DOWNEY — It’s been nearly a year since Cesar Moreno started offering his services, and so far, business really stinks.
It’s okay though, because he likes it that way.
Moreno, 37, is the owner and founder of Stinky Tails, a professional dog waste removal service. He credits his two chihuahua-mix dogs, Tito and Rocky, for influencing the idea.
“I travel. I have a regular nine-to-five job where I travel a lot,” said Moreno. “Being recently married and my wife being pregnant, I was on one of those road trips for a month. My sister was-in-law was supposed to clean.”
“I come back from the road a month-and-a-half later. I’m walking in the backyard, everything looks pretty clean.”
“I stepped on dog poop. I was barefoot,” said Moreno.
Moreno and his wife, Pam, had already been discussing starting up their own business. His wife had initially suggested opening an ice cream shop, but the investment seemed too costly. Now finding himself in a sticky situation, the entrepreneur was struck with an idea that was easily a solid number two.
“I said, ‘Wow, how many other guys are out there that most people think were lazy because they hired the pooper scooper,’” said Moreno. “I was thinking how many people are out there that travel a lot, their wives are pregnant or their wives can’t pick it up because they get grossed out.”
“Sure enough, I thought of the idea and I started looking it up. I found this guy back east, and I saw what he was doing and I was like, ‘I could do that.’”
Working in dog poop has made Moreno the butt of a few jokes. However, after an initially crappy start over the first few months of operation, Stinky Tails has used social media and word of mouth to steadily grow its clientele.
“Lo and behold, from one month to another it went from five [customers] to 10,” said Moreno. “Here we are 25 customers later I service Downey, I do a little bit of Long Beach as well.”
Moreno covers from Monterey Park to Long Beach twice a week – on Tuesdays and Fridays – on a weekly, bi-weekly, or one-time-service basis, depending on the customer. His prices range from $14 to $20 (and sometimes more), determined by the number of dogs, size of the yard, and scale of the job.
“Two cups of coffee and a croissant. If you can afford that then you can afford me once a week,” said Moreno.
In addition to picking up and disposing each canines’ waste, Moreno also will deodorize the area if needed.
“It’s not just picking up poop. There’s a bacteria issue behind it as well,” said Moreno. “Obviously there’s a little air and that bacteria picks up and everyone is breathing these pathogens that are horrible for humans.”
Dogs aren’t even the only animal he’s picked up after; Moreno has also cleaned up after cats, and even tended to a chicken coop.
“Believe it or not, cat poop smells worse than dog poop,” said Moreno. “I have two or three customers who just call me for cat poop.”
Whatever mess awaits him behind each gate fence, Moreno says he will show up rain or shine and provide a quality service. His already strong reputation has truly made him the “Poodini” of backyard messes.
It’s like the company slogan says: “They poop, we scoop!”
“I wanted to be in a business that I had no competition, and nobody was willing to do,” said Moreno. “You could pick up your poop, but you could also pay me to do it because you’re grossed out or whatever your reasons are.”
Moreno says that he doesn’t feel that the idea has truly caught on yet, however, when it does, “business will pick up” in more ways than one.
Stinky Tails can be found on Facebook and Yelp, or Instagram at @stinky_tails. Moreno also invites those interested in the service to call (562) 645-3039.