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  • New to the business

    I was looking to start a small 3" and preferably below drain cleaning service.
    Any notes of interetest and equiptment must haves would be greatly appreciated.
    I'm JOURNEYMAN in the state and can set-up shop with my alredy existant plumbing business.
    Equiptment startup and tips would be grand.

  • #2
    Its going to be hard to limit yourself to just 3" lines. Most states require a minimum 4" penetration through the foundation and for the main building sewer. Many older homes have long runs of 4" waste lines leading to the bathrooms inside the house. Some communities require 6" building sewers out to the main.

    If you are really serious about having a professional drain cleaning company you seriously need to outfit yourself to handle at least up to 6" drain pipes. That way you will have what it takes to take care of 99.9% of all residential cabling needs. Your customer will not always know what needs to be cabled, or the pipe size, often all they know is that a drain does not work and they want it fixed.

    If you show up with little machines and try to use them in a larger line you will cause yourself and your customer a lot of problems. You still need the small cables for the fixture branches, but if you can't do the main line then save yourself the heartache and put off hanging out your own shingle. MHO

    You don't have to have cameras and locaters to get started, contractors were successful for a century without them. However, much of your competition will have them so you will need to start budgeting for a simple system almost right away.

    Good luck, and always treat your customer like you would want a service man
    to treat your own mother.
    Work hard, Play hard, Sleep easy.


    • #3
      paulp, plumber summed it up very good.
      truthfully snaking a 4'' main cleanout is easier than a 2'' kitchen sink line. basically it sounds like if the toilets are stopped up when another fixture is used, you're not interested in the job. you should be able to handle about any residential job up to 4'' or 6'' for the city lateral.
      a good 3/4'' machine with feeder will do this. it takes a good feel to know when you're in far enough and still get back out.

      a list of equiptment should include:
      hand held drain gun with 5/16'' and 3/8'' cable x 35'
      a combination 3/8'' and 1/2'' drum machine with 75'-100' of cable.
      a sewer machine with 3/4'' cable and enough cable to clean 150'- 200'.
      of course you need all the proper cutters and leaders.
      don't forget the plunger and a 6' closet auger.
      a hydro jetter would be a great addition for grease and area drains.
      a camera and locator is a very large expense and not recommended if you don't do repairs.

      some like sectional cable machines. i own a few and they do a good job, but are slower to get started and put away. too much handeling of the cables.

      i think that once you get started in the smaller stuff, you'll be forced into the larger stuff.

      you can't make an honest living without working for it and getting you're hands dirty. eventually you'll learn how to stay clean. that's if you don't do hydro jetting.

      good luck, let us know what you decide.

      phoebe it is


      • #4
        super info

        Thanks everyone for the info.
        I have a bus. licensed in plumbing but always asked about drain issues with blockages.
        I'll have another look.
        Thanks eveyone again.
        If there's one thing I've learned (only 38) in the plumbing business is to ask many many questions before getting in there.