By Cindy Bablitz
“It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it,” is not even close to the enthusiastic attitude Roland Pearson, Erin Maughan and Wayne Gilbart, (better known as Big Nate) have toward their wildly successful enterprise, Poooh Busters. In fact, you’re more likely to hear them laughing about their line of work or cracking fart jokes because these guys really love their jobs. Really.
Roland gave up a clean office and a career in corporate finance management almost 10 years ago to found an entrepreneurial venture picking up and discarding the excrement of cats and dogs … and “was basically laughed out of the building,” he recalls.
Poop picking didn’t seem the sweet smell of success Roland’s colleagues had envisioned for his breakout move. Now, almost 10 years later, “Roly” and his partners are geared up and ready for the success they’re anticipating as they take their business to the next level.
About 1,000 homeowners in Calgary and a select few outlying communities already know why paying a nominal weekly fee to deal with pet waste is worth the investment; thanks to a collaborative and constant focus on continuous improvement, Poooh Busters is poised to become the area’s leading innovator in creatively catering to the poop picking up needs of pet guardians.
A part of the movement, so to speak, has a lot to do with Erin’s incredible devotion to customer service. “My dad always instilled in me that customer service makes the difference in having the upper hand in competition,” Erin says of her dad, Miles Maughan. “Sometimes I think I’ve created a monster but my personal aim is to respond to emails within a half hour period,” she laughs.
It’s that kind of personal devotion that sets Poooh Busters apart from the competition. Attention to customer service often ends up looking an awful lot like developing relationships and Poooh Busters customers are used to feeling like Erin, Roly and Big Nate are friends in the service of pooh … friends who don’t give crappy service.
Big Nate and Roly go way back, and, sweetly, it’s been Poooh Busters that’s driven Big Nate’s move into information technology. The first website he ever created was for Poooh Busters.
“When Roly first started, he was going door to door, walking around dog parks, handing out flyers,” Big Nate grins. “I said, ‘Dude, people go online now,’” and therein launched his own foray into IT.
“When I first put our debut website live, Poooh Busters didn’t even register on Google. I spent a lot of time learning search engine optimization and had a few friends who helped support my own research.”
Today, when you Google pooper scoopers in Calgary, indeed, Poooh Busters sits atop the search engine, declaring, “We’re number one in the number two business!”
It’s just that kind of not taking themselves too seriously that drives the Poooh Busters team even when they’re talking about innovative expansion opportunities, like corporate accounts and a future where cat and dog excrement is composted into a reusable energy resource. (For now, that technology hasn’t been invented yet, but don’t put it past Roly to find a biochemical engineer to one day join the team.) They’d like to find something creative to do with the 11 tonnes of poop they deliver every month to the landfill.
Meanwhile, Roly, Erin and Big Nate work with nine staff helping keep Calgary communities pet waste free and clean for everyone’s enjoyment. For more information about Poooh Busters, visit www.pooohbusters.com or phone 403-462-4351.