Maine Excavator Dives Headlong Into Septic Services Business

After noticing on his excavation jobs that customers weren't maintaining their septic systems, Jason Turcotte decided he had a solid market for an add-on business in septic services

Maine Excavator Dives Headlong Into Septic Services Business

Jason Turcotte's white 2019 Peterbilt 348 septic truck was featured in Pumper as a Classy Truck of the month.

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When Jason Turcotte gets an idea, he goes all in. In 2006, he and his uncle, Bob Tupper (now retired), started a septic division called A Plus Septic Service to add onto his existing excavating company in Durham, Maine.

“There was a need for it,” says Turcotte, adding that while doing his excavating, he noticed customers weren’t maintaining their septic systems.

Still, it was a big risk jumping in headfirst. “We put $10,000 in an account to get going,” Turcotte says. “And it didn’t go anywhere at first; we were wondering if it was going to fly.”

Not knowing much about the business, he bought a 2006 Sterling from Imperial Industries. “They gave us some pointers,” he says. “Pretty much the only calls you got were people (whose septic) backed up into their home. We’ve tried to change that to be more proactive; we try to get folks on a maintenance schedule.”

Turcotte says it took about five years before the septic business took off and was out of the red. “I do remember that vividly,” he recalls. “I think any business takes 5 to 6 years before it gets off the ground. The reason this company flew is the owner was in the truck. I’m actually on site every day, and customers like that.”

A Plus Septic Service works about a 20-mile radius with a white 2019 Peterbilt 348 septic truck with a 3,800-gallon (all waste) steel tank and National Vacuum Equipment 4307 blower package from Imperial Industries. The rig has a special-order PX-9 engine sending power to the wheels through an Allison automatic transmission. It features heated valves, a top and 36-inch rear manway, sight glasses, stainless steel chip guards, hose trays and custom stainless hose retention rails on the trays, Reyco spring suspension, stainless steel workboxes and engine braking. Interior features include high-back bucket seating, air conditioning, cruise, Bluetooth, backup camera and power windows. Vinyl logo and graphics were installed by The Sign Store.

The decision to branch out to include septic has been beneficial to Turcotte, whose work is split about 40% in septic with about 60% excavation work.

And that portion of the business is near and dear to Turcotte’s heart, as he’s been around the excavating business for 35 years, since he was just a kid. He remembers playing in the gravel pit his grandfather owned.

But he’s pleased he decided to forge his own way, especially in his state’s rough terrain and climate. “If you’re not diversified up here in Maine, you’re not going to make it.”


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