Plumbing Contractor Finds a New Way to Service Customers

Meeks Plumbing adds septic services to serve those customers on private systems.
Plumbing Contractor Finds a New Way to Service Customers
The leadership team at Meeks Plumbing includes (from left), vice president Kyle Meeks, general manager Scott Buday and owner Ronnie Meeks.

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Meeks Plumbing has been serving the area of Vero Beach, Florida, for 35 years, with a full range of services including new construction plumbing, drain cleaning, hydroexcavation, catch basin service, CCTV and locating.

Company owner Ronnie Meeks realized that there was a missed opportunity in his area when it came to those homeowners who were on private septic systems. In 2003, Meeks added septic pumping and repair services to the company’s offerings. He put that division under the leadership of his son, Kyle.

The company now has 63 employees and a customer base that includes residential, municipal, commercial and real estate.

Q: Why did the company decide to offer septic services?

KYLE: Mainly because so many of our customers were using our company for plumbing services and they were on septic systems. We were missing that part of the business. We were having customers call with a stoppage and when we got to the home it was a septic issue. Instead of having them call someone else, it was decided that we needed to get the equipment. It just made sense.

Q: What portion of the business is now septic systems?

KYLE: Our septic side is probably 15 to 20 percent of our business. We have seen a lot of spin-off business from offering septic tank pumping, such as grease trap pumping, and we now have a drainfield division. Whenever you are pumping septic tanks you find that people have drainfields that have failed, so we needed dump trucks and tractors to start replacing the drainfields. The grease trap pumping leads to a lot of other services. Everything kind of complements each other.

Q: Describe your heavy equipment you dedicate to this important part of the business?

KYLE: We have five septic pumping trucks all dedicated to that division. We have a 4,500-gallon tri-axle truck (2008 Mack), a 4,000-gallon (2007 International), a 4,800-gallon (2010 International), a 2,500-gallon (2005 International), and a 3,600-gallon (2006 Peterbilt). We also have three Vac-Con combo trucks for the area sewers.

We also have a specific crew for the septic side. We have four pump truck operators, a drainfield installation crew of two, and four Vac-Con operators.

Q: What has been your experience with hiring and training for this division?

KYLE: We have had very good fortune in finding qualified technicians, but we also believe in training in-house. A lot of our guys came with a CDL license, which is helpful. But we train them on the actual work and have some great guys.

Q: Your company has a main office in Vero Beach, but another in Ocala. What happens at those locations?

KYLE: Our facility in Ocala is for plumbing and drain cleaning. We hope to offer septic service in that location eventually. In our Vero Beach office, which is 11,000 square feet, we have all services, including the septic division.

Q: What advice would you have for other companies considering including septic system service?

KYLE: There is definitely a lot to it. There is a lot of overhead, and then the costs of equipment, which can seem hard to justify. However, including septic service in our region, where there are a substantial number of residential customers on these systems, has been a very positive move for Meeks Plumbing.


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