- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

QUINCY, Ill. (AP) - Holy crap, what an idea!

When Eric Becks was looking at the possibility of starting his own part-time business a few years ago, he came across a novel concept tied directly to the time-tested theory of supply and demand.

Becks started his PUP Cleanup business, which translates into his picking up dog droppings in customers’ yards. Obviously, the supply is endless — and the demand for his services has continued to grow during the three years he’s been in business.

The task is not physically demanding, so Becks is never overly tired or pooped. He can set his own hours for cleanup duty, which means there is no problem when it comes to his full-time job. Becks is a lieutenant with the Quincy Fire Department.

“I was looking for something part time, and I saw that kind of (cleanup) thing was being done in bigger cities,” Becks said. “As far as I know, there is no other (service) like this around here. (What I do) has seemed to spread by word-of-mouth.”

The only downside of the doggie keister cakes enterprise is Becks’ having to watch where he steps. He admits he has slid on a dog log or two.

“I leave my shoes outside when I get home,” he said. “I’ve stepped in (the droppings) more times than I can count.”

Weather permitting, Becker patrols a customer’s yard once a week for $11. If there are multiple dogs, the cost is $13. He also does “one-time pickups” for various prices.

“I listen to music while walking around a yard,” he said. “I also do a lot of thinking. I usually try and go over each yard twice.”

Becks said there are good times and bad times for a yard cleansing.

Cold weather is usually a friend of Becks’ when it comes to removing the yard nuggets.

“The frozen ones are easier to clean up,” he said.

On the other hand, a major thaw or a period of rain can bring problems. The land mines usually turn extremely soft, gooey and even runny, which increases the cleanup difficulty. But as messy as those occasions might be, the droppings are at least visible.

The worst time, in terms of tiptoe vulnerability, comes in the fall, when the falling leaves begin covering the ground. It can be almost impossible to avoid shoe-to-stool complications while battling Mother Nature’s efforts at camouflage.

Becks has little overhead, only some garbage bags and the tools of removal, normally a rake or broom and an exaggerated type of dustpan contraption. He double-bags his work at each site and leaves it with the homeowner for disposal.

“I don’t take anything back with me,” he said.

Becks takes as much enjoyment poking fun at his part-time job as others do. He said he often wonders if he were asked to be a guest at a school Career Day which occupation he would represent — a firefighter or pooper scooper.

“I’ve heard all of the jokes,” he said.

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Source, The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://bit.ly/1oLdPmH

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Information from: The Quincy Herald-Whig, http://www.whig.com

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