Ways to Grow

Franchise systems and education resources offer knowledge and business systems that can help service contractors reach new levels of success

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Being in business for yourself can be tough. It’s even tougher if you try to go it alone. Savvy owners look to outside help for ways to improve and grow their businesses.


In the pipe cleaning and repair and industrial cleaning sectors, a variety of associations and networking groups provide support to service businesses. In addition, franchisers of a variety of services and products provide contractors with proven systems that can improve all facets of a business.


Here is a list of resources available to companies seeking ways to advance to the next level of performance and profit.





The 1-800-PLUMBER system provides franchisees with simple business tools and ongoing support. The business model takes the sales, marketing and administrative legwork out of the business so that franchise owners can spend more time hiring and training the best technicians.


The system provides a memorable phone number and corresponding Web site designed to create top-of-mind awareness with customers. A central sales and dispatch center supports all franchisees, taking incoming calls and dispatching the job to the closest franchise, relieving owners of answering the phones, booking and scheduling jobs, and the related administrative processes.


Marketing systems provide tools, systems and support to grow and market their businesses. Franchises receive business tools and support including a one-week startup training program, a comprehensive operations manual, business planning and budgeting tools, key metrics reporting and benchmarking, sales and marketing planning and support, and human resources tools for hiring, training and retaining technicians. 800/758-6237; www.1800plumber.com.


A Corp/Rooter-Man

For eight consecutive years, Entrepreneur magazine has named Rooter-Man the number one plumbing and drain-cleaning franchise in the nation.


As the core of its support system, Rooter-Man provides franchisees with a series of 11 comprehensive how-to manuals. They include an employee handbook containing policies and procedures, all necessary business forms, a management guidebook, instructions on creating sound human resources policies, a service technician training manual, a marketing guidebook, a training manual for phone operators, dispatcher training, a guide to developing service standards, an operations manual covering all facets of the business, and an advertising guidebook. 866/577-1221; www.rooterman.com.


ACE DuraFlo Systems

ACE DuraFlo markets a cured-in-place pipe lining system for repair of drainpipes and sewer laterals and an epoxy process for repair of potable water pipes in buildings without openings the walls.

The company carries local, state and national certifications as well as NSF 61 approval for drinking water. The products are UPC listed and IPC compliant. The company offers its products through franchises nationwide and offers franchisees a fully portable service package. Future franchisees benefit from the successes and best practices of the current franchisees. 888/775-0220; www.aceduraflo.com.


Benjamin Franklin Plumbing

Benjamin Franklin Plumbing was the first plumbing service company to make a guarantee that, “If there’s any delay, it’s you we pay.” The company’s unique selling proposition is presented in an easy and memorable rhythm that customers remember on hearing only a few times.


Franchisees benefit from partnerships with a large network of business groups that provide business support, including the BuyMax business-to-business Internet buying site for the residential service industry, and SuccessWare21 business management software, available to users around the clock.


The company offers a strategic business system that delivers daily, monthly and annual training modules for owners and employees. Offerings include Success Academy training for technicians and other professionals, Clockwork University for training in every aspect of the plumbing industry, and the Gearing Up 101 four-day introduction to franchise operations.


Operating Excellence manuals guide owners through the entire operation of running a business, and annual events provide opportunities to network and brainstorm with other franchisees through hands-on classes and business sessions. 877/236-2899; www.benjaminfranklinplumbing.com.


Dr. Shrink

Dr. Shrink offers shrink-wrapping products and services for the protection of industrial products during transport and storage. The company offers shrink-wrap in widths from 12 to 40 feet along with accessories that include heat tools, adhesives, zipper access doors and venting.


The company goes to market through a network of affiliates and offers a startup package that helps representatives become established. Offerings include a series of in-home or on-site training programs, a training CD, 24-hour customer service, and business leads while new owners are being trained. 800/968-5147; www.dr-shrink.com.



Formadrain offers a no-dig lining system that can be used for a variety of applications including underground pipes, sanitary and storm sewers, electrical conduits, rainwater leaders, vents and process piping.

The company provides its products and services through a network of licensees and offers them a seven-part program for support. It includes a proven and easy-to-use technology, comprehensive on-site training, live consultation by telephone as needed, marketing support, a guarantee on all system components, and a financing plan with low investment capital and equipment rental to help licensees get started. 888/337-6764; www.formadrain.com.


Mr. Rooter Corporation

Founded in 1974, the Mr. Rooter plumbing and drain-cleaning organization has more than 300 franchise locations in the United States, Canada and Europe.


Branded services include BioChoice ES Green Drain Cleaner and HydroScrub Pipe and Drain Cleaning. The company offers discounts and rebates on all items franchisees need to operate, including insurance, vehicles, supplies and parts.


Every part of the business has a system built to maximize results. A franchise combines the benefits of a local business with the strength of a national brand name. Owners get comprehensive training and ongoing support from a Franchise Coach. Franchisees also receive local and national marketing support and the opportunity to network and share information and ideas with other owners. Regional and national training meetings are held frequently. 866/696-1504; www.mrrooter.com.



In business since 1935, Roto-Rooter provides plumbing repair and sewer and drain cleaning services to homeowners, businesses and cities. The company has a network of more than 600 locations and affiliates in the United States and throughout the world.


Roto-Rooter independent contractors enjoy the best of both worlds: running their own business while getting support from a large national company with a well known brand name and reputation.

Territories are owned by Roto-Rooter, and the management of the territory is contracted out. There are about 60 locations within North America, located in smaller to mid-major markets.


The contractor keeps the sales and pays a royalty fee together with an equipment lease amount to Roto-Rooter. The contractor's annual income ranges from eight to 10 percent of customer sales, and the average market creaties about $1 million in revenue. Roto-Rooter provides the marketing, equipment, telephone lines, computer system/processes, brand identity items, and a consultation staff that includes operational, administrative and financial support. Independent contractor locations are available. 800/780-3292; www.roto-rooter.com.



1-800-Got-Roots provides a wide range of pipe maintenance services that include root removal and treatment, drain cleaning, diagnostics, preventive maintenance, and trenchless rehabilitation.


The company serves customers through local service providers who receive exclusive territories. All calls to the national toll-free number from a provider’s service area ring directly to that company’s phone number. For providers with multiple locations, calls can be routed to the closest office based on customer location. Contractors receive a detailed report with date, time, duration, caller’s phone number, city and state for each call routed to a given location.


Members also benefit from a central consumer Web site, also used to direct customers to the local contractor. 847/746-4646; www.gotroots.com.



Leaders Resource Network

The Leaders Resource Network helps people responsible for leading their businesses and organizations do so more effectively and efficiently. LRN focuses on development in marketplace, workplace and community and environmental leadership.


Offerings include educational and training opportunities through seminars, workshops, and on-site training, products and services at discounted rates, consultants and experts for individual support, and knowledge libraries.


Resources also include training and workshops in marketing, sales, customer service, team-building, business planning, financial management, marketing plan development, marketing communications, Web site development, new-business development, customer surveys, collection services, and lead generation services. Peer-to-peer advisor groups are available in selected areas. 574/276-0217; www.leadersresourcenetwork.com.


National Association of Wastewater Transporters

NAWT carries on the mission to unify the voice of the sanitary liquid waste management industry, while increasing its professionalism and public image through education of industry members and the public. The organization also develops national representation of individual, state, and regional chapters, allowing the industry to exchange ideas and concerns.


The association provides a wide range of training programs that include septic system inspector training and certification, onsite system operation and maintenance training, vacuum truck technician training, and an annual waste treatment symposium. A Train the Trainer program helps the organization take its programs to a wider audience. 800/236-6298; www.nawt.org.


Nexstar Network

Nexstar Network is a business-development and best practices organization delivering comprehensive business training, systems and support to independent home-service plumbing, heating, air conditioning and electrical professionals. It helps businesses get rapid results guided by peer connections, experienced coaches, and proven systems.


Best practices from across North America are available for members to apply in their own business. Coaches and member trainers come from the industry and have owned and operated businesses. They guide, advise and hold members accountable. 888/240-STAR www.nexstarnetwork.com.


NSF International

NSF International, which bills itself as The Public Health and Safety Company, is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization providing standards development, product certification, education, and risk-management for public health and safety.


For 65 years, NSF has focused on public health, safety, and protection of the environment. While emphasizing food, water, indoor air, and the environment, NSF develops national standards, provides learning opportunities, and provides third-party conformity assessment services while representing the interests of all stakeholders. The main stakeholder groups include industry, the regulatory community, and the public.


NSF is recognized for its scientific and technical expertise in health and environmental sciences. Its staff includes engineers, chemists, toxicologists, and environmental health professionals with experience in public and private organizations. The NSF Mark is recognized for its value in international trade around the world and is respected by local, state and federal regulators. 800/673-6275; www.nsf.org.


WaterJet Technology Association - Industrial & Municipal Cleaning Association

The WJTA-IMCA serves high-pressure waterjet and industrial vacuum equipment users, manufacturers, distributors, researchers, regulators and consultants. It is international in scope with corporate and individual members throughout the world.


The primary goals of WJTA-IMCA are to enhance communication within the industry; facilitate cooperation among government, industry, university and research institutions; foster foreign and domestic trade in jet cutting and cleaning products and industrial vacuum equipment and services; and study and advance industry tools and technology.


In 2009, WJTA formed the Industrial & Municipal Cleaning Association (IMCA) as a special-interest group. The purpose of IMCA is to provide a focused forum for WJTA members involved in industrial cleaning to communicate, share ideas and knowledge, and foster closer collaborations. Programs include live and online workshops, meetings, webinars, and other educational programs; periodic review of safety and operational practices; representation before legislative and regulatory bodies; and access to industry experts for consultation, networking and troubleshooting. 314/241-1445; www.wjta.org.


Top Dollar Press

Top Dollar Press is the publisher of Top Dollar Plumber, a book of advice for plumbing and drain-cleaning service contractors. Authors Sid and Ti Sutherland, both experienced plumbing professionals, share advice designed to help contractors grow their businesses and maximize profit.


The company Web site includes a variety of articles and other resources with marketing, sales and operations advice. 877/883-9150; www.topdollarplumber.com.


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