Pet poop is serious business for Chico resident James Smith, who has been cleaning up pet messes for about 17 years. A business he started with his wife, Christine, Jimmy’s Scooping Service offers backyard pet cleanup. After his wife passed away in 2005, he fought to continue working. But he’s endured, recently adding James’ House Check Service to his offerings. Disabilities prevent Smith from doing other work, but he has found a niche to help him earn his own way by helping others. He drives a battery-powered, three-wheel bicycle, and will go most anywhere in Chico as needed. However, too far from his North Street home means an extra fee. To meet Smith, or for a free estimate, call 321-3615.
How did you get started doing yard cleanup?
One night, I was at my friend’s house for dinner. He suggested picking up yards. I left to go to the store and came back and said, “I’ll do it.” I’ve been in the business almost 17 years now. I started the House Check three years ago.
What do you do on the job?
I pick up people’s back yards. I charge between how many dogs, $12 for two. I get it bagged and dump it. I go out every day, whenever I have the chance. I don’t like to stay home. I go whenever the client wants.
How many clients do you have?
Six. I used to have 25 or 26, but no one had money, or they moved, or died. I had a client die last month.
What equipment do you use?
I use a pooper-scooper device. You can get it at PetCo or PetSmart. Sometimes my family buys me shovels. I have a motorized bike that’s in the shop right now.
What do you do on a ‘house check’?
I go to the house, check the front door, the back door, fence and gate, and the yard. If anyone is there, I call the cops. I feed the animals if they want for an extra charge. If the house is far for me, I charge a little for traveling.
Have you had any long-term clients?
I have five. They like my job. They know I do a good job. I’m patient with my clients. Scoop Masters, they have a business in town, but charge way more money than I do.