October 25, 2020

These Teens Built a Business Picking Up Dog Poop

Beckett Stallard, Dante Thomas, and Sawyer Stallard. Photographs courtesy ThePoopBrothers.

Sawyer Stallard and his dad, Morgan Stallard, were on vacation in Chautauqua, New York, when Sawyer floated some ideas for making money over the summer. Mowing lawns, for instance. Morgan had another idea, one that involved preparing lawns for a smooth mowing experience. “I don’t know anybody who would want to pick up poop,” Sawyer recalls.

And so ThePoopBrothers was born: Sawyer,14, his friend Dante Thomas, also 14, and his brother, Beckett, who’s 13. All live in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood, attend Alexandria public schools, and all are featured plying their trade on their business’s hilarious website. (Sample claim: “We have studied the intricacies of poop and promise only to remove the poop and not your deck furniture or grill.”)

Sawyer and Dante met in kindergarten and have been good friends since a fateful interaction: “He body-slammed me on the playground,” Sawyer says; “I don’t even remember it,” Dante says. They roped in Beckett and, after building a website with help from Morgan (“We thought making the website silly and irreverent made sense,” he says), set out to clean their hometown, several square inches of yard at a time.

The business juggles between five to seven clients so far and has continued into the (virtual) school year. “It’s really only a once- to twice-a-week system,” Sawyer says when asked how the demands of academia will affect the Poop Brothers. “So I don’t think it’ll get in the way that much.”

That system involves dividing up Alexandria into territories, and making sure whoever goes out on a job carries water, a backpack full of bags, and door hangers with which the lads festoon nearby houses on their way to and from jobs. They’ll also bring gloves and a mask in case they need to go through peoples’ houses to access their yards.

The service costs $10 for weekly visits, $16 for twice weekly, and an extra $1 for each additional dog (“or person—we don’t judge,” the website says).

To answer an obvious question, none of them have yet stepped in anything. They’ve saved all the money they’ve made so far, and the trio has been featured in Alexandria Living and ALXnow. The boys engaged in shop talk during our Zoom interview, noting that houses where no one has picked up poop in a while are actually easier because the, uh, assets will have dried up.

Is there a kind of dog business you dread seeing? Washingtonian asked. “Saint Bernard stuff,” they all say. “The warm, fresh, giant” kind. But they’ll pick that up, too, at no additional charge.

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