Crain's Cleveland Business
June 12, 2006

Dog Waste Management (Small Business)

Author: Tidyman, John H.

Doe Miklosovic remembers her first thought when her husband, Mike, detailed his plans for a new company. "I thought, 'Are you crazy? We're going to support ourselves scooping dog poop?'"

Mr. Miklosovic was ready for a less-than-ecstatic reception. He asked his wife to first "crunch the numbers," and then continue the conversation.

The husband-and-wife team now operates Dog Waste Management, with a home office in Brook Park.

Mr. Miklosovic had been downsized from his position at a manufacturing company. His degree, from ETI, was in applied electrical technology. His manufacturing job, with its salary, was not going to come back, so he worked at a number of tool and die shops thereafter.

He decided he wanted to work outside, and he wanted to work for himself. The first step was working for a landscaper, though he had a friend with a scooper business and often wondered about creating his own scooper company.

His chance arrived when his friend asked him to handle a half-dozen scooping accounts in a far eastern suburb. His landscape boss gave him Thursdays off for the work. When Mr. Miklosovic added customers and asked for a second day off, his boss offered his best wishes and fired him.

The Miklosovics settled on Sun newspapers as an advertising vehicle and advertised for 15 weeks, each week in a different area. Today, with five years' experience, they get new customers via word of mouth.

Mrs. Miklosovic handles billing, advertising and scheduling. The scoopers' area of operation is Cuyahoga, northern Medina, western Lake and eastern Lorain counties.

She makes sure the tools are in good supply, handles almost all customer phone contact, and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, she scoops.

Even as the enterprise was wobbling, Mr. Miklosovic was designing in his mind a new scooper. Today, he uses it constantly and has a patent on it.

"The scoops I bought were tough on the turf and if your scooper leaves huge divots every week, it's not going to be so valuable," Mr. Miklosovic said.