Thinking about opening a septic tank cleaning and pumping business? We tell you what you need to know to get started.
Industry Snapshot: Septic Tank Cleaning & Pumping
Approximately one-third of U.S. households rely on a septic tank for the removal of residential wastewater and sewage. Although it may not be the tidiest business startup concept, a septic tank cleaning & pumping business can be a highly profitable venture for entrepreneurs who understand the industry.
It's recommended that homeowners have their septic system inspected annually. In practice, most wait until the septic tank has backed up into the house or flooded the drain field before they call for service. Given the environmental and health risks associated with raw sewage, it's in your customers' (and your startup's) best interest to advocate for routine maintenance.
As you plan your business, it's critical to automate the process of generating reminders, notifying your customers that their tanks are due for service. If your system is effective, your company will benefit from revenue stabilization and easier service calls, and your customers will benefit from better hygiene and septic tank performance.
Startup Requirements for Septic Tank Pumping Businesses
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. Septic tank pumping and maintenance isn't extremely complicated, but since you're expected to be the expert, you'll need a working knowledge of septic tank mechanics. You'll also need to be capable of maintaining grease traps, drains and other residential/commercial fixtures that fall under your service umbrella.
- Pump truck. The most important piece of equipment your startup will need is a septic pump truck. Used pump trucks can be bought for as little as $20k-$30k, while new trucks can cost significantly more based on their capacity and features.
- Disposal location. After you've pumped the muck out of your customers' septic tanks, you'll need a place to dispose of it. The disposal of sewage is restricted to approved waste treatment plants or private companies that specialize in the treatment of sewage. Explore the options in your community and secure a destination for your sewage before you accept your first job.
How to Create a Winning Septic Tank Cleaning & Pumping Company Business Plan
If you've done your homework, you already know that writing a business plan is the most critical thing you can do for your company.
Although it might seem like an unnecessary formality, your septic tank cleaning and pumping company's business plan is a document that will shape your goals and strategies on a go-forward basis.
Furthermore, a good business plan will help you avoid key startup mistakes. If your business plan includes accurate industry metrics and conservative forecasts, your business will be less vulnerable to market fluctuations and catastrophic surprises.
Check Out the Competition
Long before you open a septic tank cleaning and pumping business within your community, it's a smart move to find out how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Use the link below to generate a list of competitors in your city. After following the link, enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of septic tank cleaning and pumping businesses in your area.
Is the established competition doing a good job? It's important to understand their strengths and weaknesses and think through how you'll stake up against those established businesses.
Learn from Others Who Are Already In This Space
As part of your due diligence on opening a septic tank cleaning and pumping business, it's a smart move to speak with somebody who is already in the business. If you think owners of nearby septic tank cleaning and pumping businesses will give you advice, think again. The last thing they want to do is help you to be a better competitor.
Fortunately, somebody who runs a septic tank cleaning and pumping business in a different city may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, once they realize that you are not going to directly compete with them in their community. Many business owners are happy to give advice to new entrepreneurs. Our estimate is that you may have to contact many business owners to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
How do you go about finding a septic tank cleaning and pumping business owner who is willing to advise you because you live in different cities?
Here's one way to do it. Just use our link below, find somebody and call them.
Acquisitions vs. Startups
Unfortunately, many inexperienced septic tank cleaning and pumping business entrepreneurs approach ownership with the mistaken idea that a startup is their only option when they could also pursue a business acquisition.
Except for scenarios that require extreme innovation or highly unique value propositions, it's usually less risky to buy an existing septic tank cleaning and pumping business.
An acquired septic tank cleaning and pumping business is a known quantity; a startup is less certain because its forecasts depend on estimated outcomes. If you're diligent about finding the right acquisition prospect, you may be able to leverage a business buying strategy to rapidly propel yourself into a position of industry leadership.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
The odds of achieving your primary goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur go up significantly when you opt to franchise instead of doing it all on your own.
Prior to starting a septic tank cleaning and pumping business, you would be wise to determine whether franchising might make your life much easier.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you currently own a septic tank cleaning and pumping business, these resources will come in handy:
If you sell to septic tank cleaning and pumping businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.