South Carolina pumper builds business over four years and earns himself a new vacuum truck — and boosts the company’s efficiency.
Entering a new business market is daunting enough without throwing a huge capital investment into the mix. That explains why Bob Beauregard bought a used truck in 2012 when he and his wife, Danielle, decided to add septic pumping to their Mr. Rooter franchise in Anderson, South Carolina. He figured a new truck could wait until the couple felt secure about the new service.
That mission has been accomplished, as evidenced by the 2016 Freightliner truck they bought this year. Outfitted by Transway Systems, the truck features a 3,600-gallon steel tank, a water jetter from Transway (11 gpm/2,500 psi), a fan-cooled Eliminator vacuum pump (396 cfm) made by Fruitland Manufacturing, an Allison automatic transmission and rear tandem axles with locking differentials.
Beauregard kicked the tires of the Freightliner at the 2016 Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment and Transfer Show in Indianapolis. “I liked it because it’s easy to get in and out of, the cab is roomy, and all the buttons and controls are well labeled and easy to reach,” he explains.
The Beauregards opted for a large tank because it’s about a 35-mile drive to the nearest wastewater treatment plant. The treatment plant charges by the truckload, not the total amount of septage in the tank. So it made financial sense to get a bigger tank and maximize operating efficiencies.
Beauregard added a jetting unit because the company often makes repair calls only to find that, for example, the drainline from the house to the septic tank is clogged. Without the onboard jetter, the technician would have to call for another service truck. “So we’re sending two trucks to the same call,” Beauregard says. “The jetter costs extra money, but it’ll easily pay for itself.”
Extra traction provided by locking differentials comes in handy because the company’s trucks occasionally drive through muddy areas where it’s easy to get stuck, Beauregard says.
Another factor that drove their choice to buy a new truck: The price was only $20,000 to $30,000 more than buying a used truck with, say, 150,000 miles on it. “And if we buy a truck with 150,000 miles, we’re not going to get as many years out of it, and we run the risk of more breakdowns,” he adds. “I figure a new truck will probably last a long, long time.”
Check out a full profile on Mr. Rooter of Anderson, South Carolina, in the December issue of Pumper.