In October 2014, Pick’n Run was setup as an S Corporation in the state of Michigan. Yes, we (John Mueller and Martin Mueller) setup a for-profit company to address a social need: cleaning up trash. People might say that we should have setup the company as non-profit company since we are addressing a social need. However, there are misconceptions of for-profit companies.
Many people assume that for-profit companies ONLY care about maximizing profit. That is far from the truth. The goals of the company depend on who is running the company, not the incorporation structure of the company. The mission, vision, and goals of the company are determined by the people inside the company. At Pick’n Run, our mission, vision, and goals are transparent.
As with any company, be it for-profit or non-profit, a company needs to be financially sustainable if it is going to continue to operate and achieve the vision and goals of the company (the mission represents what the company is, so the mission that is stated by the company currently has already been achieved to date).
That said, people will say that the decision of being a for-profit company is evidence of our decisions of how we are going to achieve our goals. However, our mission, vision, and goals do not mention profit. Yes, we do want to achieve a profit, but it is not the top priority. In addition, we don’t want to maximize our profit. Rather, we want to achieve our goals and vision, and to do that, we need to ensure that we generate revenue that generates income that is above zero (a profit). We want to determine what to do with that profit, as opposed to any government — which is distracted in solving many problems. We are focused on addressing and fixing one problem — cleaning up trash. We do that by supporting active lives — through running.
The Reasons for Setting Up as a For-profit Company
1. We want to be a financially sustainable organization that earns its keep in society. By providing valuable services and products, we earn the respect and hearts of customers. They show that respect to us by buying products that are valuable to them at a price they find reasonable. Paying for those products is a validation that we are providing valuable products to them. We are here for the customers, while striving to “clean the world one run at a time“.
2. We don’t want to be a burden on society. A non-profit entity doesn’t pay taxes, and thus doesn’t contribute like a normal person or a normal organization would. By not paying taxes, we would be taking, and the organization wants to be a financial more than giving.
3. To better ensure the corporation is focused on one mission: to assist in cleaning up while improving the health of communities worldwide. As a corporation which we are owners, we can ensure that mission. We feel we are able to better ensure that the organization continues to focus on that effort more so than if we were a non-profit entity, which is owned by the entire population of the world.