Reader Pipelines: Customers Make Business Worthwhile

Reader Pipelines: Customers Make Business Worthwhile
Action King Services of Lowell, Mass., specializes in drain and grease trap cleaning, grease removal, and also pumps septic systems. (Photo courtesy of Action King Services)

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Drain cleaning contractors all have a story to tell, whether it’s about the ring you recovered from a drainline or the pro bono work you do in your community. This exclusive online Cleaner feature gives you a chance to tell your story, in your words, in a Q-and-A format that reaches beyond the confines of your business. 

Frank King, the owner of Action King Services of Lowell, Mass., is one of those with a story to tell. The 45-year-old company specializes in drain and grease trap cleaning, grease removal, and also pumps septic systems. “We do a little bit of everything,” he says. “We stay busy.” 

King shared some of his insights into the industry, including the high level of respect and admiration he has for both his employees and longtime customers.   


Cleaner: What is your favorite aspect of operating a drain cleaning business? 

King: Really, it’s the people we meet every day, our customers. We’ve had some of them for more than 30 years, and they are very loyal to us, which we appreciate. No day is exactly the same. 

Cleaner: What is your approach to finding (and keeping) quality employees? 

King: I go out of my way to treat them fair. We project as a small, family-oriented business in the community, and we go after employees that value that. We treat our employees like family. I bring in doughnuts at least once a week, and our employees bring in treats for everyone quite often. We care for each other, and each other’s families. It’s a great work environment. 

Cleaner: How do you see the industry changing in the next decade? 

King: I guess I really don’t know what to expect. So much in this industry has changed in the last 40 years. I think one aspect you will continue to see is government becoming increasingly involved. That can be good, but it can be a hindrance, too. For instance, we recently put a 2011 pumper truck on the road, and between the permits and getting it up to code, it cost us nearly $10,000. We are established so we can handle it, but how is someone who’s just getting started supposed to stomach that kind of hit? 

Cleaner: If you had an unlimited operating budget, what new equipment would you buy, and why? 

King: I’m actually quite satisfied with where we’re at right now. We have great customers and employees — what more could you ask for? We constantly upgrade our equipment in order to stay competitive. You have to do that in this industry, or you won’t be around long.  

Cleaner: What is the biggest misconception about your line of work? 

King: I’m an engineer by profession, and my daughter, who works for me, has a degree in plastics engineering. We aren’t a couple of dummies coming down the road. To be successful in this line of work, you have to be a CPA, tax expert, engineer and even sometimes a psychologist. It takes a lot of smarts, and isn’t a job for someone hoping to just skate by. 

If you’d like to see your company featured in Reader Pipelines on, email


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