Staying Focused: This Third-Generation Business Sticks to Its Septic Pumping Roots

Stuck between being too small and too big, Schulteis Pumping of Slinger, Wisconsin, focuses on its niche of septic pumping and repairs

Staying Focused: This Third-Generation Business Sticks to Its Septic Pumping Roots

Nathan Hill (left) and Tim Schulteis

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Times may have changed since Nathan Hill’s grandfather started what is now known as Schulteis Pumping in Slinger, Wisconsin, in 1966. But Hill and his cousin Tim Schulteis — who bought the company from their fathers in 2016 — say they don’t plan to change the company’s strategy much.

Sure, they plan on “keeping up with the technology and modernizing,” Hill says, but their focus on septic pumping and repairs will remain their niche. The company celebrated 50 years in business in 2016.

Under Hill’s father, the company had a portable restroom division, which they sold in 2013. “We were stuck in the middle of being too small or too big,” Hill says. “You can spread yourself too thin. It was best to focus on one thing we knew we do well and have the manpower for."

Everything changes as it evolves, according to Hill. “Septic systems have gotten bigger — there are different systems out there. The equipment has made the job easier, but it’s always challenging.”

Now Hill and four employees — including his mom working in the office — compete in the busy Washington County market in southeast Wisconsin. But even though there are other competitors, Hill says his company’s track record is a plus. “We have a lot of history,” he says. “My dad and my uncle laid a good foundation."

Having grown up in the community, Hill and Schulteis have a lot of contacts. “We’ve been doing it for so long that our knowledge sets us apart. We’re pretty fortunate.”

Hardworking trucks

Another thing setting this company apart are the shiny red pump trucks that are equally as hardworking as the staff. Schulteis Pumping has four trucks in all — two Peterbilts with stainless steel tanks and two Macks (with aluminum tanks).

One of those, a 2018 Peterbilt 367, was featured in the April edition of Pumper. The truck features a 6,000-gallon aluminum tank by Imperial Industries and a National Vacuum Equipment 4307 560 cfm blower. The truck is powered by a Cummins ISX15 engine tied to a Fuller 8LL transmission (Eaton Vehicle Group) producing 485 hp. Features include Alcoa Dura-Bright wheels, dual stainless steel air cleaners with LED lights front and back, dual chrome exhaust stacks, chrome bumper and grille, dual chrome air horns, stainless steel visor and mirrors, polished aluminum fuel tank, polished aluminum toolbox, a divided hose tray for tool storage and Lincoln automatic greasing system. The blower is protected in a stainless steel cabinet.

The truck carries a Garnet SeeLevel tank level indicator, as well as five sight glasses in the rear. It also has a 4-inch suction valve and 6-inch discharge, LED rear work lights and LED marker lights all around. Graphics were provided by Jason Lisko.

Hill is a fan of purchasing new trucks. “It’s hard to find used equipment that’s built to our specs. These are very highly specialized pieces of equipment. And the aluminum seems to be the most cost-effective.”

The material of the truck is especially important in Wisconsin winters, which can be notoriously long and cruel. “It’s a long season,” says Hill, who notes vacations and maintenance take precedence over septic tank pumping when the ground is frozen.

Hill takes pride in being the third generation of his family’s business. Even with an 8-year-old daughter, he doesn’t think the fourth generation is all that interested, at least not yet.

But he works hard to make his ancestors proud. “Pay attention; don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Hill says. “Everyone wants to further the industry.”


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