Hiring someone to pick up Fido’s poop has been around for over 20 years in various parts of the U.S., and now in other parts of the world. There are over 700 such companies in the U.S. alone, in such cities as San Francisco, New York, San Jose, Santa Barbara, San Diego, to name a few. So when I researched what I thought was missing for residents of Palos Verdes and San Pedro, the dog waste removal business sprung to mind. There’s so many busy individuals that live in this affluent area, I thought this was the missing piece that would help make everyone’s life easier. But I’ve soon discovered that even though it looks to be a slam dunk, it’s a business just like any other. It needs to be developed, and that could take some time with the right plan.
After getting the business cards and the car decals printed, I thought that I could simply park my car outside on a busy street and the phone would be ringing off the hook. But apparently that hasn’t been the case. Initially I had the car parked on Western near Henry’s Market, but only generated a few calls. So I reevaluated the situation and discovered that the decals (although they are quite large) were not large enough to be seen from a distance. Thus, I switched over to guerilla marketing mode and decided to go with a huge “shock and awe” factor. What kind of slogan could I come up with that was short, direct, and to the point. And since my two small kids drink a lot of milk, I thought “Got Milk?”….hmmm. So that eventually translated to “Got Dog Poop?”
Now where could I put this signage on my car to make a huge impact? I thought it over for a couple of days and looked online for options, and eventually came up with the car topper sign. But since these commercial signage companies were charging so much for these signs, I decided to improvise and make my own sign. So I went to the store and bought a huge tote storage, painted it yellow, and spray painted the slogan “Got Dog Poop?”
During the time my husband was making this sign, I was thinking to myself if I really felt comfortable driving around town with a huge sign like this. Imagine if some friends or acquaintances saw me driving around town with a huge poop sign on the top of the car. But I kept going back to “guerilla marketing”, you need to hit them hard with your message. So I decided to go for it. After placing this topper sign on my car, I received many calls asking if I wanted some dog poop (what were people thinking, was I planning some type of massive college prank with the poop) or what this was all about, and getting the questions over and over again, I decided that it conveyed the wrong message after trying it for over a month.
So it was back to the drawing board. I eventually decided to go with “Got Doodiefresh?” instead. The message has been toned down and people are curious about this. It’s been a vast improvement over the old sign and instrumental in driving new traffic to our site.
With the new message on the topper sign, it was time to target the vet clinics, groomers, stores, and dog walkers. There’s only a small number of these places in the entire P.V. area, so it was pretty easy to visit them all in a days time. So off I went with my pretty little business cards and made up flyers. Most of the places were open to allowing me to leave a business card or flyer, but a few said that they needed prior approval from a manager first. So I thought, why not take a chance and leave a few cards anyhow. Not sure of the outcome yet, but I’ll know when I visit them again in the near future.
The thing that really amazed me after visiting these pet related businesses was the surprise that I saw on some of the workers faces when I proclaimed that my company was a dog waste removal service. Many of these individuals did not even know this type of business existed. So I thought to myself, that’s odd since these people work in the pet industry. That could be a good or a bad thing, if you ask me. The good is that I’m the first in the area, and people always remember the first (such as who was the first person to walk on the moon…Neal Armstrong, and who was second…..Buzz Aldrin, but that took some serious thought, I bet). The bad is that it may take a lot of time for people to accept this new service. So I really have my work cut out for me.
I drive around the P.V. area on a daily basis and notice all the service vehicles in the area: landscapers, tree trimmers, window washers, maids, dog groomers, pet sitters, so a dog waste removal service shouldn’t be too hard to imagine in this mix, right? Who knows, only time will tell….and a good plan. Stay tuned for future post on our progress.
Hi, I'm Scott, husband and father of four children, a Labradane named Toby, and a Chug (Chihuaha & Pug mix) named Zoey and owner of Doodie Fresh, LLC.