Technology to Succeed

Envirosight inspection system helps Colorado contractor establish new revenue streams.
Technology to Succeed

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For many customers with clogged drainlines, seeing is believing – and that's exactly why Dave Teeter, the owner of Action Services Inc. in Craig, Colo., recently purchased a VeriSight pipeline inspection camera system made by Envirosight LLC.

The VeriSight is one of six inspection cameras owned by Action Services (which does business as Action Drain Services), including three other Envirosight units and two RIDGID SeeSnakes, plus a GVision monitor made by EPL Solutions Inc. The cameras help generate more repair revenue by providing skeptical customers with convincing proof that something is wrong inside their pipes.

"When customers can actually see the problem, they know it needs to be fixed, so that makes repairs an easier sell for us," says Teeter. "Our sales have increased as we learned to use the cameras better.

"When I first started using inspection cameras 15 years ago, it was a tough sell because people didn't want to incur the extra cost of the inspection," he adds. "Now consumers understand cameras better and we understand how to sell it better. In fact, if they're not sure they want to pay for the camera inspection, I tell them that if my diagnosis is wrong, I won't charge them for the inspection. That usually helps us move on to actually selling a repair."

Camera inspections contribute significantly to Action Services' gross revenues. In a good year, Teeter says they generate about 8 percent of the company's overall gross revenue and account for around 20 percent of the company's drain cleaning gross revenue.

"That amounts to a significant part of our revenue because we're a relatively small business," Teeter points out. "So far this fiscal year, 16 percent of our drain work is camera inspections. So if you put $10,000 into a camera like this, the return on investment is very high and very quick."

Teeter lauds the durability and technological advancements offered by the VeriSight, which he purchased at this year's Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo International. The self-leveling, high-resolution color camera features auto focus, a stainless steel housing and dimmable ultra-bright LED arrays that produce shadowless videos. The controller features an 8-inch color display monitor, a microphone for inspection narration, analog/digital connectivity, an on-screen text generator, a footage counter and up to 45 hours of MPEG footage storage on a 60 GB internal drive.

For customers who need a permanent record of an inspection, Teeter provides – for a nominal fee – a flash drive that plugs into a computer or television for convenient viewing. He puts the company's name, telephone number and website on the flash drive case so it doubles as a marketing tool, and buys the flash drives in bulk to reduce the cost, which is about $10 per unit.

"Customers think it's pretty cool," he says. "We can put edited video footage, an invoice and an inspection report on the flash drive, which is more high-tech than most people expect. And when you use cutting-edge technology, it helps customers justify in their minds the prices you charge."

Teeter also says the VeriSight's simple design – just a few buttons for operating the controls – makes it very user-friendly for technicians. "With all the digital processing, they don't have to be computer whizzes to run this unit," he says.

Aside from closing the deal on more repair sales, Teeter says the cameras also help his company generate new revenue streams. For example, he says that in his area, more and more realtors and mortgage lenders are requesting sewer-lateral inspections before property transfers occur. It's a market niche he's aggressively pursuing.

"Inspection cameras also help us verify that we've cleared an obstruction to the best of our ability," he adds. "That eliminates call backs, which are free for customers but not for me."

Overall, Teeter says his inspection cameras are vital to Action Services' success.

"They're as valuable as the drain cleaning machines are to my drain business," he says. "I don't think I could operate without them."



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