How to Start a Pooper Scooper Business and Earn Money

Phillip Terrell
Jun 3, 2019 · 7 min read

The Opportunity

There are over 43 million households in the United States with at least one dog as a pet. Let that sink in for a minute. That is a huge 36% of households across the country. You can easily tap into that massive market with Pet Waste Removal Services AKA Pooper Scooper Services.

From a business opportunity perspective let’s take a look at what that means. For someone living in a metropolitan area of 1 million people that translates into 360,000 potential customers.

360,000!

Let’s go smaller and look at a town of 30,000. That is still a whopping 10,800 potential customers. See where this is going?

Every business at its core is a numbers and emotions game. Are there enough potential customers for this service/product? Does this service/product fill a need? For this opportunity the answers are a resounding yes!

Households with dogs are abundant and each one of those pets uses a yard as their restroom.

Potential clients = Almost endless

The great thing about the pooper scooper business is that there are an abundance of dog owners (potential customers) everywhere. The hard part is finding the customers that pay. We are looking for the sweet spot where minimum effort meets highest profit. Minimum effort does not mean providing a low quality service. It means we want to make sure we are utilizing the minimum resources (time/labor) to make the most profit from each scoop we offer.

Minimum Effort + High Profit = The Sweet Spot

In order to find the sweet spot we need to be clear on what generates the most profit with the least resources. This opportunity offers exactly that with very low overhead, low startup costs and no employees (besides yourself) initially.

One of the great things about this business venture is how easily it can be scaled. It can easily be grown using independent contractors as fast or as slow as you want to grow. Paired with the massive potential customer base the profitability and size for your new business can be massive.

Steps to Starting a Successful Pooper Scooper Business

Step 1

THINK FIRST

Before going any further THINK about what is involved in a pet waste removal business. This is a hands on business and will take a great deal of work to make it successful. Put in the time to reap the reward of great profits, and eventually, a fantastic stream of passive income (if that’s what you want). You, and eventually your independent contractors or employees, will be picking up dog poop! There is no easy way to put this. You will be walking through yard after yard seeking out dog feces and getting it off grass, sidewalks, porches, rocks and ditches. While others avoid mounds of excrement you will seek it out!

Still interested?

Good, because there is a ton of profit to be made picking up poop. That is the beauty of this business opportunity. People love their dogs and love their yards but they hate cleaning up the mess when the two meet. This is a pain point and money can always be made when you find a pain point and have a solution.

Step 2

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GET LEGAL

(Disclaimer. This step could come later in the process. I am always an advocate for taking action and then catching up with the rules but in reality this SHOULD happen before you start offering your services.)

Remember, this is a business that you want to turn into a flourishing, profitable machine so you have to make sure it is legal.

Head over to your states Secretary of State website and register the business. Pick a name (hint: make sure the website domain is also available) then decide on the business structure. Sole proprietorship's and LLC’s are the most common and simple to setup at this stage.

Make sure to review state and local laws that may pertain to pet waste and pet waste removal. The local Chamber of Commerce can point you in the right direction.

Last but not least, you will (eventually) need insurance. Whether you wait until you start making money and then apply for a policy or you go ahead and get coverage out of the gate you WILL NEED liability insurance. The last thing your small business needs is a customer accusing you of destroying their sidewalk, patio or letting their $3000 designer dog get out of the gate and run away. CYA (Cover Your A$$) with a decent policy.

ACTION ITEMS:

  1. Create a legal business
  2. Review state and local laws
  3. Look into liability insurance

Step 3

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OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT

This one is pretty self explanatory. You need to be able to accept checks and payments for your services. Even if you use Paypal or Square, you still need somewhere to deposit your funds and pay yourself and others.

ACTION ITEMS

  1. Setup business bank account
  2. Decide how payments will be accepted/processed

Step 4

FINALIZE SERVICES OFFERED AND PRICING

The Pooper Scooper business is fairly straightforward; We remove pet waste from yards. Still, there are a number of things to consider when deciding on what services to offer and what prices to charge. First and foremost is frequency. Do you want to offer daily, weekly and monthly service? Bi-weekly service? Second, you need to consider quantity. Do you charge a different price based on the number of dogs? (Tip: You should be!)

As far as pricing is concerned, it varies by area. Some things to keep in mind: You want to make sure you are covering the cost of your supplies (which we will cover in a bit) and, more importantly, make sure the price is enough that you can pay someone else to do the work for you and still make a profit as you scale.

ACTION ITEMS

  1. Finalize Services
  2. Finalize Pricing

Step 5

BUILD A SIMPLE WEBSITE

You need a website. Let me repeat. YOU NEED A WEBSITE! This does not have to be a scary prospect. You need a simple website that includes the below items.

Services offered (with pricing)

Contact information

Lead form/Contact form

There are an abundance of website builders out there that will get the job done quickly and affordably (even free). You should be able to build and publish your website in a matter of hours. The most important thing here is to do it. You will need a website in order to get found organically by customers through search engines. It is also very helpful to have a website when signing up for social media platforms and other websites that feature service related businesses.

Most website builders include a domain name when you sign up for their service. Make sure your domain name is available before registering your business or find an alternative name for the domain.

ACTION ITEMS

  1. Purchase domain
  2. Create content
  3. Build website

Step 6

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Here is a general list of some of the items you will need to get started. Remember how I told you the overhead was low? Here’s how low!

  • Rake and Bin
  • Heavy Duty Medium Trash Bags
  • Latex or Nitrile Gloves

As you can see the cost to get things up and running is very low. There are additional tools that will eventually make your business more successful as you grow but this core list will ensure you can get the job done successfully.

Step 7

FIND CUSTOMERS

This is the big one! Without customers our new business is dead in the water. The good news is that customer are everywhere because we have found a pain point and have a solution.

Here is a simple plan for getting your service out there for free.

Begin posting on craigslist daily

Craigslist, really? Yes, really. Make sure to add it under services. Look for the sections that lawn care services post and place your posts in the same place. The reason I recommend Craigslist is because it is a very popular place for people to look for estimates on random services. The goal here is to get eyes on your service from people looking for other things.

Reach out to Lawn Care services

Partner with as many lawn care services as possible. Offer a referral fee, another monetary payment or even offer to scoop their personal yard for free in exchange for them leaving a flyer with each of their customers. Do not underestimate this method.

Post on Local Area Forums and Website

This varies by area/region but everyone has local forums, facebook groups, the nextdoor app, etc. Find out where locals go to find services and get listed or create some regular postings.

Step 8

GET TO WORK

Here’s the real secret to success. ACTION. There is no method or shortcut that will get you paying customers than acting on this idea and making it a reality. Find some customers and get to work.

Step 9

SCALE

The beauty of this business model is its low overhead, quick to market possibilities and its scalability. Once you have a decent base of customers it’s time to bring on some help. I recommend independent contractors to start. As you bring on your first contractor you will begin transitioning your book of business over and as business grows you will bring on additional contractors to handle the work. This is a very simplified description of how to scale but you will learn as you go.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Create contracts between contractors and your business
  • Include duties, what they will be paid, how they will be paid, etc.
  • Never allow contractors to take payments directly
  • Never let contractors bring on new clients
  • Remind contractors that they are responsible for their own taxes
  • Read up on local and state laws for using independent contractors

The time to start is now! This article was created to help you get a brand new, profitable business off the ground quickly. I hope you have found value in what you have read and, more importantly, I hope you take action and get started today.

Phillip Terrell

Written by

Interested in entrepreneurship, politics, food and family.

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