Geese Police: It's a Geese of a Home Business!
[...] About fourteen years ago, David Marcks never thought that chasing geese as a way to keep his hyperactive dog busy could become a lucrative business.
David, then 23 years old, was working as a golf course superintendent in Greenwich, Connecticut. As he recalls, "I had a problem with 600 geese residing on the golf course." They tried several options: goose-repellent chemicals that don't always work, to streamers or other "goose-frightening" props that altered the appearance of the golf course. Killing or injuring the birds was out of the question.
At the same time, he got his first Border collie. After trying various approaches unsuccessfully, he stumbled on the idea that he could perhaps train his dog to drive off the geese. "I contacted the American Border Collie Association, told them about what I want to train the dog to do and they thought I was a lunatic."
It worked! As David proudly recalls, "Once I had my dog for 6-8 weeks, I didn't have any geese on my golf course. Of course my neighboring golf courses suffered greatly because all the geese went someplace else."
With the geese gone, however, a new problem popped up. David had a new problem: what will he do with the dog?
"What nobody told me when I got my dog was that border collies make lousy pets. Now we had this highly intelligent working breed dog with nothing to do. She was driving me crazy. She was chasing squirrels, rabbits, golf balls, etc. Once I had a little irrigation break on a green, and she was being difficult, more so that particular day, so I put her in my office. I left for 20 minutes, and went down to the golf course and checked on the problem. When I came back, she ate my office - I mean literally -- my desk, the chair, the garbage can, and three sets of computer cables."
While some may have gotten rid of the dog, David thought otherwise. "I know she was a great dog; but she just needed to be kept busy."
What David did next laid the ground for Geese Police. He offered the services of his dog to herd away the geese in neighboring golf courses, with no charge for the service. After all, it was simply a way to keep his dog busy.
"I asked the neighboring golf course if they had any problems with geese. So I brought my dog and introduced her, and asked if I could possibly stop by every morning before work, during lunch and after work to herd the geese off the golf course. They agreed. So that's what I did. Everyday, I dropped by before going to work, then came back during lunch break and after work and herd the geese off another golf course."
Four to six weeks later, the neighboring golf course didn't have any geese on their property. So David was back to square one. His dog had again nothing to do. "She was being a menace and I have to look around for something for her to do."
Word about David and his dog started to spread among golf course operators in Connecticut. Another superintendent was playing in the neighboring golf course that David and his dog serviced. With the noticeable absence of geese, he asked the superintendent whatever happened to the geese. The superintendent replied, as David recalls, "Oh you've got to see it. This kid comes down and he has this dog. They come down here and drive away the geese."
The guy called up David and said, "I'd pay you to chase the geese off my golf course."
That started Geese Police.
While Geese Police started in the golf course sector, David says that, "Golf courses are now just about 5% of my business. The majority of my business now, about 90%, are corporate parks and playgrounds - corporate and township properties." [...]
Read the whole thing, to see how what started out as just a way to exercise his dog, has grown across state lines and evolved into a multi-million dollar business that supports over 40 families.
Geese Police Inc.
[...] Geese Police, Inc. now has over 35 specially-trained dogs, services clients throughout New Jersey and Rockland and Richmond counties in New York, and franchised its business concept throughout the country from 1998 to March 2003 when it sold to GPI, LLC. the right to use the Geese Police System and marks. GPI, LLC currently offers franchises.
Here's a video from You Tube, featuring David Marcks, who talks about the business he started and the dogs he works with: