Sizzle That Sells

A trailer-mounted 4,000 psi jetter and service van make a sharp impression while traveling – and deliver big cleaning performance on the job
Sizzle That Sells

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To expand its business, Tillett Plumbing & Heating chose the sizzle and the steak, combining a trailer jetter from Spartan Tool and a 2011 Isuzu Eco-Max service truck with a dazzling red-and-gold paint scheme that turns heads around Harrisburg, Pa.

The shroud of the Spartan Warrior jetter and the truck’s 11-foot-long Tool Pro body, made by the Reading Group, provide a canvas for branding, says Betty Tillett, owner and president of the company, established in 1994 and based in Annville.

“The way we look at it, the jetter and the truck are billboards that are already paid for, so we might as well use them as best we can,” she says. “All our vehicles are red – it’s one of our favorite colors because it’s so eye-catching.

“The gold vinyl letters are reflective, so you can still see our name and phone number at night. It cost about $5,000 to paint and letter the truck and jetter, but it’s a minimal investment compared to the exposure it provides. You recoup your money tenfold in terms of business leads.”

 

Higher power

Purchased in March 2010, the jetter piqued Tillett’s interest because it could do more than the company’s cable machines and older cart-mounted jetter. The new unit delivers up to 4,000 psi/20 gpm and carries a 300-gallon water tank. It can tackle tough grease clogs in restaurants and other establishments and blast out tree roots – a common problem in the area, says technician Jeffrey Tillett Jr.

“The 4,000 psi really pulled us in,” he says. “Our cart-mounted jetter produces much lower psi and gpm. When we saw a demonstration of how the Warrior worked with a Warthog nozzle (StoneAge), it blew us away. The older jetter did a pretty good job but couldn’t clean the full circumference of the pipe, so it wasn’t long before roots would grow back and catch more debris.

“But this jetter sprays at an angle that hits the full width of the pipe. It cuts roots off shorter, which results in a cleaner pipe and longer time between cleanings.”

 

Business booster

Betty Tillett says the company also bought the jetter because it can open something other than drain lines: new markets. As the recession deepened, Tillett found itself competing more with price-cutting handymen who were trimming profits to retain market share.

“This trailer jetter niche gives us more opportunity because the one-man shops can’t afford to go out and buy this kind of equipment,” she says. “A piece of equipment like this gives us an edge because we can get our foot in the door for commercial work.”

So far, her hunch is paying off. The company had tried in vain to get work at a local hospital – until the new jetter came along. “It does things they can’t do in-house,” she says. “This machine also has helped us obtain work at a Hershey’s chocolate plant and a large food-processing plant that we couldn’t have handled before. And that’s good, because commercial work is more profitable than residential work.”

 

Nice and quiet

The jetter helped give the company a 15 percent bump in gross revenue in the first year of ownership. “We were a little surprised,” Betty notes. “It’s really helped us more than we expected it would.” Jeffrey cites other benefits:

An OSHA-compliant sound-dampening package that comes in handy on night jobs in residential neighborhoods

A 180-degree pivoting hose reel and controls

A lockable enclosure that protects critical components from harsh weather

A six-function remote control that reduces manpower needs on some jobs

An unloader/regulator that automatically eases the water pressure on the nozzle if it gets too high

The dynamic duo gives Tillett’s the best of both worlds: a great steak with a lot of visual sizzle.



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