Strategic Equipment Investments Pay Off For Iowa Sewer Contractor

A high price tag on a piece of equipment shouldn’t be a deterrent if you have a workload for it that can justify the cost

Strategic Equipment Investments Pay Off For Iowa Sewer Contractor

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The power of investing in equipment is amply on display at AccuJet.

The Perry, Iowa-based company, which focuses on cleaning, inspecting and rehabilitating municipal sewer lines, believes in equipment investment’s ability to drive growth by boosting productivity, gain entry to new markets and create new revenue streams.

Furthermore, at AccuJet the additional revenue generated by these investments quickly paid for the equipment, further cementing in co-owner Kyle Baxter’s mind the power of strategic equipment investments. Take the first major piece of equipment he ever bought: a 4018 trailer-mounted water jetter (4,000 psi at 18 gpm) from US Jetting. He bought the machine for about $36,000 in 2006, the year he established the company with his wife, Mindy.

“My grandpa (the late Wilford Roberts, who introduced Baxter to drain cleaning) said I was crazy to spend that kind of money on a new jetter when you could build one,” Baxter recalls. “But I made enough money on the first day I used it to make the first two monthly payments. I paid that machine off in about three years.”

Baxter relates a similar story about a pipe bursting machine, made by HammerHead Trenchless, that he purchased in 2007 for around $20,000.

“We ran into some projects with access issues that made excavation difficult,” he says. “So we bought the pipe bursting system. I borrowed money on a 30-day note to pay for it, and paid it off within a month.”

Baxter has many similar stories. Like the $1 million he borrowed from the bank to buy two Vacall AllJetVac P-Series combination sewer trucks. Or the Schwalm Talpa 2060 robotic cutting machines from Schwalm Robotic GmbH, purchased in 2018 for about $250,000 each.

“Those Schwalm machines changed our outlook on the directions we could head and the jobs we could do,” Baxter says. “Without a cutter, we couldn’t do mainline pipe lining, reinstatements, root cutting, remove rebar and concrete from pipes and so forth. It’s been very much a great investment, which is why we now own two of them. I bought one and didn’t know if we could keep it busy, but that wasn’t the case.”

Baxter advises other sewer and drain cleaners to always look past the upfront cost of equipment and look at the long-term earning potential.

“If you’re willing to work for it, you shouldn’t be afraid to invest in it,” he says.

Read more about AccuJet in the August 2022 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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