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  • Hello all and.....

    a little help please.
    I've been lurkin here for a while and thought I'd post up a question.

    I started a (drain cleaning) business a paltry 2 1/2 years ago and have had only mediocre success. My first year was fantastic. 2nd year bordered on acceptable and now going into the 3rd is simply blah. The phone just isn't ringing. What can I do? It seems all the money I'm spending on advertising is for nothing. I'm currently doing direct mailers to the local areas and neighborhoods and have a 1/4 page telephone book ad. Neither are producing consistent calls. Is it just the economy? I've been living off what I made the previous year but that ain't going to last. I need help or I'm either goin' belly up by the end of the year or back to work for someone and I don't want to do either.
    Also, I began the business by picking up work from a fellow drain cleaner who's been at it almost 30 years with solid clientel. He's part of the reason my first year was so good. He's an older guy in his early 60's that needed some help with the extra calls. So we came to an agreement which has worked out pretty good until more recently. He's not calling me much anymore. Says he's just not getting the work. To further complicate things, he tells me he's going to be retiring soon. I think I've made the terrible mistake of putting most of my eggs in one basket with this guy when I should have been building my own customer base. Thinking back, I wouldn't have had the time even if I wanted to. He kept the calls coming and I was making money. So what can I do? I've even been hitting the pavement to directly hit up business's. But that gets old fast since it involves driving around, burning fuel and my own energy that I'd rather be exerting on a paying job. Any advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks

    BTW, I've been in the sewer and drain business about 16 years or so
    with 7 years plumbing work under a licensed contractor.

  • #2
    Re: Hello all and.....

    Best thing I can tell you is you have to network yourself with plumbers. Half my jobs come from plumbers who want to do plumbing not snake drains. If I am there and there is a plumbing issue no matter how small I turn it back to them sometimes they say put that new ptrap in because they are too busy. But I never steal their client and they know this and feed me jobs. And most of them turn me over to their buddy's who need camera work. Now with a lot of construction plumbers comming back to service work in the nation to keep busy there will be a few less jobs but it doesn't matter. Just give out your card to every plumber you see, also direct contact with property management companies is good because they get burned by high priced national drain cleaning companies and are looking for a good drain cleaner too.
    Seattle Drain Service

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Hello all and.....

      First off, welcome to the forum. You'll find all kinds of useful information like, how to make a milk shake with a K-60.

      Please don't take this as an assault. I know nothing about you and mean no harm by asking you this. How sure are you that you are doing a good job?
      Again, I am not trying to attack you. It's just that when I read the first few lines of your post thats the first thing that pops into my mind. I too am new to the business and having a though time, but each month I make new contacts and get more referrals, so each month is getting better. You seam to be getting worse off each month. Are you not getting repeat business? Have you tried customer surveys?
      Do you think your getting an honest answewr from the old man?
      INSIGHT PIPE is now Maine Drain Serving most of ME with no charge for travel! 207-431-6232 is nolonger a working # our NEW # is 207-355-1476
      Sewer main snaking (roto rooting). Sink clogs. Sewer backup. Pipe inspection/locating. No Dig trenchless repair. Root clog removal.We are NOT to replace your local Plumber, as we do not do plumbing. WE ARE YOUR DRAIN CLEANING EXPERTS!!! www.sewermaine.com waterville winslow bangor augusta skowhegan fairfield pittsfield oakland

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Hello all and.....

        twicepipes, where bouts are you in socal?

        maybe we overlap? maybe i know you?

        maybe i can help you

        i figure you'll see this before you figure out what a p.m.(private message) is.

        rick. the k-60 milkshake man
        phoebe it is

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Hello all and.....

          I think the Key to success is the first impression you leave someone with.

          Today I had to explain to an engineer why I thought the Kohler stool I was pushing was so much better then the Flush-O-Matic he had that didn't flush at all. This guy was grilling me good but I didn't miss a beat. You have to know what you are doing and show it from time to time. You cant be pushy but you have to tell it like it is. If they don't want it move on but let em know the why`s so they don't think your just trying to get in their pocket book.

          I find that my name being in my phone book ad helps allot as they like the first name game if you know what I mean.
          They want you to be their guy and they will tell their friends about their guy and you get more jobs.
          There are a bunch of things you can do but the most important thing is that first impression!

          Plumbers will come to you if you present yourself in the right manner, back to the first impression thing

          Know your job and be very respectful and your phone wont stop ringing.
          http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Hello all and.....

            Originally posted by Cuda View Post
            Best thing I can tell you is you have to network yourself with plumbers. Half my jobs come from plumbers who want to do plumbing not snake drains. If I am there and there is a plumbing issue no matter how small I turn it back to them sometimes they say put that new ptrap in because they are too busy. But I never steal their client and they know this and feed me jobs. And most of them turn me over to their buddy's who need camera work. Now with a lot of construction plumbers comming back to service work in the nation to keep busy there will be a few less jobs but it doesn't matter. Just give out your card to every plumber you see, also direct contact with property management companies is good because they get burned by high priced national drain cleaning companies and are looking for a good drain cleaner too.
            Thanks cuda. All good points and I agree wholeheartedly especially about stealing other guys' customers. I've had it done to me and it ain't cool.

            Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
            First off, welcome to the forum. You'll find all kinds of useful information like, how to make a milk shake with a K-60
            Well, I dont use ridgid machines so I'm afraid I'm behind the 8 ball already.
            Thanks for the welcome though Gene

            Originally posted by Gene Bickford View Post
            Please don't take this as an assault. I know nothing about you and mean no harm by asking you this. How sure are you that you are doing a good job?
            Again, I am not trying to attack you. It's just that when I read the first few lines of your post thats the first thing that pops into my mind. I too am new to the business and having a though time, but each month I make new contacts and get more referrals, so each month is getting better. You seam to be getting worse off each month. Are you not getting repeat business? Have you tried customer surveys?
            Do you think your getting an honest answewr from the old man?
            I hear what you're saying and no harm. I've got pretty thick skin
            You're right, I am getting less and less work.
            I like to THINK I'm at least a fairly good serviceman (I don't consider myself a "tech", I provide service) because of the many requests and compliments I've received and continue to get and the lack of re-do's (call backs). That in itself is worth something where I came from. In fact, since you bring it up, I hadn't thought about it in awhile and not to sound hauty but I'm actually pretty damn good. The company I started out with as a plumbers helper, eventually put me in charge of a crew and training the new guys how to properly CLEAN drains. But, that got old since it only paid an extra $75 per week. Training newbies or dropping what I was doing to go out to job sites to get them "unstuck" or clear a drain on top of running my own calls wasn't my idea of making money.

            Repeat business? Yes. It's new customers I'm after. Surveys? No. I figure I don't do enough work yet to warrant that. Maybe I need to. As far as the "old man" goes, I've questioned him and he claims there's just not enough work. But I do have suspicions that his customers are requesting ME and not him and he's simply lying to them and me. On those days when it's extra busy, I hear from him, otherwise, nada. This may be the case because his customers are constantly asking me for my phone number Not just occasionally either, all the time. Of course I can't do that and I tell them I can't.
            So Yeah, I'm pretty confident of my abilities both with customers and mechanically. In fact, I believe it's not even an issue. I've been at this for a lot of years now and I think any shortcomings have been worked out long ago. Every single company, plumber and drain cleaner that I've picked up work for over the years usually doesn't meet MY standards. Be it because of procedure or lack of ethics.
            I don't screw people over and don't sell them things that they don't need. I have a big problem with people and companies that do though. THAT is something that DOES get under my thick skin.
            Ok, enough about my greatness...

            Originally posted by All Clear Sewer View Post
            I think the Key to success is the first impression you leave someone with.

            Today I had to explain to an engineer why I thought the Kohler stool I was pushing was so much better then the Flush-O-Matic he had that didn't flush at all. This guy was grilling me good but I didn't miss a beat. You have to know what you are doing and show it from time to time. You cant be pushy but you have to tell it like it is. If they don't want it move on but let em know the why`s so they don't think your just trying to get in their pocket book.

            I find that my name being in my phone book ad helps allot as they like the first name game if you know what I mean.
            They want you to be their guy and they will tell their friends about their guy and you get more jobs.
            There are a bunch of things you can do but the most important thing is that first impression!

            Plumbers will come to you if you present yourself in the right manner, back to the first impression thing

            Know your job and be very respectful and your phone wont stop ringing.
            Hi AllClear. Also good points and so true. First impressions are lasting ones and so important in this business. I like to help my customers and people in general as if their home or business were mine own. My (and others') customers know that they can call me back and not have to fear about getting ripped. I'm a fair guy and honest about whatever work needs to be done. It's really the only way as far as I'm concerned. My wife says I'm too honest with my customers--if that's possible.

            Hey, btw, I see your're boater. Any chance you hang out over at PB or RD's place? I like to read the drama there
            I've got a southwind 20' daycruiser, jet, 460. It'll do 120 on a good day

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Hello all and.....

              Rick, I'll send you a PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Hello all and.....

                River Dave and I go way back to my early day`s of drag boat racing. Dave is really pretty cool and I LOVE all the DRAMA.
                I`m Jet Hydro as I`m the Guy that owns the Jet Hydro


                I also work on speed boats on the side, most of em being jet boats

                120mph you say
                Is that on the internet or the lake
                Last edited by All Clear Sewer; 07-08-2008, 06:33 PM.
                http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Hello all and.....

                  120 on the internet only. 64.5 MPH on the lake.

                  I figured. You seemed to fit the profile. Back before HB went down, I exchanged a couple words with Dave. Nice guy. He's just real honest like.
                  I never post over at RD's place, I just sit back and LMAO!
                  Anyway, my user name is Daycruzin. I just might have to come out of the shadows over there soon.






                  Oh and....



                  RD SUX!!!

                  Even though I have no idea why.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Hello all and.....

                    because he cant drive a boat worth $iht
                    http://www.all-clear-sewer.com/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Hello all and.....

                      Classic!
                      Last edited by Twicepipes; 07-08-2008, 07:52 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry

                        I just realized there's a biz section. If I woulda scrolled down further, I'd have seen it. My questions are probably better suited there. Here I am thinking I was all cool, in the right spot. Sorry bout that.

                        Comment

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