What Does it Take to Build a Successful Pipe Inspection Business?
A pipe inspection system can be a boon to your business. If you possess the following attributes, you may be in a good position to incorporate pipe inspections as part of your business model:
- Experience and solid diagnostic and problem solving ability
- Ability to explain issues and options in language customers can understand
- Good reputation with peers and customers
Plumbing and drain service outfits often use a combination of business models:
- Inspections as a line-item service
- Sell service work (show and tell/show and sell)
- Increase efficiency (eliminate guesswork by visually identifying the problem)
- Quality control/reduce callbacks (confirm repair)
- Generate repeat business and referrals (before/after images of service work)
What you charge is dependent on what others are charging in your market and what your camera work entails – you would likely charge more for a comprehensive inspection as part of a real estate transaction than you would to locate and mark the main line for a contractor doing a remodel.
Your deliverable – what you give your customer – can set you apart from other companies. SeeSnake® pipe inspection equipment includes a suite of software solutions that give you a number of options for providing deliverables to your customers.
- USB drive containing report and inspection media
- Report generated from SeeSnake HQ software that can be converted to a PDF file for printing or emailing, or HTML page for online distribution
- Shareable location on the cloud via services including Dropbox™ or Google Drive that contains all inspection media
- Individual images, PhotoTalk™(image+audio), or short video clips via text or email from mobile device
- Video clips and PhotoTalk media via YouTube™
A superior product has high quality content and a deliverable that suits the job and customer. High quality content takes a little extra time and is easy to achieve.
Quality has two main components. The first is clear imaging. Always try to keep your camera lens clear. One of the easiest ways to do this is to apply a thin film of liquid detergent or soap on the camera. SeeSnake camera reels with TruSense® technology include a high dynamic range image sensor, which allows the camera to see sections of the pipe that would otherwise be blown out or too dark to see.
The second component is providing your customers with a comprehensive and understandable explanation of what they are seeing, the implications, and your recommendations – “What am I seeing and what does it mean?“
During the inspection
- Use pipe centering guides to improve the in-pipe image by lifting the camera head above water or sludge in the pipe, evening out the illumination, and by providing a better view of the top of the pipe.
- Turn on the date/time/distance displays at the beginning of your inspection. Date/time can be turned off after a few moments if not needed, but in most cases you’ll want the distance shown at all times.
- Show the access point and verbally describe the job: “It’s September 17th, 2018 and we’re at 123 Main Street. This is a pre-purchase inspection and we’re entering the line through the main line clean-out in the front yard.”
- Push through the pipe and narrate what the camera is seeing: pipe material, fittings, camera direction through turns (right or left), transitions, pipe condition, issues, and so on.
- If you need to pause the recording, let the viewer know that you’re pausing and why (to locate the camera, for example). If you mute the mic, tell your customer that you’re going to do that.
- Your monitor can display and record on-screen text over the video – use that for job address, company information, or to call out in-pipe issues.
- With a SeeSnake CSx series monitor, you can use your mobile device as a second screen with the HQx Live mobile app. Download the app onto your iOS or Android device, connect it to your CSx monitor, and hand your device to your customer. While you are performing the inspection, the customer can view the inspection right on the device.
After the inspection
A superior deliverable is likewise easy to achieve. SeeSnake monitors are designed to make generating a quality deliverable easy and efficient. Inspection reports are created automatically in the background while you work – with no user action needed.
For basic reports, when your inspection is done you can hand customers a USB drive with a professional looking report that opens in a web browser.
You can also record your inspection onto a mobile device with HQx Live. After the inspection, you can deliver inspection media via email, text, YouTube, or Dropbox.
Take your reports up a step by adding customer and job information, notes, comments, recommendations, and your company info. You can add this information directly with the Job Review screen on SeeSnake CSx series monitors.
HQ software is a full-featured reporting app for Windows that’s included with every monitor. HQ makes it easy to enhance your reports, which can be delivered via print, email, USB, or cloud-based services like YouTube, Dropbox or RIDGID Connect. It also lets you archive, organize, and back up inspection jobs.
It takes time and experience to build your camera business. If you’re new to pipe inspection, the best thing you can do is integrate the camera into your daily workflow. Learn your cable technique on easy lines. This ensures you have the experience when there’s a more difficult line to contend with. Your pushing technique – and knowing when NOT to push – is the difference between a long cable life and constant cable repairs.
In terms of content, learn how to perform quality inspections and create inspection reports that fit your customer’s needs. Over time, you’ll build your reputation as someone your customers can rely on, helping you attract new customers and grow your business.
SeeScan is the manufacturer of RIDGID® SeeSnake® pipe inspection equipment. For more information, contact your local RIDGID rep.