How to Manage Your Septic Customers During Busy Times

Having too much work is the best kind of problem to have, but those seasons require some effort and planning to keep customers happy

How to Manage Your Septic Customers During Busy Times

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There are many hurdles that the owner of a septic services company faces. From fine-tuning marketing strategies to contacting customers to closing the deals — are all everyday challenges.

But one of the more perplexing issues that comes up is the double-edged sword of the backlog. What a great problem to have — that the company is so booked with business that there is a backup of work to get done.

There is nothing more frustrating than having to tell your customer their work can’t be completed at this time. You spend so much time assuring your customers of their status and priority, only to disassemble that relationship by saying, “I can’t get to the work right now.

So how do you move forward in these times? The temptation is to stop visiting customers, stop making cold calls and stop looking for business until the time comes when your crews are available. This theory isn’t exactly good business practice. There are several things one can do while in the midst of the backlog period to even out business and continue building relationships.

1. Appreciation visits

Call on your existing clients for the sole purpose of thanking them for business. Obviously, the A-level customers come first, but even the small-job customers need some love and attention. In fact, the customers who account for the smallest amounts of work are usually most impacted by an appreciation visit. The visit creates a space where they feel appreciated and comfortable with you. This is also a good time to make sure they’re educated on other services like septic pumping or maintenance to further tighten the existing relationship.

2. Schedule in advance and stay positive

Meet with customers and be upfront about your schedule. Be careful not to pose your backlog in a negative light or else that’s how they’ll perceive it. You don’t want the customer thinking the company is low on resources of any kind; you just want them to perceive you as in high demand for all the right reasons. Use phrases like “we’ve had so many referrals from construction contractors,” not just “we’re swamped.”

Remember, extensive backlog is the best kind of problem to have, so make sure your customers see it that way as well. That being said, be honest about your schedule and see if their projects can be completed in that timeline. Usually there’s some wiggle room on both sides.

3. Be proactive

Ultimately, there are trends to the busy and slow times. See if there are ways to even out the work to make it easier and more profitable for operations. Perhaps some construction contractors would be willing to schedule septic installations a little earlier or later in return for a discounted rate. Maybe this isn’t something they would be able to accommodate right away, but it’s highly likely that the next time they have the opportunity, they will call to see what your schedule is to try to take advantage of that offering. They will feel like they are doing you a favor, which leads to a stronger bond.

This is also a good way to notice trends in the year that might benefit from a campaign approach in the future. For example, if you notice that late fall is always a slow point in the year for installations or septic pumping, take time to think about ways to drive more business, and perhaps put together a campaign that might help even out the highs and lows.

The bottom line is that visiting with current customers or contractors who send business your way is always beneficial. Embrace the mindset that every hurdle you face as a business owner is an opportunity in disguise. Your customers and business will be better for it.

About the author: Darcy Derkowski is responsible for business development and sales activities for the southern division of AIMS Cos., a national industrial, municipal and utility services company. She holds a Bachelor of Science in agricultural business and a master’s degree in science in natural resource development from Texas A&M University. Reach Derkowski at


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