Cleaning Industry Grows

Evolution of technology and services is paralleled by industry professionals.

The sewer and drain cleaning industry has grown up in many ways over the past couple decades, and the technology that supports the services you provide has grown and matured along with it.

Matt Timberlake and the Ted Berry Company, profiled in this issue of Cleaner, have followed a similar arc.

The company, founded in 1972 by Timberlake’s grandfather, Ted Berry, and his father, Jim, originally sold and serviced agricultural equipment, pumps and industrial equipment.

During the ’80s it morphed into a service company that flushed municipal sewer lines, handled pumping and bypasses, and started to take on industrial services for paper mills. Eventually, the company purchased its first vacuum truck.

The company’s fleet has since grown to seven combination jet/vac trucks — learn more about maintaining these trucks in this month’s Tech Perspective — and Timberlake has grown right along with it. He was in the shop from the time he could walk and now serves as company president.

I like that about this industry. There are a lot of people who grew up in it and are moving their family businesses forward. The industry is filled with people who’ve seen the impressive evolution in technology and services and who have evolved with it.

The image of the industry has grown up, too. This month’s Better Business column takes a look at body art in the workplace. The level of professionalism among sewer and drain cleaners has without question grown in leaps and bounds, and how your technicians present themselves to customers has a big impact on your business.

Tattoos and piercings say nothing about a person’s character or their ability to do quality work. I have a few tattoos and my ears are pierced, so I’m certainly not pointing fingers, but to many of your customers they do say something about your level of professionalism. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, as a business owner, that’s something you need to take into account.

What are your thoughts on the matter? Is a skilled technician with a full sleeve of ink any less valuable to your company than someone who doesn’t have a mark on them that wasn’t there when they were born?

We recently relaunched our Cleaner Forum at so you can voice your opinions on issues like this. It’s a platform for you and your peers to discuss the issues that matter to you. It’s also a way for us to engage each other, to discuss the stories in Cleaner as well as your problems and successes in the field.

It’s going to take a little while to build up a robust library of questions and in-depth discussion, but we want this forum to be a resource for you. Just like our content is aimed at bringing you new perspectives and insights, the forum is a place for you to connect with your peers and get their thoughts and perspectives on the issues you’re facing. It could be anything from tricks for maintaining your jetter, to technical insight for planning a pipe bursting job, or tips for boosting your profitability.

You’ll find the recent Cleaner Forum posts right on the Cleaner home page. Create a user name and join the discussion, or find the answer to your own question.
Visit the site, and enjoy this month’s issue.


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