Who knew that scooping up dog poop could also rake in the big bucks? DoodyCalls is a company that does just that. They make an annual revenue of $4.5 million, with about 6.6 million poops disposed of in the last year alone. 55 franchises currently exist in 22 states of the US, and there are plans to expand the number to at least 250 in the coming decade. That’s a huge success for an idea as simple as cleaning up behind a dog. Co-founder and CEO Jacob D’Aniello says that the only way his business could fail is, “If one day, everybody in the world woke up and decided they loved picking up dog poop.” That sure is quite unlikely, given that most people with dogs are hard pressed for time. D’Aniello agrees that his customers aren’t necessarily lazy people, but need quick solutions to the mundane tasks in life, so they can have more time for themselves. DoodyCalls allows customers to pay for more leisure time.
D’Aniello first came up with the business idea for DoodyCalls when he was driving home from work in late 1999. On a popular radio show, he heard a man talking about his love for his career – picking up dog poop. The more D’Aniello thought about this, the more he realized how much that guy loved his job, made a great living out of it, did not have to commute, and worked his own hours. Soon, he was talking about the business plan to his future wife, Susan. She wasn’t too enthusiastic at first, but once he presented her with the business pitch, she was quickly on board. DoodyCalls was soon created and ads went live in the local papers. Their first order was a housewarming gift for a friend – a six months dog poop cleaning service for the new home. Since then, there was no looking back. At $15 per week per dog, their service is affordable and popular.
When Jacob and Susan first set up the business in 2000, they hardly knew what a big pooper-scooper company should look like. With literally no competition in the field, they had to make it all up as they went along. Right from setting prices to predicting a dog’s bowels, everything was a learning experience for the couple. For instance, they learned the hard way that winter is the cruelest season for someone collecting dog poop. “It’s like putting poop in the freezer,” says D’Aniello, with all that snow around. Scraping off hardened dog-poop can be an exercise right out of hell. And it’s worse when all the snow thaws out; massive amounts of stool that was preserved all those cold months is unleashed at once. D’Aniello is grateful for his wife’s presence. “Thank God for my wife, she has the stronger stomach. There were a few times…,” he shudders. “Let’s just say I had to leave.”
Now, if people making millions out of picking up dog poop isn’t an inspirational story, then I don’t know what is…
via Business Week