Immediate Service

A Bulldog jetter ends the waiting game for a New York contractor
Immediate Service
The remote-control operation of the Bulldog sewer jetter from John Bean Sprayers offers Grand Jude Plumbing a productivity and profitability enhancer: Fewer workers are required on job sites, which allows owner Frank Grandinetti to allocate manpower more efficiently. (Photos courtesy of John Bean Sprayers)

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Waiting for backup help on large drain line clogs used to make Frank Grandinetti feel like a V-8 engine running on seven cylinders: underpowered and inefficient.

So the owner of Grand Jude Plumbing Inc. in Tonawanda, N.Y., decided to invest in some horsepower of his own — a Bulldog 7018D sewer jetter from John Bean Sprayers (owned by Durand-Wayland Inc.). That put an end to a frustrating waiting game that at times left him unable to quickly service customers in dire straits.

For more than 10 years, Grandinetti says he paid $18,000 to $20,000 a year to subcontract jetting work to a local operator. But too often, the jetter was unavailable when he needed it most.

“In my business, I don’t like to keep people waiting, and customers aren’t happy about waiting,” he explains. “When we respond to a clogged drain line in a condominium complex, for example, the people who live there don’t stop using water, so where does it go? In the basement. Every minute counts. One day I got fed up with waiting and started looking for a jetter.”

Grandinetti says the bulk of his business comes from commercial and municipal work, mostly cleaning sanitary and storm sewer lines that range from four inches to 10 or 12 inches in diameter. He says he looked at about 30 different sewer jetter models before settling on the trailer-mounted Bulldog.

The unit generates 18 gpm at 4,000 psi and features two 350-gallon polyethylene water tanks, 600 feet of 1/2-inch-diameter hose, a hydraulically driven and swiveling hose reel, an antifreeze circulation system, remote-control operation, and a 2 1/2-inch water-fill system with air gaps that allow for quick hydrant filling.

The dual water tanks were particularly attractive to Grandinetti because they eliminate time-consuming and productivity-killing stops for water refills.

“We just fill it up at night or in the morning, and we rarely have to fill it again all day,” he notes. “A 100-gallon tank just won’t cut it for us. We need a lot of water because we service a lot of customers. And when you run out of water in the middle of a job, then you’ve got real problems.”

Grandinetti also wanted a longer-than-normal hose because it provides his crews with the flexibility to adapt to different situations.

“The majority of the time, we don’t need a lot of hose because we can get right up to a manhole and work from there,” he says. “But on some sewer cleaning jobs, we might need to go out 600 feet. We went out to one job where the manholes were almost 500 feet apart.”

The remote-control operation offers Grandinetti another productivity and profitability enhancer: Fewer workers are required on job sites, which allows him to allocate manpower more efficiently.

“I only need two guys on a machine instead of three, and we don’t need someone standing by the machine to operate it,” he notes. “That frees up one guy to go work on another job site — and make more money to pay bills.”

Grandinetti also outfitted the rig with a flashing arrow warning light for road safety, and dual rear spotlights because his crews often work at night. He also lauds the antifreeze circulation system, which allows crews to work in frigid weather.

“Overall, the Bulldog is very valuable to me because I can provide much quicker service than I did two years ago,” Grandinetti says. “I don’t keep customers waiting, which is a big plus for me. Plus I can charge customers less because there’s no middleman to pay, so they benefit that way, too.

“The machine basically pays for itself in two years,” he adds, noting he no longer has to pay to subcontract jetting work. “Everything I was told the machine can do, it does.”

Ironically enough, Grandinetti says he now gets occasional calls from friendly competitors who need a jetter on the job. Running on all cylinders definitely has its advantages.


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