Longtime Rooter-Man Contractor Not Ready To Step Aside

He’s groomed his successors, but Glenn Daigle says, “I enjoy what I’m doing, so I stay doing it.”
Longtime Rooter-Man Contractor Not Ready To Step Aside
Glenn Daigle and his wife Suzanne are spending more time at their Florida condo, but the longtime owner of Rootor-Man North is not ready to give up the reins quite yet.

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Editor’s note: When we profiled Glenn Daigle in the January 2012 edition of Cleaner magazine (read “The Next in Line”), retirement didn’t seem too far off for the 57-year-old. Upon revisiting the longtime Rooter-Man North owner recently, we learned Daigle is still very much involved with no immediate plans to hang it up.

Glenn Daigle spends a lot more time off these days and deservedly so.

The longtime owner of Rooter-Man North, when contacted for an interview for this follow-up story, was unavailable because he was in Florida spending time with his wife, Suzanne, vacationing at the couple’s condo in Boynton Beach.

Back in Lawrence, Massachusetts, Daigle’s shop was running like a well-oiled machine — as it has for over 30 years — with sons Christopher and Matthew at the helm and a veteran, dependable team in the field.

Daigle, 60, was contemplating retirement when we profiled the franchise on the pages of Cleaner in January 2012. He talked about how his two sons, now in their early 30s, were transitioning into leadership roles; Matthew had stepped up to help manage the office while Christopher took on more responsibility overseeing the operation as his father has done since 1970.

Although he’s ready to hand the reins to his eventual successors at any time, Daigle admits he is not willing to walk away from it all quite yet.

Early retirement?
“We’re taking more vacations,” says Daigle. “Chris is taking over, and he’s doing a lot of the supervising — managing of the trucks, equipment and the customers. I’m more back in the office now … and taking more time off.”

“It’s a slow process,” he says of the management transition, “but I enjoy doing what I’m doing, so I stay doing it. I’m not setting any dates as far as getting out or completely retiring, because I think it’s more important to stay busy.”

That attitude and work ethic permeates throughout the company and was ingrained in Christopher and Matthew growing up in the family business. It also resonates with the dedicated team of technicians and office staff, many of whom have been working for Glenn Daigle for more than a decade.

“We don’t have a much bigger crew, but the crew I have right now is good, and we’re steady,” he says. “I’ve had the people I have for a long time.”

Secret to longevity
Through good management practices, Daigle has been able to retain the working order of his service vehicles and equipment as long as some of his employees have been around. Regular maintenance is the key, he explains, and it’s something he takes pride in.

“We maintain all our equipment here,” Daigle says. “We keep it in good shape, and we keep it for a while. We do the painting and repairs of the trucks, also, so we don’t have to trade them in every two years or five years.”

A perfect example is the company’s Sewer Equipment Company of America trailer jetter, which has been in operation since it was purchased in 1996. “That’s almost unheard of,” Daigle boasts. He says that piece of equipment, in addition to a 2003 O’Brien trailer jetter, are cleaned routinely and have been re-painted and re-lettered at least twice. Although not brand-new, they get the job done. “It’s a piece of equipment, not a show car.”

Daigle recently traded in an older Aquatech jet/vac truck for another SafeVac, but capital investments in heavy machinery are not the norm, nor does he foresee Rooter-Man North expanding its services much beyond what it already offers to residential, commercial and municipal clients in the near future. “We’re pretty good where we are now; you can only do so much.”

“Digging ‘em up”
Back in 2012, Rooter-Man North had recently invested in Nu Flow trenchless pipe lining equipment. This technology has exploded in popularity, but Daigle says they do not have much demand for trenchless repair in their franchise-designated service area, which is about a 20-mile radius around their home base north of Boston.

“I’m glad we do it, but we don’t get that much call for it,” he says. “We bought a backhoe after that, and we’ve been digging (pipes) up.”

Unless you’re working in the city or rehabilitating pipes underneath a building, for example, he claims Rooter-Man North can excavate for half the price. Daigle says his price to line a pipe is $100 per foot, while he and his competitors can replace them for $50.

“I’m not in the Hollywood of Boston,” Daigle says. “When you get into the big cities it costs more to dig them up, but I’m in all small towns.”

Another reality is that the company does less municipal work now than it did even five years ago. Daigle says jobs for municipalities equate to about 20 percent of the overall workflow, noting many utilities are now buying their own equipment and performing a lot of the work themselves.

Meanwhile, residential work has picked back up — accounting for more than half of the company’s revenue — which bodes well for Rooter-Man North, because technicians have developed good rapport with their customers over the years.

“People know my crew because they’ve been around for a long time,” Daigle says. “Especially in residential, people like to see the same people come back.”

Life after Rooter-Man North
Once Daigle does decide to settle down, he and his wife plan to spend half of the year in Massachusetts close to their family and the other six months in Boynton Beach.

“I like Massachusetts because of the season changes,” he says. “But I like Florida’s warm weather in the winter, and we’ve grown to know a lot of people down there.

“The days are there, but I just don’t want to count them.”



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