How to Start a Dog Poop Cleaning Business in 14 Steps (In-Depth Guide)

Updated: April 10, 2024 is reader-supported. When you buy through links on my site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

With over 86.9 million households in the US owning pets, the demand for dog waste removal services is on the rise. Considering that the dog poop bag market reached an evaluation of $152.7 million in 2022, it’s easy to see the call for these services is rising.


Starting a dog poop-cleaning business can be a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to tap into this growing market. Not only does it provide a valuable service to pet owners, but it also helps keep communities clean and healthy.

In this article, we’ll walk you through how to start a dog poop-cleaning business. From understanding your target market to choosing the right equipment and marketing your services, we’ve got you covered.

1. Conduct Dog Poop Cleaning Market Research

Before diving into starting a pet waste removal service, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research to understand the industry landscape, target audience, and growth potential. The pet care industry has been steadily growing over the past decade.


The pooper scooper business market is expected to witness significant growth in the coming years. The COVID-19 pandemic has further fueled the demand for dog waste removal services. With more people working from home and spending time with their pets, the need for a clean and hygienic environment is growing.

Busy professionals, elderly pet owners, and those living in apartment complexes or condominiums may be more inclined to outsource this task. Additionally, targeting high-income neighborhoods and areas with strict pet waste regulations can help you tap into a more lucrative market.

Competition is another factor to consider when assessing the market potential. While the dog waste removal industry is relatively niche, there are established players and franchises operating in various regions.

There is still room for new entrants, particularly those offering unique value propositions or serving underserved areas. Differentiating your business through eco-friendly practices, flexible scheduling, or additional pet care services can help you stand out in the market.

In terms of pricing, dog waste removal services typically charge either a per-visit fee or a monthly subscription rate. Prices can vary depending on factors such as location, frequency of service, and the size of the property.

2. Analyze the Competition

Analyzing other pet waste removal companies is a crucial step when starting a dog poop cleaning business. By understanding your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, and market positioning, you can identify opportunities to differentiate your services and gain a competitive edge.

To analyze brick-and-mortar competitors, start by visiting their physical locations, if applicable. Observe their branding, pricing, and service offerings. Take note of their fleet size, equipment, and any additional pet care services they provide.

Evaluating your competitors’ online presence is equally important in today’s digital age. Start by conducting a thorough analysis of their websites, paying attention to their design, user experience, and content.

Next, analyze your competitors’ social media presence across platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Evaluate their follower count, engagement rates, and the type of content they share. Take note of any promotions, discounts, or contests they run to attract and retain customers.

In addition to their online presence, research your competitors’ search engine optimization (SEO) strategies. Use tools like SEMrush or Ahrefs to analyze the keyword rankings, backlink profiles, and organic search traffic of other pet waste removal professionals.

Consider subscribing to your competitors’ email newsletters or following their blogs to stay updated on their latest offerings, promotions, and industry insights. By regularly monitoring your competition, you can adapt your strategies and stay ahead of the curve in the poop-scooping business market.

3. Costs to Start a Dog Poop Cleaning Business

When starting a dog waste removal business, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the startup and ongoing costs involved. Let’s begin by examining the startup costs for pet waste removal businesses:

Startup Costs

Business registration and licenses: Depending on your location, you may need to register your business with the state and obtain any necessary licenses or permits. These costs can range from $50 to $500.

  • Equipment: Investing in high-quality equipment is crucial for efficiently and effectively cleaning up dog waste. Expect to spend around $500 to $1,000 on initial equipment purchases.
  • Uniforms and branding: Creating a professional image is important for attracting and retaining clients. Budget around $200 to $500 for these items.
  • Marketing and advertising: This can include creating a website ($500 to $2,000), designing business cards and flyers ($100 to $300), and running targeted social media or Google ads ($500 to $1,000 per month).
  • Insurance: Depending on your business structure and location, you may need to obtain general liability insurance or other types of coverage. Insurance costs can vary, but budget around $500 to $1,000 per year.
  • Legal and professional fees: Consider hiring a lawyer to help you draft client contracts and navigate any legal requirements. Allocate $1,000 to $2,000 for these professional services.

Estimated total startup costs: $3,350 to $8,300

Ongoing Costs

  • Vehicle expenses: If you use a vehicle for your business, you’ll need to factor in ongoing costs such as fuel, maintenance, and repairs. Depending on the size of your service area and the frequency of your pooper scooper services, these costs can range from $500 to $1,000 per month.
  • Supplies and equipment: You’ll need to regularly restock items such as waste bags, gloves, and cleaning supplies. Budget around $100 to $300 per month for these ongoing expenses.
  • Employee salaries: As your business grows, you may need to hire additional staff to help with the cleaning and administrative tasks. According to PayScale, the average hourly rate for a pet waste remover is $13.71. Factor in employee salaries based on your staffing needs and the local labor market.
  • Marketing and advertising: To continue attracting new clients and maintaining brand awareness, you’ll need to allocate funds for ongoing marketing and advertising efforts. Budget around $500 to $1,000 per month for these activities.
  • Business insurance: Maintain your general liability insurance and any other necessary coverage to protect your business from potential risks. Annual insurance premiums can range from $500 to $1,000.
  • Rent or office space: If you decide to operate from a physical location or storefront, factor in monthly rent and utility costs. These expenses can vary greatly depending on your location and the size of your space.
  • Administrative expenses: Don’t forget to account for ongoing administrative costs such as phone and internet service ($100 to $200 per month), software subscriptions ($50 to $200 per month), and office supplies ($50 to $100 per month).

Estimated monthly ongoing costs: $1,800 to $4,800.

4. Form a Legal Business Entity

When starting your own business, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the right legal structure for your venture. The four main types of business entities are sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability corporation (LLC), and corporation.


Sole Proprietorship

A sole proprietorship is the simplest and most common structure for small businesses, including dog poop cleaning services. As a sole proprietor, you have complete control over your business and can make decisions quickly.


A partnership involves two or more people sharing ownership of the business. Partnerships can be either general partnerships or limited partnerships. In a general partnership, all partners are equally liable for the business’s debts and legal issues. A limited partnership has both general and limited partners.

Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)

An LLC is a popular choice for small businesses, including dog poop cleaning services. It combines the personal liability protection of a corporation with the tax benefits and flexibility of a partnership. As an LLC owner, you are not personally liable for the business’s debts or legal issues, protecting your assets.


A corporation is a separate legal entity from its owners, providing the highest level of personal liability protection. However, corporations are more complex and expensive to set up and maintain compared to other structures. They require extensive recordkeeping, reporting, and tax filings.

5. Register Your Business For Taxes

Once you’ve chosen the legal structure for your dog poop-cleaning business, the next crucial step is to register your business for taxes. One of the most important aspects of this process is obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

An EIN, also known as a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), is a unique nine-digit number assigned to your business by the IRS. It serves as your business’s identification for tax purposes, much like an individual’s Social Security number.

Applying for an EIN is a straightforward process that can be completed online through the IRS website. To get started, visit the IRS’s EIN application page. The application process is free, and you’ll receive your EIN immediately upon completion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to applying for an EIN online:

  1. Determine your eligibility: The online application is available for most business types, including sole proprietorships, partnerships, and LLCs.
  2. Gather required information: You’ll need your business’s legal name, address, and the Social Security numbers of the owners or responsible parties.
  3. Complete the online application: The application consists of several pages, asking for your business’s details, such as the type of entity, reason for applying, and principal business activity.
  4. Apply: Review your information for accuracy and submit the application. You’ll receive your EIN immediately upon successful completion.

In addition to obtaining an EIN, you’ll also need to register your dog poop-cleaning business with your state’s tax authorities. Each state has its requirements for sales tax registration and reporting. Visit your state’s Department of Revenue or Taxation website to learn about the specific steps you need to take.

Registering for sales tax is important because, depending on your state’s laws, you may be required to collect and remit sales tax on your dog poop cleaning services. Failure to register and collect sales tax can result in penalties and interest charges.

6. Setup Your Accounting

As a dog poop-cleaning business owner, it’s crucial to prioritize accurate and organized accounting practices from the very beginning. Proper accounting not only helps you stay compliant with tax laws but also provides valuable insights into your business’s financial health, enabling you to make informed decisions and plan for growth.

Accounting Software

To streamline your accounting process, consider investing in accounting software like QuickBooks. QuickBooks automates many aspects of accounting, saving you time and reducing the risk of errors. By integrating your bank accounts and credit cards with QuickBooks, you can automatically import transactions.

Hire an Accountant

An accountant can provide valuable services such as bookkeeping, financial statement preparation, and tax planning. They can also help you navigate complex tax laws and ensure you’re taking advantage of all available deductions and credits.

Open a Business Bank Account

One of the most critical aspects of business accounting is separating your personal and business finances. Open a separate bank account for your dog poop-cleaning business and use it exclusively for business transactions. This will make it easier to track expenses and prepare financial statements.

Apply for a Business Credit Card

A business credit card can help you separate personal and business expenses, build your company’s credit history, and earn valuable rewards. When applying for a business credit card, issuers will typically consider your credit score, business revenue, and time in business.

7. Obtain Licenses and Permits

Before launching your dog poop-cleaning business, it’s essential to obtain the necessary licenses. Find federal license information through the U.S. Small Business Administration. The SBA also offers a local search tool for state and city requirements.

At the federal level, there are no specific licenses required for a dog poop-cleaning business. However, it’s crucial to ensure that your business complies with all relevant federal regulations, such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards for workplace safety.

State and local requirements are where most of your licensing and permitting efforts will be focused. Depending on your location, you may need to obtain a general business license, which is a basic permit that allows you to operate a business within a specific jurisdiction.

In some areas, you may also need to secure a specific license for a pet waste removal business. For example, in Colorado, dog poop cleaning businesses are required to obtain a “Commercial Dog Breeder and Pet Care Facility License” from the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Another important permit to consider is a waste disposal permit. As a dog poop cleaning business, you’ll be collecting and disposing of pet waste regularly. Some localities have specific regulations around the proper disposal of pet waste to prevent environmental contamination.

If you plan to operate your business from a physical location, such as a storefront or office, you’ll likely need to obtain a zoning permit or a certificate of occupancy. These permits ensure that your business is located in an area zoned for commercial use and that your building meets all safety and accessibility requirements.

In some cases, you may also need to secure a vehicle permit if you plan to use a company vehicle for your dog poop cleaning services. This permit may be issued by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or your local city or county clerk’s office.

In addition to obtaining licenses and permits, it’s essential to stay informed about any ongoing requirements, such as license renewals or annual reporting. Set up a system to track your license and permit expiration dates and ensure you submit renewal applications and fees on time.

8. Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is a crucial component of protecting your dog poop-cleaning business from potential risks and liabilities. While it may seem like an additional expense, having the right insurance coverage can save your business from financial ruin in the event of an accident, injury, or lawsuit.

Several types of insurance are particularly important for a dog poop-cleaning business. General liability insurance, for example, can protect your business from claims of property damage or bodily injury that may occur while you or your employees are providing services.

Here are three scenarios where not having business insurance could seriously harm your dog poop-cleaning business:

  1. Employee injury: Imagine one of your employees slips and falls while cleaning up pet waste, resulting in a severe back injury. Without workers’ compensation insurance, your business would be responsible for covering the employee’s medical expenses and lost wages.
  2. Property damage: Picture accidentally damaging a client’s expensive landscaping or hardscaping while cleaning up pet waste. Without proper insurance coverage, your business would be on the hook for the repair or replacement costs, which could be substantial.
  3. Legal claims: Consider a scenario where a client’s dog becomes ill after allegedly ingesting a cleaning product you used. If the client sues your business for veterinary expenses and emotional distress, the legal fees alone could bankrupt your business if you don’t have liability insurance.

To get business insurance for your dog poop cleaning company, start by assessing your risks. Evaluate the specific risks your business faces, such as property damage, employee injuries, and legal liabilities. This will help you determine which types of insurance coverage you need.

Next, shop around. Contact several insurance providers or work with an insurance broker to compare quotes and coverage options. Look for providers that have experience insuring pet care businesses.

When requesting quotes, you’ll need to provide information about your business, such as your business structure, revenue, number of employees, and types of services you offer. Carefully review the insurance policies offered to you, paying close attention to coverage limits, deductibles, and exclusions.

Once you’ve selected a policy, complete the necessary paperwork and pay your premiums to secure coverage. Be sure to review and update your coverage annually or as your business grows and changes.

9. Create an Office Space

While a dog poop cleaning business primarily operates outdoors, having a dedicated office space can provide numerous benefits. An office can serve as a central hub for administrative tasks, client communication, and storage of equipment and supplies.

Home Office

For many dog poop cleaning businesses, especially those just starting, a home office can be a practical and cost-effective solution. A dedicated room or area in your home can be used for tasks such as scheduling appointments, managing finances, and storing paperwork.

Coworking Office

A coworking office, such as WeWork, can be an excellent option for dog poop cleaning businesses that want a professional office setting without the commitment and cost of a traditional lease. Coworking spaces offer amenities like high-speed internet, printing services, and conference rooms.

Retail Office

If your dog poop cleaning business also offers retail products, such as pet waste bags or dog treats, a retail office may be a good fit. This type of office combines a storefront with a back-office area for administrative tasks and inventory storage. A retail office can help attract walk-in customers.

10. Source Your Equipment

When starting a dog poop cleaning business, sourcing the right equipment and materials is crucial for efficiency, professionalism, and safety. The essential items typically include a pooper scooper, waste bags, gloves, hand sanitizer, a storage container for waste, and a reliable vehicle for transportation.

Buying New

Purchasing new equipment and materials ensures that you have high-quality, reliable items that will last for years to come. Online retailers like Amazon and Chewy offer a wide selection of dog waste cleaning supplies at competitive prices. You can also visit local pet stores or home improvement stores.

Buying Used

If you’re looking to save money on startup costs, buying used equipment can be a smart choice. Online marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Craigslist, and Letgo are great resources for finding gently used pooper scoopers, waste storage containers, and other supplies at a fraction of the cost of buying new ones.


For equipment that you may only need occasionally or for a short period, renting can be a cost-effective solution. Some local pet stores or equipment rental companies may offer pooper scoopers, waste storage containers, or other supplies for rent on a daily or weekly basis.


Leasing equipment can be a good middle ground between buying and renting, particularly for larger items like vehicles or storage units. Leasing allows you to spread the cost of the equipment over a longer period, making it more manageable for your cash flow.

11. Establish Your Brand Assets

Establishing a strong brand is essential for any business, including a dog poop cleaning service. A well-defined brand helps you stand out in the market, build trust with your target audience, and create a memorable impression that keeps customers coming back.


Getting a Business Phone Number

A professional phone number separates your personal and business lives, making it easier for customers to reach you and helping you maintain a work-life balance. Consider using a service like Ring Central, which offers features like call forwarding, voicemail, and a mobile app.

Creating a Logo and Brand Assets

You can create your logo using a tool like Looka, which uses AI technology to generate custom logo designs based on your preferences. Other brand assets, such as color schemes, fonts, and imagery, should complement your logo and create a cohesive visual identity for your business.

Creating Business Cards and Signage

Business cards are a must-have for any entrepreneur, providing a tangible way to share your contact information and promote your brand. Companies like Vistaprint offer a wide range of business card and signage options to suit your needs and budget.

Purchasing a Domain Name

In today’s digital age, having a website is crucial for any business. You can purchase your domain name through a registrar like Namecheap, which offers competitive pricing and easy-to-use management tools.

Creating Your Website

Website builders like Wix offer user-friendly templates and drag-and-drop interfaces that make it easy to create a professional-looking website. If you prefer to leave the website creation to the experts, consider hiring a freelance web designer or developer through a platform like Fiverr.

12. Join Associations and Groups

Joining associations and groups can be incredibly beneficial for anyone starting a dog poop-cleaning business. These networks provide opportunities to connect with others in the industry, learn from their experiences, and stay up-to-date on the latest trends and best practices.

Local Associations

Local business associations can be a great resource for connecting with other entrepreneurs and industry professionals in your area. These organizations often host events, workshops, and networking opportunities that can help you build relationships and learn from others. Check out the Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists to start.

Local Meetups

Attending local meetups and trade shows is another excellent way to connect with others in your industry and stay informed about the latest trends and innovations. To find relevant meetups and events in your area, consider using a platform like Meetup, which allows you to search for groups and events.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be a valuable resource for connecting with others in your industry, both locally and globally. These online communities provide a space to ask questions, share advice, and engage in discussions with like-minded professionals. Try groups like the USA Pet Owner’s Group.

13. How to Market a Dog Poop Cleaning Business

Marketing is the lifeblood of any business, and a dog poop cleaning service is no exception. Without a solid marketing strategy, even the most well-run business will struggle to attract customers and generate revenue.

Personal Networking

One of the most valuable assets you have when starting your business is your network. Reach out to friends, family, and acquaintances who own dogs or have connections in the pet industry. Let them know about your new venture and ask if they would be willing to try your services or refer you to others who might be interested.

Digital Marketing

  • Create a Google My Business listing to improve your local search visibility and make it easier for potential customers to find your business online.
  • Run targeted Google Ads or Facebook Ads to reach dog owners in your area who are searching for pet waste removal services.
  • Develop a content marketing strategy that includes blogging about topics related to pet care, dog ownership, and the importance of keeping yards clean and healthy.
  • Start a YouTube channel featuring educational videos on pet waste removal, dog care tips, and behind-the-scenes footage of your business in action.
  • Engage with your audience on social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, sharing helpful tips, funny memes, and special promotions.

Traditional Marketing

  • Print eye-catching flyers and distribute them in neighborhoods with a high concentration of dog owners, as well as at local pet stores, dog parks, and veterinary clinics.
  • Send targeted direct mail postcards to households in your service area, highlighting your unique selling points and offering a special introductory offer for new customers.
  • Sponsor local pet-related events, such as dog shows, adoption drives, or charity walks, to increase your brand visibility and connect with potential customers in person.
  • Partner with local pet-related businesses, such as groomers, trainers, and pet supply stores, to cross-promote your services and reach new audiences.
  • While traditional marketing tactics like billboards and radio ads can be effective for some businesses, they may not provide the best return on investment for a dog poop cleaning service, as they tend to be more expensive and less targeted than digital marketing methods.

As you develop your marketing strategy, it’s essential to track your results and adjust your approach based on what works best for your business.

14. Focus on the Customer

In the dog poop cleaning business, customer service is paramount. Your success hinges on your ability to not only provide a high-quality service but also to create a positive, memorable experience for your clients. Satisfied customers are the foundation of a thriving business, as they are more likely to become long-term clients.

A happy customer is often eager to share their experience with others. They may tell their friends, family, and neighbors about your excellent service, or even post a glowing review on platforms like Yelp, Google, or Facebook.

On the flip side, poor customer service can quickly damage your reputation and hinder your growth. If a customer feels ignored, disrespected, or unsatisfied with your service, they may not only refuse to hire you again but also share their negative experience with others.

To excel in customer service, focus on clear communication, reliability, and attention to detail. Be responsive to customer inquiries, show up on time, and go above and beyond to ensure their yard is spotless. Follow up after each service to ensure their satisfaction and address any concerns promptly.

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