Early Investment in Pipe Lining System Major Catalyst for Company’s Growth

Early Investment in Pipe Lining System Major Catalyst for Company’s Growth

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Ask Matt Mertz to name the best equipment investment he ever made while he owned Matt Mertz Plumbing in Pittsburgh, and he answers without hesitation: A pipe lining system he purchased in 2012 from Perma-Liner Industries.

“I was a self-made multi-millionaire in my early 30s and I attribute a lot of that to our ability to line pipes,” says Mertz, who sold his business in 2021 to Armstrong Comfort Solutions and now serves as that company’s director of plumbing operations. “With the Perma-Liner system, I could do all kinds of jobs that I could never do before. And it helped that I got into it early, before a lot of other people started doing it.

“We still do millions of dollars a year in pipe lining business with that system. Without it, we wouldn’t have been as successful as we were. About 30% of our revenue came from pipe lining.”

Back in the day, Mertz hired a subcontractor to do pipe lining. But when he saw what that subcontractor was charging, he decided to invest roughly $130,000 in the Perma-Liner system, including a wet-out truck.

Mertz concedes that $130,000 is a significant up-front investment. But as the old saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. This is a perfect case in point.

“It’s natural to be afraid of or at least cautious about making that kind of investment,” Mertz says. “But if there’s a good business case for it and it looks like you can make money with it, I say take the calculated risk. Just be sure you’re going to have enough work to make the payment — don’t get in over your head.”

Mertz says that at first, he relied on income from his other services to make the payment on the pipe lining system, which wasn’t used much for the first five or six months he owned it.

“We did maybe one lining job a week, but now do two or three a day,” Mertz says.

A sustained marketing campaign helped consumers understand the technology, which still was relatively unknown at the time.

Owning a pipe lining system allowed Mertz to offer customers another option for repairing pipelines and made his company more of a one-stop shop. Giving customers options for the best possible solutions to their problems, then letting them decide what they want to do, is a winning formula, he says.

Mertz uses the Perma-Liner system to install felt, ambient-cured liners, a process he prefers to steam-curing. He also says the system has been very reliable.

“I still have the original inverter,” Mertz says.

Read more about Matt Mertz Plumbing and Armstrong Comfort Solutions in the February 2023 issue of Cleaner magazine.


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