Opportunity Knocks as More Customers Seek Detailed Septic Inspections

A new RIDGID camera and enhanced inspections will boost revenue and help customers for Ken Allen’s Septic in Maine

Opportunity Knocks as More Customers Seek Detailed Septic Inspections

Caston Lovely, owner of Ken Allen’s Septic in Presque Isle, Maine. (Photo By Becky Shea)

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Septic system inspections don’t contribute much to the annual revenue at Ken Allen’s Septic in Presque Isle, Maine. But owner Caston Lovely sees that changing in the coming years, and he’s gearing up by investing in new equipment that will take his inspections to a higher level — and generate more income.

“We bought a RIDGID SeeSnake inspection camera this year and provide customers with video inspections of all pipes in and out of the system,” he says. “We charge significantly more per inspection than what we did before. Our time is valuable, and I believe we can generate a good revenue stream for a service for which we’ve been undercharging.”

The company currently charges a nominal fee for inspections, which essentially includes just a visual inspection of the tank and its inlet and outlet ports, plus a compilation of information about the residence or business and the tank location, for future reference.

But Lovely sees growing interest — especially from people buying homes — in a more detailed examination of septic systems, which will take more time. In addition, customers will receive a DVD or a thumb drive of the video inspection, so everything will be documented in digital a format, he says.

“More and more, customers want better peace of mind about the condition of the drainfield and pipelines,” he says. “The frost here can penetrate upward of 6 feet underground, and that wreaks havoc on infrastructure, with shifting pipes and so forth.”

Some of the older farmhouses in Lovely’s area were built in the 1800s. “Everything back then was homemade,” he says. “We’ve had people move into a house where the former owner lived for 30 or 40 years and there never had an issue. But now there are, say, three children in the family that owns the house … and it doesn’t take long for issue to emerge. Too often, the septic tank gets overlooked.”

He believes that whoever pays for the inspections — whether it’s the buyer, the seller or the real-estate company — will realize there’s value in a more detailed inspection.

To inspect systems, pumpers in Maine need to obtain a license from the state for $10. To renew the license annually, they also must take a recertification class. “It’s good because it keeps us current on what’s going on,” Lovely says.



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