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Old 09-10-2019, 03:36 PM   #1
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Default Plumbing niche ideas

So I have been thinking about maybe starting to learn about a niche to get in to for when I start a business some day. I was thinking I might as well try and learn more about it before I need it.

I know of a few that I would call a specialised or niche market. Those being things like slab leak detection, trench less sewer replacement or backflow testing and repair.

I wonder if you guys have ideas that does not require very expensive investments like trench less sewer replacement. I don't believe there is any record keeping if backflow devices or anything like that making it a good market to get in to testing those. Slab leak detection would be interesting but we barely have any slab on grade houses here so that is not really a market at all around here.

I live in a small town of 1500 people and work 40 minutes away in a college town of maybe 55000 people.

Any ideas?

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Old 09-10-2019, 03:51 PM   #2
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How much doe the equipment cost for trench less? What kind of machines and vehicles do you need?

Based on the number of 55 000 people how old are the underground system, then how many houses realy need to be replaced based on the age? Then how many will actually go for it compared to digging with a backhoe. Some people will just live with broken pipes and not repair it. You might realize it'll be very few trench less.


As for backflow in my area it's only on commercial and no one inspects them. No special licence either. Any plumber can install them. They are installed in new buildings or a reno then its forgotten.
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Old 09-10-2019, 05:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
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How much doe the equipment cost for trench less? What kind of machines and vehicles do you need?



Based on the number of 55 000 people how old are the underground system, then how many houses realy need to be replaced based on the age? Then how many will actually go for it compared to digging with a backhoe. Some people will just live with broken pipes and not repair it. You might realize it'll be very few trench less.





As for backflow in my area it's only on commercial and no one inspects them. No special licence either. Any plumber can install them. They are installed in new buildings or a reno then its forgotten.
Same situation here on the backflow. Any plumber can install them but it takes a special license to test and repair them. It is surprised to be tested either yearly or bi yearly but it gets put in and forgot about.

I forget what trench less equipment cost but I remember looking and it's not cheap but it's also hard to do if you are a new one man shop. I remember a neighbour telling me he had that done to his sewer but if I remember correctly it was a company close to 2 hours away in a bigger city that did it. Around here the sewer is at least 7' down and normally older cast iron.

Here we are apparently old fashioned and seems no one is even trying to be up to date on some new things.
Last Friday I had a sewer smell call in a business and it was all over and no signs of leaks I was told. I started telling the boss about smoke testing for cases like that and he had never heard about it and could not at all understand how it would not all just go out of the vent or sewer so he thought I was silly. Yesterday I had a clogged kitchen drain and I asked if the 3/8" cable machine was at the shop and the boss said I should just use the 1/2" cable. I told him I had never had any luck getting a 1/2" through a 11/2" short turn 90 which is normal to have right inside the wall before going 2" on the drain. He was getting irritated with me stating that that is all he had ever used and that we never had the 3/8" before 3 years ago. I told him the cable manufactures did not recommend that size for that drain. I only found the general guide that states 1/2" was for 3"-4" I have no problem using it on 2". Oh by old-school I mean my boss makes estimates on a typewriter.

I was thinking that if a guy got in to some more modern stuff that other plumbers are not set up for then maybe it would be good for business.

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Old 09-10-2019, 05:41 PM   #4
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Sound like a hillbilly boss 1/2" cable wow!

Seriously you hang out on a forum with the latest trends and technologies. You've gained too much knowledge, they don't like it when you are smarter than them. It's obvious for you but he's he's old school and one day some new guy will come in and steal his show.

Just like me everyone I talk to around here have no idea of new tools or techniques available. I shut up because they'll get the bright idea to jump in. I like being one step ahead which brings in revenue.

You should get cleaner's magazine and start checking the articles online, that's all they talk about trench less. You'll know if it makes sense. But all will say you have to start small or you might bust.

For me my niche is service. One van full of tools and no need to hire help. I keep the camera in the basement and locator for special occasions, that's it!
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:04 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tango View Post
Sound like a hillbilly boss 1/2" cable wow!



Seriously you hang out on a forum with the latest trends and technologies. You've gained too much knowledge, they don't like it when you are smarter than them. It's obvious for you but he's he's old school and one day some new guy will come in and steal his show.



Just like me everyone I talk to around here have no idea of new tools or techniques available. I shut up because they'll get the bright idea to jump in. I like being one step ahead which brings in revenue.



You should get cleaner's magazine and start checking the articles online, that's all they talk about trench less. You'll know if it makes sense. But all will say you have to start small or you might bust.



For me my niche is service. One van full of tools and no need to hire help. I keep the camera in the basement and locator for special occasions, that's it!
For trench less it's a no since I'll be starting small like you said and I think the investment plus kind of need 2 guys makes it a no for me. Besides I don't mind the normal drain call but I'm no sure I want to specialise in drains (at least not for now).

I'm not sure I would describe service as a niche. I am planing on doing mostly service and remodel with a new residential house or two here and there but not much new construction. I will first off be trying to focus on my local area and not further down where I currently work but I'm sure I will also end up doing work down there since there is more work and that is where I will be going all the time anyway to the supply houses.

I was just hoping to have at least a little more to offer than just the standard all Around plumbing. If nothing else at least for my own interest in learning new things and personal / professional development

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Old 09-10-2019, 08:09 PM   #6
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If you can afford the 10k$ get a camera and pipe finder assuming most guys around you don't have one. We get a lot of people calling for me to come out and camera or track lines. We even get other plumbing companies calling or referring us.





A 3/8" cable is not a "new idea". Your boss is just a stubborn idiot who doesn't want to do anything he hasn't done before.



Some guys really think that in 40 years they have seen it ALL. That no one, especially a YOUNG plumber could show them something new. While they may have seen a lot it does not mean they have seen it all. And it doesn't mean they have been doing it the correct way all these years either.


Like when people look at an old house and say "They don't build them like this house anymore! Nobody does quality like these old houses!". They think that ALL old houses were built like the 100+yr old houses we still have around. It's called "Survivorship Bias". Only the well built ones lasted so that's all you still see. Truth is guys back in the day were just as crap as guys now and most houses were built like crap but only the good ones survived.






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Old 09-10-2019, 08:34 PM   #7
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If you can afford the 10k$ get a camera and pipe finder assuming most guys around you don't have one. We get a lot of people calling for me to come out and camera or track lines. We even get other plumbing companies calling or referring us.

.
For me the camera and locator and sonde were a total waste of money. BUT if it's any consolation if I need them I'll have them. I can also put them in the living room as ornaments or display.

I have a brand new 150$ mainline backwater valve that's gathering dust for over a year in the garage thinking I was going to install one. Everyone thinks it'll cost 40$ to install!

Over here it seems everyone has a camera even the hacks!!!
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Old 09-10-2019, 08:44 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skoronesa View Post
If you can afford the 10k$ get a camera and pipe finder assuming most guys around you don't have one. We get a lot of people calling for me to come out and camera or track lines. We even get other plumbing companies calling or referring us.





A 3/8" cable is not a "new idea". Your boss is just a stubborn idiot who doesn't want to do anything he hasn't done before.



Some guys really think that in 40 years they have seen it ALL. That no one, especially a YOUNG plumber could show them something new. While they may have seen a lot it does not mean they have seen it all. And it doesn't mean they have been doing it the correct way all these years either.


Like when people look at an old house and say "They don't build them like this house anymore! Nobody does quality like these old houses!". They think that ALL old houses were built like the 100+yr old houses we still have around. It's called "Survivorship Bias". Only the well built ones lasted so that's all you still see. Truth is guys back in the day were just as crap as guys now and most houses were built like crap but only the good ones survived.






.
I never claimed that 3/8" cable was a new idea. You are right he is stubborn. Actually we have had a ****ty mytana camera for 3 years now and we have probably used it maybe 10 times in that time where of I probably did the 6 (we are a shop of 4-8 guys) I don't see there being money in that around here.

I actually also told my boss about skids for the camera head to get it up above some of the water and not get blinded by pushing poop on the bottom of the pipe. He again had no clue they existed and wanted nothing to do with it.

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Old 09-10-2019, 11:26 PM   #9
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I never claimed that 3/8" cable was a new idea.

I know you didn't claim that, I was saying it seemed like your boss thought it was a new fangled thing that wasn't reliable because it wasn't the way he learned to do things.








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Old 09-11-2019, 03:57 AM   #10
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forget about the technical part of the business....learn about BUSINESS to keep the doors open. It's nothing fun or glamorous but the non plumbing stuff is the most important part
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