Crappy Service: The rise of the dog doo cleaning business
“It’s a service industry, it’s a need,” says Poooh Busters' Roland Pearson
Ten years ago, Roland Pearson was sick of cleaning up his dog’s poop. So, he called the lone company in Calgary offering such a service. He was not happy with the result, though. “I thought ‘The hell with this, I can do it bigger and better,’ ” Pearson says.
Ten years later, Pearson has kept true to his reaction. He’s now the owner of Poooh Busters, a pet-waste removal company, with about five competitors in Calgary, that employs 14 people full time, services 1,500 homes per week, disposes of 20 tonnes of dog doo per month and is on track to clear $800,000 in revenues this year. “The growth is ridiculous,” Pearson says.
But a business built on … dog poo? Pearson says it should not seem weird. “It’s a service industry, it’s a need,” he says. “Picking up pet waste is one of the worst jobs pet owners think there is. At just over $10 per week, most people would rather spend time with their families or walking their dogs.”
And, Pearson says, Canadian values are likely at the root of the reaction that some have to his business, noting pet-waste removal has long been a viable concern in the U.S. “Here in Canada we had a hard time wrapping our heads around somebody picking up dog waste,” Pearson says. “We’re Canadian; we feel we’re supposed to do it ourselves. But it’s like having a pool cleaning service. Fifteen years ago, if you said you had a maid you were looked at as crazy. Nowadays, a cleaning lady is common practice.”