A Full Equipment Arsenal Gives Ohio Contractor a Competitive Advantage

An investment in equipment allows Ohio company to become a one-stop shop for customers

A Full Equipment Arsenal Gives Ohio Contractor a Competitive Advantage

Technician Luke Brongersma uses a RIDGID K9-204 FlexShaft drain cleaning machine on a drain at a fire station. The company uses several different models of RIDGID tools.

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A recent residential pipeline rehab project completed by All Drains Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Repair vividly illustrates the southwestern Ohio-based company’s recipe for growth since its inception in 2001.

The project involved fixing roughly 50 feet of damaged 6-inch-diameter clay sewer pipe that ran under a busy four-lane road. Digging up the road to replace the approximately 15-foot-deep line, which was the homeowner’s responsibility to repair, would’ve cost upward of $75,000, says Duane Goodpaster, who owns the company with his wife, Tonna Goodpaster.

But All Drains stepped in and cleaned out the line with a drain machine, flushed the debris with a Warrior trailer jetter from Spartan Tool, inspected it and then rehabbed the pipe with a Trelleborg Pipe Seals cured-in-place liner.

“They all work together,” says Duane Goodpaster, 47, while talking about the competitive advantages of being a one-stop shop for customers, with no need to hire subcontractors to do work he can’t perform. “You need to own the right tools to do the job. You can’t just go in and fix everything with an old cable machine, which is what we started out with years ago. You’re only as good as your tools and equipment.”

Owning a full complement of technology also offers another benefit: Goodpaster is often hired as a subcontractor by other area plumbers, drain cleaners, maintenance crews and the like.

Investing in advanced, reliable equipment also provides another competitive advantage: The confidence to offer an ironclad guarantee to customers who are a bit nervous about spending substantial amounts of money to get sewer lines unclogged.

“I tell them if I can’t get the job done, it’s free,” he says. “You can’t beat that.”

ESTABLISHING THE COMPANY

Goodpaster got into drain cleaning after working for several years for another contractor. “I wasn’t happy working there, but I really liked the service end,” he says. “I liked the freedom of making service calls — getting jobs done. Eventually I wanted to start my own business.”

So he established All Drains in 2001 in Middletown, which is about halfway between Dayton and Cincinnati. His equipment consisted of a used cable drain machine and a used cargo van.

The company derives 30% of its revenue from plumbing service and repair work, while the rest is drain cleaning and pipeline rehab.

To get that work done, Goodpaster has built up the company’s equipment list to include three Spartan 300 drum cable machines; two RIDGID SeeSnake pipeline inspection cameras (one standard model and one Mini model); four RIDGID FlexShaft drain machines (two K9-102s and two K9-204s); three Flex Shaft drain machines made by Clog Squad; a Spartan Warrior; and two RIDGID NaviTrack Scout pipeline locators.

For service vehicles, the company relies on three Chevrolet 3500s outfitted with 12-foot Spartan box bodies made by Supreme and a Ford F-350. The three Chevrolets are equipped with 2,000-pound-capacity winches made by Champion Power Equipment. The company also owns a trailer, made by Diamond C Trailer and used to carry pipe lining equipment and materials, as well as a skid loader and a mini-excavator, both made by Caterpillar.

MORE THAN CLEARING DRAINS

While the drain cleaning work accounts for most of the company’s revenue, Goodpaster doesn’t shy away from doing the regular plumbing work.

The company will service all regular plumbing fixtures such as kitchen and bathroom sinks, bathtub drains, toilets, garbage disposals, water heaters and frozen waterlines in the winter.

One of the things Goodpaster likes best about his work is the daily opportunity to both solve problems and help people. “There’s a lot of gratification in knowing you’re helping people every day — that we can show up with the right equipment, do a good job and make their day better,” he says.

“The problem-solving is a big part of it as well. Since we’ve been doing this for so many years and we have the right equipment, it’s often not as much of a challenge these days — we’re just really good at this. In fact, our biggest challenge is getting homeowners to let us do what needs to be done, especially if previous contractors have failed. That’s where our guarantee comes into play.”

TRENCHLESS PIPE REHAB

The pipe lining system from Sactools represents the company’s most significant technology investment. Sactools is a brand owned by Sweden-based Sacpro AB.

“I found out about Sactools at the last WWETT Show,” Goodpaster says. He bought the installation equipment from Clog Squad, a Michigan-based drain cleaning company that also sells and develops equipment. The company is also the North American distributor for Sactools.

The Trelleborg liner the company uses features an aluminum-infused epoxy resin that makes it harder and stronger. It also features an impermeable polyurethane coating on the liner’s exterior. After technicians wet-out the liner with the resin, it’s pliable for 12 hours. “You don’t have that time bomb ticking,” says Ken Beyer, owner of Clog Squad. It cures in about an hour, using either steam or hot water.

During installation, air or water pressure is used to invert the liner, which flips the resin-impregnated side of the liner to the outside, so it can adhere tightly to the interior of the host pipe. At the same time, the polyurethane coating gets turned outside in, forming a smooth and strong pipe within a pipe. The liner is suitable for pipes ranging from 2 to 8 inches in diameter, Beyer says.

“We have a lot of confidence in the system,” Goodpaster says. “It’s a very smooth and clean lining process. I love it.”

QUALITY CONTROL

Goodpaster decided to invest in the Sactools system for two primary reasons. First, he’s convinced that lining is the future of pipeline rehabilitation. Second, he didn’t like the idea of hiring subcontractors to do the work.

“We want to make sure our customers receive the best possible results,” he says. “I don’t like putting my reputation for quality work in someone else’s hands.”

Goodpaster estimates that he invested around $100,000 in the system. But he sees it as an instrumental part of his service offerings going forward. As an example, he points to one of All Drains’ clients, a large global manufacturing company with a plant near Middletown that needs more than 100 feet of sewer pipe repaired.

The sewer line runs under large machines inside the plant, and moving them to excavate and replace pipe is an expensive proposition, plus it would cost the manufacturing company hundreds of thousands of dollars a day in lost productivity from prolonged downtime. “But with this trenchless, no-dig system, we can line the drainpipes without disturbing the company’s production.

“To some people, this might sound like a risky investment. But once I saw how well the technology worked, I couldn’t do it quick enough. To me, it was a no-brainer.

“The bottom line is you need to have the right tools for the job, and I think that’s definitely been one of the keys to our success,” he says.

INSTANT GRATIFICATION

Looking ahead three to five years, Goodpaster says he’d like to hire at least two more technicians.

“I see us continuing to do what we do, just a larger volume of work,” Goodpaster says.

Sometimes Goodpaster is surprised by his company’s growth.

“On the other hand, I never thought about it not working out,” Goodpaster says. “In my head, it’s always just going to happen. I don’t think in reverse. … I’ve always just thought about the next thing that can make things better. When you have two young daughters and a wife, you have to go out and make it work.”

Goodpaster concedes that finding quality employees with a good work ethic is difficult. But he’s so sure it’ll happen that in a mind-over-matter moment, he already bought a new truck and outfitted it with drain cleaning equipment.

He says his confident outlook always pays dividends. “In my mind, something is always going to work. There’s someone out there who needs a job or a career change. And I’m sure we can find that person.”  



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