How to Start and Optimize a Pooper Scooper Business
February 25, 2022
Cleaning up after your pet is a gross task. But it’s unavoidable—and failing to do so can turn a clean yard into an unsightly mess. Unfortunately, picking up dog poop isn’t anyone’s favorite part of being a dog owner. For many dog owners, this clean-up task is an extra chore they don’t want to add to their list of yard work tasks. While it might be a dirty job, it still needs to get done—and many pet owners are willing to pay someone else to do the work. Starting your own pooper scooper business is a great way to capitalize on this opportunity.
Jump to the section you’re most interested in:
- Should I Start a Pooper Scooper Business?
- How to Start a Pooper Scooper Business in 5 Steps
- Use Routing and Scheduling to Drive Value With OptimoRoute
Should I Start a Pooper Scooper Business?
Starting your own business is a great opportunity for anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit—and a pet waste removal business is no different. Running your own business gives you control over how it operates, who you work with, and gives you the power to make all major decisions. You also reap all of the rewards of your hard work. But starting a business is difficult, and there are risks involved with being responsible for everything the business does. To decide if starting your own business is the right choice, you need to know what the benefits and downfalls are. Then you can assess the benefits and determine for yourself if they outweigh the risks.
One downside of starting a poop pick-up business is the job is gross. You’ll also be working outside in a variety of weather conditions that can change at any moment. Since your business will be new, it’ll take a long time to develop a customer base, so you’ll need to be patient if you decide to take on this endeavor. If you do decide to start a business, there are plenty of benefits to reap as well.
One benefit of starting a pooper scooper business is that it’s particularly easy—these businesses have low startup costs, are easy to operate, and don’t require special training. You can also easily add new services to your offering list, like dog walking or lawn maintenance, which makes it easy to grow the business. Pet waste removal services are also profitable, with the industry’s value predicted to grow to $5 billion by 2024.
How to Start a Pooper Scooper Business in 5 Steps
Before starting a poop-scooping business, it’s important to understand what’s involved, so you know exactly what you’ll need to do. In this section, we’ll walk you through the essential steps you’ll want to take in order to get your new business up and running.
1. Identify a target market
Knowing your target market provides you with the information you need to make decisions, like what services to offer, how much to charge, and which marketing strategies to use. In the pet waste removal industry, there are two common types of customers: residential and commercial.
Residential customers are typically homeowners who are also dog owners and have enough disposable income to hire professional pooper scoopers to clean up after their dogs. Commercial customers are commercial property owners that pay for professional pet waste services for a variety of reasons. For example, some luxury apartment buildings hire a company to provide DNA testing to hold dog owners accountable for picking up after their pets to help keep the community clean. They also typically offer pet waste stations and will pay the company to install on-site dog bag dispensers and garbage bins. These customers typically also pay for a weekly service to pick up and dispose of waste as well as restock bags and fill garbage bins with liners.
2. Draw up a business plan
Your business plan is vital to your business’ success because it contains vital information about how your organization works and what it hopes to achieve. To build your plan, start by writing down your business name and as well as an overview of what your business is. Your plan should also include information on how you’ll structure your business. Your business will travel to serve clients, so you should also include details about your mobile workforce management strategy to guide managers. A good business plan also includes your business goals as well as the tactics you’ll use to achieve them.
3. Purchase equipment
You’ll need at least one company truck so you can travel to serve customers in various locations. You’ll also need to buy the proper equipment in order to successfully provide pooper scooper services, including:
- Trash bags
- Garbage bins
- Outdoor attire
You should also stock each company vehicle with a first aid kit in case you or one of your employees gets hurt on the job and invest in general and liability insurance to help protect yourself and your business.
4. Choose a disposal method
Pet waste can have a serious impact on the local water supply. According to the EPA, pet waste contains nutrients and pathogens that “cause excessive growth of algae and weeds.” But this problem is completely avoidable. Proper pet waste disposal prevents the transmission of diseases. There are two common options for pet waste disposal. The first option is to double-bag waste and leave it on-site at the customer’s property and ask them to dispose of it properly. Another option is to take waste to a third-party disposal site.
Leaving waste at a customer’s property is an easy option for many businesses, as many already have waste removal services set up. But there is no guarantee customers will know how to properly dispose of waste—you’ll need to educate them if you want to avoid exposing your customers to waste-transmitted diseases. As an alternative, you can take waste to a dedicated disposal site, which allows you to ensure waste is disposed of safely.
5. Market your business
Marketing lets potential customers know that your business is ready to serve them. One of the best ways to market your company is by listing your business with Google Business. You can also list your business with leading industry organizations, such as the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists (aPAWS), which offers a directory of reputable professional pooper scoopers. Traditional marketing tactics like handing out business cards can also be effective for pooper scooper businesses. Consider marketing your business near places that you expect potential customers visit, such as pet stores, veterinarian offices, and dog parks.
Use Routing and Scheduling to Drive Value With OptimoRoute
Once you’ve gotten your business off the ground, it’s time to increase profits by maximizing efficiency so you can complete more jobs. The best way to do this is through route optimization, a process that finds the most direct path to each job site. See how Doody Calls, a Virginia-based pet waste management company, used OptimoRoute to streamline its planning efforts and increase overall productivity.
Save time on manual routing
Routing is an essential part of field service management. But manually planning routes is difficult and time-consuming. It gets even more complicated when you have to communicate those routes to your team members while they’re in the field. OptimoRoute eliminates this hassle by streamlining planning. All users need to do is upload details to the system, like which jobs are scheduled, when they’re scheduled, and the address where they’re scheduled.
Doody Calls used the software to automatically plan routes with just a few clicks. Routes are sent to team members directly through OptimoRoute’s mobile app, providing clear directions that make it easy for technicians to travel from job to job.
Reduce fuel costs & increase operational efficiency
OptimoRoute automatically finds the most direct route to each location, lowering overall mileage and cutting fuel costs. For Doody Calls, this efficiency meant team members spent less time on the road and more time serving customers.
“[A technician] just clicks that button and it takes him to the next stop in the most efficient way. He easily picks up 30 to 45 minutes a day of actual work time – where that time used to be spent typing an address into GPS. We do about 30 stops a day, so all of a sudden it’s a significant time saving – that really makes a difference,” explained Doody Calls founder Jacob D’Aniello.
Provide customers with live ETA updates
When a technician doesn’t arrive when the customer expects, it can lead to a negative experience with your business. Doody Calls used OptimoRoute to avoid these poor customer experiences by leveraging the platform’s live tracking capabilities. Live tracking shows managers where technicians are, how much time they’re spending at a job site, and when they’ll arrive at the next job site. This visibility provided Doody Call’s managers with all of the information they need to respond to customers when they call with questions about their service.
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