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Small Business Ideas Forum

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Old 15th December 2011, 08:30 PM   #1
football45013
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Default New Business Idea--How Feasible?

Ok, so I've done a lot of reading on starting businesses, entrepreneurship, things like that. I even took an online class one time on starting a business. Anyways, one thing I read that I thought was one of the most valuable pieces of advice that I've found in regards to coming up with a great business idea is to think of things that people HATE doing because their more likely to pay somebody else to do it for them. I'm always trying to think of various business ideas and I use this advice as a template to get me started. However, I also like my business ideas to be creative. I had one of those "Ah Ha" moments a couple of months ago where I thought of a business idea that I originally thought could have a lot of potential. But, then I started to have some doubts about it. I'd like to bounce this idea off of you guys to see what you guys think.

I know this sounds kind of crazy and not the most pleasant business, but my business idea was a cat litter box cleaning service. First off, I would imagine most people probably dread cleaning out their cats' litter box. So, this fullfills the "think of things people hate doing" guideline. Secondly, I've never heard of a business like this before and I don't think I'd be going out on a limb if I said that there is probably few, if any type of business like this out there. (I have heard a similar business where this company picks up dog waste out of peoples' yards and from what I've heard, it's become a very lucrative business for the guy that started it.) So, that fullfills the "creative" business idea guideline that I strive for. In addition, it would seem to be a low startup cost type of business. All I'd need is some litter, a scooper, garbage bags to dispose of waste and factor in gas costs.

Anyways, my thinking for this business is that people could call me on an as needed basis and I'd charge them accordingly or I could offer a monthly package deal where I came out x number of days per week to clean out litter box and replace litter as needed and the customer would pay a monthly fee. Obviously, I'd have to work out more details on the pricing structure and things like that. But, these are just rough first ideas that I had as to how it would work.

However, as I thought about it a little more, I'm starting to have my doubts. First, I did some research and it was recommended that litter boxes be cleaned out at least every other day. That would be a lot of driving to customers' houses and wear and tear on my vehicle. It would seem like a money-losing proposition right off the bat. Secondly, I'd have to keep a steady supply of cat litter available and that stuff is not cheap. However, I could probably get it at wholesale prices, so that may not be such a big deal. Third, where would I dispose of the waste? When I'm just starting off, obviously I won't have many customers, so I could just throw away the waste in my own garbage cans to be hauled away on trash day. But what if down the road, the business happens to start taking off and I have a lot of waste to dispose of? I'd probably have too much for my own garbage service, so how would I dispose of it?

So, what do you guys think? You think this idea has potential or is it just a waste of time? For you cat owners out there or just anybody in general, would you pay for a service like this or do you know of anybody that you think would pay for a service like this? Sorry about the long-winded post, but I had to lay out my thoughts to show everybody where I was coming from here with this idea. And I want to thank everybody in advance for their feedback as it's greatly appreciated.

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Old 16th December 2011, 10:40 AM   #2
Logan
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Welcome aboard, I have heard of the cleaning of the dogs back yard as a successful business. My impression is that you need to figure out two main factors. Can you do this at a cost that people will purchase while also providing you a profit? Can you get people to purchase something like this? Regarding the cost, that should be fairly simple to figure out roughly. How much time, gas, wear on car, supplies does it take to do one litter changing? My guess is that it you'll need to charge $10-20+ and there are just not (many) people who are going to choose that vs doing it themselves. Let alone how much are you going to make, a few bucks? Re disposal if it is done on a large scale that could be solved by delivering it to the local dump.

I'm wondering if this could be part of a service you provide that includes other services as well. Maybe start off with the dog cleaning service and also offer this, for example, to see if it catches on.

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Old 16th December 2011, 12:47 PM   #3
DeniseTaylor
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Hi There

I don't want to pooh-pooh your idea. So I won't! (Couldn't resist the pun)

At first I didn't like it. But then, I realize that few people do it (if any) and if I were a cat owner, I wouldn't like doing the litter box. Hopefully it's something you can tolerate.

Actually, my advise would be to play with the concept for your business name. I think it would be cute and clever and something people would remember. Using a little humor will probably get them to accept it, as well.

Something like: Can Doo Litter Box Service (or something) And for your phone number, make it something like: 1-800-555-MEOW

I think it would be adorable!!

Good luck and Happy Holidays!

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Old 16th December 2011, 07:08 PM   #4
football45013
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@Denise, you had me laughing on that one, lol!! And yes, a clever name and phone number definitely is a good idea. Thanks for the feedback!!

@Logan, I agree with you. I just don't know if people hate it enough to actually pay somebody to do it for them. Maybe wealthy people? I don't know. I've heard of some crazy things that the wealthy are willing to pay for. For example, I read somewhere the other day that designer firewood is a hot business right now. Designer firewood?? Are you kidding me??? Apparently, birch wood (the firewood comes from a birch tree) has a "pretty" look to it; hence the reason it's called "designer" firewood. The bark is a white color. And the wealthy are buying this stuff in droves. It's amazing what people will pay for. I just thought I'd throw that in there. But, yea, I'm more than likely going to abandon this idea. I just don't think it's feasible. Although, I will say that you're suggestion for offering additional services is a good idea.

Anyways, Denise & Logan, again thanks for feedback. Believe me, I'll have more crazy business ideas to throw out there to you guys, so keep a look out for more. One of these days, I hope to actually think of one that suits me perfectly to where I'll actually be able to start my business instead of just throwing around ideas, lol!!

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Old 16th December 2011, 09:41 PM   #5
Valenta
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Believe it or not, I have had the same idea on my mind. I do believe there are some people who would like to get it done by someone also. I think that it would be right to start with dog's pick up at first and then offer cats service, since people need some time to adapt this new thing. Looks like it would be lot of work to start such business. What area are you from? I am from VA.

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Old 17th December 2011, 01:14 AM   #6
football45013
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Valenta, I'm from Ohio.

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Old 17th December 2011, 04:29 PM   #7
daveb1
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If you do go threw with the idea you may want to try and find some niche to sell. I think good ideas may be:

-Offer some type of environmentally safe options.

-sell other cat products like custom play towers

-partner up with other pet services like fish tank cleaning, dog walking and even pool cleaning.

-offer unique services like pet callers that track the animal etc.

This idea sounds good but a lot of hard work. Best of luck.

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Old 17th December 2011, 04:35 PM   #8
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1. Regarding the cost of the litter - As you will be supplying the litter, use the clumping type. Clumping litter forms into lumps when the cat uses it. Cleaning the litterbox then consists of scooping it up with a scoop that has holes in it, retaining the lumps and letting the loose, clean litter drop back into the litterbox. You then only have to carry away the lumps and top up the litter box with a small amount of fresh litter.

2. That also reduces the quantity of waste, making disposal less of a problem.

3. Allow time for sweeping the floor - cats cover their waste every time they go, which means they scrape the litter behind them to cover it, and the litter (unless they have a covered box) is scattered far and wide.

4. It really doesn't take long to clean out a litterbox - you will spend most of your time driving from house to house. You can keep your driving expenses to a minimum if you can organize many homes on one street and service them all on one visit.

5. You will need an airtight sealed container in your trunk to carry the waste or use a dedicated vehicle. Cat poo stinks to high heaven, even with perfumed litter. It will certainly lose you any girlfriends if you pick them up for a date straight from work!

6. People often have a cat rather than a dog because they are out at work all day and cannot look after a dog so well. They'll be out during the day so most of your work will be evenings. Which is great for a part-time business.

I hope these thoughts help.

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Old 4th January 2012, 03:10 PM   #9
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Default Doubting your business ideas

Hi there,

It's very common to doubt your business ideas. Some people spend their whole lives coming up with business ideas, doubting them, forgetting about them and then trying to come up with a new one. You don't want to be forevor talking yourself out of every idea that comes to mind!

In regards to your idea, of course it could work. The question would be whether you would really want to do it? I don't believe in creating business ideas based on a template o 'the next big thing' or what other people DON'T want to do. What do YOU want to do?

Almost any business idea can be successful, given the right circumstances and creativity. The trick is to choose a business that is right for you.

I loved your comment 'I'm always trying to think of various business ideas' though. Means you're never going to settle for anything less than getting out there on your own and trying to make it.

Best of luck with the business idea you decide to run with!

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Old 7th July 2013, 12:49 PM   #10
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The idea isn't bad. You found a need and are trying to come up with a profitable way to fill that need. If you know someone that does this profitably with dog waste then you are already close to proving the concept. But here is what I would suggest...

1. Try to get some information from the dog waste cleaning company and get their price structure among other things.

2. Analyze the differences between your needed model and your dog doo comparison model.

The importance of this can't be stressed enough. Although the dog waste company is solving a similar problem, there are big differences that you can overlook that will make your model fail. Its easy to say, 'hey this guy made it work with dogs why can't I with cats?' But for example consider the fact that you would need access to the inside of the clients house where he does not. That means you have to work around your clients schedule making it impossible to design a route that keeps your travel costs down like he does. With the dog waste, he can map out an optimal route and work on his own time table because he can always get to the yard. This means you would have to charge quite a bit more to cover you added costs. You are also replacing litter whereas he doesn't need to replace the yard so you have some supplies to manage that he does not.

3. Marketing a poo relate company has its own problems too. See what he is doing if you say it has been working. You probably need to make it sound cute because it could easily get gross. You could try to make it very professional but from my experience with cat owners when it comes to their felines taking the cute route will probably be more effective.

I hope this will help you some.

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