When It Comes to Customer Service, It’s All Good for Allgood Sewer & Septic Tank Service

Tennessee pumper Ernie Anderson says good communication with customers is a key to building a successful septic business of any size.

When It Comes to Customer Service, It’s All Good for Allgood Sewer & Septic Tank Service

 Ernie and Rhonda Anderson of Allgood Sewer & Septic Tank Service, White House, Tennessee. (Photos by Martin Cherry)

Creating a successful business requires skill and experience. But recognizing an opportunity and seizing it can be just as important. That’s what Ernie Anderson did when he started Allgood Sewer & Septic Tank Service in White House, Tennessee, in 2007. 

Before he was old enough to have a driver’s license Ernie knew enough about septic pumping to train new employees for his father’s pumping business. By 18, Ernie earned more money than his buddies working at typical high school age jobs. As a young adult he decided to try something different, so he worked for a swimming pool company doing cleaning, maintenance and helping with installations. 

“About 15 years ago I saw an opening for a new business. I noticed a growing area that Dad didn’t want to go to,” says Ernie, now 45. The area was near Nashville and surrounding counties. He found a 1993 propane truck, attended the 2007 WWETT Show and purchased parts to turn it into a pumper truck and start his business that year. 

What Ernie didn’t foresee was the economic downturn that started in 2008.


“It was no fun when the economy turned down. There was some mowing grass in there,” Ernie says, explaining he did what he needed to do to earn money. 

Fortunately he had been prudent and saved money on his first truck by building it himself with the help of a friend, Jason Meter. Before cutting into the empty 2,400-gallon propane tank with a torch, they filled it with baking soda, dish soap and water to prevent lingering gas fumes from exploding, then added the vacuum components Ernie purchased from Chandler Equipment at the WWETT Show. The truck had a PTO, and he just had to change the shaft to accommodate a septic pump.

“It turned out real well. I ran it for 10 years, and then it became my backup truck,” he says.

On the marketing side, Ernie ran ads in local newspapers and worked with contractors he knew. They referred him to other contractors who recognized that he was reliable and did a good job. As he attracted more customers he increased the size of the ads, including some in phone books.

But beyond that, the survival of the business through the economically challenging time was in part due to the kind of man Ernie is.


“Customer service is everything. I’ve always had a knack for making friends that become customers for life,” Ernie says. His personal touch includes educating customers about septic systems, as well as friendly conversations about items in their yard, such as antique vehicles and hummingbird feeders. The Andersons ended up getting their two dachshunds from a customer who raises them.

Ernie’s wife, Rhonda, attests to his generous charm. They met when she worked at a printing business where Ernie purchased his business cards and invoices. When she purchased a home in 2013, she had septic problems and called him. Ernie remembers wanting to impress her by showing up clean for the job. Instead, he had hard jobs that day and showed up dirty and sweaty. It didn’t stop him from asking her out on a date that led to marriage in 2017.

“I like to say I found love at the bottom of a septic tank,” Ernie jokes. 

Rhonda is quick to note that Ernie is compassionate and kind to everyone. He gives breaks to customers going through tough times and supports local charities with donated services and financial donations.

“He’s always done that even in the lean, beginning years,” Rhonda says. He is a faithful, financial supporter of Mission 615, a nonprofit that cares for people who are homeless in Nashville. Ernie placed a Mission 615 sticker on his truck to inspire others to contribute to the charity.

His character was recognized in 2020 when the Better Business Bureau honored him with the BBB Torch Award for ethical commerce in the small business category for Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky. The award is based on a business owner’s ethical practices with employees, the community, within their industry and their approach to marketing. The presenter noted that Allgood was a relatively young company to receive the award. 


Ernie praises Rhonda for the website she developed for the business. 

“A lot of the people new to the area are impressed with our website,” he says. Web design and marketing are a couple of the services she offers through her business, Silver Cricket Designs. 

“I try to dedicate one or two days a week to Ernie’s business,” Rhonda says. She handles marketing and bookwork using QuickBooks and Tank Track software. The maintenance reminder with Tank Track is helpful, and Ernie adds lots of notes to specific tanks and locations that will be helpful as the business grows and adds employees. “It has technology for tablets and cellphones. As we grow and bring on another driver, it can be available in the truck to take payments in the field,” Ernie says. 

Besides good marketing to grow the business, Ernie credits encour-agement from contractors.

“I was fortunate to have contractors pull me aside to tell me that I could do other things,” he says, to add to his pumping services.

He learned about wiring so he could do septic repairs, and he works with other contractors to install systems, which has developed to provide about 25% of the company’s revenue. He provides his opinion as a licensed installer to work with real estate agents on real estate inspections for potential homebuyers. With an influx of people moving into the area, Ernie expects inspection work will continue to increase.


Ernie gets the work done with equipment that he conscientiously maintains himself.

The first vacuum truck is a 1992 GMC TopKick with a 2,400-gallon steel tank and R260D Jurop pump. His latest purchase is a 2007 GMC 7500 truck with a 2,500-gallon steel tank and National Vacuum Equipment pump built by House of Imports. 

For digging he has a 329 Bobcat mini-excavator he transports on a trailer that he built and pulls with a 2001 Chevrolet 2500. He prefers to install Tuf-Tite lids and risers and uses Porter Cable power tools. 


“It can get extreme as a one-man show,” Ernie admits. He wears a headset while driving to take calls.

In snowy, cold winters work previously slowed down, but that that hasn’t happened in recent years. He typically schedules on weekdays. Two part-time employees fill in for him when he takes vacations and drive a second truck during the busiest time.

“If I had a motivated guy, I could do quite a bit more. There are times in the year when we could run two or three trucks,” Ernie says. Adding a new full-time employee is one of his near-term goals. He has the truck and will pay well for a go-getter from his area or anyone who is willing to relocate to Tennessee with its great opportunities and new markets.

“I’m getting a lot of calls from other counties and looking which way to grow,” he says.

Despite the long hours and challenges, the business suits him.

“It’s a challenge to handle scheduling and stay on top of everything. But it’s also a joy. It’s an adventure to go to different people’s homes,” he says. He patronizes local restaurant, hardware store and other business owners, and they know who he is and what he does for a living. 

Being part of a community and feeling support from Rhonda — and two “office managers” (dachshunds) is exactly where Ernie wants to be. 

“The business has been good to me. I’m happy to continue and looking to see what’s around the corner,” he says.   


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