In 1988 I officially started Scoop Masters Pet Waste Removal in Los Angeles, California. This business has resulted in numerous talk show interviews, game shows, newspaper articles and segments on local news stations. I guess that makes me somewhat of an expert on pet waste. That’s an exciting title! But, it wasn’t always that exciting or easy. I actually started planning the business in the summer of 1987 knowing that the manufacturing company I was working for was going through financial troubles and was slated to close in early 1988. It did. And amidst the thought of getting laid off, an infant son, and at least a half a dozen people telling me I can’t make a living picking up dog waste, Scoop Masters was born.
Since then, I have written the ultimate “How To” manual on starting and running a pet waste removal business. It’s called The Professional Scoop Master. (Available at www.start-a-pooper-scooper-business.com) I wrote it to help others avoid what I went through to start and maintain a pet waste removal business. I address the most basic questions like, “Where do I start?’and What’s a DBA?” Along with more complex issues like marketing, bookkeeping, and .estimating commercial properties.
…I was leaving trash on their windshields.
My first encounter with a property manager occurred very early in my business career. I was going around a parking lot of a local mall leaving trash, uh, I mean flyers about my new pet waste removal business, on the windshields of cars. (Can’t do that anymore, ‘cause it’s illegal.) I usually tried to avoid talking to people when I did this, because, well let’s face it, I was leaving trash on their windshields. Even I think that’s annoying. But this was different. I left a flyer and was quickly approached by the owner who politely said “Excuse me, can I talk to you?” I was getting ready for an earful of “don’t leave trash on my windshield” but instead she asked me if I service HOAs. At 26 years old, I wasn’t really sure what an HOA was. Lucky for me she clarified (before I asked) that her Home Owners Association had a pet waste problem and she wanted to know if I could help her out and provide an estimate. Without thinking, I said yes and got all the pertinent information.
I didn’t have a clue how to estimate scooping an HOA. Long story short, I walked the whole complex to find out how long it would take me and I gave her an estimate based on my actual time (1.5 hours!) that they quickly agreed to and I was now scooping commercial properties. Of course, there are simpler and better ways to estimate commercial properties that I outline in my book. That’s the whole purpose of it, to help anyone start and maintain a pet waste removal business, while avoiding the pitfalls of trying to figure it out for themselves.
It may not be the most glamorous occupation, but I rarely see my customers, I get greeted by dogs everyday, and while I still try to stay humble, it sure was fun proving those naysayers wrong as I have made a comfortable living removing dog waste from people’s homes for over 25 years!