In one word I'd have to sum it with "Orangeburg".
I think the quality & type of piping material used historically reflects the demand for drain cleaning in any given area.
Investing less than $300 is no biggy when I can make that back in a few calls over the course of a year.
Investing thousands or even tens of thousands in a market that doesn't have the demand could render me bankrupt.
I am going to make two informed guesses:
1)The reason Mark doesn't get drain calls is because he doesn't advertise or otherwise market that he does drain-work. I didn't get any drain-calls either, until I started advertising that I offer those services, most plumbers don't have drain equipment, so people assume you don't do it unless you advertise it.
2)There is plenty of drain work in massachusetts, I am sure there are other companies making good money cleaning drains.
On the other hand, drain-cleaning is not for everyone. If its just not your thing, then investing in equipment would be a waste. I happen to enjoy it and like Plumber Rick has done, I plan on expanding that part of my services and make it a focus of my business.
Eventually I removed the restrictions on drain cleaning and found drain cleaning brought in a bunch of non-related work. This concept is easy to over look. However, there is a potential you will get additional non-related work for each job you do whether it be a drain cleaning or a complete repipe.
"Somewhere a Village is Missing Twelve Idiots!" - Casey Anthony
I never lost a cent on the jobs I didn't get!
I just googled: drain-cleaning, boston. And a ton of companies came up, some had websites with pricing and it wasn't all that cheap. Many just did drain-cleaning only. There is definitely a healthy market out there. It might be oversaturated though. Don't know.
It just seems weird to me that some plumbers don't even own a snake. One of my first power tools was a snake. It was a great way to make beer money on the side as an apprentice. I think it was a Black & Decker? top snake. Man that thing was a POC. Owning one just seems to go hand in hand with plumbing repairs.
We don't advertise drain cleaning and even up to a few months ago shyed away from it. Too many times the K-50 on my truck wasn't quite man enough to clear a stoppage. Then it was a 30 min ride (both ways) back to the shop to load up the K-1500 and 3 cages of cable.
It became much easier to just pick up the phone and call a buddy that does nothing but drain cleaning and say "make it go away, I've got other calls to run".
I haven't talked to him since I put the K-60 on the truck. I wonder what he doing now?