According to the American Pet Product Association, 300,000 US households have added a pet dog to the family since 2000. And those dogs can’t help doing what dogs do. That’s one of the reasons why the Pet Waste Removal business is booming, with more and more dog owners opting to pay for the service.
Here’s another reason – as a business it is relatively inexpensive to get started. You can start small with your dog poop pickup business, with limited tools, and add equipment as your business grows.
Is Dog Poop Removal Really a Thing?
Yes. In fact, there are even franchises, such as Poop911 and Doodycalls.
You can start making money right now. Most “Scoopers” start with residential customers but add on commercial and municipal businesses.
Here’s a sad stat – as many as 40% of dog owners don’t pick up the poop when they’re with their dogs off their own property, such as out for a walk. That’s not nice, but it is job security for pooper scoopers.
Can You Make a Decent Living Scooping Poop?
Yes. On average, the charge for a weekly poop pickup ranges from $12 to $15. Most often, the account is set up on a monthly basis for weekly pickups. Of course, fees vary depending on the number of dogs, the size of the dog, the size of the yard and other factors such as the surfaces.
You’ll need a variety of dog pooper scooper sizes. For example, the scoop tool size for a Yorkie is vastly different than the scoop size for a Great Dane. For larger dogs, you’ll need a heavy-duty scooper. Gear also varies by terrains such as grass, gravel or concrete. Most scoops are a two-part device, with a rake for gathering the material. The rake is used to push the material onto the scoop section of the device.
In addition to poop scoop equipment, you’ll need business insurance. A general liability policy is a must, as well as commercial vehicle insurance.
Let’s go back to the $ 15-a-week pickup account (a common rate for a single dog, a small yard). A scooper should be able to handle 4 such pickups an hour. If you can get 20 customers at $15 a week, that’s $300. And remember, those calculations are based on your minimum charge.
When you start adding multiple-dog families or branch out into commercial or community businesses, you can charge more and earn more.
Best Types of Dog Poop Removal Tools
A long-handle pooper scooper will work on gravel or grass. There are lightweight plastic scooper models and heavy-duty models. Although some of the lighter-weight pooper scooper models are designed for the pet owner, you can use them as well on jobs that involve smaller animals.
You’ll also need a way to transport the poop. Your customers are not going to want it picked up and left on site. You’ll need a small and a large waste bin – the small one to collect the waste from one account, and the large one to compile all the poop you’ve gotten from various customers. The bins need to be covered.
And what about your vehicle? Even a covered bin with scented waste bags will emit a strong odor. You’ll need a truck, or if that’s not an option, a rack to fit the back of your vehicle, using the tow ball access point.
If you live in an area where you’ll encounter freezing conditions, a regular pooper scooper may not do the job. You’ll need a standard heavy-duty spade, to get in the snowy or icy ground.
1. Super Scooper Dog Waste Pickup Tool
This is a rugged scoop with a three-foot-long handle. At the top of the dog pooper scooper handle, there’s a trigger, which activates the claws of each half of the scoop. This tool with its tough teeth works well in long grass.
2. Arm & Hammer’s Swivel Bin & Rake Dog Pooper Scooper
Arm & Hammer makes a system. In addition to the dog pooper scooper, there’s a specialized waste poop bag that fits on the scoop. The waste bags and two times thicker than regular plastic bags. The handle extends to 32 inches.
3. PPOGOO Nonbreakable Pooper Scooper
This is a favorite among pooper scoopers because it is nonbreakable while being sturdy and lightweight. It’s a great purchase to use on small yards.
4. Doody Digger Pooper Scooper
This scooper comes with a bag attachment. The bag is securely attached, allowing the user to scoop and slide the material into the bag. It weighs in at 1.5 pounds, making it another favorite for small jobs.
5. ActiveDogs Best Ever Pooper Scoopers
This choice is rugged and advertised as “the last one you’ll buy.” It is constructed of no rust aluminum. It can be ordered with teeth or flat style. One big advantage the ActiveDogs scoopers have is that they can open as wide as needed for the pile. It’s a heavy-duty great choice and is especially useful to clean up after large dogs.
6. Nature’s Miracle Pooper Scooper
The Nature’s Miracle is made of non-stick plastic and works on a variety of surfaces, including gravel, grass and concrete. It also comes in a Jumbo size for those larger dogs.
7. Four Paws Grass Wire Dog Rake Dog Poop Scooper
For anyone who has cleaned horse stalls, this is similar to a stall rake. This rake works the same way, sifting through material such as long grass. It’s also the best rake to use if you’re picking up in sand – such as on a public or private beach.
If your account involves sand, a rake is the best tool for the job.
8. Compostable Dog Poop Bags
These are readily available and come on a roll. You tear off each individual bag as needed. As an example, you should be able to get a roll of 60 for about $8. Some are designed to be attached to a leash. You can get these on Amazon and also in almost any retail store that has a pet section. For example, you can get the bags in a Walmart store or in a Dollar Store. Some bags have a built-in tie.
9. Heavy Doodie Ultra-Thick Dog Waste Bags
You won’t be able to commonly find these bags in a store. They are extra thick and made of two-ply plastic. The bag can be used for pick up or to store multiple pickups.
10. Grocery Bags
Yes, you can use plastic grocery bags. But as more and more stores do away with the use of plastic bags, that’s not a dependable source.
Some poop bags come with a built-in tie, which is the handle of the bag. This type of bag is also inexpensive and great for jobs with multiple pets. The mess is picked up and tied off, which can help reduce odors at the customer site.
12. Shovel 1
You’ll need two types of shovels, especially if you’ll be working in a cold, freezing climate. Shovel 1 should be a common spade, which you can pick up in any hardware store.
13. Shovel 2
The other shovel you need is a bit more specialized. It’s the “spearhead” gardening shovel. If you try to use a regular pooper scooper on frozen ground, you’re likely to break it. Remember, you may be working at the site only once a week, meaning that your “targets” are frozen onto the ground. Of course, contact with the ground may disturb the soil, so make sure you discuss this with the customer.
After you’ve scooped up from gravel or concrete, you may want to spray down the area. Make sure the customer approves of you using an outside faucet and gives consent. You’ll need a portable heavy-duty hose (unless the customer leaves a hose on the outside faucet. Expect to pay from $40 o $60 for a quality portable hose.
15. Hose Attachment
This is a service you can add to your regular pickup. There are products designed to be attached to a hose, allowing the water to flow through the product. Many times, gardeners use such attachment products to add fertilizer or similar products. You’ll be using odor-elimination products.
16. Waste Bin 1
You’ll need a portable waste bin to deposit your pickups as you work – especially on multi-dog properties or large projects, such as cemeteries.
17. Waste Bin 1
You’ll need a larger waste bin for your vehicle, to consolidate the pickups that you’ve made. You’ll need a 12 liter or larger, which will hold a standard large heavy-duty trash bag.
18. Mud Chucker
It’s inevitable that you may sometimes get a bit of material on your shoes or boots. It would be wrong to “carry” that material into your vehicle and/or to your next job. You’ll need one of these that is portable, that you can use on the job. It’s also nice to have a more permanent one at home, so you can clean off your footwear before entering your home.
Dog poop can include parasites, such as whipworms or roundworms. With a little extra care, you can avoid spreading parasites to your next customer.
Are the dogs going to be at home while you work? Yes, dogs love treats. However, never give a dog treats unless you’ve cleared it with the owner. Some pets are on special diets.
20. Vehicle (optional)
You’ll need a vehicle that has a separate area for transporting poop. Or, you can drive with all the windows rolled down.
Other Services You Can Offer
You can add on services, such as a dog walk, but you may have to adjust your insurance if you do so. Check with your insurance carrier to see what your general liability covers.
Leaf cleanup makes sense – hard to find the “targets” if the lawn is covered with leaves.
How do you pick up dog poop without bending over?
The long-handle pooper scoopers eliminate the need to bend over to pick up poop.
How much should a pooper scooper company charge?
Base your fee from the smallest job (one dog, once-a-week pickup) and adjust from there. You can charge more for multi-dog homes and larger yards, and more for bigger jobs such as a park or cemetery cleanups.
The pooper scooper business can be as big as you want it to be. And talk about job security! Those lovable dogs – are boosting your business every day.
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