Starting a Pooper Scooper Business Could Be a Good Side Hustle

Interested in how to start a pooper scooper business? It might not sound glamorous, but it could be a good side hustle for the right person.

Kathryn Underwood - Author

May 9 2023, Published 1:03 p.m. ET

A woman walking a dog and cleaning up poop
Source: Getty Images

Some people combine a pooper scooper business with dog walking services

If you're looking for a unique side hustle (or even primary job), perhaps you haven't considered a pooper scooper business. But the key to starting a successful business is identifying and meeting a need, and plenty of pet owners need this type of service. Here are all the details on how to start a pooper scooper business.

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A pooper scooper business is one that offers pet waste removal services for residential homes or even commercial areas like city parks where pets might do their business. Even if you don't have experience with this sort of business, there are simple steps to follow to start. And since the pet waste removal industry is expected to grow to $5 billion by 2024, it could be a profitable venture.

Four leashed dogs at a park
Source: Unsplash/Matt Nelson

They're cute, but messy. That's where a pooper scooper business comes in.

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What is a pooper scooper business?

It's a fairly self-explanatory term, but a pooper scooper business offers pet waste removal. Pet owners can hire these companies to visit their homes regularly to clear their yards of waste and ensure a more sanitary environment. Parks and recreation departments might do the same to ensure their parks are clean in case of irresponsible pet owners.

How can you start a pooper scooper business? Here's a step-by-step guide.

If you're considering starting your own pooper scooper business, this list of steps will help you:

  • Research the market interest in your area
  • Decide which services you would be willing to provide
  • Research and invest in equipment
  • Register your business
  • Get the required permits for your business
  • Make a marketing plan
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1. Do market research on pooper scooper businesses.

First, be sure to look into whether there are any similar businesses where you plan to operate. They will be your competition and can also give you an idea of the rates people in the area are willing to pay. Do some research into the demand and come up with a list of your potential customers.

A green dog waste bag dispenser
Source: Webstaurant Store

One of your services might be disposing of pet waste bags at parks and restocking the bag dispensers.

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2. Determine what services you'll provide.

Pooper scooper businesses may offer a range of services. Decide whether you'll focus on residential customers or commercial clients (or both). You may offer the following:

  • Pet waste pickup and removal
  • Restocking pet waste bags for commercial clients
  • Biohazard cleanup
  • Sanitation services (garbage collection and removal)
  • DNA testing of pet waste to detect disease
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3. Develop a business plan.

Next, make your pooper scooper business plan. Determine the pricing for your services, how far you're willing to travel, whether you're a one-person operation or will hire help, and price out equipment.

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A laptop with notepad and coffee on a wooden desk
Source: Unsplash/Andrew Neel

Draw up a business plan to help your chances of success.

4. Purchase necessary equipment.

When determining how to start a pooper scooper business, your major expense will be equipment. You might use your own vehicle or purchase one specifically for the company. You'll also need equipment like shovels, scoops, rakes, trash bags, bins, cleaning supplies, and safety gear like rubber gloves.

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5. Get the necessary licenses.

You'll likely need to apply for a business license in your state, and you might need a license from the EPA to run a pet waste removal business. Check into state and local requirements for licensing this type of business and make sure you're following all the legal stipulations.

6. Decide how you will dispose of pet waste.

You'll also need to determine what type of disposal you provide your customers. You might double-bag all pet waste and leave it at the customer's home, leaving them responsible for final disposal. Alternately, you can provide the service of transporting the pet waste to a dedicated third-party disposal site (and charge for it).

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7. Get insurance coverage for your business.

Don't forget about general liability insurance for the business and commercial auto insurance for the vehicle you're using. General liability insurance helps protect you from claims against your business of bodily injury, property damage, and similar problems.

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Two women working on website
Source: Unsplash/KOBU Agency

A well-designed website is key to attracting customers.

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8. Develop a marketing plan for your business.

You won't get far with your pooper scooper business if no one knows about it. You need a marketing plan, which can include simple and inexpensive methods:

  • Create business profiles on social media platforms
  • Launch an inexpensive business website with all pertinent information
  • Distribute paper flyers around the area
  • Advertise online
  • Seek out customer reviews

How much is the average salary for a pooper scooper business?

The rates you charge and the typical salary for a pet waste removal business will vary. According to ZipRecruiter, the average national salary for a pooper scooper is $29,707, which works out to about $14.28 per hour if based on full-time work. Glassdoor reports the average salary for a pooper scooper/dog walker is $56,943 per year. However, you'll need to decide for yourself how much to charge and how many hours to work.

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