Is there gold in your backyard?
Or, more accurately … dog poop?
Erica Krupin found $1000 a week in hers, with a side hustle that can easily be replicated in your local area.
Erica started Kroopin’s Poopin Scoopin, a pet waste removal business in her spare time, and now has more than 80 recurring weekly customers.
With an average price of $15 per customer per week, that’s over $1,000 a week, picking up dog poop.
Sometimes it’s the simplest businesses that are the fastest to get started and see some results. Erica just left her day job to pursue this full-time, and with the plans she has in place, it looks like her business is set to continue growing.
Tune in to hear how she landed her first customers and markets this business, how she prices the service, and how she delivers on her promises.
Where’d the Idea for the Poop-Scooping Biz Come From?
The story behind why Erica started Kroopin’s Poopin Scoopin is an interesting one.
“It was my husband, it was his idea,” Erica said.
Her husband used to talk about starting the business with his brothers growing up, it was always something he’d wanted to do.
But he never did.
Erica continued to hear him talking about it, until, ”One day I just decided, you know what? I’m going to do this,” she told me.
So, she went and got a DBA (Doing Business As) to register the company name, and made it an official business.
Validating Demand for a Pet Waste Removal Business
Erica didn’t do any market research before starting her business. She based the need for a pet waste removal business on the fact that she didn’t enjoy picking up after her own dog.
She knew she couldn’t be the only one! So, if she could make her service appealing, she would be able to find customers — and she was right.
The funny thing is that Erica still doesn’t enjoy picking up after her own dog. Yet, she said she finds it “relaxing” picking up poop for her customers. “It doesn’t feel like work,” she explained.
Landing Your First Poop Scooping Customers
The first thing Erica did was look at a friend’s website who runs a pet waste removal business to get an idea of what services to offer and how to price them.
She then did a soft launch on Facebook, just to friends and family. She had one message right away, and that was her first client. From there, she mostly used word of mouth and would ask around if anyone wanted their yard scooped.
For pricing, Erica would ask people what they were willing to pay, and she also looked at what other scooping businesses in the area were charging.
She initially settled on $55 per month. But soon realized some months had 4 weeks and that made a big difference to her rate. So, she swapped to a weekly price billed every 4 weeks.
Her pricing currently works out at:
- $50 for an initial clean-up. This is good up to 5 buckets full of poop, with an additional charge of $10 per extra bucket.
- Then she charges $14 per week for 1 dog or $15 per week for 2 dogs.
Most of her 80+ customers are paying $60 every 4 weeks on a recurring basis.
She produces an invoice, emails them out, and lets Square handle the transactions.
Growing a Pet Waste Removal Business
One lesson Erica learned from doing her first job was that she priced it too low.
The good thing about that job, however, was that she took before and after pictures of the yard she cleaned up. She used these pictures to make an ad style post and started posting them in Facebook groups.
She said she posted it in 47 local buy/sell/trade style groups that she was already a member of, and added a caption that she was offering pet waste removal services starting at $30.
Thinking she would get maybe one or two hits, she headed off to a conference for the weekend.
“All of a sudden my purse just started vibrating like crazy,” Erica told me.
She was getting hundreds of messages from people in the groups she posted her ad in asking about her service.
“I probably made $5,000 – $6,000 off that post,” Erica said. She was working two other jobs at the time, so she had to enlist some help to meet the sudden rush of demand.
Her husband knew how she was doing the yard cleaning, so he helped take members of Erica’s family, friends, co-workers, and anyone else she’d found to help to clean up yards.
Many of those first customers are still with Erica today.
Marketing the Poop Scooping Business
I asked Erica what else she’s done to market her pet waste removal service. She explained she’d been working on a few different marketing channels, including:
- Local vet office and pet suppliers – She dropped off some donuts and “hot pink” business cards, which went down well. The donuts were definitely a hit.
- Placed a banner at a dog park – She paid $250 to place a hot pink banner at a local dog park. (I got a Side Hustle Show banner for my office from HalfPriceBanners.com.)
- Chamber of Commerce – As a member of her local Chamber of Commerce, her ads are on their website.
- SEO – This is the one area Erica hasn’t yet focused on, but it’s on her to-do list for the near future.
How Much Does it Cost to Start a Pet Waste Removal Business?
There are always some startup costs involved with service businesses.
Erica’s biggest expense was $450 to add a hitch and trailer to the back of her 2007 Chevy Cobalt (affectionately named Lexi). She now drives a truck that’s better equipped to carry everything she needs.
For her tools, she bought a child’s garden rake, some yellow contractor buckets, and a bunch of lavender-scented trash bags.
Erica also spent $15 on the DBA, and $50 to register her company as an LLC.
So … What Do You Do With All the Poop?
When she first started out, Erica was filling a large tote and disposing of it in her trash can at home. As she started cleaning more yards, she asked local waste collection facilities what the best solution was.
They told her she needed to get a specialist hazardous waste application approved. Then she would be able to dump the dog waste at a local dump.
This is a much better solution, but costs her $150 every time she dumps a load.
(As a “full service” pet waste removal provider, she didn’t want to simply stink up her customer’s trash bins.)
Erica went full-time with Kroopin’s Poopin Scoopin when her earnings surpassed what she was earning with her day job. She’d built it to that point working only part-time, and is excited to continue to grow it.
Her current hourly rate works out between $45-$60 depending on how close her jobs are together. One of her goals is to get more customers in a closer geographic area. This will allow her to cut down on travel time between jobs and increase her hourly rate.
She currently has one employee who works 2 days a week. Erica is planning to take on more help next year so she can focus her efforts on expanding her business.
Erica’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation
“Keep your business debt free!”
Links and Resources from this Episode
- Freshbooks.com – Start your 30-day free trial today!
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