We all love our dogs but, let’s face it, walking them two or three times a day is not fun. Some people enjoy the convenience of letting their dog go outside in their yard instead. But that creates another problem – dog poop in the yard. That’s where you come in.
– Little-to-no start-up costs
– Requires very little specialized knowledge and minimal preparation
– Outdoor work in possible heat and rain
– Picking up excrement and probable risk of stepping in it
– You may need a car or other form of transportation to reach people
How to Get Started:
NOTE: Before you start your business, you should read the page on this website entitled “things to think about before you get started.” After you have taken the preliminary steps for starting any business, you can take the specific steps outlined below.
First, make sure you have plastic bags and latex gloves, for proper handling. Also, you need a way to get to customers, whether that’s just walking down the street, using a bike, or using a car.
If your neighborhood has an internet presence – e.g., on Nextdoor or Facebook – that would be a good place to start. (If you are too young to have your own account, ask your parents to use theirs.) Be sure to allow potential customers to contact you with a private message; people don’t necessarily want all their neighbors to know that they let their dog use their backyard as a bathroom
But even if your neighborhood has an internet community, not everyone is necessarily a part of it; to reach those who aren’t, put up notices on light posts or telephone posts around the neighborhood. The notices should be neatly written – use a computer and printer – and should have your contact information. You might want to even give your service a name to seem more professional.
Be sure to laminate the notices to protect against rain. (You can find laminate sleeves at any office supply store, such as Staples, or in the office supply section of department stores such as Walmart.)
Before starting any job, ask where the dog’s favorite spots are as dog poop can be hard to find – and one small pile of uncollected poop can cause a great deal of dissatisfaction if it ends up in the wrong place. Before you dispose of the poop in a customer’s garbage, ask for permission. (If they do not want that, make sure you have a sanitary way to transport it).
One more thing: You want to have a way for customers to pay you. Set up an electronic payment system. (If you are under 18, CashApp may be your best bet – users as young as 13 years old can set up access to an account.)
How Much to Charge:
Charge based on how many hours you will spend doing the task, which in turn depends on how large the yard is and how many dogs the customer has. Most customers will not mind paying $10-12/hour for someone to do something they really do not want to do themselves.
You can start by guestimating the time it will take and charge accordingly. Charge a low amount so that you will not overcharge, which may keep you from earning repeat business. Keep careful track of your time. After you do a few yards, your guestimates will become more accurate and you can raise (or lower) your price as necessary.
Taking it to the Next Level:
- Get Repeat Customers. Set up a subscription service for you to come weekly or twice a week to pick up poop.
- Get More Customers. Get testimonials from satisfied customers, then create a website for your company with the testimonials and photos of you hard at work. Post links to your website on sites such as NextDoor and Craigslist.
- Offer Additional Services. Along with picking up poop, you could also offer to walk dogs, petsit, or even dog grooming services. These are related services that pet owners might need.