Scoopers & Friends Message Archives
Messages archived from the Scoopers & Friends Discussion Board, going back to May of 1998. The discussion board board is an online forum about the business of pet-waste removal. Browse the messages, CLICK HERE TO SEARCH by keyword, or click here to participate in current discussions.Archive Page 1 | Page 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66 | 67 | 68 | 69 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 73 | 74 | 75 | 76 | 77 | 78 | 79 | 80 | 81 | 82 | 83 | 84 | 85 | 86 | 87 | 88 | 89 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93 | 94 | 95 | 96 | 97 | 98 | 99 | 100 | 101 | 102 | 103 | 104 | 105 | 106
Tuesday, 14-Jul-98 12:32:59
... I need some information on advertising. Is a small ad in
the local paper good for starts? My statup budget is very small,
i am in the military ans looking for my second career. I have
flyers but not sure how to give them out, Do i put them on cars
or go house to house with them. I am just starting out and i
would like some help in this area.
Have a great scoopin day!
Tuesday, 14-Jul-98 18:55:03
... Yes, I find that classified ads in the small, neighborhood
weekly papers are an excellent place to advertise personal
services like dog waste removal. That's why you see ads there
year after year for services like house-painting, dog grooming,
maid service, home-improvements, lawn care, etc. etc. I think
in general wherever you see those kinds of businesses
advertising successfully and repeating their ads over long
periods of time, is probably a good place to sell pooper-scooper
Regarding flyers, see the post below, titled "Business Cards or Flyers (I''ll Tell You A Little Secret)", it's from Debbie at Yucko's in St. Louis. Debbie has done a very good job with her business and her insights on flyers and business cards is great.
I wouldn't put flyers on cars, and when I'm asked, I recommend against it. In my opinion, flyers on cars tend to antagonize people rather than create good feelings. They also create a litter problem, which is not good for a business that is concerned with cleaning things up.
I have had some good results with taking flyers door-to-door, though. It can be a lot of work, and my best response rate was .7 percent; that's 7 new customers for 1000 flyers. Seeing as I had almost no money at the time, 7 new customers for 10 hours of work, resulting in $210 a month in income -- I considered that to be OK at the time. But if you can possibly afford a $25 to $50 classified ad two or three times a month, you should get much better returns.
The most powerful, and at the same time least expensive, marketing of all is free publicity: news articles about your business. This type of exposure costs almost nothing, a few cents for paper, envelopes and postage. The resulting articles can literally be worth tens of thousands of dollars. And even if you could buy that much advertising space, it still wouldn't have the great credibility and confidence-building power of news stories. People who will completely ignore an ad on the newspaper page will eagerly read an article about the same business on that same page, and talk about it with their friends and associates.
There are several good books in your public library, about how to write a news release. Your librarian will be happy to help you find them.
Tuesday, 14-Jul-98 13:51:35
FREEZEE? ... I am doing research for a magazine that needs info on a product called Freezee-- a product which solidifies waste? Can anyone E-mail me about this, since I won't be checking this board often. Thanks.
Monday, 03-Aug-98 07:45:18
... I am also doing a research on the dog waste market and I'm
interested getting info. also on the different products on the
I would appriciate it very much if you can help me with any info. you have about the market (market size, different products, manufactures, etc...)
I hope to hear from you soon
Wednesday, 15-Jul-98 22:42:06
the cat of the house
... How do you handle the cat poop? Since the feline tries to
bury his business; do you make special effort to locate such
hidden treasures or do you even atempt to locate it? Or are
cats even incudes in the service?
Still trying to cover all the bases before I actually get started.
Thursday, 16-Jul-98 10:24:06
Re: the cat of the house
... As discussed in my book "The Professional Pooper-Scooper"
(chapter on Working Techniques):
"You may even have to pick up some litle sticks, clumps of mud, mushrooms, etc... if they just look like dog poop."
No, don't go digging for buried treasure, but if there's cat poop in the yard, pick that up while you're there. If it's constantly there, and if there's so much of it that it's equivalent to an extra dog, you can discuss it with your client and bill accordingly.
Thursday, 16-Jul-98 10:54:06
Need a mentor....Want to learn about opening
a service in my area:)
... Hi all:) I really really want to learn all I can about this
business , so I may add it to my exsisting Pet sitting service I
I know you all have been through this before , but if I may ask for some pointers, start up ideas..etc...I would be greatful and return the favor to another:) Please e-mail me any comments as I may not get here often enough:) firstname.lastname@example.org or Paws7297@aol.com....Thanks so much...Have a great day:) Angie*
Thursday, 16-Jul-98 13:25:25
Re: Need a mentor....Want to learn about
opening a service in my area:)
... Hi, Angie,
Be sure to read carefully through the message board. There is an awful lot of information here. And I know this board's participants will continue to be helpful.
Of course, "The Professional Pooper-Scooper" is a complete and detailed guide to starting and growing a dog waste removal service business. It's like a 24-hour mentor for you! :) Over 100 pages of advice based on 10 years of actual field experience and successful growth from $150 startup to revenues over $20,000 per month.
Also be sure to check out the entire website, explore all the links and pages. You'll find FAQ's about the dog waste removal service business, the story of how I started my service from nothing and grew to employ 7 workers with 6 trucks serving over 650 weekly clients. There's the table of contents from "The Professional Pooper-Scooper," listing tons of details you may not have though of.
I may be prejudiced, of course, but I think he single most helpful thing you can do for yourself in your new service is to buy my book! :-) And I'm not the only one. As you read through the message board, among the many tips, stories, and bits of advice you'll find testimonials and recommendations from people who have bought the manual -- I'm both grateful for them and proud of them!
So... buy the book (order form is at http://www.pooper-scooper.com/mailord.htm), explore the website, read the message board, and keep coming back to participate and watch for improvements and additions.
Friday, 17-Jul-98 13:58:07
Liability Insurance ... I tried to get commercial liability insurance from my homeowner's insurance carrier but they said they had no experiance underwriting this type of business. Did anyone else have this problem? Where else can I go for this? What could be the reprecussions if I didn't carry insurance? What could I really be sued for? Is anyone else operating without insurance?
Friday, 17-Jul-98 20:59:24
Re: Liability Insurance ... I have not gotten it yet. Not to sure why i would need myself, but i am new at this also.
Monday, 20-Jul-98 13:37:58
Re: Liability Insurance
... You can call several insurance agents and brokers listed in
your local yellow pages. For one thing, some offer more
services than others, and you'll frequentlyalso find a wide
range of premiums for similar levels of coverage.
Some commercial prospects will require that you have insurance. In general, customers will feel much more confident in you and your business if you are insured. Thank goodness the risks in this business are not great, but there are always some risks.
I think the biggest liability risks are going to be associated with the operation of your vehicle, whether it's your own car or a truck you use just for business. When you're driving from customer to customer, you'll be using your vehicle for business. You should at least make sure that you're covered, so check that with your insurance agent. If you are renting a business office, or even doing business from your home, you should have insurance to cover fire damage to the premises, etc.
A lot of your possible risks could be covered under your auto insurance, but you'll want to make sure that your personal policy covers your activity while you're doing business. If there were to be a problem, when people find out you have a business, they may assume you are rich and sue for more damages. It may not be fair, but I think that's the reality sometimes.
It may be that while your business is very small you don't need a lot of insurance, even though I do think you should check with your agent for the things I've mentioned. But as your business grows your insurance needs will multiply greatly. Fortunately insurance is not very expensive, and premiums for a million dollars coverage are not much higher than premiums for a half or a third of that.
Friday, 17-Jul-98 14:28:16
I'm sure this has probably been asked and answered, but I'm new to this so I figured it wouldn't hurt to ask again.
I've spent hours now distributing flyers door to door. I've gotten ads in local newspapers. I've sent out press releases to every news organization imaginable. I've left cards and brochures at vets and groomers. I've gotten signs for the side of my card. I give out and post cards at every opportunity. The result????
One stinkin' client!
I live in Austin - a major metropolitan area with quite well to-do suburbs and I just don't understand it. But I am hellbent to make this work. So I've considered commercial accounts, but really don't have a clue where to start marketing them. How does one come up with a proposal?? Anybody out there been there, done this???
I sure would appreciate any input.
Sunday, 19-Jul-98 01:11:52
Re: Commercial Accounts
... The topic of commercial accounts is covered from page 95 to
page 99 in Matthew's book (and your questions are answered
Hate to break it to you, but I think all the customers we get in this business are going to be "stinkin" -get it, "stinkin"? (I am sooo funny.)
Regarding your dismay at not getting any (ok -- 1) clients, I HEAR YOU THERE! I thought for several months the same way I am assuming you do now. We think,
"Hey! No one else is doing this in this area -- people! You have a dog - it poops - I pick it up and take it away - how hard is that?! You can afford $5 or $7 or whatever a week (I can tell by the BMW you have in your 5 car garage). So I leave a flier at your door OR you see it at the vet OR you see an ad in the paper OR you see my business card at the grocery store bulletin board -- and you quickly call me because, let's face it, it is a great thing to have your dog's waste picked up and taken away for almost nothing -- and no one else is doing it here!!!"
But THEY DO NOT CALL! I think the best line from Matthew's entire book (if I had to select just one sentence) is "... only a few people are going to rush to buy your service JUST BECAUSE IT EXISTS" (page 18 -- emphasis added -- Matthew, please do not print this if I do not have your permission -- thanks). That sentence was a real wake-up call for me, because I thought people WOULD buy my service just because it came into being. In fact, I was trying to prep myself for the onslaught of new customers that would burn up my phone line as soon as I hung up my first few fliers -- HA! A real estate broker neighbor of mine explained it to me pretty well when he said, "you are not selling your service, you are selling 'you.'" In other words, it does not matter whether I am selling houses or scoopin' poopies -- what the people are going to pay for is ME (or you). Sure I got a few customers who were brave enough to give me a try based only upon a flier or news ad, but since then I have found the best customers have come from one of those brave individuals INTRODUCING (not just referring) me to his neighbors! I would say "get over" the expectation that people are going to flock to you just because you said you would scoop their poop for a low cost. Knocking on a door and selling yourself to a potential customer (or a person who may potentially tell someone else about you) so that they can see and hear a live, reasonable human being will likely go a lot further than sticking a flier into a door handle and dashing away (I watched my wife recently take a flier off our door and put it in the trash without ever looking at it.) Hang tough. -- Rob
Friday, 17-Jul-98 18:20:45
Joining the ranks
... Hi all,
I happened upon this Web site quite by accident several days ago, and although I have owned and operated my own commercial Web Site design services on the 'Net for several years now, I was so fascinated by the idea of owning the first dog waste removal service in our area that my wife and I have decided to join all you fine scoopers. Our newest business venture, "Doody Calls", will begin freshening the air in Central/Coastal California sometime next month!
We'll keep slipping in here to see what news and tips appear here each day.
The best of success to us all!
Saturday, 18-Jul-98 15:22:52
Re: Joining the ranks ... I am E-mailing you! I hope your business is a success. I am from the central coast myself. I thought I would drop you a line and see how things are going and what area you are in... Good Luck Deborah
Friday, 17-Jul-98 21:03:22
... Help! I am new to this business and i know i need to buy
the book for a referance, but i am starting on a short
shoestring budget. I could really use some help with a press
release, i went to the library and i have done reseach on the
net but i still am having a hard time. Could someone out there
please help? An example would be greatly appreciated by myself
and others. I would be grateful and someday maybe i will be
able to return the favor.
Don of Heidi's Pooper-Scooper Service
Sunday, 19-Jul-98 00:14:01
Re: Press Release
... The topic of press releases is covered between page 10 and
page 12 of Matthew's book (this includes two sample press
releases). Mr. Osborn also included actual news stories that
were printed about his business (these are inserted between page
13 and page 14 -- and one even includes a picture of the young
scooper from about 10 years ago). I would think most of us here
are starting this type of business with little money. What rich
person would consider crap collection as an
I would recommend purchasing Matthew's book (for just over $30 -- one of the smallest investments you will make, I imagine) before sending out even one press release. I say that because I would want to make sure everything was in order before getting the exposure a press release would give! Make sure you have a license if you need one, make sure you know how to properly dispose of the waste (is it a hazardous waste where you are? will you need a permit?), etc. From what I have heard, the press release will be our best way to get the greatest number of customers for the lowest price -- nothing! Go with a press release EARLY (but after you know all is in order). How do you know all is in order??? Well ...
You can really get the scoop on this business from Matthew's bookfrom dog nose to dog tail. Most everything that will come up is covered. What is not covered will likely come up on this message board. The book will pay for itself over and over and over ... So I would say get it as soon as you can and Good Luck! (One scooper's opinion.) -- Rob
Thursday, 23-Jul-98 10:44:38
Re: Press Release ... get the manual beg borrow but don't steal just get the manual if you do alot of looking and planning beforehand when you DO get the manual you'll kick yourself
Sunday, 19-Jul-98 09:25:08
Manual ... Matthew, I received your manual and I love it. I couldn't put it down. You are really into this!! I think it is great that you offered all these suggestions to all the up and coming new scoopers out there like myself. Most business people don't trade secrets. Anyway, I'm on a roll with my business and I hope I am as successful as you and some of the other scoopers. Thanks!
Sunday, 19-Jul-98 14:29:36
Still No Bites
... Hi All,
Well it has been awhile since I've posted a message, but here's the latest...
I've dropped approximately 500 flyers so far and not one bite. I got my hopes up last night though when I did get a phone call regarding my business Mary "Poop"ins. It was a preteen boy wondering if he could get employment with Mary "Poop"ins!!! I couldn't believe it.
I don't even have one client yet!!!
At least he must have been fascinated by the flyer. Oh well...
Mary "Poop"ins Dog Waste Removal Service
Monday, 20-Jul-98 10:13:30
Re: Still No Bites ... Please see my reply to "Commercial Accounts" (below). Robert
Wednesday, 22-Jul-98 20:08:19
Re: Still No Bites ... don't get discouraged.... keep putting themout... talk to people i don't know how you put them out but last night a guy [david?] put in here his ideas on going through neighborhoods door to door it sounded good plus side even if they aren't interested they might know someone who isdon't give up jean stay out there
Monday, 20-Jul-98 08:12:50
Anscillary Pet Sitting
... While I'm still hanging in trying to generate business
pooperscooping, I thought perhaps adding pet sitting to my
services (I already to obedience training as a different
I must admit to being fairely clueless as to services, rates, and insurance questions. I know some of out there are already into pet sitting and wondered if you might share a bit of insight.
I know this doesn't relate directly to pooper scooping, but I've just been thinking that a "pet pro" services concept might work, which includes services from training to pet sitting to pooper scooping. Seems to me, if you utilize one, you might, indeed, utilize all.
What are your thoughts?
Monday, 20-Jul-98 13:22:14
Re: Anscillary Pet Sitting
... The basic idea seems pretty good to me. :) I do think you
should decide on a strategy and mission for your business and
generally use that as a guide to how far you should diversify
You could easily call around to various pet sitters, even those in different cities, and just ask them what they do, and how much they charge. They receive these types of calls from prospective clients all the time. There are also some books about the pet sitting business; you may be able to find some in your library or at amazon.com
Wednesday, 29-Jul-98 10:01:04
Re: Anscillary Pet Sitting
... Hi Deblynn,
I am a professional "Medical Pet Sitter" and I also have Pooper Scooping abilities, Taxi Pet Service, In Home Boarding ect. I have been doing this for about 10 year (I have been in the animal business for 15 years) 7 years in Ca. and 2 here in Va. I have found that depending on where you live. Pooper Scooping in a fairly new business in some areas and people haven't really got into the concept of it. In Ca over 7 years ago I made my living scooping and sitting for pets! People loved the service especially because I did the animal care, I could take their pet to the vet and clean up after their pet too! I had a few weirdos so to speak but you get them with any business you start. Here in Va, people aren't too interested in the Pooper Scooper part of my business. I am not sure why, but I have very few people calling me for the service. I live in a middle sized town, so that is probably why. But I think it will catch soon. As for the Pet Sitting I am pretty busy. I tend to cater to Pets with special needs, like diabetic animals illnesses and injury. It is like home nursing for pets. They must be under a vets care. I am a Animal Health Tech. so that is why I choose to help people with the home treatments of their pets. I also do regular pet sitting and in home boarding. I think it would be worth your effort to try adding the services of basic pet sitting/ training. Good luck with what ever you decide! Deborah, Southpaw Pet Care Services, Winchester, Va
Friday, 31-Jul-98 23:12:55
Re: Anscillary Pet Sitting
As a professional pet sitter, I feel that pet sitting and poop scoopin' are complementary services. To find out more about pet sitting, may I suggest the following online resources:
Pet Sitters Int'l (www.petsit.com) - a nat'l organization for pet sitters
NAPPS (www.petsitters.org) the other nat'l organization for pet sitters
Also, I participate in a discussion group created by petsitters for petsitters. You can subscribe at www.petsitters.com. It's very informative!
Hope this helps!
Monday, 20-Jul-98 15:53:31
Bad experiences with dogs
... Hi all,
I haven't seen any information on what to do about threatening dogs. Has anyone here had any bad experiences with this sort of thing? Is it standard proceedure that the owner of the dog must keep it inside or otherwise out of the way while the scooping is being done? Any info (or stories about bad dog experiences) would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Monday, 20-Jul-98 18:07:38
Re: Bad experiences with dogs
... Personally, I've only been bitten by a dog once in my whole
life, as far as I can remember.
Generally, the dogs aren't a big problem; they are usually in the house, and the ones that are in the yard are usually friendly. But now and then there will be a dog that is not going to be safe to work with, so you'll have to make arrangements with the client to keep the dog restrained on the day you come for service.
There's a section on "Working With Dogs" in the manual I wrote. It talks about warning signs, etc.
I remember one time I got quite a scare... I was in the yard when two big dobermans came running out of the house, seemingly bent on eating me. I squatted down and kept my scooper and shovel out in front of me. They stopped right in front of me and just kept me from going anyplace until the owner came and got them. Good guard dogs! hehe
Wednesday, 22-Jul-98 08:32:33
Re: Bad experiences with dogs
... Being in the Canine waste removal business for eight years,
I can happily say we have only had one dog bite. The incident
was unfortunate but was not the fault of the CWT but of the
owner letting the dog out to early, thinking we had left. We at
Have Doggie, We'll Doo require that all new employee's take a
course on how to deal with aggressive dogs.The course is taken
with a well respected & established dog trainer. When you are
dealing with over 3000 dogs per year it is extremely important
for your company to implement these procedures not to mention it
does lower your insurance premiums a bit. You may contact me at
petneeds@petneeds. I hope that I can serve you in the future
with any questions you may have.
Many Thanks &
The best wishes for you
Diane Rossi & Ivan Bilic
Saturday, 08-Aug-98 22:59:36
Re: Bad experiences with dogs ... I train personal protection dogs and own 2,East german shephards. This is what you do in case a situation may arise.first of all just because a customer tells you don't worry it(they) dont bite, remember, do they have teeth? then they can bite!Be introduced to the new dog with the customer and hand out treats,speaking with a high pitch, submisive tone of voice saying, good dog , what a fine dog etc..90 percent of the time your best friends forever!secondly, if you encounter a dangerous breed, rot, dob, german shephard and you just don't trust them,youll be nervous,and you'll make them nervous, and thell fear bite!Make sure they're put away.3rd if you are growled at or cornered by a dog YELL! NO! BAD DOG! and hold you pooperscooper right in thier face and try to make noise with it, like mine is a 2 piece so i take blade end and clatter inside the scoop and that scares them enough to get to afence. 4th if a dog bites and holds slip him the fabric part of whatever it might get such as the sleeve and then keep moving it so he doesnt rebite and walk to the gate then shead the garment while trying to exit.Most of the time it will run around the yard with it and shake it, trying to kill it! small price to pay instead of a set of (well you know!)LOL