Carlton Milam has only owned his trailer jetter for a few months but it’s already brought him new business.
Milam purchased the jetter from Jetters Northwest because he wants to get into pipelining, but he’s impressed by its effectiveness on his regular jobs as well. He recently tackled a recurring problem for new homeowners who had needed a drain unclogged at least once a month.
“They called us and said the sink was stopping up every month or so. I went over there and I didn't get very far with my camera. When I pulled it out, my camera was covered in grease; it was like transmission grease, lots of oily stuff. We ran the jetter with the 1/4-inch hose, because it went down to a 2.5-inch drain. It was a long sink line, longer than the average; but we jetted it out, went back and forth four or five times and then pulled it out. We sent the camera in again and it just looked brand-new. I sent the thumb drive along with the invoice and they responded a few days later and said, ‘That’s incredible.’ They were able to see what a good job it did.”
Milam really enjoys doing that type of service work. His company, Czar Plumbing in Midlothian, Texas, consists of just him and one of his sons. If he needs more manpower, he knows several plumbers who can help him out, and he helps them in return.
Czar Plumbing focuses mainly on residential service and repair work, and handles a few routine commercial jobs. Milam says he used to do more remodeling work, and that kept leading to repair work. “I prefer fixing things, and fixing things other guys did wrong. Sometimes it’s just the age of things, you know; nothing lasts forever.”
So Milam embraced the service side and outfitted his truck like a repair shop on wheels, ready to fix anything. “It looks like a FedEx truck, but it’s got lots of bins and toolboxes. I like to tell people, I have something for everybody on here. Very seldom do we have to say we have to go get something, because we’ve usually got everything they need.”
Milam has done a lot of subcontracting, running cameras and doing locates for other plumbers who aren’t as thoroughly equipped.
“I see all these drains broken under slabs of these very expensive homes, and roots growing in. We tunnel under and we fix it, but like anything there’s good and bad, and there can be problems with tunneling,”
While looking for a better solution, he heard about pipelining. He picked up copies of Cleaner and DigDifferent magazines in the shop of the guy who does service work on his cameras, and was intrigued. He went to the WWETT Show in 2016, looking to find out more and meet with providers of pipelining equipment. After more research, he knew he needed a new jetter.
“For pipelining I wanted to chase the 2-, 3-, 4- and possibly 6-inch market and I was looking at 4,000 (psi) and 18 (gpm); that’s a little bit bigger than I wanted to go. And I was back and forth over a cart jetter versus a trailer jetter and looked at that for over a year.” Milam decided a trailer jetter was his best bet. He would have to load and unload a cart jetter often, or dedicate a truck to it. A trailer jetter also allowed him to carry more water.
“Then I saw a Jetters Northwest ad in a magazine and I looked them up online. Looking at the way they were designed, I thought they really fit my needs. I liked their setup.”
Milam eventually selected the Eagle 200 trailer jetter with 9 gpm and 4,000 psi. He debated the pressure and flow for a long time, but ultimately decided to go with 4,000 psi. “It’s a trade-off, you just have to make a decision. I thought, if I hit something and needed more pressure, I would always regret that I didn’t get it.”
He says Steve Jones at Jetters Northwest was a great help when it came to speccing out the rest of his jetter. “I don’t think there’s a bad piece of equipment out there, I was just looking at what fit what I wanted. Dealing with Steve was really a great deal. I really enjoyed it. He was just real easy to work with.”
Milam chose the liquid-cooled Kawasaki engine despite the upcharge because two of his business associates are authorized service providers. “You (have to) look at parts and service; because I’m the plumber, I’m not the guy who works on the engine. That would be a waste of my time and I’d probably mess something up.”
Jones worked with Milam on several special features as well, things Jetters Northwest doesn’t typically add to the Eagle 200. Milam wants his equipment to look impressive when it pulls up in front of someone’s house, so he asked for chrome wheels. “They don’t normally put chrome on the 200, but they were really good to work with and Steve said, pick any ones you want. I had them put the toolboxes on the fenders and I asked if there was any way they could mount the spare tire underneath. They worked with it for a while and figured out how they could mount it on the bottom side of the trailer, out of the way. Hopefully I won’t need it, but it’s there if I do. You don’t want to leave it on the side of the road while you go find the tire.
He also added a self-winding reel and a strobe light. “Most of my trucks have strobes because doing service work you never know where you’re going to end up having to park your truck.”
Now that he’s set with a new jetter and pipelining equipment, Milam hopes it takes off quickly. “We’ve done one big job, we put a liner about 370 feet under a warehouse. But I didn't have my jetter yet so I had to borrow one from a friend.”
In the meantime, he has cleaning jobs with the new jetter lined up. He gets plenty of work, but he hopes to book more pipelining jobs and other interesting projects.