By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Opportunity poops: Listen up, editors of Dog Fancy magazine: You missed the scoop (that's our last bit of wordplay, we promise) when you excluded Dallas from the list of Top 10 canine-friendly cities in your current issue. Houston made the list. Austin made it. But not Big D, a city where a former luxury car salesman not only created a business collecting dog poo from yards but is now ready to franchise.
That's right, Dog Fancy, Pet Butler stands poised to gross around a million bucks in the next year, says Matt "Red" Boswell, the company's founder and CEO, so who says we don't love our dogs as much as Houston? (Keeping anything coated in fur in that humid swamp constitutes cruelty in itself--and we include the wives of oil execs on that list.) Why, just a few weeks ago, one of the Dallas Observer's writers wrote a short piece suggesting that homeless people might be more important than homeless pets. He's now living in a motel under an assumed name to avoid the mob of animal lovers who want to string him up.
But back to Boswell. The 34-year-old entrepoo...no, wait, we promised...entrepreneur, says he has invested $400,000 into the process of offering franchises, which include a national call center in Frisco (a runner-up in Dog Fancy's list) to handle customer service and billing for franchisees. For average start-up costs of $50,000, the franchise owners also get marketing support and training--presumably in running the business, not the scooping. Boswell says he's had more than 100 inquiries from potential franchisees and already has one in New Jersey, another in California and one coming soon to northern Florida. His own end of the biz employs 13 people.
A lot of them liberal arts majors?
"You know, it blows people away to know that just about every one of our fecal matter removal technicians, as we like to call them...have college degrees," Boswell says.
Yeah, well, so does Buzz, and look what wedo for a living.
Boswell has bigger plans to expand into various "home services" industries. It's a growing field, either because people are busier these days, or just very, very lazy.
What does Boswell's crew do with all the stuff they collect, we wondered?
"The normal way is, we go into the yard; we clean it all up; we toss it in the neighbor's yard; and we leave a card," Boswell says.
Genius. --Patrick Williams