Sewer and drain service company joins septic pumping industry

Sewer and drain service company joins septic pumping industry
Joe Dirt Septic, Sewer & Drain Service recently expanded to include septic pumping. (Photos courtesy of Joe Dirt)

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Todd and Sheilagh Collins have been in the onsite industry for about a decade, and are now the proud new owners of a septic pumping company.

Joe Dirt Septic, Sewer & Drain Service in Belle Fourche, S.D., provides pumping and drain cleaning services, camera inspection and line locating.

“We just purchased an existing company,” says Todd. “We were in onsite septic installations and drain cleaning and we added septic pumping. We sold the excavation part of the company to concentrate on tank cleaning and drain cleaning.”

The couple was planning to buy the pumping business, and had been in conversation with the previous owner, and friend, of for about a year. The decision to move forward with the purchase was fast-tracked when the friend was tragically killed when overcome by hydrogen sulfide fumes while changing a lift station pump in a tank.

To prevent tragedies like this from happening again, Todd says they just don’t go in tanks or confined spaces. “We’ve changed our policy on everything and now the tank has to be dug up or someone with the proper equipment has to do it,” he says.

Limiting the number of employees helps lower the chance of risks. “I’m trying not to hire anybody, just keep it a one-man show,” says Todd. “My wife helps me a lot in the summer because she works at the school and has summers off.”

Built-in base
In addition to staying on top of safety precautions, the new owners are also making sure they stay ahead of the game when it comes to marketing. 

“We acquired a customer base, and we’ve added customers,” says Todd. “We’ve done a lot of promotion and it’s paying off. We put up signs on the highways around town, and we advertise in newspapers, Yellow Pages, and on the website.

“I never would have dreamed that the website would be anything, but we get people moving into the area that go right to the Internet,” says Todd. Sheilagh adds that traffic at the website has increased significantly.

As a previous septic tank installation company, Joe Dirt had a built-in customer base. “A lot of the people that were customers when Todd was installing tanks would call him and ask who they could get to pump their tanks,” says Sheilagh. Now the company can refer callers directly to themselves.

Turnkey business
Along with customers, the turnkey business included an International septic truck with a 3,000-gallon custom-built tank and Masport pump, and an existing building for a shop.

On the residential cleaning and inspection side, the company continues to use Electric Eel drain and sewer machines and Prototek locators. 

The Joe Dirt owners say they’ve been very blessed with a steady stream of business, and they’ve actually had difficulty keeping up. “It’s been a good business,” says Todd. “We’ve done really well with it; it’s really taken off.”

The company serves a 100-mile radius to the northwest of the tri-state area, which includes western South Dakota, eastern Montana, and eastern Wyoming.

As a rural area, Todd says they have benefited from the boom of the oil and gas industry. “We’re kind of getting encroached upon by the oil fields of North Dakota now,” he says. “Things are really happening back here, and it’s helping business with the increased population.”


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