Starting a Pooper Scooper Service
By Tammie Peters
Pooper scooper businesses are being established almost everywhere throughout Canada and the United States. The low start-up cost, the growing need for this service, the profit potential and the option to operate the business on a part-time basis are some of the reasons why a pooper scooper service is a popular choice for anyone wishing to start their own business.
I am the former owner of a successful pooper scooper business based in Toronto, Ontario called The Scoop on Poop. I operated the business on a part-time basis over a 3 year period and had 80 regular clients and a number of employees working for me by the end of my first year.
Throughout the time that I operated The Scoop on Poop, I learned that cleaning up dog waste is just one aspect of running a profitable pooper scooper service. Here are some things to keep in mind if this is a business venture that you are considering:
Physically Demanding Work
Scooping poop for 8 hours or more every day is hard work. The repetitive scooping motion, bending over and gripping your tools all day can cause an enormous strain on your back, arms, wrists and hands. Dog poop can get quite heavy too—especially when it’s wet after rainfall or in the spring. Lifting and carrying heavy garbage bags containing dog poop will be required if you are removing the dog waste from the customer’s property.
Geographical Coverage Area
The size of the area in which you offer your service will directly affect your net profit. If the area you are covering is too large, you will spend more time traveling to each yard and your fuel costs will increase. Choosing a smaller coverage area in the beginning is advisable so that you can complete more yards per hour, spend less on fuel costs and designate only a few days of the week to scooping, allowing more time for office procedures.
In the beginning when you only have a limited number of customers, waste disposal is not an issue. With time, as your customer base increases you will be dealing with a large volume of dog poop. You will have to determine where you will dispose of the collected waste. Any option, whether it is the local landfill, sewage plant or renting a dumpster will cost money. You may choose to offer a “dog waste clean-up” service instead and leave the bagged waste in your customers’ outside garbage can.
The weather plays an important role in running a pooper scooper business. Not only will you be subjected to the elements (rain, heat and humidity, snow and cold weather), the condition of the poop will change as the weather changes. If you are in a region where it snows in the winter, scooping poop in the spring is the most challenging and the busiest time of the year. Summer scooping is typically easier, but you should be prepared for a decline in your number of regular customers as people put their service on hold for the summer. Scooping in the winter and fall can be difficult because of the snow and leaves covering the ground.
In order for your business to grow, there is a possibility that you will have to hire employees to help you cope with the workload. If you lack previous management experience, this can be quite a challenge. It’s hard to find reliable and trustworthy workers that will do as thorough a job as you would when cleaning your customers’ yards. You can either pay the employee an hourly rate or on a “per yard” basis. Keep in mind that you will be responsible for paying your portion of the employment and pension plan contributions as well as worker’s compensation and the optional but recommended insurance and bonding for each worker.
Having said all of this, owning your own business can be very rewarding and with hard work, persistence and creativity there is potential to make a considerable amount of money with a professional pooper scooper service.
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Diana Marie Ratliff © 2006-8.