​3 Pumpers Offer Septic Services Marketing Tips

​3 Pumpers Offer Septic Services Marketing Tips

Carter's Septic Tank Service maintains membership in the New Brunswick Association of Onsite Wastewater Professionals and attends the WWETT Show to stay on top of marketing changes in the industry.

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Back in the day, marketing a septic services business was simple. You’d make sure you had a logo and a phone number on the side of your trucks, put an ad in the phone book, and call it a day.

While that approach still works — especially for legacy companies that have strong word-of-mouth references — in today’s competitive industry, many pumpers are going the extra mile with their advertising and marketing strategies.

Carter’s Septic Tank Service of Second North River, New Brunswick, for instance, lives by the motto “if you grow stale, you die.” Although they’ve been in business since 1960, the company still commits to a substantial advertising and promotion budget.

Brad Carter, company co-owner, says phone book advertising still works for the business (although the ad has prominent full back-cover placement), but that the company website and Facebook have become big draws.

“We’ve tried newspaper and radio, but we weren’t getting the bang for the buck that we expected,” he says.

The company is an active member of the New Brunswick Association of Onsite Wastewater Professionals. “If you’re not on top of the changes in the industry, your business will lose touch with the market,” Carter says.

The Carters also regularly attend the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport (WWETT) Show to make new business connections and learn about new technologies and equipment. “When people ask how I can justify going to the show, I tell them I don’t understand how they can justify not going to the show,” Carter says. “When I leave, I’m excited to go back to work and try out some new ideas.”

Good customer service is self-promotion

Meanwhile, Steve and Joan Smith — who own and operate Smith’s Sanitary Septic Service in Hanover, Pennsylvania — say dedicated customer education over the phone has translated into more jobs, and more money for the company.

“At first they don’t want to talk to a woman, until they realize I know what I am talking about,” Joan says.

In the business’ early years, customers only called when they had problems with their system. Years ago, she started a handwritten system to contact customers every couple of years to remind them it was time to have their tanks pumped. Now the information is handy to retrieve through her computer’s Septic Tracker (Westrom) software.

“Over the years, we’ve educated our customers. It’s preventive maintenance,” Joan says.

Brand recognition

To establish a more prominent business profile for ADB Construction & Septic in Manchester, Connecticut, Arthur Breault and his son, Justin, worked with a marketing firm to ensure the company’s brand is consistently represented on a variety of platforms.

That includes everything from vinyl wraps on trucks and internet advertising to technicians’ uniforms and business cards, invoices and yard signs. A key component is a new company logo.

“We want people to think of us when they think of waste and sewers,” Justin says. “If you’re not pushing forward as a business and striving to be better — to be a leader in your industry — then you’re stagnant, and stagnant businesses don’t last very long. We really want to keep growing our business, and creating a fresh brand seemed to be the most logical next step.”

While growth is important, the Breaults believe that slow and steady is better than exponential increases. “Two years ago, we grew too much, too fast,” Arthur says. “But we’ve stabilized that a bit, and now we’re concentrating more on developing employees.”

ADB also participates in local charity events to give back to the towns and communities that have done right by them. One such event was the annual Wishes on Wheels event, which raises money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Hundreds of businesses drive their rigs on a 22-mile highway loop, raising money.

“It’s a massive event,” Justin says. “By the time the first trucks are returning to the starting point, other trucks are still waiting to leave. The sheer magnitude of all those trucks rolling down the highway is mighty impressive. People stand on the overpasses with signs and wave at the trucks.”


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