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16  Tools, Trucks and Techniques / Tools, Truck and Techniques / Re: Rock gardens on: May 27, 2013, 11:29:03 AM
I have a potential new customer that has an all rock yard (chipped white marble stone) and three small dogs (2 chihuahuas and a dachshund).  When I did the initial clean up about 95% of the poop had to be picked up by hand. 

Since the yard has to be cleaned by hand and takes longer.  Should I charge more for this yard?  I was thinking either a few dollars more a visit or an additional percentage more on top of the normal rate.
17  General Category / General Discussion / Re: How have you managed to educate the public? on: May 14, 2013, 01:24:42 PM
I'm running into a problem I didn't expect. I thought making people aware that I was offering a service that would take an undesirable but necessary chore off their hands would be my greatest challenge. But no!!! People in this area genuinely see no problem in not cleaning dog poop out of  their yards!

Plain and simple. Not everyone sees it as necessary to pick up after their dog(s).  So you need to get into the mindset of the people and solve a problem.   

I think everyone has that problem to some extent. I mention that dogs and kids track the poop into the house so they are walking on poop covered carpet etc.
You can bring a horse to water but you can't make it drink. Just keep plugging away.

I currently am promoting something similar. Since everyone I have meet seems to hate stepping in dog poop I started focusing my advertising on how to avoid stepping in poop.

Good Luck
18  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Scheduling on: April 29, 2013, 03:03:38 PM
So you are saying my map on the wall with different colored push pins is out dated?

 Grin

Nope, not sayin' that!   Grin  In fact, you could use them together by using the map with pins to decide where to put a customer on a route.   
(Even though Google probably has a tool for that, too.)

Besides, "outdated" doesn't mean "won't work."    Tongue

https://mapsengine.google.com/map/?gmp=home  Google's digital push pin map. Smiley
19  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Scheduling on: April 28, 2013, 11:01:11 PM
Hey, you other guys using quickbooks for billing... you use the same software for scheduling?

Quickbooks you can export your Customer List to Excel and organize it the way you like.  I use Custom Fields to add important information that QB doesn't ask for like day of service.  Though, if you use Customer Fields you will need to do a few things to get those to show up in Excel.  Just look up this question "Is it possible to export Customer Custom Fields to excel" and it will guide you.

20  Apartments and Condos / Apartments and Condos / Re: For those of you selling waste stations as part of your biz... on: April 14, 2013, 12:12:11 PM
One thing to consider is whether you welcome extra paperwork and government intrusion.
In many places, services aren't subject to sales tax but products are.


I collect tax on pet waste removal services in Texas and it really is not that bad at all.  I can pay my state taxes online in just five minutes or less; since Quickbooks keeps track of it all for me.

"In your experience, do property managers enjoy BOTH services as part of a comprehensive pet waste removal program, or just one?"

As for your question, I don't believe anyone on here has enough experience, with pet waste stations, to really answer it.   
21  Tools, Trucks and Techniques / Tools, Truck and Techniques / Re: Rocks and a Dog Pen on: April 04, 2013, 07:31:14 AM
Disposable gloves may also be necessary.   For the ones that stick or are between the rocks.

The first yard I did with rocks I was picking up most by, gloved, hand because they were stuck to the rocks and were between them.  After cleaning the yard a few times I was able to get most with the rack and only needed to pick up a few piles by hand every other visit it seemed.
22  Advertising and Marketing / Advertising and Marketing / Re: Classified Ad - Pet Section or Pet Services in the Service Directory? on: March 20, 2013, 01:40:49 PM
My advise is to call the groomer or visit them and ask if the ad has brought them business. 
23  General Category / General Discussion / Re: credit card processing on: March 16, 2013, 06:36:37 PM
I agree. Square is the best way to go and most reliable.  You may also ask for a convenience fee since it will cost you extra to accept this form of payment.

From site:
"2.75% for swiped transactions and Square Wallet payments
3.5% + 15 for manually-entered transactions"
24  Tools, Trucks and Techniques / Tools, Truck and Techniques / Re: The Same as Big Red? on: March 14, 2013, 12:34:42 PM
Hi All!

I am in my planning stages and just went to Home Depot, Lowes and even Tractor Supply looking for Big Red.  TS was out of stock, Lowes didn't have any dustpans at all with a handle, and HD had one that I think is the same as Big Red but it is yellow.  Could anyone tell me if this appears to be the same as Big Red? Thanks!

http://www.homedepot.com/p/t/202523588?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=debris+pan&storeId=10051&N=5yc1v&R=202523588

Roxie

Hi Roxie:

Went through the same thing you did.  Bought the yellow dust pan at Home Depot and the telescoping rake at Lowes.  I believe the yellow dust is a 1/2 inch smaller then the "Big Red", which is not big deal.
25  General Category / General Discussion / Re: How to know if pricing is to high? How to solve it? on: February 27, 2013, 10:56:56 AM
Thank you Jeff. Did not expect a response in just a few minutes. 

I believe I will try a % discount right now and see how that works.   I will offer past and new customers a % off the first month and if they decide to cancel at the end I'll offer to extend it through to the end of the year.   Depending on those results I can determine if my prices are to high or not.

Do you have other companies in your area or state? I would have them comparable.


No competition .... that I know of.
26  General Category / General Discussion / How to know if pricing is to high? How to solve it? on: February 25, 2013, 03:14:11 PM
I have been doing this for just over a year and a half and have the feeling that the prices I set may be to high for the area I am in.  The reason being that most of the time when a customer cancels their reason is financially unable to continue.  Also, the average income in the area is lower then the national average.

I am worried about lowering the price as it will mean that in the future I will probably need to raise it again. (gas prices, inflation, etc.)  Plus, I do have customers paying the current price. 

My options I am considering are to:
keep the same price ($12 + $3 an extra dog per week),
lower the price by about $2 a week
or promote a 10 to 15% off discount (which lowers the weekly rate just under $2.00).

With the discount I could possibly keep someone that is considering canceling and possibly keep them around.  Also, might be a good way of having someone try the service.

That's my thoughts.  Though I would greatly appreciate your thoughts.
27  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Questions you should ask your scooper on: February 13, 2013, 04:00:11 PM
I have no competition, I am about the only scooper left in the state.

Must be nice.

I know, right?

It really is not.  I am the only scooper in the city and I have to not only advertise but educate the public that such a service exists.
28  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Anyone ever heard of these guys? on: February 10, 2013, 07:28:12 PM
This posting has that same phone # as one of those posts.

http://denver.craigslist.org/cto/3589100906.html
29  General Category / General Discussion / Re: Questions you should ask your scooper on: February 10, 2013, 07:22:06 PM
Top three questions asked.

1) How much does it cost?
2) Can you come out on [day] at [time]? 
3) How does your service work?

Never been asked:
Do you have insurance?
Do you disinfect equipment?

Other questions that have come up usually on the day of service.
Lock on the gate.
Billing.

30  Advertising and Marketing / Advertising and Marketing / Re: Bandit signs, or Snipe signs on: February 04, 2013, 11:17:11 AM
No, I have never posted signs but did learn from reading the local paper that a permit is required to hold a sign out on the street.  The news has just been continuously covering, over the last few months, how city workers are cleaning up the city of signs on street corners, on telephone poles, etc.   

Also, the city did a big crack down, about 3 years ago, on a new utility company that flooded the city with signs every 100ft along busy street.
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