Seeing is Believing: This Inspection Tool Helps You Sell More Jobs

Pipeline camera boosts productivity and gives your plumbing customers a different view of sewer lines.
Seeing is Believing: This Inspection Tool Helps You Sell More Jobs
The EasyCam requires very little setup or teardown time, and in some cases it has helped Olin Plumbing Owner Derek Olin convince skeptical customers that lateral line repair is necessary to solve their drain-blockage problems. (Photo courtesy of EasyCAM LLC)

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There’s often more than a grain of truth behind clichés, and two of them in particular sum up why plumber Derek Olin is such a big fan of the EasyCAM pipeline inspection camera: Seeing is believing, and time is money.

To understand the former, it helps to know that before Olin bought an EasyCAM, the owner of Olin Plumbing Inc. in Tampa, Florida, frequently had a hard time convincing skeptical customers that an expensive lateral-line repair was necessary to solve their drain-blockage problems. The prospect of a $4,000 or $5,000 repair job will do that to Joe and Jane Homeowner.

But that obstacle disappeared once customers could look over Olin’s shoulder and actually see a broken lateral line on the EasyCAM’s 8-inch color monitor.

“Before I bought the camera two years ago, I pretty much left everything to my 43 years of experience in the field,” says Olin, who established his own company in 2010 and serves the metropolitan Tampa area. “Now don’t get me wrong – experience definitely does help you diagnose a problem. There’s lots of time when I pretty much know what the issue is before I put in the camera.

“But in terms of selling jobs, it’s so much better if you can take the homeowner by the hand and show them the problem,” he says. “It makes life so much easier. Seeing really is believing.”

Then there’s the time-is-money factor. Most cameras that Olin has worked with over the years require setup and teardown time. But the portable, compact and lightweight EasyCAM, made by EasyCAM LLC, takes that issue off the table.

“Instead of spending 20 or 30 minutes unpacking a camera system and assembling components, I just take it off my truck, roll it over to the hole and start working,” he says. “There’s nothing to set up unless I want to record the inspection, in which case I have to hook it up to my laptop computer, which takes only a few seconds.”

In fact, the EasyCAM is so easy to use Olin often doesn’t charge customers extra to inspect a line.

“If people want just a camera job, I charge them for it,” he says. “But if I’m pretty sure there’s something wrong with the sewer line, I tell them I’ll take a look for no charge. Then the customer feels a little more confident in you because they see you’re concerned about their property. And like I said before, when they can actually see a problem, they usually want to get it fixed.”

The EasyCAM features eight modular components for ease of use and simple repairs. All replaceable components either plug in or screw in, or both. For example, even the camera lens can be replaced in the field with just four Allen wrench screws if it gets scratched or breaks, and the pushrod simply plugs into the frame and the camera head.

The unit features a waterproof, titanium color camera head with a scratch-resistant sapphire lens; a 150-foot, heavy-duty, low-friction pushrod (an optional 200-footer also is available); a color monitor; and a rugged but lightweight wheeled, aluminum frame. The unit works with any off-the-shelf video equipment that operates with a standard video input jack (the E5200 camera offers onboard recording and 180-degree picture inversion).

The EasyCAM works with off-the-shelf video goggles, which Olin uses. The goggles feature a small TV screen inside one lens that eliminates the need to constantly look up or over at the unit’s monitor.

“It allows me to focus on what I’m doing, rather than trying to feed the cable and turn to watch the monitor screen at the same time,” he says.

Olin also lauds the unit’s portability, noting that even at age 58, he can easily carry it up a ladder and onto a roof if he needs to do an inspection via a sewer stack pipe.

“I can carry it with one hand and just drop it down the stack,” he says.

The unit’s ability to record inspections to various media also provides benefits. In one case, Olin says, he recorded an inspection and uploaded the video – taken for a property-management client who was experiencing sewer backups at a store inside a shopping mall – to YouTube, where the out-of-state client could easily view it.

“It was slicker than owl snot,” he says.

Overall, the EasyCAM has been an invaluable tool in growing Olin’s business. Lopping off about 30 minutes per job through faster, more efficient setup provides more time to take on other jobs, which in the long run boosts profits and cash flow. In addition, Olin says he now obtains business he otherwise wouldn’t have, because more and more commercial customers won’t hire a plumbing contractor unless they can camera a line.

“It’s definitely helped me grow the company,” he says. “I can’t emphasize enough how easy it is to use … it’s so much less labor intensive. I’d say it paid for itself after just one month.”


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