Want to Make $1 Million as a Franchisee? Clean up Some Dog Poop Ryan McCoy was working for Scoop Soldiers' corporate office when it began franchising — and he saw an opportunity.
- Before stepping into the world of poop removal, Ryan McCoy enjoyed a long stint in the restaurant business.
- When Scoop Soldiers began to franchise in 2019, McCoy saw an opportunity.
- Investing in the client-rich Dallas territory, McCoy rapidly grew the business and within a year made more than $900,000.
People sometimes giggle when Ryan McCoy tells them what type of franchise he owns. But the laughing stops when he adds that he made nearly $1 million last year scooping dog poop — and is on track to do even better this year.
"People can laugh, but if they want to make a million dollars they should scoop some poop," Ryan says.
A bold career change
Ryan's background isn't in poop removal. He had a long career in the restaurant business before joining Scoop Soldiers' corporate team in 2017, becoming the first manager for the Dallas market. Over the next five years, he learned about the waste-removal business and significantly expanded the company's area.
"It fit like a glove in a lot of ways," Scoop Soldiers CEO and co-founder EJ McCoy (Ryan's cousin) says of Ryan's management of the Dallas market. "He knew very well exactly what he was doing in taking on that territory. He saw the opportunity, not just with Scoop Soldiers but with the industry as a whole."
Recognizing an opportunity
When the company began franchising in 2019, Ryan recognized the advantages of being a local owner. Realizing the opportunity in front of him, he soon left the corporate team and purchased his own franchise.
"The biggest thing [was] just buying the established territory that already had clientele," Ryan says. "Some franchise opportunities, you can buy the area that the corporate side hasn't gone into yet, where you're starting with zero clients, essentially. So being in Dallas, where they started already, there was already a decent client count when I took over the territory. And we have naturally added more as we went on."
Within a year of obtaining the territory, Ryan's franchise served more than 1,100 clients, and revenue surpassed $900,000.
"We've got eyes on all of it"
The Scoop Soldiers service model is based on frequency, with weekly being the most common level of service. But the company offers other packages as well. "We also offer twice a week, three times a week, in rare cases, in some of our most dense zip codes, we're able to offer daily service," EJ says. "For more budget-minded pet owners, we offer bi-weekly service where we come out every two weeks. And then beyond that, a much rarer situation is one-time service."
In addition to the other reasons, there are very real health benefits to prompt dog waste cleanup.
"When you have kids and they [go] straight to the backyard after school and there are just piles everywhere, soon it's all over the house," Ryan says. "If left there, it can run off into our water system, which is very unhealthy. So it is important to get it cleaned up."
Ryan says his techs are trained to break down yards into a grid so none of the property is missed.
"We walk in a grid pattern kind of similar to mowing," Ryan says, "so we can cover pretty much every square inch of the yards to make sure we've got eyes on all of it."
Finding other avenues for revenue
Since purchasing his franchise, Ryan has also expanded into new areas within the DFW market, including cleanup partnerships with hotels and pet care centers. The company also provides stocking services to various dog cleanup stations in parks and other public places.
He says commercial growth will be a focus in the coming year. "There's a lot of commercial opportunity which we haven't fully tapped into yet," Ryan says. "So that's a big goal here in the near future."
Population growth, competition growth
The Dallas-Fort Worth metro area now has about 7.9 million residents and is expected to reach 10 million people in the 2030s, surpassing Chicago to become the third-largest metro area in the U.S., indicating still more growth potential for Ryan's territory.
However, the demand for dog waste removal services fluctuates with the seasons in many climates. This cyclical pattern, as well as the expected increase in competition as the population grows, can affect the consistency of business revenues, posing a significant challenge for franchisees in this space.
The most pressing challenge, though, might be the competitive landscape itself. With relatively low entry barriers to start a dog waste removal business — a Scoop Soldiers franchise requires an initial investment of $61,000-$111,000, for example — new competitors can easily step into the market. This influx of service providers can spark stiff competition, with newcomers and established businesses vying for the same clientele.
Still, Ryan is optimistic his franchise can continue to handle rapid growth and credits his time at Scoop Soldiers corporate for preparing him for what's ahead. "I know how the growth looks and how it works and what to do when you start seeing that growth. So with that experience, I'm really prepared to keep everything going as far as recruiting and having enough trucks and supplies and getting more clients as much as we can."