Dad Would Be Proud of His Family’s Pumping Success

Rowell’s Sewer & Septic uses effective marketing, a company jingle and new headquarters to exceed all expectations.

Interested in Business?

Get Business articles, news and videos right in your inbox! Sign up now.

Business + Get Alerts

In 2009, Pumper featured Rowell’s Sewer & Drain in Northfield, New Hampshire, run by Mandie Hagan and her husband, Ian. At the time, the couple was six years into running the family business following the death of Hagan’s father, Dickie, in 2001 at age 46.

Today, Rowell’s continues on a steady growth pattern, with a new company headquarters, an aggressive marketing plan that includes radio — and hopefully soon to add TV — advertising, and constant technology upgrades. We caught up with Mandie Hagan so we could share her ideas to help other pumpers bring in more customers.

Pumper: You had a jingle written for your company?

Hagan: My kids were my inspiration for the creation of our jingle. They’re young, and because we’re always in the car with the radio on, they were constantly singing other businesses’ jingles. I decided they should be singing our own jingle, so with the help of Jodie Gallant, owner of JMG Marketing in Laconia, New Hampshire, and Coast to Coast Productions out of Nashville, the Rowell’s jingle was born. Our customers really enjoy the jingle. It’s happy and upbeat, which helps customers calling us in a stressful, emergency situation. Adults sing it. Kids sing it. We use it in our radio ads and as our on-hold phone music. It makes people smile.

Pumper: Was it hard to have the jingle created?

Hagan: No. We met the songwriter, and he asked us a lot of questions to better know our company. A couple of weeks later he emailed us the lyrics. After we approved the lyrics, he wrote the music and sang it to us over the phone. After that he hired the singers, and the jingle was created.

When I start on a project I usually know what I want, but in this case I didn’t. When he called with the finished song we were in the radio station across from my kids’ school. Jodie loved it, but I wasn’t sure. I ran across the street to the school and brought my girls back to listen. As soon as they heard it they lit up like a candle so I knew it was perfect.

Pumper: You have a new building, too, but you also built in a gym in it?

Hagan: We moved into our new building in July 2014. Previously, the office was in our home, but the garage was 20 miles away. We missed that face-to-face interaction with the technicians. We spent three years looking for the perfect spot and bought an old building. It had previously been a mattress store, a UPS garage facility, and a nightclub in the ‘70s. The building had been vacant for several years. We remodeled the entire building and went from two garage bays to seven, and we just bought a new truck to fill the seventh bay.

The gym is for everyone. I’m very much into fitness, because if I take care of myself, then everything else seems to fall into place. Our employees can save money on gym memberships, they save travel time, and it’s here for them to use anytime.

When you feel good, you do good. It’s an added perk that we can offer where everyone benefits.

Pumper: Do you use Facebook for marketing?

Hagan: Yes, and although it can be a time-suck at times, it is useful for engaging people. For example, we have nicknames for our trucks, and they each have custom license plates. When we add a new truck, I create a post on Facebook for vanity license plate suggestions. We get hundreds of posts through my personal and business Facebook page. The winner receives a $50 gift certificate to a local restaurant that is also a customer. Everyone wins.

Another use is to build community. My daughters brought in their Halloween candy, and I said, “Let’s donate some of this to our soldiers.” They recommended giving it all away and trying to collect more. As a mom, that made me proud. I posted this on Facebook and said we would collect and donate any candy people didn’t want, and we would pay $1 per pound. We took in almost 100 pounds and shipped it to different soldiers all around the world. Most kids didn’t want the money; they felt good donating and left our office with fun, bright-colored Rowell’s sunglasses. Each year we also host a canned food drive to help support local food shelters. Last year alone we donated over 1,000 canned goods and nonperishable food items.

This is marketing, but it’s fun, and it introduces us to people who might not otherwise stop here. Our office is bright and clean with vibrant colors — not an appearance you would associate with the business we’re in.

Pumper: Do you do any other unusual marketing?

Hagan: One of our best additions was the 168-square-foot billboard outside our building, which includes a 40-square-foot reader board. There’s a caricature of my dad — the Happy Pumper, because he always had a smile on his face. We include jokes, septic tips, and sometimes we’re just silly. Our Halloween joke was this: What do you call a poopy princess? Stinkerbell. People can be so rushed and tense; we use the billboard to lighten the mood, to make people laugh.

We change the board two or three times a week, and everyone in the office chips in with ideas. Our location, on a major state road near the center of town, also gives us a lot of potential readers, about 8,000 cars per day.

Pumper: How do you use radio in your 60-mile service area, and do you use television?

Hagan: We use radio to target areas where we want to grow. There’s no point in spending money on ads for people who already know we’re here.

Television is in my marketing plan, but we’re not there yet. We are about providing excellent service with the ability to respond quickly. This has enabled us to grow over the years. It would be a mistake to spend money on television ads if we can’t support the additional work. We never jeopardize quality for quantity. It is in my five-year marketing plan, but one goal at a time.

Pumper: Do you still update your computer equipment frequently?

Hagan: We do, because we rely so heavily on our computer systems. Our oldest machine is less than 2 years old. We are now rolling out our new software program, Fleetmatics. This will allow us to go almost paperless. This has route mapping, electronic invoice and work order dispatching. The technicians input the information using their smartphones, which instantly sync with our office computers.


Comments on this site are submitted by users and are not endorsed by nor do they reflect the views or opinions of COLE Publishing, Inc. Comments are moderated before being posted.