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  • When to camera?

    I am hoping to spark a good debate and a lot of insight from this thread.

    So here is the question,

    What/when determines the use of a camera?

    Does everyone use a camera?

  • #2
    Re: When to camera?

    You should use a camera when you have a drain or sewer which doesn't make sense to you.

    Mark
    "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

    I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: When to camera?

      Originally posted by pioneer1 View Post
      I am hoping to spark a good debate and a lot of insight from this thread.

      So here is the question,

      What/when determines the use of a camera?

      Does everyone use a camera?
      For me, I recommend a camera for recurring stoppages. For us its more of a tool to help sell sewer replacements, so it gets recommended when I think the line is at that point, or we'll use it to pinpoint where a repair needs to be done. But it's common practice in our area to charge extra for videoing a line, we don't do it just to make sure we got it clean.
      Last edited by MoJourneyman; 05-30-2009, 10:50 PM. Reason: clarity
      No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: When to camera?

        You should use a camera before you start a remodel on a ' slab ' house.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: When to camera?

          I would like to offer a camera on every job, I have got some convincing to do with the rest of our company, my take is that I do not know 100% what caused a blockage if I cannot see the pipe, and how do I know I got it completely clean? Am I doing a disservice to my customer if I at least offer a camera on every job?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: When to camera?

            I make a point of giving my client the option to camera the drain I have just cleaned and I am supprised how many want it done and are amazed at what they see as a picture is worth a thousand words.

            Tony

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: When to camera?

              If we go out and its a first time customer who has never had a problem before we usually don't camera as long as its easy to open up and we don't bring back something odd or tree roots. If the customer is new to us and has had problems before we suggest inspecting the line. 99% of the people who have had problems go for the inspection its the best tool we have to identify the cause of the problem.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: When to camera?

                i feel that a camera is used similar to a doctor using an x-ray, mri, cat-scan.

                i can run a camera into any line and find fault with 90% of sewers. that doesn't mean that 90% of sewers need repairs or inspections.

                i don't like to spend the customers money for a camera inspection unless there is a track record of problems. or unless there is an immediate cause and affect that warrants it.

                a prime example would be an established building with no history of problems and suddenly experiences a major stoppage that caused damage to the property. usually requires an inspection due to insurance claims.

                i carry 3 different cameras along with assorted monitors and locator's in the truck. when i inspect, it's not for selling jobs, it for diagnosing the problem they are experiencing and giving them the answers to either correct or control the issues. it boils down to economics.

                snaking a line is usually much less expensive in the short and long term of the customer. a $100-$400 snake, jetting, camera job is more affordable than a $1000.-$10,000 sewer repair/ replacement. ultimately the customer will need to determine which route they want to take.

                i have customers that want to just keep the line open and others that want to make the problem go away. a good camera inspection allows me to attack the problem with the most accurate information available to me and the customer. knowing the exact location, distance to the problem and being able to duplicate and home into those areas are the keys to success and longevity of your cleaning efforts.

                a typical 100' sewer might only have 1 or 2 issues. less than 5% of the total line has a problem. using the camera i can locate and document that area and either repair it or do a great job of cleaning it.

                so the camera is used to properly diagnose a problem and give options and solutions. very similar to your medical doctor.

                so my camera gets used when the customer and i determine it's a wise decision, investment.

                rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: When to camera?

                  i'm the odd man out here. i use the camera on virtually every job and don't have an up charge for it. now a specific locate/diagnostic look is a separate animal. that gets charged differently. i also charge for videoing a line and the copy the customer gets.

                  i think of the camera more as a stethoscope than an x-ray or MRI

                  as i've said before if i charged to look at a line the camera would barely get used.

                  BTW i have a "video deposition" of a replaced sewer line in a lawsuit coming up in the near future

                  steve
                  In the never ending struggle to keep the water flowing.... The Poo Poo Cowboy rides again!!!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: When to camera?

                    I always looked at a camera as a flashlight to get a deeper look into the sewer line. So I do not charge to use the flashlight (camera) after I have done a rodding. I like to televise the lines after every rod job automatically more for me than the home owner. I want to see that I cleared the line to the best of my ability and I want to ensure there is no other issues with the line. We do guarantee our drain cleanings for 2 years.

                    Now if I do find a problem spot I will show it to the home owner, and if they want it located I will charge to make a tape and locate the exact spot. I never locate spots for free due to the fact they can take your diagnostic information and hire some other shop, which will not have to do the one step. Also if I get hired just to televise a line of course I charge for that as well.
                    Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                    A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                    Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                    Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: When to camera?

                      It is very frustrating reading this forum.We all leave out the uncomfortable stuff that makes us look less then what we want people to see.

                      A 200' mini with monitor is $10,000.

                      The camera Utah lent me to use broke.And this forum is already aware of how expensive this is going to be to fix.I figure $1500-$2000,at least that is what others are having to pay when their equipment gets sent out.

                      The money is coming from somewhere to use this equipment .Whether one charges for an equipment rental fee,more on your hourly rate,an inflated flat rate,
                      or my favorite "Some dead Uncles trust fund"

                      We have visitors here reading their favorite post where a guy uses this camera as part of their process included in the fee.It would be nice if they realize who's paying for it.

                      I have been asked to shove it down the hole for nothing.I don't have magic money to give away.At this point I can only use camera when the customer understands there is a problem with their drainage system that needs to be looked at and the equipment costs money,lots of money.

                      For the record,
                      In the parking lot of the supply house last week I was talking to a one man shop owner who uses the camera for free on sewers he thinks he can sell for replacement.I went home and took a shower after talking to him.I still get pissed when I think of the conversation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: When to camera?

                        Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                        It is very frustrating reading this forum.We all leave out the uncomfortable stuff that makes us look less then what we want people to see.

                        A 200' mini with monitor is $10,000.

                        The camera Utah lent me to use broke.And this forum is already aware of how expensive this is going to be to fix.I figure $1500-$2000,at least that is what others are having to pay when their equipment gets sent out.

                        The money is coming from somewhere to use this equipment .Whether one charges for an equipment rental fee,more on your hourly rate,an inflated flat rate,
                        or my favorite "Some dead Uncles trust fund"

                        We have visitors here reading their favorite post where a guy uses this camera as part of their process included in the fee.It would be nice if they realize who's paying for it.

                        I have been asked to shove it down the hole for nothing.I don't have magic money to give away.At this point I can only use camera when the customer understands there is a problem with their drainage system that needs to be looked at and the equipment costs money,lots of money.

                        For the record,
                        In the parking lot of the supply house last week I was talking to a one man shop owner who uses the camera for free on sewers he thinks he can sell for replacement.I went home and took a shower after talking to him.I still get pissed when I think of the conversation.
                        Well around here I either stick the camera in for free or let the city do it. I would like to think the home owner would appreciate the fact i am professional enough to have my own camera system and televise their line when I clean their sewer. Yes the equipment is expensive, but its part of doing what I do. When I first got my system I always offered to televise a line for a fee. But as I said in my other post, I learned over time its better to just use it when you feel the need. If you know you cleared a line properly and do not feel the need and the home owner still wants the line televised then they have to pay. When I feel there is a need, more often than not I show the home owner the problem I felt in their line and sell them a repair. They appreciate the fact I took my time to show them the issue with the camera,instead of making them call the local city sewage department and have them send a crew to televise the line.
                        Ron Hasil Lic #058-160417
                        A-Archer Sewer & Plumbing specializing in:
                        Tankless Water Heaters | Drain and Sewer Cleaning
                        Sump and Ejector Pumps | Backflow RPZ Testing

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: When to camera?

                          Adam,

                          You are a good friend but you let the little things bother you too much. I have used that mini on hundreds of inspections while you only used it on a few. Nothing you did caused the camera to stop working and it is on the way to get repaired as I type. Yes this equipment is expensive and that is why we need to charge to cover for the cost to repair or replace it. I have always felt the camera is there to help the property owner make an informed decision. If they would rather not pay for the camera and roll the dice instead then that is on them.

                          Mark
                          "Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony

                          I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: When to camera?

                            Originally posted by drtyhands View Post
                            For the record,
                            In the parking lot of the supply house last week I was talking to a one man shop owner who uses the camera for free on sewers he thinks he can sell for replacement.I went home and took a shower after talking to him.I still get pissed when I think of the conversation.
                            We charge for the camera anytime it comes off the truck, it's the only way to justify the expense of the equipment. We also don't recommend camera inspections unless it's felt that there is a problem with the line. I sleep better at night knowing I don't waste my customers money, and they call back when they need other plumbing repairs.
                            No, it's not rocket science, it's plumbing and unlike rocket science it requires a license.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: When to camera? Poor Man's camera

                              I have an old DC tape player. Plugged in to it I have 200 ft. of coaxial TV cable feed into a low voltage Yard lite. I play an old tape of a busted terra cotta sewer for the Old ladys.
                              I can't tell You how many landscape jobs I've destroyed with this little Beauty and My back Hoe. Off to My Yacht, for a day on The Bay.
                              I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                              Comment

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