construction business. Every time he tried to grow the business, the banks denied him loans. Steve refused to take no for answer and eventually transformed his construction company into a petroleum sales and transport business with over $1 billion in projected revenue.
Business: Phillips Painting
Although it took over a decade to figure out the best business model, Jason was able to open his own painting and home repair company. That company, Phillips Painting, now boasts 150 employees. Jason is an extremely motivated guy that gets the job done so he can be with his family, spend quality time at home and spoil the ones he loves. He runs his $9 million a year business out of Lucas, TX. In 2015, a slower year for Jason, the company grossed $10 million. In busier years, particularly after a hailstorm, the company has been able to gross between $12-14 million. Not bad for a guy who started almost 20 years ago with $2.00 left to his name.
Business: USP Motorsports
From selling candy in elementary school to installing car stereo systems in high school, Chris Green has always been a self-starter. College was never in the cards for this Florida kid who got a head start on his friends and went into the work force at 18 years old, and started fixing and racing cars on the side. Chris converted his obsession with racing fast cars into a lucrative business model that, sixteen years later, is pulling in $6 million-a-year. He’s proud of having achieved success with no degree and, instead of paying off student debt, he is now living a life his other 34-year-old friends could only imagine. Even the custom license plate on his yellow Lamborghini, which reads “No Degre,” is a testament to his can-do ambition.
Dave and Kristen Weimer
Business: Braddock Construction
Dave and Kristen Weimer are childhood sweethearts who took a tiny construction business that made no money and turned it into a $20 million construction company in Frostburg, MD. It wasn’t always smooth sailing for these love birds as the the two worked day in and day out to grow not just their revenue, but their reputation. The Weimers have come a long way from “grocery shopping” in their parents’ pantry to now taking their airplane to get ice cream. In addition to their uber-successful construction business, they have an industrial supply company and four car dealerships that add an extra few million in chump change to their already $30 million-dollar net worth.
Business: Arcadia Louvered Roofs
As an elementary school teacher, Scott took a part-time summer construction gig and turned it into his full-time career. The huge gamble has certainly paid off for this former D-1 football player as Scott has built this specialized construction company into a multimillion-dollar business. Now he and his family are enjoying a lifestyle they would have never attained on a teacher’s salary.
Nick Kovacevich and Dallas Imbimbo
Business: Kush Bottles
Nick and Dallas went from high school friends to 30-year-old multi-millionaires by creating a company called ‘Kush Bottles.’ Their bottling company is servicing an industry that most of the country hasn’t even recognized, let alone legalized yet: cannabis. Kush Bottles creates packaging solutions for the nascent legalized marijuana industry. Now, the young duo have a publicly owned company and have made millions, allowing them to each have a life that most guys their age could only dream of leading.
Vincent and Vanice Serrano
Business: ASAP Towing
ASAP Towing started hauling away cars in 1995 when Vince and Vanice Serrano used a $20,000 investment to buy one tow truck and a tow yard. The couple have struggled over the years from almost getting shut down by the police, to losing their home and dealing with the wrath of angry customers, but stuck with it and became multi-millionaires! Now, ASAP Towing has 25 badass tow trucks serving five locations across Jacksonville, Florida with $6.6 million in revenue for 2015. This dynamic duo may be sitting pretty right now, but neither one of them is above jumping back in the driver’s seat and getting their hands dirty if needed.
Rick & Bunny Lightsey
Business: Slob Proof Furniture
Bunny and Rick Lightsey never thought they would live a life where they weren’t struggling to pay the bills. Bunny quips that she married Rick for his money and was going to stay with him until he got some. After 42 years of marriage, he finally did. Combining Rick’s hobby of trapping and stuffing alligators with Bunny’s bank teller money sense, these Okeechobee, Florida natives opened Florida Trophy Gators in 2005. Today, they are taking in over $1.3 million a year and are living a debt free life they had never previously thought possible.
Business: Slob Proof Furniture
Debbie Wiener went from being a struggling stay-at-home mother to the owner, operator, and “Head Slob” of a nearly indestructible home furnishing line, Slob Proof Furniture. After coming to her wit’s end with the biggest slobs she knows, her husband, children, and dog, this determined mother decided to work day and night to design and manufacture an upholstered seating line with durable cloth, indestructible cushions, and tough stitching. Her furniture can withstand anything from condiments to bodily waste, thus earning the name “Slob Proof.” Debbie is projecting to double her 2015 revenue to $3 million in 2016. Not too shabby for a mom whose credit card was declined at Kmart.
Business: RDS Investments
At a young age, Ron’s father died leaving him to figure out life on his own. Having knowledge of cars, he figured out how to make money by salvaging old auto parts and using them to fix up broken cars. In 1973, he opened his first body shop, AAA Bug Service, but quickly realized most of his profits were coming in from recycling parts. In 1978, he switched over to the auto recycling business, which at its prime brought in $15 million a year in revenue. In 1999, Ford Motor Co. gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse and he sold his business for $14 million. With the money he made, Ron was able to follow his passion of real estate investing. Today, his empire generates $6 million a year.
Business: The Car Factory
Mike Vetter, a former military brat, has taken his childhood dream of owning a Lamborghini Countach and turned it into a custom car-building enterprise. If you have a donor car that fits the mold, give it to Mike and his company, The Car Factory, along with $100K, and you could buy yourself an out of this world custom extraterrestrial vehicle. This one-time Burger King employee has gone from flipping burgers to flipping cars for serious cash.
Business: Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, Inc
Connie Lorenz was born into poverty and raised in the school of hard knocks. She spent her childhood living in abandoned cars and eating out of dumpsters when needed. The chances of becoming a millionaire seemed slim to none. However, her honesty changed everything. While working as a secretary and helping with the bookkeeping, she discovered the president was embezzling money. Connie brought it to the out-of-state owner’s attention. He promptly fired the president, and impressed by her integrity, offered Connie the chance to run the business and eventually buy him out. Eight years after becoming the sole owner of the company, Connie is hauling in $2.6 million annually and she is paying forward the generosity that the previous owner showed her any chance she gets.
Business: Dynamic Cable Holdings
Mickey Redwine, a pioneer in fiber optic cabling, was in the trenches of the internet boom. His company Dynamic Cable Holdings, was responsible for laying thousands of miles of fiber optic cable throughout the country. As the market matured and became saturated, Mickey had already made a fortune and decided it was time to clean the mud off his boots and enjoy an early, relaxing, retirement. For Mickey, that relaxation meant following his childhood dream of becoming a police officer. Today, Mickey donates his time and works part-time without compensation as a fully licensed Texas police/peace officer and enjoys his fortune with his family and friends while kicking back at his private resort on Lake Travis. Not too shabby for a guy who started his company with a used telephone truck and a dream.
Business: Demo Diva Demolition
When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, Simone Bruni went from being a corporate event planner to unemployed and homeless. While gutting her New Orleans home, Simone was inspired to start a demolition company to help New Orleans (and herself) get back on their feet. With only $250 and a pink hard hat, she started Demo Diva Demolition ten months after the storm. What was supposed to be a short term job turned into a career and a decade later, Demo Diva and its hot pink heavy equipment is thriving pulling in $1.5 million a year in revenue. While the storm may have demolished everything in Simone’s life, it created an opportunity that even she could never have imagined.
Business: Underwater Earth Movers
Becoming a dredger was only natural for Brian Lofgren. After all, his dad was a dredger and Brian’s pretty convinced he himself was conceived on a dredge. So when young Brian joined the work force, he signed up as a hired hand for local dredging companies. But when he realized he was smarter than his bosses, he decided to go out on his own and start Underwater Earth Movers. And Brian’s never looked back. Today, between dredging up sediment all along the West Coast and digging for gold in his free time, Brian’s worth a cool $4 million. And most importantly doing what he’s always loved.
Business: Flooring King
From working at the local flea market to becoming “The Flooring King” of South Florida, Israeli immigrant Antonio Sustiel has worked tirelessly over the last 30 years to make his American dream a reality. Between his two businesses, Flooring Liquidators and The Flooring King, Antonio’s empire grossed $9 million sales in 2015 and is projected to make $14 million in 2016. Pretty good for a guy who moved to America with only $400 in his pocket. This single Miami playboy has turned lumber liquidation into luxury but hasn’t lost his drive. Antonio will put down the champagne glass and pick up a work call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for any of his customers.