Diversify and Conquer

Adding to your service offerings brings in more revenue and helps you better serve customers

This issue marks the end of 2019 and my first year as editor of Cleaner.

It’s been a good year. I learned a lot in this role, and my appreciation for this industry has grown. When I started at COLE Publishing in 2013, I began a crash course in the wastewater industry. As my understanding deepens, so does my respect for all the hardworking people in this industry.

While editing the magazine is not without its challenges, I am so glad I embraced the opportunity. There are essentially three parts to my job now at COLE Publishing, and while they’re all related to creating and editing content, they require different skills.

I’m sure the same can be said for many of you. Of course a majority of you clean drains. But many of you are also plumbers, septic pumpers or pipe rehab specialists. Some businesses may stick solely to drain cleaning, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Doing one thing really well is often a great business model.

But if you are interested in branching out into other services, this issue is for you. This is the Business Diversification issue, where our coverage broadens to include products and articles for the plumbing and septic industries.  

This month’s Product Focus features the tools and equipment for both those ventures, and you’ll also find a refresher on septic tank maintenance, why plumbing certifications are a good idea and tips for keeping your business profitable no matter what services you offer.

The two companies profiled this month are both one-stop shops with diverse service offerings. Their paths to growth look very different, though, proving there’s no one right way to build a business.

Koberlein Environmental Services is a 60-year-old company that started out as a septic pumping business. Chris Ravenscroft saw potential in the established business and thought the market was underserved in other related areas. So he bought Koberlein in 2001 and enacted a plan for incremental growth over the next 15-plus years. Gradually adding services and expanding the geographical service area added new revenue streams. Customers appreciate the convenience of having Koberlein handle a variety of jobs, which creates repeat business and word-of-mouth referrals.

All Clear Pumping & Sewer grew by a more “fly by the seat of your pants” approach, but it worked out equally well. Owners Shawn and Tracy Chilton started the company out of their apartment 10 years ago. There was no clear plan in place; services were added and equipment purchased as customer requests demanded. Shawn says the growth seemed to just happen “overnight,” and the company is so busy that he wonders sometimes if downsizing would be a good idea. But he’s still making plans to add pipe lining services, as it seems like the next natural step in continuing to meet the needs of his customers.

Whether you’re winging it or carefully planning a new service addition, I hope these articles provide a little insight as you expand into new ventures. No matter what services you offer, remaining dedicated to serving your customers will pay off. 

I hope you enjoy this month’s issue.


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