Don't Miss Out — Capitalize on Opportunities for Additional Site Work

Septic work is still his bread and butter, but Rick Miene is always looking for ways to generate extra income

Don't Miss Out — Capitalize on Opportunities for Additional Site Work

Interested in Business?

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

Business + Get Alerts

Septic work remains the backbone of Miene Septic Service, but the company’s willingness to improvise has opened the door to new opportunities. Owner Rick Miene actively seeks out new projects in eastern Iowa by routinely asking himself, “What kinds of thing can I do for my customers so I am a one-stop shop and they don’t have to call multiple contractors to come in and do different things?”

Along with building a knowledge base to tackle new projects, Miene Septic Service invests in the equipment needed to get the results clients seek.

“A key for equipment is to try to find multiple uses for whatever you’re purchasing because you can be more productive and follow other avenues of business,” Miene says.

While septic work is 90 percent of its business, Miene Septic Service has expanded into other work, such as grading construction sites, excavating basements and ponds, building horse arenas, and clearing timber. Equipment purchases — specifically the attachments for the Bobcat E50 and E85 — have allowed the company to diversify its services.

“Land clearing has been the one big thing for us, but grading and excavating has been the other thing. We’re always watching for different attachments that may help us improve that as well,” Miene says.

Miene Septic Service recently purchased a third forestry head for a tracked Bobcat T770 and plans to purchase a new mulcher head for its new John Deere 245. When it comes to forestry equipment, Rick always buys new so he’s assured of the quality of the machinery.

One of his secrets is to purchase demo units, which are in excellent condition and available at a reduced price. These units often carry a full warranty. Miene makes sure all of the attachments are equipped with a quick attach system so operators can remain in their seats while switching attachments.

The forestry equipment is used not only for septic system installations and replacements but also for clearing land for farmers and home builders. Miene says the forestry heads on the skid loaders work great in tight areas and in difficult terrain or thick vegetation. Because few companies in the area offer timber clearing, Miene Septic Service has an advantage.

“It’s been expensive to get into, but it has paid off for us,” Miene says.

The company expanded its land-clearing services by purchasing a horizontal grinder. Trees are ground right at the job site, and the mulch is often used for erosion control on the lot. This saves labor and machine time that would otherwise be necessary to haul the trees away.

Adding land clearing and other services to its repertoire increased the need for employees. Miene Septic Service has doubled its workforce in the last decade and currently employs 10. When training employees on new equipment, Miene takes a slow and easy approach. Dealers and manufacturers provide instruction, but until the employees work with the equipment themselves, they won’t know how an attachment will work under a certain circumstance.

“I tell them to think of safety — No. 1 for themselves, but also for the equipment — because the equipment is not only expensive to purchase, it’s expensive to fix,” Miene says. Broken equipment leads to downtime they can’t afford when they are already on the job.

By problem-solving and finding the right attachments to meet customers’ needs, Miene Septic Service has grown and prospered. When they find the right equipment to get the work done, opportunities just snowball from there because chances are good the first customer won’t be the last customer looking for that service.


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.