Drain Savers is All in on Providing the Best Service Possible

Jordan Bowles’ passion and positive attitude have pushed his drain cleaning business up the ranks

Drain Savers is All in on Providing the Best Service Possible

 Jordan Bowles established his own company, Drain Savers, in 2019. 

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Jordan Bowles operates a fairly small outfit.

The owner of Drain Savers, located in Grand Forks, North Dakota, has just two employees, four drain machines and two pipeline inspection cameras. But the young entrepreneur brings something big to the table: A deep passion for drain work and customer service.

“I’m definitely all-in on drain cleaning,” says Bowles, age 26, who established Drain Savers in 2019. When he’s not unclogging drains and earning five-star online reviews for customer service, Bowles spends hours and hours doing research on everything from drain cleaning equipment to marketing strategies, as well as exchanging ideas and sharing business and drain-cleaning tips with industry colleagues on online forums.

“Anyone can buy a good snake, but there’s more to cleaning a drain than just putting it down into a pipe,” he says. “To be truly good at drain cleaning, you have to completely understand all the details — the physics of what’s happening inside the pipe.

“I spend a lot of time online doing research on plumbing and drain cleaning forums, learning from other peoples’ experiences and mistakes. Knowledge is power.”

So far, the passion and energy for self-education and customer service has yielded solid results. After what Bowles calls a decent first year, the company’s gross revenue rose more than 200% in 2021, compared to 2020.

Bowles attributes part of that growth to increased skills in online marketing. But strong word-of-mouth referrals also played a role, not to mention his passion and upbeat attitude, which he attributes to studying Brazilian jiujitsu.

“People love my passion for the work,” he explains. “I view challenges as opportunities. Every day is an opportunity — a door waiting for you to walk through. I operate with utmost positivity.”

Bold move

Establishing a company as a 24-year-old entrepreneur with just two years of professional drain cleaning experience takes courage.

“But I was not ignorant,” he points out. “I’ve always been a numbers guy and I did a lot of research [about running a business]. But ultimately, you never know until you’re in it.”

Furthermore, Bowles loves a good challenge and that, coupled with the confidence built by cleaning thousands of drains for a prior employer, made the move seem less daunting.

“A big part of the job is learning how to be as confident as possible,” explains Bowles, who takes an almost Zen-like approach to business. “The best way to learn is to take a beating and then figure out how to get better. I call it the champion’s attitude, which helps you face any situation.

“The more hard things you do, the easier hard things get. That’s why I don’t see any job we do as hard anymore — I’ve seen so many. Hard jobs just become the norm.”

This passion and confidence also pay dividends when customers see a 20-something-year-old drain cleaner arrive at their doors.

“People often call us because they’re at their wits end,” he says. “They’ve usually had the same issue over and over and now are trying us out to see if we can fix what others couldn’t.

“Then I walk in the door and they see a 26-year-old when they expected an older, more experienced plumber. You can tell sometimes when people doubt what I’m saying, but at the end of the job, they understand.”

Finding his way

After high school, Bowles worked at a factory for a while, but he hated it. “I felt just like a cog in a machine,” he says.

Then a friend of his hooked him up with a job as a drain cleaner for a local franchise operation. And something clicked for Bowles.

“As service technicians, we were the face of the company,” he recalls. “I absolutely loved it. It was not at all a chore for me to do good work and have good interactions with customers.”

After about two years of constantly striving to tackle the toughest drain jobs and learning everything he could about the business, Bowles decided to channel his passion for drain cleaning into something he could call his own.

So he decided to form his own company. And after some brainstorming, he and his wife, Shelby, came up with the name Drain Savers.

“I wanted a name that would tell people what we do, but that also was catchy and easy to say.”

Bowles says his wife has been very instrumental to the company’s success. She handles just about everything other than the actual drain cleaning and even designed the company’s logo.

 All in

A variety of RIDGID drain cleaning equipment forms the backbone of Drain Savers.

“I wanted to start out with machines I know about and can rely on,” says Bowles, noting that he worked with RIDGID machinery before starting his company. “I knew how to work on RIDGID machines, which is important because I always want to be able to fix them if they break down.

“They’re pretty straight-forward in terms of engineering, nothing too crazy.”

Bowles owns a K-7500 drum cable machine, designed to clean drainlines from 4 to 10 inches in diameter; two K3800 cable drain machines, designed for 3/4- to 4-inch-diameter drainlines; and a K9-204 FlexShaft drain machine, for use on 2- to 4-inch-diameter pipes.

“Every one of these machines has a place on the truck,” he says. “They all give us a great deal of versatility, which is what I aim for.

“The drum machines are very reliable and get jobs done. But sometimes the FlexShaft machine is better for certain applications, such as descaling or removing roots in 6-inch lines, which helps us provide a higher level of service to our customers.”

But the K-7500 is Bowles’ favorite machine.

“It’s a tried-and-true machine. I’ve never encountered a blockage that was too hard for that machine to drill through. And its profile is narrow enough that it fits through bathroom doors.”

Versatility is key

To increase the company’s versatility, Bowles recently invested in a RIDGID K-60 sectional machine, designed to handle lines that are 1 1/4 to 4 inches in diameter.

“It’s a lightweight machine that enables us to work in tight places, such as crawl spaces where we have to clean long runs of pipe,” he says. “There are many times where you just can’t disassemble a drum machine and get it to where you need it in a crawl space, then reassemble it.

“Versatility is critical because if one machine doesn’t work, you can try different things. I’m more than willing to invest time and money to learn about new machines that can benefit both the company and our customers.”

The company also owns a RIDGID SeeSnake microReel inspection camera and a Milwaukee Tool M18 camera.

“We always offer customers a camera inspection at the end of a job. I see it as more part of the job, not an add-on, so we don’t charge extra for it.”

In addition, to unclog frozen drainlines — a common occurrence during harsh North Dakota winters — Bowles invested in an Arctic Blaster, made by Alberta, Canada-based Arctic Blasters. In a nutshell, the units boils water to create pressurized steam that thaw pipes.

Offering great service

Grand Forks isn’t a large city, so there’s a fair amount of competitors in the area. Bowles says his passion for drain cleaning and the level of customer service he provides differentiate Drain Savers from other companies.

“I try to pass down my values for customer service to my technicians and then onto the customers,” he says. “A big consideration for me is balancing the perspective between our business and the customer. Technicians have to understand what’s going on in the customers’ heads to help them convey the right message.

“The way I see it, customers spend good money with us, so we’re going to do a good job. I try to encourage the guys to always think from a customer service point of view, especially during hard jobs where you feel like throwing down your tools and walking away.”

Bowles says he also emphasizes that technicians must treat customers with respect and leave work sites cleaner than how they found them.

“We’re a necessary evil,” he says. “No one wants a clogged drain at 2 a.m. And no one wants to call a drain cleaner and spend money.

“So we can’t afford to treat people any less than the best. Our job to make the customers’ experience as good as possible.”

That means owning up to mistakes, too.

“I operate with brutal honesty,” he says. “When we make a mistake, I own up to it totally. That’s important because in general, people have a hard time trusting contractors.”

So far, Bowles’ approach seems to be working; the company gets nothing but five-star reviews on platforms like Google, Facebook and HomeAdvisors.

“I really enjoy leaving customers happy,” he says. “It’s one of the things I enjoy most about my job.”

Looking ahead, Bowles says that in the next five years, he’d like to grow the company enough to warrant hiring a few more technicians and running a few more service vehicles. He’s also interested in diversifying Drain Savers’ services by providing sewer line repairs and perhaps investing in pipe lining technology.

“I’d also like to keep buying more equipment,” he says.

Until then, however, Bowles is focused intently on customer service and maintaining that grueling schedule that many small-business owners must maintain to survive.

“Honestly, the pace is tough,” he concedes. “But I know I can’t slow down now. I have to keep that champion’s attitude — take the hardest things and turn them into something better.” 


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