All Roads Led to the Family Business for This Third-Generation Pumper

Michael Boswell remembers riding around in the family's service trucks with his father as a kid, and now his own 7-year-old rides with him

All Roads Led to the Family Business for This Third-Generation Pumper

C.L. Boswell Jr. Septic's refurbished 2005 Peterbilt 335.

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Like father, like son. So far, that’s been the operating principle for decades at C.L. Boswell Jr. Septic.

Thankfully, that method has worked for 56 years for the company in Mechanicsville, Maryland — a mostly rural area located about 30 miles south of the District of Columbia. 

Michael Boswell — now co-owner with his father Clarence Jr. — used to ride around in the service trucks with his father. Clarence Jr. took over the business, which was started by his father, Clarence Sr., in 1964. Today, Michael’s son, 7, is poised (at least for now!) to take the company into its fourth generation.

“He loves it; he’s always wanting to learn; he’s more hands-on,” says Michael, 34. “It’s very good to see that. That’s very hard to come by these days.”

While Michael expected to join the family firm, he did pursue other potential careers, such as joining an electrical union. But all roads led back to keeping the family business going strong and maintaining its reputation and name recognition. “It pretty much established itself,” he says.

Now the Maryland native does most of the work himself — from residential septic installs and maintenance to office work. “Long days and long nights,” he admits.

For his service trips, Boswell uses a refurbished 2005 Peterbilt 335. It's a striking pearl white over peal purple — classy enough to earn recognition in the January edition of Pumper magazine. It has a new 2,500-gallon steel tank and Jurop/Chandler R260 pump built out by Stephenson Specialty Trucks.

The truck is powered by a Cummins 230 hp engine connected to an automatic transmission by Allison Transmission. Features include air-ride suspension, diamond plate hose trays and stainless steel toolboxes, 3-inch inlet and 6-inch dump valve, air conditioning and custom radio with Bluetooth. Lettering was completed by Finish Line Graphics.

Modernizing a legacy operation

Michael is also very involved in keeping the company’s technology up to date. That’s something his father has taken little interest in. “It can be hectic because I’m the only one who does the technology stuff,” he says, noting he’s working to update the company’s GPS, credit card processing and online presence.

Even though the latter is a must in 2020, Boswell admits most of their new customers come from word-of-mouth from their long-standing repeat customers. That’s important in the three-county area he serves, where there are about 10 other competitors.

“When my grandfather started, it was just him and (another competitor),” Michael says. In fact, he notes that his grandfather couldn’t keep up with doing everything, so he even helped others in the area launch businesses. Some of those are competitors now.

Boswell expects to take over the company fully when he father retires, but he doesn’t plan any major changes. “For now, we’re going to continue doing what we’re doing. We want to expand more on the technology side with mobile banking/credit cards and do billing a little bit differently,” he says.

“We don’t want to get too big too fast.”


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