What Type Of Business Is Septic Tank Pumping? (Solution found)

A septic tank business may be a service company only, or they can also handle septic tank installation and removal. The ongoing routine maintenance of a septic tank involves emptying the waste periodically and sometimes cleaning it as well.

  • A septic tank cleaning and pumping business can easily be launched as a one-man operation — as long as you have the essential elements needed to get the business off the ground. Expertise.

How profitable is a septic pumping business?

A septic tank cleaning company or a septic tank pumping business makes money by charging customers to clean and maintain their septic systems. Depending on local competition and market demand, some septic businesses may struggle to make a 5-percent profit margin, while others easily maintain a 20-percent margin.

Can you make money pumping septic tanks?

Pumping of septic tanks and restaurant grease traps now makes up about 25 percent of his sales. “The profit margin on a pumpout isn’t real good, but it pays off if you can keep busy,” he says. “Pumping is probably not going to produce a great deal of income if you’re just pumping residential,” says Hobbs.

What is a septic tank pump called?

The septic pump is also known as a sewage ejector pump or sewage pump. The main function of the septic tank pump is to pump the waste from the septic tank into the drain field. These pumps are small electric water pumps that may be immersed in sewage water.

What is a commercial septic system?

A commercial septic system or commercial sewage treatment plant is generally needed where there is no public main sewer available for a development. In situations like this, a commercial septic system is the only method of treating the sewage and wastewater generated on-site.

How does a septic tank pump truck work?

Septic pumping trucks are specialized vehicles which combine a powerful vacuum pump with a holding tank for sewage and wastewater. The vacuum pump is activated, suction confirmed, the pumper is connected to a 4″ or larger vacuum line, and the operator uses the line to empty the septic tank.

What is a septic truck?

A septic pumper truck, is a vacuum truck which removes septage wastes from septic tanks, cesspools, and chemical toilets (portable toilets), for disposal at an approved septage disposal location.

Do all septic systems have pumps?

Does Your Septic System Require A Pump? Generally, a septic pump isn’t needed if the waste can flow at a rate of at least two-feet per second with gravity only. Pumps are usually necessary for septic tanks that sit lower than the drain field and gravity is unable to carry and/or push the effluent out of the tank.

Is a septic pump a sump pump?

Sump pumps and sewage pumps function as internal septic systems for homes and other buildings. Both sump pumps and sewage pumps channel excess water from the dwelling to other locations. They are also connected to the drainage system to move the materials from one place to another. 2.

What is a aerobic septic system?

Aerobic septic systems are systems that use mechanical parts to treat wastewater and emit treated wastewater into the absorption field. Aerobic systems use aerobic bacteria that require pumped air to live, versus the oxygen depleted environment required for anaerobic bacteria.

How do you size a commercial septic tank?

at SEPTIC TANK SIZE. Septic tank volume for a conventional tank and onsite effluent disposal system (such as a drainfield) is estimated at a minimum of 1000 gallons or 1.5 x average total daily wastewater flow.

Can you have a septic tank without a leach field?

The waste from most septic tanks flows to a soakaway system or a drainage field. If your septic tank doesn’t have a drainage field or soakaway system, the waste water will instead flow through a sealed pipe and empty straight into a ditch or a local water course.

How does an RV park sewer system work?

Most campgrounds use conventional septic systems. A conventional system is made up of a septic tank, a drain field, and the plumbing. Effluent from the septic tank is then passed on to the drain field area for further treatment before the water percolates back into the water table.

How to Start a Septic Tank Cleaning Service

  1. Make a schedule for your Septic Tank Cleaning Service
  2. Make your Septic Tank Cleaning Service a legal entity by incorporating it. Tax registration is required for your Septic Tank Cleaning Service. Open a business bank account and/or credit card for your company. Create an accounting system for your septic tank cleaning business. Prepare for your Septic Tank Cleaning Service by obtaining all of the necessary permits and licenses
  3. Acquire insurance for Septic Tank Cleaning Services
  4. Decide on a name for your Septic Tank Cleaning Service
  5. Septic tank cleaning service websites should be developed. Install and configure your business phone system.

You have discovered the ideal business opportunity, and you are now prepared to take the next step. Start-up businesses require more than merely registering with the state to be considered a success. We’ve put together this straightforward guide to getting your septic tank cleaning service up and running. These processes will help to guarantee that your new firm is well-planned, correctly registered, and legally compliant from the start.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A well-thought-out business strategy is vital for achieving success as an entrepreneur. It will assist you in mapping out the intricacies of your company and uncovering some previously unknowns. Here are a few crucial items to think about:

  • In what amounts will the initial and continuing expenditures be incurred
  • Who is your intended audience? What is the maximum amount you may charge clients
  • What are you going to call your company?

We’ve done a lot of the legwork for you, which is a big relief.

What are the costs involved in opening a septic tank cleaning service?

Starting a business in this field is quite costly. The cost of a pump truck and a location to discharge waste material are included in the startup expenses. The majority of secondhand vehicles are available for purchase for between $20,000 and $30,000. Aside from that, you may require office space as well as the standard business and office supplies. The purchase and maintenance of a fleet of vehicles will be your most significant expense.

What are the ongoing expenses for a septic tank cleaning service?

Included in this company’s ongoing expenditures are office overhead and expenses as well as truck upkeep and fees charged by municipalities for garbage pickup and disposal services. According on where you reside, how much mileage you put on your vehicle over the year, and how much business you do, these fees might be either expensive or extremely cheap depending on your circumstances. Some businesses incur annual maintenance expenditures of up to $15,000 per vehicle, according to their records.

Who is the target market?

Customers that reside in locations that are not supplied by municipal water and sewer systems are the most preferred client kinds. Customers who are responsible for their own well and sewer system require periodic maintenance and inspections. While corporations may occasionally possess land with a septic tank, the vast majority of their customers will be individuals who live in single-family residential residences.

How does a septic tank cleaning service make money?

Customers pay for the cleaning and maintenance of their septic tanks and systems, which generates revenue for this firm. According to the size of the tank and the number of people that use it, most tanks should be cleaned every 1-3 years. As a result, organizations may offer gratis interim advice-based services on how to clean and maintain the tank and system in the interim between pumping sessions.

How much can you charge customers?

The cost of emptying a septic tank varies depending on the company, although most charge a flat or fixed rate. These costs typically range from $75 to $200, although they can go as high as $350 or $400. for bigger tanks ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 gallons

How much profit can a septic tank cleaning service make?

Profitability is extremely unpredictable in this business, and it is largely dependent on local rivalry as well as market demand. Others are able to sustain margins of 20 percent, while others struggle to achieve 5 percent profits.

How can you make your business more profitable?

By lowering your overhead costs, you may increase the profitability of your company. In this business, it is usual practice to lease pump trucks during the initial years of operation. These leasing expenses, on the other hand, accumulate over time and have the potential to reduce profit margins.

This is due to the fact that leasing a vehicle may be less expensive than purchasing a truck outright in the beginning, but it gets much more expensive as time goes on. Additionally, make every effort to use as much of your own funds as possible and avoid taking out expensive commercial loans.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the appropriate name is both vital and difficult. To get help brainstorming names for your Septic Tank Cleaning Service business, check out ourHow to Name a Businessguide, or use ourSeptic Tank Cleaning Service Name Generator to help you come up with a name. It is possible that you may desire to conduct your single proprietorship under a business name other than your own. For further information, please see ourDBAguide. When registering a company name, we recommend that you do some preliminary research on the name by verifying the following:

  • Business data from your state
  • Trademark records from the federal and state levels
  • Social media networks
  • Availability of a web domain

Secure your domain name before someone else does so that you don’t lose control of your website.

STEP 2: Form a legal entity

Individual proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation are the most prevalent forms of business structures to be found. Establishing a formal business organization, like as anLLCorporation, safeguards you from being held personally accountable in the event that your septic tank cleaning service is hounded by a lawsuit. Read our Guide on Creating Your Own Limited Liability Company. Use a Professional Service Provider Forming your LLC for YouTwo such dependable services are as follows: You may create an LLC by yourself and pay only the minimal stateLLC fees, or you can employ one of theBest LLC Servicesfor a little, extra price.

Recommended: You will need to choose a registered agent for your limited liability company.

You have the option of hiring a registered agent or acting on your own behalf.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

A number of state and federal taxes must be filed before your firm may be officially opened to the general public. In order to register for taxes, you will need to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). It’s really simple and completely free! You may obtain your EIN for free by visiting the IRS website, sending a fax, or mailing it in. If you’d like to understand more about EINs and how they might benefit your LLC, we recommend that you read our article, What is an EIN? Learn more about what an EIN is and how to obtain one in ourWhat is an EINguide, or search up your current EIN in ourEIN lookupguide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on whatever business structure you pick, you may be able to choose from a variety of various taxation choices for your company. For example, some limited liability companies (LLCs) may profit from being taxed as S corporations (S corp). More information about small business taxation may be found in the following publications:

  • In this article, we will discuss LLC taxes, the differences between a sole proprietorship and an LLC, the differences between an LLC and a corporation, and the differences between an LLC and a S corporation. We will also discuss how to start a S corporation, the differences between a S corporation and a C corporation, and how to start a S corporation.

There are special state taxes that may be applicable to your company’s operations. In our state sales tax guides, you can learn more about state sales taxes and franchise taxes.

STEP 4: Open a business bank accountcredit card

For personal asset protection, it is critical to have company banking and credit accounts set up specifically for that purpose. It is possible that your personal assets (your home, vehicle, and other valuables) will be at danger if your business is sued if your personal accounts are combined with your business accounts. This is referred to as “piercing the corporate veil” in the world of commercial law.

Additionally, understanding how to develop corporate credit may assist you in obtaining credit cards and other financing in your company’s name (rather than your own), as well as better interest rates, larger lines of credit, and other benefits.

Open a business bank account

  • Your personal assets are separated from those of the corporation, which is required for personal asset protection
  • And It also simplifies the process of accounting and tax filing.
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Recommended: Read ourBest Banks for Small Businessreview to learn about the top national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with a large number of brick-and-mortar locations, and other financial institutions.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to developing your company’s credit, net-30 vendors are often regarded as the best option available. When it comes to commercial credit arrangements, the term “net-30,” which is common among vendors, refers to a situation in which the firm pays the vendor within 30 days after receiving products or services. Net-30 credit terms are frequently utilized by organizations who want merchandise to be delivered fast but do not have the necessary funds on hand. Additionally, net-30 credit accounts are reported to the three main business credit agencies (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Commercial, and Equifax Business Credit) in addition to developing business ties with vendors and customers.

Get a business credit card

  • This makes it easier to distinguish between personal and company spending by consolidating all of your firm’s expenses in one spot. It also helps to establish your company’s credit history, which may be important for raising funds and attracting investment in the future.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

It is vital to keep track of all of your costs and sources of income in order to assess the financial success of your company overall. Maintaining precise and thorough financial records can help make your annual tax filing much easier. With our LLC Expenses Cheat Sheet, you can make LLC accounting a breeze.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to get the proper permissions and licenses can result in significant fines or possibly the closure of your firm.

StateLocal Business Licensing Requirements

To run a septic tank cleaning service, you may be required to get certain state permissions and licenses. Visit the SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits to find out more about the licensing requirements in your particular state. The vast majority of companies are obligated to collect sales tax on the goods and services they give to their customers. Our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses, will provide you with further information on how sales tax may effect your company. For information on local licenses and permissions, contact the following:

  • Consult with the clerk’s office in your town, city, or county. Take advantage of the services provided by one of the local associations mentioned in the US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Regulations

Cleaning of septic tanks When dealing with potentially hazardous chemicals, such as industrial cleansers, it is critical to refer to OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws and general requirements for chemicals, which are as follows:

  • Chemical workers must be appropriately informed of all possible dangers while working with chemicals, according to OSHA Standard 1910.1200. Standard 1910.132 requires that all employees who deal with chemicals be equipped with the proper personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses, a face mask, and appropriate gloves.

Services Contract

Before beginning a new project, septic tank cleaning companies should need their customers to sign a services agreement with them. Payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and intellectual property ownership ownership should all be specified in this agreement, which should help to clarify client expectations and reduce the possibility of legal problems. Recommended: When you join up for their premium membership, Rocket Lawyer makes it simple to develop a professional service agreement for your septic tank cleaning business.

For $39.95 a month, users get access to hundreds of legal agreements as well as on-call attorneys who can provide them with free legal advice on the spot.

Vehicle Regulations

Businesses that travel across state boundaries for commercial purposes are obliged to register their cars with the appropriate authorities. You may see a list of state requirements by clicking here.

Class B Driver Licensing Requirements

In most states, driving licenses are awarded in groups called classes, which are based on the weight of the vehicle being driven. A Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) is required for drivers of conventional automobiles and trucks, whereas operators of larger vehicles, such as tow trucks, require a Class B CDL in order to operate. There is more information available here.

Oversize Vehicle Permits

Some jurisdictions, such as Michigan, require enterprises to get an oversize/overweight vehicle permit for such trucks, which are frequently referred to as “wreckers,” before operating them. Here is a link to further information regarding state weight load permitting:

STEP 7: Get business insurance

In the same way that licenses and permits are required for your business to operate safely and legally, insurance is also required. In the case of a covered loss, business insurance protects the financial well-being of your company’s assets. There are many different types of insurance plans that have been developed for different sorts of organizations that face a variety of hazards. In the event that you are unclear about the dangers that your company may encounter, you should start with General Liability Insurance.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance by visiting their website.

If your company will have workers, there’s a significant likelihood that your state will need you to have Workers’ Compensation Insurance coverage in place.

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your firm’s brand represents what your company stands for as well as how the general public perceives your organization. A strong brand will assist your company in standing out from the competition. If you aren’t sure how to go about designing your small business logo, have a look at our Design Guides for Beginners, where you will find useful ideas and guidance on how to create the most original logo possible for your company. If you already have a logo, you can also use our Free QR Code Generator to incorporate it into a QR code for your business.

How to promotemarket a septic tank cleaning service

Local marketing for your company may be accomplished through newspaper advertising, local television advertising, and local pay-per-click advertising. Think about sending out direct mail to local people or displaying flyers in neighborhood bulletin boards to reach out to them directly.

How to keep customers coming back

Because this business has long focused on price reduction and commoditization of the service, you may distinguish your organization by creating a higher standard than your competitors and exceeding their expectations. Make certain that the telephone is answered by someone who is nice, helpful, and patient, for example.

Show up on time for projects, always follow your quotations, and go above and above to deliver more value than you initially promised. Continue to be undecided about the type of business you want to start? Check out the most recent Small Business Trends to get some ideas for your own business.

STEP 9: Create your business website

Following the definition of your brand and the creation of your logo, the next stage is to design a website for your company. While having a website is a necessary step, some people may be concerned that they will be unable to complete it due to a lack of website-building knowledge. However, although this may have been a fair concern in 2015, online technology has made significant strides in recent years, making the lives of small company owners much easier in the process. The following are the primary reasons why you should not put off the development of your website:

  • All respectable companies, without exception, have websites. When it comes to establishing your business online, it makes no difference what size or sector you are in. Social media accounts, such as Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles, are not a substitute for a company website that you own and maintain yourself. Website builder programs, such as theGoDaddy Website Builder, have made the process of constructing a basic website rather straightforward. You do not need to engage a web developer or designer in order to construct a website that you can be proud of
  • Instead, follow these steps.

It should take you no more than 2-3 hours to finish the procedure using our website building guidelines. WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify are some of the other prominent website builders.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a business phone system set up is one of the most effective methods to keep your personal and professional lives distinct and private. That is not the only advantage; it also assists you in automating your organization, giving your company respectability, and making it simpler for potential consumers to locate and contact you. Entrepreneurs who wish to set up a company phone system can choose from a wide range of services offered to them. We’ve looked at the leading firms and given them ratings based on their pricing, features, and simplicity of use.

Service for Business Phones that is recommended: Our best pick for small business phone numbers is Nextiva, which we recommend because of the extensive set of functions it provides and the reasonable cost it gives.

Is The Wastewater Industry Right For You?

Receive articles, stories, and videos about trucks delivered directly to your email! Now is the time to sign up. Trucks+ Receive Notifications It is the goal of this section in Pumper to highlight notable discussions that take place on the Pumper Discussion Community, an online forum for industry experts that can be accessed at. A forum for the sharing of knowledge and ideas on septic and drainfield installation and maintenance, trucks and equipment, portable sanitation, chemicals and additives, and a wide range of other topics is available on Pumper Discussion.

Readers should, however, do in-depth research with reputable industry sources before implementing such recommendations in a given company circumstance.


I am a single father of three children living in California, and I want to provide a better life for them as well as for myself. I have almost 20 years of experience in the underground utility sector, and I have installed around 100 septic systems and grease traps, as well as associated leachfields, distribution boxes, and other related infrastructure. As a result, I have some practical experience in this subject. Could you please advise me on the most effective approach to get my feet wet and begin earning money in the septic business?

I intend to build a website and place advertising signs in rural regions where septic systems are common in my area, where I hope to attract more customers.

Should I buy the largest truck I can afford or should I start with a smaller vehicle? What is the greatest place for me to put my startup capital? It’s a little on the limiting side.


You should be commended for your efforts to improve yourself for the benefit of you and your family. What much of funds do you intend to invest in the outset? Insurance, licenses, equipping truck, and other expenses will add up to $50,000 for a decent used pump truck. It adds up quickly. As for whether or not to begin with a large vehicle, that is entirely up to you and your financial situation. I was in charge of a 3,400-gallon vehicle. The purchase of a 5,000-gallon truck will take place during the next two to three months.

  • Getting the job is a another thing entirely.
  • The majority of it is done online.
  • On average, I receive two to three phone calls every week from it.
  • The dumping cost I post is the lowest of any other businessman with whom I have spoken in the past.
  • Grease costs $60 per 1,000 litres in my neighborhood.
  • Following your discovery of these facts, figure out how many tanks you must pump every week in order to meet your expenses, which includes paying yourself.
  • Three years ago, I started from the ground up with my company.

My rivals charge less, but in my opinion, they are working for nothing since they are not being compensated.

It simply does not make sense to me to work five tanks a day for no compensation.

Will your dump charge you according to the size of the tank or according to what you really have in the tank?

According to what I’ve read, California has a plethora of laws and regulations.

Is it true that they only accept specific sorts of waste?

If I were you, I wouldn’t blow all of your savings on a pump truck.

See also:  How Do U Know When Your Septic Tank Needs Pumped? (Question)

Additionally, the phone will most likely not ring off the hook during the initial stages of the business, so you will want some buffer.

Check to see that the tank is still sturdy and that the baffles are still in good condition.

Also, make certain that your truck is properly painted.

Make certain that they will treat your consumer in the same manner as you would.

The importance of branding cannot be overstated.

If you intend to use your truck in the field, you should paint it to match.

Keep harsh phrases to private jokes between you and your friends, as well.

A derogatory slogan painted on your truck gives the impression that you don’t care.

There is a good chance that you may meet a mentor who will be able to assist you when you have questions.

You must become as knowledgeable as possible about all of the systems that you will be maintaining, not only mechanical systems but also biological systems.

I would recommend a vehicle with a fuel capacity of 3,500 gallons or more.

If you live in a state where an onboard water supply is not necessary, you should carefully consider installing one.

◆◆◆ An unwavering determination to succeed is required!

In order to succeed in this industry, you must be able to walk up to a person’s door unsolicited, knock on the door and introduce yourself and your product or service.

You must also be able to ask them for their business. A true go-getter might expect to earn six figures within a few years, and that is being kind.

How to Start a Septic Tank Cleaning & Pumping Business

We’ve gathered some excellent suggestions that will be useful to those of you who are considering starting a septic tank cleaning and pumping business in your area. Before you embark on your adventure, make sure you read these suggestions. You’ve been thinking about starting your own septic tank cleaning and pumping company. We’ll give you all you need to know to get started right now. A snapshot of the industry: Cleaning and pumping of septic tanks Approximately one-third of all houses in the United States rely on a septic tank for the removal of domestic wastewater and sewage.

  1. It is suggested that homeowners get their septic system tested at least once a year by a professional.
  2. When it comes to raw sewage, it’s in your customers’ (and your startup’s) best interests to push for regular repair.
  3. In the event that your system is effective, your firm will gain from income stabilization and fewer service calls, while your clients will benefit from improved hygiene and septic tank operation.
  4. A septic tank cleaning and pumping business can be started as a one-person operation with little difficulty if you have the necessary resources to get the firm off the ground.
  • Expertise. However, because you will be expected to be an expert in septic tank pumping and maintenance, you will need a solid understanding of septic tank mechanics in order to complete the job successfully. You’ll also need to be able to do routine maintenance on grease traps, drains, and other home and commercial devices that fall within your service umbrella. Truck with a pump. The septic pump truck will be the most significant piece of equipment for your new business venture. In certain cases, used pump trucks may be purchased for as low as $20 000 to $30,000
  • However, depending on the capacity and features of the vehicle, new trucks can cost substantially more. The location of the waste disposal facility. Following the pumping of muck out of your clients’ septic tanks, you’ll need a place to dispose of the waste you’ve collected. The disposal of sewage is confined to waste treatment plants that have been approved by the government or to private organizations that specialize in sewage treatment. Before accepting your first job, research the sewage disposal choices available in your neighborhood and obtain a location for your waste.

How to Write a Successful Business Plan for a Septic Tank Cleaning and Pumping Company If you’ve done your research, you’re already aware that developing a business plan is the most important thing you can do for your firm. Despite the fact that it may appear to be an unnecessary formality, your septic tank cleaning and pumping company’s business plan is an important document that will help you set your objectives and tactics in the years ahead. Furthermore, a solid business strategy can assist you in avoiding common mistakes made during the beginning phase.

Take a look at the competition A wise strategy is to research how you will fit into the competitive environment before beginning operations in your neighborhood as a septic tank cleaning and pumping company.

To obtain a list of rivals in your city, click on the link provided below. Upon clicking on the link, enter your city, state, and zip code to be sent to a list of septic tank cleaning and pumping companies in your local vicinity.

  • Obtain a list of Septic Tank Cleaning and Pumping Companies in your area

Is the existing competition performing satisfactorily? The most essential thing is to grasp their advantages and disadvantages and to plan your strategy for competing against those well-established firms. Learn from others who have already had success in this area. It’s a good idea to chat with someone who is currently in the septic tank cleaning and pumping industry as part of your due research before starting your own firm. If you believe that proprietors of septic tank cleaning and pumping services in your area would provide you with guidance, you are mistaken.

It’s possible that an individual who owns and operates a septic tank cleaning and pumping firm in a different city would be willing to share their entrepreneurial experience with you, provided that they understand that you will not be directly competing with them in their local town.

According to our estimates, you may have to contact a large number of business owners before you discover one who is eager to share his or her expertise with you.

Here’s an example of how to go about it.

  • Septic Tank Cleaning should be investigated. Business Owners in Other Cities Who Are Interested in Pumping

Acquisitions vs. new ventures A common error made by novice septic tank cleaning and pumping business owners is to believe that starting from scratch is their only choice when they might instead consider business acquisition instead. Unless the situation necessitates great creativity or very distinctive value propositions, purchasing an existing septic tank cleaning and pumping firm is typically less hazardous than starting from scratch. Septic tank cleaning and pumping businesses that have been bought are more predictable; startups, on the other hand, are less reliable because their predictions are based on estimates of future events.

It’s possible that franchising is a better option.

Before launching a septic tank cleaning and pumping business, it would be prudent to investigate whether franchising may make your life significantly simpler.

You can even come upon something that leads you in an entirely different way than you were expecting.

Advantages of forming an LLCConsiderations to Make Before Purchasing a Franchise

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Who would have anticipated that the septic industry would be so successful? Dan Spracklin was interviewed by Acquiring Minds about Gray Brothers, a sewage pumping firm that he and his wife purchased from her father, who was retiring. Gray Brothers had been in operation for 80 years when Dan purchased the company in 2013. During the Great Depression, the Gray Brothers truck It was generating around $1 million in income every year while under the control of Dan’s father-in-law. Dan was completely inexperienced with septic pumping.

Dan built Gray Brothers to $3 million in yearly revenue in just two years after acquiring the company, and increased margins from 10-15 percent to more than 30 percent at that time.

We enquired of Dan about all of the alternatives.

How to 3x Revenue and Margins

No one could have predicted how successful the septic industry would be. When Dan Spracklin and his wife purchased Gray Brothers Septic Pumping Company upon her father’s retirement, they spoke with Acquiring Minds about their experience. The Gray Brothers company had been in operation for 80 years before Dan purchased it in 2013. During the Great Depression, Gray Brothers truck It was generating around $1 million in revenue each year while it was owned by Dan’s father-in-law. Dan was completely inexperienced with sewage pumping and cleaning operations.

Dan built Gray Brothers to $3 million in yearly revenue in just two years after acquiring the company, and increased margins from 10-15 percent to more than 30 percent during that period.

‘What are the possibilities?’ we questioned Dan.

Don’t Start a Septic Business — Buy One

Despite the fact that Dan has been quite successful with Gray Brothers, he advises against establishing a sewage pumping firm from the ground up. “It’s a business that relies heavily on assets,” Dan explains. “That’s the major stumbling block. You have no choice but to purchase this $200,000 automobile. Alternatively, you may purchase a used vehicle for $75,000, but you will have to invest an additional $25-30 thousand dollars in maintenance.” Then there’s the matter of the competition. “Your business isn’t generating any revenue.

  1. To succeed, you must first get clients.
  2. “It’s a terrific lifestyle business,” says the entrepreneur.
  3. And you’ll be able to keep doing it for the next 40 years.” In such case, the chance is to buy out one of those property owners – if you can locate them.
  4. They range in size, but the great majority are mom-and-pop shops with annual revenues between $1 and $2 million dollars.
  5. As a result, the market is competitive.
  6. Why not retain it for a few more years until you reach the age of 65 and then sell it?

“If you’re a young couple that comes in and replaces this mom and pop business and says, ‘we want to take your brand and heritage forward,’ that demonstrates that you have the ability to convince them to sell.” Gray Brothers is still in business today.

You Don’t Need Septic Experience

“The first time I ever saw a septic tank was the day I started working for the firm as the new owner,” Dan recalls fondly. As a result, his lack of prior industry knowledge was not a hindrance. Having said that, a background in trucking or logistics would provide an acquirer with transferrable abilities. Because, at its heart, a septic pumping firm is nothing more than a specialty transportation company. “However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, everything is going to go apart on day one, especially if it’s a mature firm,” Dan explains.

ProsCons of the Septic Business

When it comes to the septic industry, there are several advantages. Let’s start with the positives and then move on to the negatives.


  • Owners make a good living. We’ve already covered this, but it’s worth repeating: as the owner of a septic pumping firm, you can earn a very healthy six figures. You’ll also have a high percentage of client retention as well. “We’re pretty sticky in the septic sector,” says the author. Even when a client sells their home, the new owner frequently inquires of the seller as to which septic business they employ, ensuring that the septic firm retains that property as a customer. Upstarts are kept at bay by high entrance barriers. Again, as previously said, septic pumping trucks are expensive, which serves as a wonderful deterrent for incumbents
  • They are also not seasonal. “Poop is something that people do. And they will continue to defecate regardless of the circumstances.”
  • Recession evidence. No matter if you’re anxious about making your automobile payment, I don’t care. If you have crap spilling out on your lawn, you’re going to have to pay to have that shit removed off your grass.”


  • Having to deal with feces. Let us begin with the most obvious. Dan, on the other hand, points out that, as the proprietor, he is not personally responsible for the pumping. His work is primarily confined to an office environment. Despite this, some people will be put off by the primary service provided by this company. (There will be more opportunities for those who don’t mind it!)
  • It’s unpredictably and reactively unpredictable from day to day. A significant portion of the company’s revenue is devoted to responding to client emergencies, such as a septic tank that has failed and the unpleasant stuff pouring in a basement or yard. As a result, you’re always reacting to frightened client calls, making it difficult to plan your day ahead of time. “No matter how well you plan things out, every day is a little different,” says the author.
  • Drivers are difficult to come by. In the trucking industry, Dan estimates that there is a scarcity of around 600,000 positions at the moment. “As you drive through Philadelphia, you’ll notice that every business that conducts any type of shipping or trucking has a sign out front that says: Hiring.” Organic growth has a maximum rate of expansion. The quick expansion of Gray Brothers has been spectacular
  • Yet, Dan has reached the limit of what he can accomplish internally. In order to go much further, we would have to make acquisitions and essentially purchase additional consumers while also buying out the competitors.”
See also:  What To Do If You Do Not Have Septic Tank Or Sewer? (Solution found)

How to Reach Dan

Dan Spracklin may be found on Twitter under the handle @DanSpracklin.

Pumping Up Profits

According to an old proverb, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” Growing a business in a weak economy is difficult, and onsite installers confront the additional challenge of a sluggish residential construction market. In such circumstances, the majority of company experts would advise owners to adhere to their core competencies. For installers, a shift into septic tank pumping opens up the possibility of further advancement within their core field of competence. While contractors acknowledge that pumping is not a high-profit-margin business, they maintain that it is nonetheless appealing in a variety of ways, primary among them as a reliable source of money and another opportunity to attract clients for installations and repairs.

Ed’s Advanced Septic in Grants Pass, Ore., a swift boost: “Within the first 18 months, our installation and fixing has increased by 20%.” Since acquiring a vacuum truck in 2011, the firm has seen an increase in income of around 5%, owing to the two or three pumpouts performed per day.

The service we give recommends work back to us, which helps to keep our excavators occupied.

Capital expenditures, the needs of emergency calls, the necessity for trained workers, as well as the difficulty of establishing a client base, are all factors to consider.

Business builder

According to Brian Miller, owner of Brian’s Septic Service in Tallahassee, Fla., a third-generation installation and pumping firm, “even when things are sluggish, there is always pumping.” Pumping of septic tanks and grease traps for restaurants now accounts for around 25% of his total sales. According to him, “the profit margin on a pumpout isn’t very high, but it pays off if you can keep yourself occupied.” Even when construction is sluggish, he views septic system pumping as a reliable business, because septic systems require regular maintenance to function properly: “I have a large number of clients that have scheduled routine maintenance.

Hobbs believes that if you’re only pumping for domestic use, “you’re not going to make a big deal of money.” It is more profitable to engage in commercial pumping.

“We were planning on waiting a bit longer, but one of the local pumpers chose to retire, and the chance presented itself.” – We were able to have the pumper up and operating in within three months.” He has discovered that around 60% of all pumping calls are for some type of repair or replacement.

The growth that occurred caught me completely by surprise.

They want you to be there with a pump truck if someone is backing up in front of them.

Kenney Lee, the owner of Metro Septic in Cartersville, Georgia, began his firm in 2005 with a single vacuum truck and a small fleet of vehicles.

During the slow season in the summer, “they’re quite active every day; three to four calls a day per truck, about half that during the slow season.” He expanded his firm last year to include septic installation and maintenance, and he now wishes he had done so from the beginning rather than subcontracting out the work to others.

  1. You lose control over the quality of the job if it is not completed in-house, says a company executive.
  2. “It’s fun to be the guy that gets called in for whatever is going on,” Lee adds.
  3. ” If there is a problem with the drainfield, we will take care of it.
  4. Pumping is the first line of defense.
  5. This keeps his company busy and helps to maintain a consistent cash flow throughout the year.
  6. “It was like a light went on in my head.” Harris has also had a similar experience: During the rainy winter season, his pumping work is at its peak.
  7. “Generally speaking, we don’t do repairs in the middle of the winter; we do them in the summer.” “Business did not slow down in the least during the winter of last year.” Lee has also discovered that grease trap pumping can help to fill in the gaps in the workload.
  8. He is confident that the money will be there, but he can complete those jobs during slower periods.

By scheduling grease traps a few weeks before they’re due, he can shuffle them around and still keep customers in compliance. “If you’re busy doing something else, you can push it off. If you don’t have anything else to do, you can move them up in the schedule.”

Meeting challenges

Of course, expanding into the pumping industry will not be without its challenges. The cost of capital is the most important decision element. Contractors recommend that you start by looking at old equipment. Pumper magazine classifieds offered a nice assortment of secondhand vehicles at reasonable costs, which Miller was able to find. “I started with one old, used vehicle that I retained for a few years,” he explains. “It was a good learning experience.” “When things started to look up, I traded it in for a fresh new one.

  1. Harris began with a part-time pumping employee, who has since been promoted to full-time status.
  2. “Until the word gets out about the vehicle, you’re not going to see a significant increase in income,” Harris adds.
  3. That’s going to bring in a lot more business.” Installers must also consider running expenses, which include tipping fees and gasoline, both of which have been increasing in recent years.
  4. “It has had a significant impact on our profitability.” We were unable to pass on such a large portion of the expense; we were forced to bear the majority of it.
  5. Land application of septage can be a viable option, albeit it involves knowledge of and adherence to rules, and it is impracticable or prohibited in some locations due to regulations.
  6. “Finding a place to live within a reasonable driving distance of where you work is one of the major challenges,” he adds.
  7. In addition to these concerns, there is a pressing demand for expert assistance.

According to Hobbs, this can narrow the pool of potential candidates: Many people might prefer not to dwell in areas where CDL limitations apply.

They must have a professional look, a charming demeanor, and the ability to relate to clients, the majority of whom are female.

If there’s a problem and they know what they’re doing and how to repair it, you’ll profit from their knowledge and experience.

Customer education is essential, and you must lead clients by the hand.” If the vacuum truck operator is not skilled and certified in septic system repair, the firm will be unable to provide immediate assistance to consumers.

Truck drivers are the most apparent source of prospective vacuum truck operators, but most do not have any expertise of septic systems and would need to obtain a license or certification in order to operate a vacuum truck.

Furthermore, according to Hobbs, pumping is still considered a low-skill profession, which implies that wage levels may be insufficient to attract experienced truck drivers.

Taking the leap

In response to the fundamental question of whether or not to take on pumping, Miller says, “Yes, certainly.” “If you’re only involved in one area of the business and not the other, you’re missing out,” Lee continues. If you’re currently working in the installation industry and don’t believe you have opportunity to expand, there is a whole distinct section you may join. There is money to be made in this venture. The cost of putting one vehicle on the road to take care of your clients is not prohibitively expensive.

Start a Rural Home Septic Pumping Business

The normal 1 or 2 bedroom home has a septic tank with a capacity of around 750 gallons, and it should be emptied at least once every three years to ensure proper drainage. An individual has the chance to establish their own septic tank pumping service without having to invest in a large pumping vehicle, hoses, and crew training. The Phelps Honey Wagon 1035G has a 1035 gallon tank and would be a simple option for servicing consumers in remote regions of your town who want their tanks to be pumped.

  • They may be staying for a season or just for a few weekends, but they may have an RV parked on the land and have not yet put a sewer system on the property.
  • The fact that you are starting a pumping service with a honey wagon provides you with various benefits over other pumping firms.
  • Your auto insurance would be far less expensive, as would your gasoline.
  • In an industry that is dominated by giant corporations, there are frequently possibilities for small businesses to succeed.
  • Large corporations must demand higher prices in order to offset their expenses.

Septic Tank Contractor Business Plan – Company Summary

Each septic tank in a typical one or two-bedroom home holds roughly 750 gallons of water and should be drained at least once every three years. The option exists for an individual to establish their own septic tank pumping business without having to invest in a large pumping vehicle, hoses, or employee training. Phelps Honey Wagon 1035G features a 1035 gallon tank and would be an easy option for servicing consumers that require their tanks to be pumped in remote sections of your town. Other parts of the country have folks who own vacation homes and only travel there once or twice a year to enjoy them.

  1. These individuals would be excellent candidates for frequent pumping service since it would relieve them of the burden of doing this task themselves.
  2. Because your honey wagon is mounted on a trailer, you have greater mobility and may operate at a lower cost than you otherwise would.
  3. With ease, you may reach out to individuals who live in rural areas and give services that large corporations do not have the resources to deliver.
  4. When tank pumping is required, even the tiniest, most remote house and property owners find the cost prohibitively expensive.

Large corporations must demand higher prices in order to meet their overhead costs, as explained here. Someone who provides this sort of honey wagon service would be able to charge less while still making a profit from the labour that is required.

2.1 Company Ownership

William’s Environmental will be organized as a C Corporation in the state of New York. Jean William has a controlling interest in the corporation, with a 70% stake. The silent partner owns the remaining 30 percent of the company’s stock.

2.2 Start-up Summary

Here is the business strategy for William’s Environmental, which will be implemented immediately. Specialized hand tools will be acquired as part of the expensed equipment, whereas digging equipment, such as backhoes, trailers, dump trucks, and powered hoists, will be leased with the intent/option to purchase during the first few years of the plan’s implementation. a. These substantial capital expenditures will be delayed until the company has established a profitable operation.

Start-up Expenses
Legal $1,000
Stationery etc. $200
Brochures $1,000
Office Setup $10,000
Insurance $3,000
Rent $2,000
2 Vans-used $22,000
Installation Inventory $10,000
Tank Inventory $30,000
Expensed Equipment $20,000
Other $0
Total Start-up Expenses $99,200
Start-up Assets
Cash Required $80,800
Start-up Inventory $0
Other Current Assets $0
Long-term Assets $30,000
Total Assets $110,800
Total Requirements $210,000
Start-up Funding
Start-up Expenses to Fund $99,200
Start-up Assets to Fund $110,800
Total Funding Required $210,000
Non-cash Assets from Start-up $30,000
Cash Requirements from Start-up $80,800
Additional Cash Raised $0
Cash Balance on Starting Date $80,800
Total Assets $110,800
Liabilities and Capital
Current Borrowing $0
Long-term Liabilities $100,000
Accounts Payable (Outstanding Bills) $0
Other Current Liabilities (interest-free) $0
Total Liabilities $100,000
Planned Investment
Jean William $50,000
Investor 2 $60,000
Other $0
Additional Investment Requirement $0
Total Planned Investment $110,000
Loss at Start-up (Start-up Expenses) ($99,200)
Total Capital $10,800
Total Capital and Liabilities $110,800
Total Funding $210,000

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