Tools That Work: Making Business More Efficient

See what two tools this business owner relies on daily.
Tools That Work: Making Business More Efficient
Justin Ruggiero of Best Septic Service putting to use the company's SeeSnake inspection camera from RIDGID.

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At Best Septic Service in Westminster, Vermont, two tools that are largely invisible to customers contribute greatly to increased productivity and profitability, according to owner Jeff Ruggiero. The first is a business-management software program developed especially for septic system contractors by SAFE Software; the second is a SeeSnake pipeline inspection camera system from RIDGID.

The company invested about $4,000 in custom-made SAFE software in 2011. The software offers multiple capabilities, ranging from emailing new work orders directly to a route driver’s smartphone and providing driving directions to job sites, to generating invoices and processing credit-card transactions.

Ruggiero says fellow septic pumpers Brian and Tina Stearns, the owners of Stearns Septic Service Inc. in Enfield, New Hampshire, told him about SAFE Software. Ruggiero met the Stearnses in the 1990s when he worked in the trash industry.

“It absolutely provided a great return on our investment,” Ruggiero says. “It cut our workload in half on the office end because there’s no more talking on the phone or texting – everything is done via email. It’s safer than texting and driving, too. And it’s much more efficient than having to drive back to the shop to get work orders.”

The SeeSnake camera system also does its part to boost efficiency and generate a new revenue stream via septic system inspections, which are mandatory in Vermont whenever a house is sold. “If a customer has a toilet backing up and we determine it’s not a problem with the tank, we can run the camera up the pipe to see if it’s tree roots, debris or a caved-in line,” Ruggiero says.

The system enables operators to email a video file of the inspection to customers, accompanied by either a written or a verbal report recorded as the inspection occurs. Or the operator can download the video file onto a flash drive and give it to a customer, who can then view it when it’s convenient for them, Ruggiero says.

“And after the camera tells you where the problem is, you use a sonde that tells you how deep it is,” he adds, noting that the camera head includes a transponder. “As a result, there’s a lot less guesswork with excavating, which means we excavate more efficiently. 

“If we know the lid is just a couple feet underground, for example, we can excavate it manually, rather than hauling in our mini-excavator. This is the day and age of working smarter, not harder.”

Read more about Best Septic Service, profiled in the May issue of Pumper magazine.


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