When asked how they came up with this entrepreneurial idea, Stephanie said, “We got the idea when visiting my sister in Omaha. Her pooper scooper was in the backyard. “Josh said who is that? And she told us he was the dog scooper.”
Seeing this sparked an idea with the couple. “We both have an animal background being vet techs,” Josh said, plus he added, “I also have training in the invisible fence installation business, so I know dogs’ temperaments and about backyard safety.”
The couples vet tech background is a true plus. While the focus of the job is to remove the waste, sometimes because of their background, they sometimes catch health updates on the dogs that they get to know so well. “The other day Josh noticed that one dog’s lymph nodes were swollen,” Stephanie said.
This fondness for the animal clients is easy to see. Josh admitted to playing fetch and other games with the clients while on the job! “My whole life I’ve been interacting with dogs,” he said.
So, the idea for the Pain in the Grass came about after the visit to Stephanie’s sister. “Josh said we know so many dog people. I had just had our son Jameson, he was just born, and Josh was still working at the vets. We decided to give it a try. It’s been five years now.”
“Josh does it fulltime, and I do it part time,” Stephanie said.
Josh came up with the name, Pain in the Grass, Dog Waste Removal trying for something funny, but Stephanie added, “We didn’t want it confused with a lawn care company.”
Pain in the Grass serves the central Illinois communities of Pawnee, Auburn, Chatham, Springfield, Sherman, and Rochester. “Our main work is weekly scooping. We can offer twice a week, and we also offer one time spring clean-up. Realtors also refer us and use us a lot for last day moving clean up.”
They don’t do pet sitting and other animal chores. “We try to keep it as simple as possible. We are insured, so we have our bases covered,” Stephanie added.
Many of the dogs get excited when they come do to their weekly clean up chores. The pets that are not so friendly usually remain inside. “We send a text telling them we are on our way,” Josh said.
The base rate for Pain in the Grass starts at $15/week, and $3/additional dog and that includes anything under a ¼ acre.
The best part of their job, Josh said, besides the dogs of course, is being their own boss. Stephanie also added they enjoy being outside. “We like giving people their yard back and taking one more task off their list.”
Customers vary from seniors, to disabled, injured and pregnant pet owners, to just very busy dog owners. Then there are also businesspeople like home daycares that hire them to take care of the pet waste. They have a system they follow when they go to work. They scoop the waste, seal it, then toss it outside in the owner’s trash receptacle. “Scoop it, Bag it, Trash it!” Josh said.
They are very safety conscious and make sure that the gates are relatched, and they disinfect their tools after working at each home. “Owners should doublecheck latches, but we are very safety conscious,” Stephanie said.
Josh is originally from the Murrayville/Jacksonville area and moved to Springfield after graduating from high school in 2004. Stephanie grew up in Springfield and attended school in Rochester. “Josh and I moved here so my daughter Jada would start kindergarten in a small town,” she said.
They moved to Pawnee in 2014. The Knott’s are pet owners with two dogs and three cats. This year Jada will be in the 7th grade and Jameson will be in kindergarten, so they very have a busy family life.
For more information, check out their website at www.paininthegrassllc.com, or call 217-229-1975, or email email@example.com with questions. They also have an active Facebook page (13) Pain in the Grass LLC - Dog Waste Removal | Facebook as well.