Twin Trailer Jetters Increase Profits for 1 Tom Plumber

The profitability of this Ohio drain cleaner’s first trailer jetter quickly led to the purchase of another

Twin Trailer Jetters Increase Profits for 1 Tom Plumber

1 Tom Plumber technician Joe Hull cleans a catch basin with one of the company’s two Mongoose 184 trailer jetters. The jetters deliver 4,000 psi at 18 gpm and carries up to 500 feet of 1/2-inch hose.

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When Sonny Boyce received a request for emergency service in July, the property-management company making the call wasn’t very confident 1 Tom Plumber — the company Boyce co-owns — would be able to do much to resolve the problem.

But Boyce had no such qualms. “I told them we had the equipment to do it and that we’d get the job done within two hours,” says Boyce, who co-owns the company with his son, Ryan, and another father-son team, Rocky and Kameron Hensley.

Quick action was required because a clogged 8-inch-diameter overflow line had caused a retaining pond at a large strip mall to flood, blocking the mall’s main entrance. As a result, nearly 30 stores and several restaurants had to shut down in the middle of the day.

The reason for Boyce’s confidence is a Mongoose Jetters 184 trailer jetter, one of two owned by the company, based in Milford, Ohio. (Mongoose is a brand owned by Sewer Equipment.)

As it turned out, the drainline was filled with tree branches. But in about an hour, the Mongoose — outfitted with a Warthog jetting nozzle from StoneAge — powered through, Boyce says.

“There was just a little bit of pressure on us,” Boyce says with a chuckle, noting that the mall had only one other entrance, but it had been shut down because of an ensuing traffic jam. “But I definitely was confident about the equipment we have.

“And when you tell a customer you can do a job in two hours and you finish in about an hour, you’re a hero. And your equipment is, too.”

The property-management company was impressed with 1 Tom Plumber’s fast response and quick results. In fact, shortly after the incident, it signed a maintenance contract for quarterly cleaning of drainlines at the strip mall, as well as several other malls the company owns, Boyce says.

“Talk about a money machine. That job really showed the value of investing in good equipment.”

Twice as good

After the company bought its first Mongoose 184 jetter around February 2019, it invested in a second one the following October. They’re used primarily to remove tree roots from laterals or to cut through grease at restaurants and debris clogging lines in commercial buildings, Boyce says.

“We bought the second one because we didn’t want to have to turn down jetting work if the one machine went down, and then possibly lose a customer. But now our second jetter is just as busy as the first one and we never have any problems with them. They’re very reliable machines … you take care of them and they’ll take care of you.”

Boyce prefers Mongoose jetters because after using them while working for other contractors, he’s convinced they’re one of the better values on the market. The two jetters feature 300-gallon baffled water tanks, remote-control capability, a minimum 70 hp engine and a Mongoose five-cylinder, plunger-style run-dry water pump (4,000 psi at 18 gpm). The baffled tanks allow technicians to drive them full of water, he says.

The standard unit comes with 500 feet of 1/2-inch-diameter hose and also carries 200 feet of 3/8-inch hose and 150 feet of both 1/2- and 1/8-inch hose. Boyce prefers Predator hoses made by Parker Hannifin Corp.

The company runs four Dodge Ram ProMaster service vans, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van (for the camera work) and two Dodge 3500 pickup trucks that tow the two jetters. It also has invested in six RIDGID cable drain machines (three 7500s and three 3500s); five RIDGID SeeSnake Compact2 inspection cameras; and a Milwaukee Tool M18 Drain Snake hand-held drain machine.

Established in 2018, 1 Tom Plumbing focuses on service and repair plumbing, drain cleaning and excavation. It employs 16 people, including two dedicated to just drain cleaning and one dedicated to only camera inspections. The company name came from spelling out their phone number, 1-866-758-6237, Boyce explains.

One-man operation

One of Boyce’s favorite features of the jetter is the wireless remote-control capability. This technology enabled the company to send just one technician instead of two people to each drain job. That, in turn, increased sales revenue by allowing for more productive and efficient manpower allocation, he says.

“This also allows us to pay our guys a little better because we’re making more money.”

In addition, the remote controls act almost instantaneously. “When you throttle down, it throttles down right way. If it takes two or three seconds to do that, you can have a mess on your hands pretty quickly when you’re working with water pressure and flow of 4,000 psi and 18 gpm.”

Boyce also loves the fact that Mongoose will send a mechanic out to do maintenance work on-site, twice a year, with no trip charge. They arrive in a truck fully stocked with repair parts to keep contractors up and running.

“And if you call their toll-free number, they’ll walk you through a problem over the phone,” he says. “If necessary, they’ll then overnight a part to you so that you’re up and running again the next day.”

Durability and power

The machines’ durability and drain cleaning ability are two huge assets. Boyce estimates that both drain technicians do eight to 10 service calls a day, and half of the calls require the jetters.

“They take the jetters to every job,” he says. “If they can’t open up a drain with a cable machine, they’re trained to upsell the jetters.”

The 184’s proficiency also helps sell regular maintenance contracts, especially after customers find out how expensive emergency service calls can be. Boyce recalls one restaurant owner who called for emergency service; after the Mongoose jetter quickly resolved the problem, he signed up for quarterly maintenance cleanings at that restaurant — and five others he owns, too, which earned the restaurant owner a discounted price.

The first Mongoose 184 cost about $58,000 and the second one around $62,000. The first one already has paid for itself and the second one will soon, Boyce says.

He’s already thinking about buying a third one. Boyce says that probably will happen in early 2021.

“The income they generate is incredible,” he says. “I can definitely say they that these jetters generate a large part of our company’s profitability. I’m definitely a fan of Mongoose jetters.” 


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