Camera Inspections Critical to Companies Gaining Customer Confidence

These two companies serve as examples of the success you can find with your drain cleaning customers by making camera inspections a routine part of every job instead of an add-on service with extra cost

Camera Inspections Critical to Companies Gaining Customer Confidence

C. Carlin Plumbing of Erie, Pennsylvania

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When Chris Carlin added video inspection to his company’s lineup in 1996, it was an add-on service that cost extra for drain cleaning customers.

Now it’s just a routine part of every job.

“I want that done because it makes customers feel better knowing it has been done,” says Carlin, owner of C. Carlin Plumbing in Erie, Pennsylvania. “It also covers us, too. If I drain clean and two weeks later the customer calls again with a backup, they’re not going to pay me again. We camera it so that we know it was cleaned and we have proof that it was.”

Cleaning and inspection is all rolled into a single price for customers, though they may still feel like they’re getting a bonus service with the inspection.

“The customers think they’re getting something extra, which they are, but we’re proving we’re doing the job too,” Carlin says. “That customer satisfaction is very important.”

Technicians are trained not to upsell customers after doing camera inspections. If something is found that needs to be corrected, they will offer the homeowner an array of solutions from repair to replacement to entering into a maintenance program.

“Do they want us to snake the line three times a year and use a treatment on it, or do they want a permanent repair?” Carlin says. “About 30% will want the permanent solution, but others aren’t going to spend $6,000 when they can spend $600 a year, so they don’t. We offer them different solutions and let them decide on what they want.”

For Brad and Amanda Sims, owners of a Mr. Rooter franchise in central Michigan, camera inspections are also an automatic part of the job.

“That’s really what makes the company,” Brad says.

Mr. Rooter of Mid-Michigan
Mr. Rooter of Mid-Michigan

The value of the service is twofold: One, it gives the customers assurance that the technician has actually cleaned the line properly. Two, it allows the company to know that it has offered customers all the appropriate options for any additional work that may have to be done.

Prior to joining Mr. Rooter, the Sims operated a business specializing in only drain cleaning, and camera inspections were an additional charge. Now that it is provided for free, Brad says people appreciate the extra service and that it helps attract both new and repeat business.

“It shows people that you’re not just making up the problem,” Brad says. “It gives them a visual right then and there so they can see for themselves the condition of their pipes.”

He says it’s particularly beneficial for situations when a routine post-cleaning inspection reveals further issues that need attention. Customers have information beyond what the technician has told them to gauge when the work should be done.

“We’re showing them what’s going on so they can better understand it and make a decision themselves on when to do something,” Brad says. “Of course the work could be done right then and there, but sometimes people have to plan for it, so it gives them some peace of mind.”



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