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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hiya guys, I have been working with Backflow devices full time for the last fifteen years. A layoff left me without a job sence Xmas. I have decided to open my own Backflow company. I am calling it AFFORDABLE BACKFLOW because that is what I want to provide. I have never opened my own business before and I am a little apprehensive to say the least. Do you guys have any ideas for me? As far as tips, tricks, business ideas, etc.? Any ideas how can I go about getting devices to test? Other than the obvious yellow pages ad. speaking of which Yellow pages are EXPENSIVE is it worth it? Any other marketing ideas that have worked for you?

Thanks guys!
 

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Seems like in 15 years you would have a few contacts in the business. I'd start by letting them know you're in business.

Do you have all the licenses, insurance, etc to be in business for yourself?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Well guys,
First off I want to specialize in residential backflow. There is an untouched gold mine of devices if you can convince the housewife they need to be tested. Notice I said "Housewife" You guys are married, you know if the Mrs. gets a bug in her butt about something it usually gets done right?
All i need to do is find a way to reach these women! a TV commercial during prime time soaps would help :p
TV is probally out of my advertizing budget at the moment, but radio is affordable, billboards arn't bad either. But niether of these are particularly woman friendly. I was thinking of those little billboards you see in the front of a shopping cart!

I have been told many times I should teach this subject. I feel if someone listens to me explain these things for a few minutes
They will have their device tested regardless if the municipality makes them or not.
I worry more about the flood hazard than the contamination hazard. Especially when the only thing holding back city pressure on anyone of these RPZ's is a thin rubber diaphram. You guys know how rubber deteiriorates. Or any number of other problems that can cause discharge. Even the smallest device can discharge dozens of gallons of water a minute if it malfuntions.

I am designing a mailer, I want to find a good source for a mailing list of new homes. Any ideas?

I thought a few yard signs in the nieghborhoods in question may help too.

I have an idea for a discount club. A way for the nieghbors to get reduced testing rates by setting up "clubs" or groups of people to test the same day. I don't plan on charging for most repairs, just for parts if they need them. Even a way for them to get FREE PARTS by rewarding loyal customers for continued service.

I plan on offering a service contract that will lock the current price for the length of the contract. This contract would be transferable to the next owner should the home be sold. This contract would also provide FREE PARTS and 24-7 emergency service.

Of course I will do any commercial jobs that come along. but at the low prices I plan on charging I couldn't offer free repairs on any of the large devices.
Like I say, I am new to this end. I have some ideas, if I can put them into motion.
I don't have to make a fortune like Chicago Backflow.
I just have to make a living!
 

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The only residential backflow's we commonly have here are on the irrigation systems, and nobody is gonna pay to have those tested, at least not that I've come across so far.

Free service and parts? I hope you charge alot for testing. How long would your contract be? Costs can change considerably in a year, you may want to index the price to something, not sure what though
 

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I aint CPV see in it?
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In tallahasse you have to have your backflow tested once a year. Good market here. Found a class in destin FL that is a week long going on in may of this year. BEACH HOUSE rental for the week of that class is going to be nice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The only residential backflow's we commonly have here are on the irrigation systems, and nobody is gonna pay to have those tested, at least not that I've come across so far.

Free service and parts? I hope you charge alot for testing. How long would your contract be? Costs can change considerably in a year, you may want to index the price to something, not sure what though
In Illinois in many areas anyway, you can't build a new home without including a fire sprinkler system. I have tested an unbelivable amount of these in the last few years. Irrigation is worse as far as contamination goes.
Most municpalitys around here enforce backflow testing, many will shut your service off if the device isn't tested. I know this, I have seen it first hand!
The contract is an idea to drum up more business. Also being paid in advance!
Maybe 10% of residential backflows fail the test. most of those can be cleaned and retested. For the amount of time it takes to test one of these things. what i lose at one job, i make up for in the next. I just have to find the "next" :)
 

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If there are that many, then just pick your target neighborhoods and go door to door with fliers. There was a post here about someone going door to door that had good luck.

Go to www.lawnsite.com and check out the advertising lawn guys do, and do something similar.
 

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The municipalities put out cross connection surveys.

Home owners lie about what they have. The device never gets tested because no one knows it is there.

There is no one that looks to see if the devices that are initially tested get retested. The water purveyor puts the reports in a file never to be seen again.

There is no money in testing strictly residential valves. You are seen as a scammer in the homeowners eyes. Especially when it takes 2 minutes to test a device.
I do about 300 valves per year now. I would guess all but about 10 are in a commercial setting.

I tell my competitors there is no money in device testing:laughing:

You just be sure to stay on your end of the state. I get a little grumpy when somebody tries to undercut me on inspection pricing.
 

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Try talking to plumbers in your area and find those that dont have the tools you have .Do it for them,but you know if it gets too good they will buy their own tools and do it themselves but anything to get started. Go to gatherings, pass out flyers,offer to give free talks at schools anywhere you can draw a croud.You have to get people to thinking. It is required for business in our area yearly I think, but not resid. homes.I never got into it ,but a friend of mine had a good deal going with his boss sorta of a side company between them .Then his boss got sick and died .That was the end of that!
 
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