Justin Sheppard, who is in Grade 12 at Auburn Drive High School, has been mowing lawns and shovelling snow as a part-time job. Last week, he says he sniffed out a new business opportunity because of all the melting snow.
Sheppard and his friend Jared Williams call themselves the Pooper Scoopers. For $15, they'll scoop up all the leftover dog droppings from any lawn. They will get rid of the poop for an extra $2.50 per bag.
He says word about his business is starting to spread after he posted an ad on Kijiji on Wednesday night. Some of his lawn care and shovelling clients want in on his new venture.
"A lot of people think it's a great idea," said Sheppard.
"They [laugh] about it, but they say 'Man, nobody wants to clean up their crap!'"
Sheppard says he has lots of experience cleaning up. His family has a pitbull named Blaze and it has always been Sheppard's job to pick up after it.
"I'm quick and fast. I don't miss any," he said.
Sheppard says the many summers of lawn care work have given him the "stamina" to clean up a whole bunch of poop-covered lawns.
"I think I could [clean] 10 [yards] a day cause I used to mow about 10 lawns a day [during the] summertime," he said.
"Mowing is a lot easier than poop cleaning, right, so I think I could cover 10 a day if it came down to it."
Scooping poop as a full-time job
Sheppard's not the only one in Halifax scooping up poop for money.
Mic Melanson, who runs Scoopy-Poo Dog Waste Removal Services in Dartmouth, has been picking up poop almost full-time since 2008.
He started the business after losing his office job and noticing the void of pooper scoopers in the city. Melanson visits about 50 clients a week and charges each client $70 a month.
"It's profitable. I don't know if I am going to be rich on it but it actually, it gives the finances a little bit of a break," he said.
"It pays my mortgage, let's put it that way."
At first, people laugh when Melanson tells them what he does for a living. After that, he says they ask themselves why they didn't come up with the idea.
Over the six years he's been scooping poop, he's gotten very used to it. It doesn't bother him at all.
"It's just like picking up gravel to be honest with ya. It's not stinky. It's not mushy or gross," said Melanson.
"This time of year is a little bit different, but a good set of rubber boots and some gloves and you're good to go."
Melting snow means poop-fuelled profits
Melanson says this is the busiest time of the year because of all the melting snow. Melanson says it's a great job to have.
"If someone offered me a full-time job for more money, I don't know if I'd take it," he said.
"I play with dogs every day, I'm outdoors every day. There's no stress. There's no pressure. You know, if I leave the yard and everything's gone, my job is done."