FranchiseWorks.com | Former ad executive is now a entre-'poo'-neur
NEWBURYPORT — This time last year, Plum Island resident Joseph Gliottone was senior vice president of print production at one of the country's largest advertising agencies in Boston.
Today, Gliottone scoops dog poop.
After 30 years in the advertising industry, including 61/2 years managing printing for a number of national brands, including Royal Caribbean, Radio Shack and Volkswagen, Gliottone was laid off twice in a period of seven years due to shrinking budgets and an Internet takeover of print.
"To stay in the field I was in, I would've had to reinvent myself," Gliottone said. "At that point, I figured 'Why not do something completely different?'"
The 53-year-old decided it was time to be his own boss. After attending a franchise show, Gliottone was drawn to DoodyCalls, the country's largest pet waste removal service, which was named one of Entrepreneur Magazine's "Top 500 Franchises" and a Franchise Times "Fast 55 Business" in 2009.
"I came out of a business so driven by technology — every day you needed to upgrade what you were using to stay competitive," Gliottone said. "This business was not dictated by technology."
It was precisely that — the simplicity of scooping up dog poop — that drew Gliottone to it.
"Being in print production, it gets complicated explaining what you actually did," Gliottone said. "This is the first job I've ever had where my parents completely understand what I'm doing."
With about 30 franchises across the nation, Gliottone's Essex County franchise is the third in the state, with others in Southern Massachusetts and Metro West.
Armed with rakes, shovels and bags, Gliottone, who hopes to hire a staff soon, addresses one of the few unpleasant aspects of pet ownership — picking up what pets "drop off."
"It's one of those things to take off the to-do list and not have to worry about doing each week," Gliottone said.
DoodyCalls is geared toward families with kids, single parents, the elderly and anyone who simply just doesn't want to scoop their pup's poop, Gliottone said.
"No one would ever admit their favorite part of owning a pet is picking up after it," Gliottone said. "People have such a love for pets — this kind of service gives them the opportunity to spend more time with their pet."
For Gliottone, it gives him much-needed time outside of a cubicle.
"My commute was on average three to four hours a day," Gliottone said. "Now, I have an opportunity to be outside and take time to listen to the birds chirping."
Costing on average less than $20 per visit, DoodyCalls rates are based on number of dogs, size of yard and frequency of visits, ranging from weekly, biweekly, monthly and one-time cleanups. Additional services include cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing decks, patios and kennels, providing brown spot treatment on lawns to eliminate damage, and even exchanging dirty litter boxes from cat owners' homes on a weekly basis.
The company also provides pet waste stations and services to homeowners associations, condo and apartment complexes, parks and municipalities.
"Everyone I've told has been supportive ... once they get up off the floor from laughing," Gliottone said. "It's not such a far-fetched idea when you think about it; people are hired to mow lawns, for maid service — this is just another service out there to take advantage of."
As he transitions from the corporate business world to the cleanup business, the former advertising executive-turned-entre-'poo'-neur said he's realized the industry provides a wealth of joke material, such as "We're number one in the number two business," and that he may become the "butt" of friends' jokes.
"What I'm doing — it is what it is," Gliottone said. "We all need to do something to make a living."
By Liz King
Published: September 15, 2009
The Daily News of Newburyport
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