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Duty to Serve


The Florida Association of Veteran-Owned Businesses estimates that there are 185,000 veteran-owned businesses in Florida. These businesses alone generate over $57 billion in revenue each year. Former Air Force veteran Jesse Johnson is just one of these local business owners. 

Johnson grew up in Central Florida and joined the Air Force after graduating high school. During his time in the military, he traveled the world while being stationed in North Dakota, South Korea and Germany. There, Johnson worked on military aircraft like B52s and F16s. He also obtained a bachelor's degree and MBA while in active service. 

Johnson met his wife while on leave from his station in South Korea. They returned to Johnson’s home in Winter Garden after he was discharged from the military. 

“I love the community. Everything is fairly close together and tight knit. This is where I grew up,” says Johnson. “It still feels like a small town where everyone knows everybody.” 

Now, Johnson serves the community as a small business owner. He opened Doody Calls, a local pet waste removal franchise, in April 2022. 

Doody Calls offers pet waste removal services throughout Winter Garden and Orlando. Customers can choose weekly, monthly and on-demand pet waste removal for residential properties. The company also installs and maintains pet waste stations at commercial properties and local communities. In addition, they offer regular yard deodorization treatments.

As a dog owner and pet lover, the franchise allowed Johnson to own a business that served the community and pets at the same time. 

“People want clean backyards. They’ve got kids or grandkids or events in their backyard they like hosting—parties and things like that. So it's good for the environment and prevents the spread of parvovirus and other diseases that are found in dog waste.”

Johnson believes his time in the military helped him become a successful business owner, crediting his attention to detail and professionalism to his time in the Air Force.

“I understand a lot of different backgrounds and cultures. I understand what it means to very much be ‘service before self’ and what quality should look like,” he says. 

The VA also provided Johnson with tools and resources to get his business off the ground. 

When asked for his advice to other vets interested in starting their own businesses, he encourages them to research programs through the VA and other organizations specifically designed for vets, like the SBA Express Loan. This loan allows vets to borrow up to $500,000 and waives guarantee fees if they qualify. SBA Express Loans also offer quicker turnaround time than traditional SBA loans, closing within days instead of weeks or months. 

He also suggests doing your homework before launching a business. “Make sure the due diligence you conducted in the service is implemented into the civilian world when it comes to buying into a business,” he says. 

Johnson hopes to use profits from Doody Calls to reinvest in other niche, home-based businesses.

“We wanted to invest our time into it now to grow it so we have time that comes back to us later," he says. "It's something we can pass down to our children." 

Johnson has made several investments in his business since opening Doody Calls. 

What’s been his best business investment to date? 

The advertising wrap on his work truck, he says. “It’s very noticeable. We have picked up some clients from it. It’s very out there.”

Johnson’s plans for the future include attending more tradeshows and local community events to get the word out about Doody Calls. He also wants to look for more home-based service businesses to invest in.

“My goal is to scale. I want to keep hiring and keep taking on new customers and communities," he says. | | 407-807-6312

I understand what it means to very much be ‘service before self'.

My goal is to scale.