How Selling & Using Products Can Diversify Your Revenue

Diversify your RevenueEstablishing and maintaining a relationship with clients is one of the best ways you can ensure that your business is successful. As you can see with AquaSource (see Spotlight article) they kept their same core customers and expanded the services that they offer to those customers. This has been a very successful business model for them and others.

One of the ways pumpers diversify their revenue stream is to sell products to their clients to help preserve their drainfield or to help restore their tanks. Selling continuous use products allows you to stay in the customer’s mind, so that when they have a need for a service that you provide, you will be the first person they think of.

We’ve heard that some pumpers worry that if their clients use these products, then they won’t need their pumping services as often. Even if a customer is using products, they should still have their systems pumped regularly.

There are a couple of different types of products for you to introduce to your clients depending on the age of their system: drainfield restoration products and additive products. These two types of products work differently.

Drainfield Restoration

The 1990 US Census found that there are almost 25 million septic systems in the United States, while the Environmental Protection Agency states that number to be around 26 million on its site. The EPA also says that communities report failure rates of anywhere from 10 to 70 percent.

“The EPA says that the drainfield is where 90 percent of septic systems fail,” says Mark Reynolds with RCS Septic Drainer. “That’s a lot of potential business.”

“Remember when you pierce the hard surfaces of a failed drainfield the water in the system drained away?” asks Reynolds. “Well that layer is called hard pan and is caused from sodium mixing with the soil. Farmers have been dealing with hard pan soil issues for centuries. About 50 years ago, they discovered that if you use calcium polysulfide, which is non-toxic and non-hazardous, then you can drive the sodium out of the soil.”

He goes on to say that most systems start out as aerobic bacteria based systems but then bind up so that air cannot flow. “The only bacteria that can survive in a no air environment is anaerobic bacteria which produces nitrates,” says Reynolds. “When you introduce air, it does allow aerobic bacteria to fluoresce and consume the nitrates. But, keep in mind the underlying issues are still present, so that means aerating the drainage part of a septic system does not solve the underlying issue that causes hard pan (soil and sodium combined).”

David Keeton, owner of Arcan Enterprises agrees, “As these sulfides build up in the system, they collect especially at the stone/soil interface which can slow digestion of waste and the absorption of water into the ground,” says Keeton.

“A homeowner has three choices when their system slows down or is almost stopped,” says Keeton. “They can not use it for 6 to 12 months and the oxygen will slowly oxidize the sulfide, they can use a product which will do that same thing in minutes, or they can dig it up which can be very expensive.” Keeton says that a pumper may know if a drainfield is slow or clogged if water flows back into the septic tank as the septic tank is pumped.

The problem in selling a homeowner products can sometimes be that a homeowner is hesitant to spend more money on preventative products when they’ve just paid several hundred for a pumper to come out. However, if you put it in a big picture context for the homeowner, then it can make more sense. Depending on what part of the country you are, it can cost $5,000 to $30,000 to replace a drainfield. After telling the homeowner what it will cost them to replace it, then let the homeowner know that for less you can try a drainfield restoration product.

“The applications are much less expensive,” says Keeton. “There is no guarantee that it will fix the system, but our customers have a lot of success with our product and we’ve been around since 1997. It has stood the test of time.”

Reynolds shares the business reasons for doing it. “Ask yourself how much one truck makes in profits in one day,” says Reynolds. “Let’s look at a pumping charge of $250 per tank as an example. Your average septic pumping company does six calls in an average eight hour day. That is $1,500 in sales, less $1,273 in expenses ($600 disposal, $300 fuel, $200 labor, $58 insurance, $65 equipment, $50 advertising), leaving you with a total net daily profit of $227, not including office expenses.”

“But, if 25 percent of the septic systems are failing, you should see 1.5 systems per day that are in the process of failing,” adds Reynolds. “The average fee to rejuvenate a failed system is $1,500 depending on where you are. That’s an average of $2,550 per day of additional revenue you are missing out on by not offering this service.”

Drainfield restoration products are added to the distribution box, cesspool, leach field, drainfield, raised bed system, vertical shaft drainage or series drainage system directly bypassing the septic tank.
To give you an idea of the difference in cost, Reynolds says that it takes about four gallons of his product to treat a 1,000 gallon system.

Septic System Treatment Products

Additives such as those sold by Rid X can be added to the septic system to help breakdown household waste.

Many of these manufacturers sell to septic professionals at a discounted rate or similar to a price that big retail chains will buy. Then you can sell it at a price that you deem profitable, thereby giving you another recurring revenue stream.

But, really, the biggest advantage of offering these products is that it gives you another opportunity to interact with your customer. Therefore, conventional wisdom says that they will be more likely to call you when it’s time to pump their system instead of trying to remember who they used last time.

Whether it’s drainfield restoration products or septic system products, the additional revenue that they will give you as well as the more frequent contact with customers can offer big payoffs as you diversify your revenue stream and increase your contact with customers.

Resources
For more information:
■ Septic Drainer and to view customer testimonials, please visit www.septicdrainer.com
■ Septic Scrub and to read customer testimonials, please visit www.arcan.com
■ Rid X, please visit www.rid-x.com/professionals.shtml

Story by Jennifer Taylor

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