Trailer Jetter Clears a Path For Entering New Market

California contractor handles both small and large drainlines with a diverse jetting arsenal
Trailer Jetter Clears a Path For Entering New Market
Anthony Steiger of Hansen Plumbing & Mechanical secures the jetter hose after successfully cleaning a customer's lateral line. The company has several water jetters, including a trailer-mounted unit from US Jetting for cleaning larger pipelines.

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When asked to name his company’s MVC – Most Valuable Contributor – in terms of profitability and productivity, Cary Hansen doesn’t hesitate: A model 4018 trailer-mounted water jetter manufactured by US Jetting. Purchased in 2008, the machine opened up a new market — cleaning larger pipelines — that dramatically increased the company’s revenue.

“I knew I wanted to get into cleaning bigger drainlines and do more commercial work,” says Hansen, owner of Hansen Plumbing & Mechanical, based in Ventura, California. “It was either that or we’d have to sub out that work — or miss out on it altogether.”

Even though the unit represented a significant purchase, Hansen felt comfortable making the investment because he had a couple existing clients for whom he was already cleaning smaller drainlines under maintenance contracts. For those jobs he was using smaller wheeled water jetters made by Gorlitz Sewer & Drain. The clients also had larger drainlines and were satisfied with Hansen Plumbing’s work, so he felt the financial risks of the investment were minimized.

“The machine paid for itself and makes us look quite a bit better — gives us a lot more credibility as a company,” he says. “Plus I think that customers prefer one-stop shopping. They like it when we can take care of all their headaches. And it also gives us more control over scheduling and work flow as opposed to subbing out the larger-drainline work.”

The trailer jetter boosted the company’s income by 20 percent, Hansen estimates.

“It’s not just the drain cleaning work it pulls in, either,” he says. “It also generates extended work, like camera inspections and pipeline replacements. Overall, it’s had a pretty significant impact on our business.”

Hansen also cites the jetter’s dependability. He says he uses Warthog jetting nozzles, which help extend the life of the trailer jetter. It doesn’t have to work as hard thanks to the cleaning action the nozzles provide.

“So we get more hours in between service calls,” he says.

Versatility is another hallmark of the machine. It’s powerful enough to do small potholing jobs and expose underground utility lines. A vacuum attachment also comes in handy, Hansen says.

“It’s so versatile,” he says. “We can do a whole (commercial) kitchen fairly fast with the big jetter as opposed to using smaller jetters. If there’s, say, 50 P-traps in a big kitchen, we can just blast each drain, one after the other. With the smaller portable electric jetters, we have to set the machines up on every drain, which is more labor intensive.”

Check out this additional story about Hansen's business: California Plumber Finds Both Work-Life Balance and Business Growth.


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