Trenchless Pipe Relining Pays Off For Contractor

A $150,000 investment in a relining system nets annual revenue of nearly $1 million for Matt Mertz Plumbing.
Trenchless Pipe Relining Pays Off For Contractor
Dylan Belfiore guides the Perma-Lateral inversion unit at the entry pit on a lateral relining job.

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Like many drain cleaners, Matt Mertz, the owner of Matt Mertz Plumbing Inc. in Wexford, Pennsylvania, was initially a little leery about expanding into trenchless pipe relining. But once he saw how it’s done — and the profits other contractors were making — he decided to invest about $150,000 in a relining system made by Perma-Liner Industries. He says he’s never regretted the move, which now contributes about $1 million annually to his revenues with more growth expected.

Of course, that didn’t happen overnight. Mertz says that even with great training provided by Perma-Liner, it still took about 100 jobs before he felt totally comfortable performing relining jobs, primarily for residential sewer laterals.

“It took awhile to get off the ground, but now we’re known for it,” he notes. “We do relining jobs every week. An average project takes about a day to complete. We go out and remove the house trap, jet the line to remove any debris and televise the line to check its condition. If it’s structurally sound, then we install a steam-cured liner.

“Afterward we televise the line again to make sure the liner conforms to the pipe — that there aren’t any defects and the liner adheres properly,” he continues. “We also burn the video onto a DVD so customers can see what the pipe looked like before and after the relining. I think it’s a good idea to show them what they bought for their investment.”

Offering relining services also benefits Mertz’s company in another way: If a video inspection reveals that a sewer lateral is structurally unsound and not a good candidate for relining, the company — which also does conventional pipeline excavation and rehabilitation — already has a foot in the door to win that work.

Mertz still encounters many people who aren’t aware that trenchless pipe relining is an option for ailing laterals. To convince skeptics, he shows them a section of relined terra cotta pipe. “I hand it to them, and once they can see inside, it makes a lot of sense,” he says. “They also like the fact that we don’t have to dig up their yard. Plus we offer a lifetime warranty. We’re very confident about our installations.”

Read more about the success of Matt Mertz Plumbing in the March 2015 edition of Cleaner magazine: "Pennsylvania Plumber Takes on Trenchless Rehab."


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