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3 Reasons Why Plumbers Should Enhance Their Pipeline Inspection Service

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 11:48:12 AM America/New_York

Plumbing contractors can market their pipeline inspection service, in order to generate leads and paying customers. Instead of using the pipeline inspection equipment as a way to troubleshoot the problem merely, it could be used as a marketing tool to generate work. Here are 3 reasons why plumbers should enhance their pipeline inspection service: 

    1. Marketable Concept: Preventative Maintenance

    2. Low or No Cost Introductory Service Attracts Customers

    3. Finds Problems to Fix and Customers to Work For

Marketable Concept: Preventative Maintenance

Non-plumbers simply don't have pipeline inspection equipment to conduct yearly inspections on their sewer and wastewater pipes. Residential and commercial businesses rely on plumbers and pipeline inspection technicians to see what's inside the pipes. This means there's  proven marketability in an enhanced pipeline inspection service.

Enhanced, meaning: innovative equipment, quick customer onboarding process, efficient and quick inspections performed by professionals, and the CTA marketing focus.

Idea: Bring this enhanced service to customers to provide a valuable service for a discounted price (maybe free with repair?), in an effort to develop brand recognition for the introductory pipeline inspection service. Basically, the people in the area should recognize the plumbing contractor by their low to no cost introductory service – people need to be ensured their pipes are clear, preventative maintenance is key.

Low or No Cost Introductory Service Attracts Customers

People aren't interested, generally, in considering their home or business's pipes, until a problem occurs, that is, and damage control and repair are needed. "Help!"

The powerful aspect of focusing on this "introductory pipeline inspection service," is that potential customers will hear this simple and compelling message: “get your pipes inspected to prevent any problems from occurring, and get peace of mind -- with our discounted introductory pipeline inspection service. ”

This, or a similar message would compel many home and business owners to call to get their pipes inspected – for preventative maintenance, instead of a reaction to problems (leak, noise, etc.).

Plumbers have to think about this with the right perspective, heavily discounting or giving away a free service is like paying for an advertisement in the paper or some other marketing method. Only better, because the potential long-term plumbing customer is getting paid instead; in other words, the money was well spent on converting customers from a target audience.

Finds Problems to Fix and Customers to Work For

A plumbing contractor's pipeline inspection service is like a tire shop's flat tire repair, or the discounted oil service at the repair shop – they're low-cost introductory services that build brand recognition and customer loyalty – essentially, this service finds problems for plumbers to fix.

The better and more advanced the pipeline inspection equipment is, the faster and clearer the plumber will be able to inspect the pipes and find any problems. If there's a problem to be found, the plumber likely will have a job; if there isn't a problem with the pipes, the plumber has a potential customer in the future and maybe collects a discounted fee. A good practice is to say: free inspections with repair, which means a small fee if no repair. Plumbing contractors have a practical way to find work with this strategy.

Summary

Enhancing pipeline inspection equipment is something plumbing contractors are interested in, even without desiring to enhance this service for marketing reasons. The good news is there are affordable solutions for contractors to upgrade to a durable, accurate, and time-saving pipeline inspection system.

CPI Products' Universal Roller Skid, and the entire Pro Kit, should be part of this enhancement. CPI Products' innovative solutions are designed to enhance pipeline inspection equipment by: protecting, centering, and moving the pipeline inspection camera and cord through 4” to 18” pipes, bends, elbows, and traps.

Plumbing contractors have many equipment wants on their wish list, yet pipeline inspection equipment should be a priority. Contractors get a lot of “bang for their buck” with affordable quality products like CPI Products' Universal Roller Skid, and enhancing the pipeline inspection service and equipment is a win-win situation for everyone. To learn more about our innovative products, please contact us today.

The Problems with Push Cameras (and Some Solutions)

Thursday, August 11, 2016 2:28:29 PM America/New_York

There have been two great inventions in the past 150 years (apart from sliced bread.) One is indoor plumbing and the other is the push camera. Before the camera, plumbers and municipal workers had to guess where a blockage, a damaged pipe, or some other problem was located before they could decide if they needed to dig, and then where to dig. The camera solved that problem but then other problems arose.

Some problems were immediately obvious, and others were slower to show themselves. The problems resulted in not being able to see anything in the pipe, not seeing clearly enough, getting the problem's location wrong, damaging the expensive (but still great) invention, and having to replace the great invention sooner than expected, because it just wore out too soon. Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems with push cameras, but let's look at the problems in more detail.

The Wrong Location

If you have a 100 foot pipe, and your camera tells you the blockage or damage is 85 feet into the pipe, that's where you dig. If the blockage was only 70 feet in, you've wasted time, effort, and you look less professional than you should.

The problem is that, as you feed the camera through the pipe, the push rod kinks and bends, so you feed more cable than you should, and this gives you the faulty location.

Why does it happen? The pipe may just be wide enough to mean the rod has to bend to build up enough force to move the camera forward. It may be, because the operator stood up to push the camera instead of kneeling down in the wet mud to get better purchase on the rod, that it started to bend before it got very far into the pipe. The longer the pipe, the more of a problem bends and kinks are.

The pipe may have a lot of sludge or other debris in it, so the camera has to be pushed harder to get through, and that makes the rod bend too much. Add all these little things together and your dig location may be out by several feet.

The Wrong Kind of Pipe

If the pipe's diameter is too wide, the rod can bend, as we just said. If the pipe is too narrow, or if the elbows and bends are too frequent, then either the camera may not get through, so you are back to before this great invention hit the streets.

Poor Image

Just building on the previous causes of problems, one of the results of pipe width, sludge and debris, etc, is that the screen image is poor, and it's difficult to determine what the problem is. If you can see the problem but you don't know if the image is an upright one or not, because of kinks and bends, then you still have to guess more than you may want to.

Camera Damage

This is an expensive problem. The camera lens gets scratched because it isn't protected well enough. Now you have to send it off for repair, and you are back to life before the invention came to save you time and money. And you are spending money you didn't expect to, just to get your camera back.

Shorter Life

Kinks, bends, pushing and pulling, debris and scratches, all add up to too much friction, and that leads to the unit wearing out and having to be replaced. It should have lasted longer but it didn't.

Help! Is Anybody There?

Yes! All of these problems have solutions.

You want to avoid getting down in the dirt, and stop all that pushing and pulling to move the camera. Use the Universal or the Mini Roller Skids - depending on the pipe diameter.

You want to make sure your image is upright and not reduced by pipe-bottom sludge on the lens. The roller skids will help there, as well. Narrow bends and too many elbows? Try the PipeSpyder centering guide.

All of these products - as well as others - will maximize accuracy, reduce wear and tear, reduce damage, and help your expensive camera to last a lot longer. If you would like to check out all of our problem-solving, stress-reducing, and time-saving products, please click here to see what will help you the most.

Universal Roller Skid Extensively Redesigned in Latest Version

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 1:43:22 PM America/New_York

CPI Products announces major improvements in the Universal Roller Skid product line -- the push camera centering devices and accessories for pipeline inspection. The newer model push camera roller skid accessories were displayed this year to good reception at the Water and Wastewater Equipment Treatment and Transportation Tradeshow in February 2016.  

The Universal Roller Skid (URS1) is an elegant yet simple system for carrying out a wide range of pipeline inspections for any push camera. The roller skid has six wheels attached to three pivoting arms that dynamically adjust to center the skid and push camera inside various pipelines. Using a spring mechanism, the legs automatically expand and retract to the diameter of the pipe.

This design allows for easy maneuverability around various corners and bends while keeping the push camera centered at all times. This innovatory engineering advancement increases push camera functionality in ways that were never attainable prior to the Universal Roller Skid. Additional benefits include faster inspection, improved vision, camera protection, and increased lighting.

The Universal Roller Skid for push camera pipeline inspection.

CPI Products details push camera accessory improvements:

New Tail Pipe Design: The PVC tail pipe was replaced with an injected molded nylon pipe, which is stronger and more aesthetically pleasing than the PVC tail pipe.

Fitting Larger Cameras: Advancements include a new accessory part, "The Endzo," a front mounted adapter that allows larger cameras to fit on the Universal Roller Skid  

Tighter Tolerances: The improved Universal Roller Skid is made with higher tolerances. Less space is taken by loosely fitting parts thanks to specially designed smaller bolts.

Improved Edge Design: Each part was redesigned with rounded edges for more comfortable operation in the pipes and less chance of resistance with debris.

Redesigned Wheels: The six nylon wheels were redesigned to allow sand grains to pass through and reduce the risk of the wheels binding.

Color Code Matches: The new model comes in new colors to better match the industry's color codes. The URS1 now comes in blue, red, and classic yellow.

CPI Product’s patented Universal Roller Skid was developed over 10 years ago. It includes nine separate injection-molded parts made out of 15% glass-filled nylon for prevention of corrosion. It is solely manufactured in the United States.

The Universal Roller Skid product line is designed to allow a greater amount of pipeline to be reviewed within one inspection session, while also requiring minimal set-up time. The various roller skid designs specialize in pipeline inspection between 4 and 18 inches in diameter. 

For more information on the Universal Roller Skid and push camera accessories, visit CPI Products.

Where There Is Smoke...

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 11:20:54 AM America/New_York

Where there is smoke there is sewer line testing? During the dry summer months, many cities and municipalities smoke test their sewer systems.

Smoke testing is a way to inspect both the main lines and laterals. Smoke travels throughout the system and identifies problems in all connected lines. The best results are obtained during dry weather, which allows the smoke better opportunity to travel to the surface. It is a relatively simple process that consists of blowing smoke mixed with large volumes of air into the sanitary sewer line usually through a manhole. The smoke travels the path of least resistance and shows at sites that allow surface water inflow. Smoke will identify broken manholes, illegal connections including roof drains, sump pumps, and yard drains. The smoke will reveal uncapped lines and will show cracked mains and laterals.

Smoke testing is a cost effective way to locate defects in the main sewer line and service laterals that connect to a residence. This is why many cities and municipalities implement smoke testing programs as a method to assess the condition of sanitary sewer systems.

  • If smoke is seen coming from the vent pipe of a home, the home is connected properly.
  • No smoke coming from a home might indicate a blocked line. 
  • Smoke coming from the downspouts of a home shows the rain water run off from the home is going into the sewer system instead of the ground. That contributes to sewer backup creating damage. 
  • Smoke appearing in a lawn means there is a cracked lateral line or a missing or cracked clean up cap. A crack might not be exactly where the smoke is seen but does indicate damage in the line.
  • Smoke inside a home might enter through a dried out drain trap or some other plumbing defect such as an un-trapped washing machine drain, cracked pipe, or a garbage disposal or dishwasher not installed correctly. The smoke is not harmful to people, pets, or house plants. It will not harm or stain clothes, drapes, or furniture. It is not flammable and does not create a fire hazard. If smoke can enter a home then dangerous sewer gasses can as well.

The city or municipality conducting a smoke test is responsible for repair to sewer lines on public property. If a problem is found on private property the property owner is notified. Once a property owner is notified, they are responsible for the immediate repair of the problem.

  • Smoke coming from a downspout is a simple inexpensive repair. Downspouts can be disconnected by cutting the spout, capping or plugging the ground pipe, and installing an elbow and horizontal spout to extending away from the home.
  • Areas where smoke came through the ground, might indicate a loose or broken sewer cap. Replacing the cap is a simple inexpensive fix. It might be a problem with the sewer line to a home- possibly a cracked section, root intrusion, misaligned joints, or an offset section of pipe. All of these can lead to collapsing or plugging of a lateral sewer, which would lead to a sewage back-up into a home.  A thorough inspection of the home sewer system is needed. A licensed plumber with a quality camera system will be able to find the problem without digging up the entire system. 
  • While the smoke that is found in the home is not dangerous, the sewer gas that might enter a home in the same manner is deadly. A complete inspection using a camera system is essential in this case too. All areas that offer an opportunity for sewer gas to enter a home should be replaced or repaired. 

Smoke testing is beneficial to the environment, the local government, and homeowners. A quality camera system is necessary for a complete evaluation of septic lines and the plumbing within a home. Please contact us, we can help you design the camera system that best suits your needs and the needs of your customers.

Simple Success Strategies for Independent Plumbing Contractors

Sunday, July 31, 2016 4:11:25 PM America/New_York

This is a followup to our previous article "3 Tips for the Self-Employed Plumbing Contractor" In our previous blog on success strategies we introduced 3 areas:

1) Grow to Your Comfort Level

2) Be Honest

3) Specialized Services

See original post on strategies -->

In this blog we will dig a little deeper, to give you some practical tips on how to grow to your comfort level. We will look at the other two in later blogs.

Most independent contractors – in any line of business – tend to either try too hard to grow too quickly or they don’t grow enough, and begin to stagnate. It’s not about ‘a happy medium’ it’s about using sensible, workable success strategies for independent plumbing contractors with a proven track record.

Keep it simple and keep it practical and you will succeed.

Everyone has a comfort level, a motivation level, and a danger level. Imagine it as a 3-step ladder. When you just do what you know and what you are good at, you are at your comfort level. Stretch too far, do too much and you finish up at your danger level. It’s natural to pull back from danger, and get back to comfort.

The successful independent contractor moves up to their motivation level - and stays there until they are comfortable, then they can move up again.

Being motivated leads to being successful. Motivation is about knowing what you want, knowing you can do what’s needed to get what you want, and sticking at it until you get what you want. Then you do it again. Here’s how.

  1. Decide on where you want to be in a sensible period of time. You can measure that by income in the next quarter, by the number of jobs you do in a week or a month or by new areas of work. That can be a geographic area (working in the next town along, instead of just this town) or a customer type (becoming a sub for a general contractor, doing apartment buildings, not just single family homes, etc.)
  2. When you know where you want to be, and you know where you are now you can decide how to fill the gap. Let’s say you want to earn $1400 a week ($67,200 a year), not the $1000 you earn now ($48,000 a year) and you want to be there in three months. If $1000 equals 20 hours of paid work ($50 an hour) and that breaks down to an average of 5 customer jobs of 4 hours each, that averages out to 1 paying customer a day. You can earn the extra $400 by getting paid another 8 hours a week. At an average of 4 hours work per customer, then you must work for 2 new customers every week. 
  3. To get into your motivation zone, you just have to focus on getting those 2 customers. How can you get 2 new customers? You could:
  • Run ads in the local paper 
  • Send out flyers to a neighborhood where you already have customers. Ask your existing customers for recommendations to put on the flyers
  • Send out flyers to neighborhoods where there are older homes, not new homes (older homes are more likely to have leaks)
  • Make sure your flyers and ads highlight a benefit to the customer. Say something like “We find leaks other plumbers can’t” or "No leak is too small. We find it. We fix it." You know that you use the Universal Roller Skid Product for your push camera, but an ad that reads “Use us we have a Roller Skid Product” means nothing to a customer – what does mean something is they have a leak, they want it fixed, you will find it, and you will fix it
  • Ask your existing customers if they can give you names of people they know, so you can contact them
  • Contact established plumbing contractors you know, in case they are overwhelmed and need more help
  • Contact general contractors, in case they need extra help with plumbing jobs 
  • Join some of the ‘Next Door’ social sites – people often ask ‘neighbors’ to recommend contractors
  • Speak to painters, handymen, etc, and agree to refer customers to each other, if one of their customers needs a plumber, and one of yours needs a painter
  • Contact management companies who handle multi-family apartments, and see if you can become an ‘approved contractor’ for their residents – because you fix leaks other plumbers can’t find!

So if your goal is to find an average of 2 new customers every week, make a list of ways that you will be happy use to get them, then spend a set number of hours a week doing the things that will help you to find those new customers.

That is how you move from 'comfort level' to motivation level' and when are used to that new level you can move on again. In the next blog we will look at specialized services. That way you will be able to offer customers what they want, and you will be doing something most plumbers don't do. As a specialist you will discover a higher 'comfort level' that will earn you more money than the average plumber. If you would like to learn more about some specialist products, that will help you to move up those levels, please feel free to click here to contact us.

A Review of Several Commonly Used Push Cameras

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 12:59:07 PM America/New_York

Push cameras are used in the plumbing trade to investigate piping integrity, when it is in doubt, to discover the reason for a blockage, or perform routine inspection. Below is a review of the some of the most often used cameras. The Universal Roller Skid is about to fit each of the push cameras below.

Ridgid Cameras

  • SeeSnake® Standard Camera  

This highly rated (4.2 out of 5 stars), popular and expensive system utilizes a 1.365" by 1.68" self-leveling camera that always delivers upright images. The camera is completely encased in a hardened stainless steel camera head and spring assembly for optimum durability in the toughest environments. For example, the system is rated to be waterproof to a depth of 300 feet and can operate in temperatures from below freezing to over 100 degrees fahrenheit. High-intensity long-life LED lights provide exceptional viewing. Flexible transmitters are attached to the camera. Signals are sent to a locator, which is above ground, which determines the exact location of the camera.  This configuration can be used as a guide to determine exactly where to dig. Ridgid offers compatible locators for this purpose. With a wide-range line capacity of 2” to 12”, and a run distance of 325', this system is ideal for most inspection needs. The system can be used with any SeeSnake monitor or recorder. 

Reviews describe the camera as excellent for the inspection of sewer laterals and mains. It is reported to be rugged and reliable with excellent imagery.  Of note, there was difficulty pushing manually beyond 200 feet. One review indicated breakage of the push cable about 4 feet from the camera head and another desired a bit more flexibility in this same segment. Otherwise, reviews were very positive.

  • Ridgid 48113 SeeSnake Compact 2 System 

The Compact 2 model is designed to inspect lines from 1.5" to 6", with a run distance of 100 feet. The 1" camera head is self-leveling and is paired with a 512 Hz sonde. The unit is much less expensive than the Standard model but retains a high review of 4 out of five stars.

This system brings big performance in a compact, durable package and the reel offers a fast and easy setup. The friction-reducing push cable is stiff enough to push through narrow openings, but has the flexibility to negotiate several turns. The system can take on the most diverse and demanding inspection conditions. 

If a point of interest is found in the pipe, a receiver will locate its position relative to the surface. The SeeSnake CS6Pak is specifically designed for the Compact 2 for easy viewing. This battery-powered system can use an optional AC adapter to run off 110 power.

Reviewers report a fairly easy to use system with robust software capability. The camera, cable and rig are very easy to deploy and imagery is fabulous with great lighting and orientation. Reported to easily pass through a 2" p-trap and complete a run of 100 feet. run.

Problems reported difficulty keeping the battery charged, which was solved with a spare battery. Also, the data entry is reported as slow because each letter and/or number has to be arrowed-over and selected, instead of having a provided keyboard.

  •  Ridgid 35188 See Snake Micro Reel Camera System

This unit has the same durable and reliable construction quality as the other Ridgid cameras. Its design and small size allows you to perform inspections quicker and easier than a larger system. The complete system takes up less than half the space of the popular SeeSnake Compact System, while still allowing you to inspect lines of 1.5" to 5 " to a run distance of up to 100 feet. The interchangeable drum cartridge system, with a more flexible cable, allows the use of the same reel to inspect difficult-to-navigate lines from 1 to 3 inches to a run of up to 30 feet. The 512 Hz sonde transmitter technology, that it is equipped with, gives the added convenience of locating the position of the camera head, from above ground, when it is in the line. 

Vivax Cameras

vCamMX Mini Inspection D18-MX Camera System  

This is an ideal system for those with a limited budget, but provides the flexibility to cover a range of inspections. The D26-MX camera is self-leveling and the media compartment provides up to 128GB USB drives and SD card. Audio commenting is recorded through either an internal and external microphone. The system performs well with indoor drain lines, municipal collection systems, residential plumbing, indoor commercial lines, and lateral lines from three inches up to eight inches in diameter. The system is available in either 100 or 150 foot run lengths. 

The vCamMX reels are made of stainless steel tubular construction with a lightweight rugged carbon fiber pushrod drum. The pushrod is traceable with the use of a multifrequency built-in locatable sonde.   

Field work is simplified because the large-sized control knobs and one-touch capture capability can be used while wearing gloves. The multi-angle, daylight viewable display, can be used in either an upright or horizontal position, and is ideal for working in a confined space. The system has an AC/DC system with a rechargeable battery. The low-power requirements of this mini-cam enables over 5 hours of battery life to be provided.

Reviews are good when the system is used for short runs and smaller pipes. The pushrod is noted to be too small for sewer work.

General Pipe Cleaners Cameras

  • The Gen-Eye POD

The Gen-Eye POD features a self-leveling camera and 200 ft. of Gel-Rod® for trouble-shooting 3” to 10” drain lines.  The system is equipped with a 512 Hz transmitter. The tough steel frame can be operated vertically or horizontally. This unit is very affordable and can identify most problems quickly and accurately. The 7" color LCD screen is mounted on a tough, yet flexible gooseneck that swivels to provide the best viewing angle. Video out connection lets you record on an external device. The push-rod and integral camera system combines camera, reel, and monitor into an all-in-one package. 

  • MINI-POD

The lightweight MINI-POD has a color mini-camera and is designed for inspecting 2” to 4” drain lines. The run length can be either 125 or 175 feet. The Mini-Pod uses the same grab-and-go features of the Gen-Eye Pod.

VeriSight Pro Cameras

VeriSight Pro offers an affordable camera system that has everything needed to inspect pipes, document the findings, and generate reports. The camera is self-leveling  camera captures color footage from pipes 2” and up, or 4" and up, with an optional pan/tilt camera. The reel is made of welded steel which has a powder coat finish to prevent rusting. Available in three run lengths: 330', 200' and 130'.

Lighting is provided by variable-intensity LED lamps that deliver shadow-less illumination. A 3X zoom video on live or recorded video, capture still images, browse thumbnail galleries, and select among several available languages. The signal from VeriSight Pro's tri-band sonde can be picked up by any locator. VeriSight Pro’s interface has an 8” LCD display and records up to 90 hours of digital video. 

The system can use 110 volt main power, vehicle power, or an internal rechargeable 6-hour battery. It is encased in a rugged stainless-steel shell for protection in the worst environments and toughest handling.

CPI Products introduced the Universal Roller Skid Product Line to increase the effectiveness and lifespan of the portable video inspection system for the inspection of various residential and commercial pipelines.

3 Tips for the Self-Employed Plumbing Contractor

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 8:42:04 PM America/New_York

Being self-employed in any profession has its benefits and drawbacks, but for some people this is far better than working as an employee. The path to becoming a self-employed contractor for plumbers involves being an apprentice first. We'll discuss this more and give 3 tips for the self-employed plumbing contractor.

The Plumber's Path

Becoming a qualified and licensed plumber takes a committed effort. According to online publication Chron in an article called: “Self-Employed Plumber's Pay Rate” written by Rick Suttle, we find the specifics on a plumber's path:

“Self-employed plumbers, as all plumbers, must complete four- or five-year apprentice programs to become journeyman plumbers, which are standard titles for experienced plumbers. During their apprenticeships, plumbers must complete 246 hours of technical training and accumulate 1,700 to 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training, according to the BLS. They also must have two to five years of experience to qualify for licensing through their state plumbing boards, which requires passing an exam.”

So, we can see that the path to becoming a self-employed plumber requires being an employee first; being a self-employed plumbing contractor is not something a person can do without meeting licensing requirements and qualifications. Yet, after becoming a licensed journeyman plumber, a person can begin their own business and make “...$55,000 as of 2014, according to the job site Simply Hired.”

Basically, self-employed plumbers make a couple thousand more per year than the average of all plumbers, which according to BLS in 2015 was: $50,620/year. This is one benefits of being a self-employed plumbing contractor.

3 Tips for  the Self-Employed Plumbing Contractor

    1. Grow to Your Comfort Level

    2. Be Honest to Customers

    3. Specialized Services 

1. Grow to Your Comfort Level

Bigger doesn't mean better when it comes to having your own business. The best part of being self-employed is not having the headache of working for difficult bosses and with annoying co-workers. So, take advantage of the peaceful work environment, and don't get over your head with work and have to hire desperately to keep up.

Yes, you want to make money, but growing at a comfortable pace and to a comfortable level is important. This steady growth model reduces burnout and helps you stay passionate about your business. Hire only trustworthy people you enjoy being around, and control the workload to a level your business can reasonably manage.

Maybe this means your business is only you, or maybe it means hiring a dozen people, either way: it's imperative your comfortable with the growth and can manage it without headaches. Working smarter and not harder is the goal here. It's very possible to enjoy your business and still make good money; take advantage of working for yourself by controlling the growth according to your comfort level.

2. Be Honest to Customers

Dealing with customers is the biggest difference from being an employee for a plumbing company and a self-employed plumbing contractor. Being able to foster good relationships with the community your serving, will ensure a good business reputation and steady referrals. Being honest with your customers is key to doing this.

Plumbers are in demand, yet under-appreciated often by customers. Many times when people call a plumber, they expect the cost to be lower than it is. Be honest with them about the estimated cost, and be selective about which customers you work for.

A customer who has money, yet is complaining vehemently about the cost, isn't someone you need to work for. These customers are different from those who simply don't have much money, but need plumbing work done.

Charge the amount you need to do a quality job and still make the desired hourly wage you deserve. Remember, an honest quality plumber is worth the cost, and if the customer doesn't realize this, then simply don't work for them. Being selective with who you work for is one of the biggest benefits of being self-employed. And being honest to customers is an age-old golden marketing strategy.

3. Specialized Services

This is how your self-employed plumbing contractor business will get to the top average of the pay scale. Specialize in certain services, which are high paying and you enjoy doing. These specialized services can be anything you want, for example: tiny house and yurt plumbing, luxury fixtures, or “green” energy-saving plumbing.

Specialized services may not be as common, so it may take time to generate a full work load from them. Through reputation, referrals, and expertise in a more rare specialty, your services will be sought out and people will pay top dollar for them. So, at first your plumbing business would have to take more common jobs to make due, but eventually these specialized jobs would increase. This could even lead to long distant travel, trade shows, and industry innovation.

Summary

Out of the 340,370 employed plumbers in the U.S., nearly 11 percent are self-employed, according to the Chron article quoted above. Working as a self-employed plumbing contractor takes a certain level of dedication and commitment, but there are many benefits that come with it. Having more control over who you work for and with, and controlling the direction of the business, are some of these benefits.

These three tips for self-employed plumbing contractors will help business owners foster good customer relations, have peace-of-mind at work, and enjoy a higher than average wage. Self-employed plumbers need to take advantage of the control they have and use it to create a specialized quality service, which people will be willing to pay more for.

CPI Products offers innovative plumbing equipment that self-employed contractors would find useful in their efforts to specialize their business's services. Our Universal Roller Skid is our premier product, which anyone doing pipeline inspections would find very useful. CPI Products is located in Pittsfield, MA, and all our products are manufactured direct and made in the United States. To learn more about our specialized products, please contact us today.

Pipeline Inspection Equipment Product Feature: The Pro Kit Plus

Tuesday, June 28, 2016 11:04:06 AM America/New_York

Plumbers will find all the tools needed to enhance their pipeline inspection camera systems with the Pro Kit Plus. This comprehensive kit includes all the great CPI Products designed to help residential and commercial plumbers with pipeline inspections. The Pro Kit Plus has all the innovative tools needed to protect plumbers' pipeline inspection cameras and get better visuals inside the pipes.

What the Pro Kit Plus Includes:

    • Universal Roller Skid

    • TrapMaster™

    • Mini Roller Skid

    • PoleCat™

    • 3” Wheel Kit

    • LED Kit

    • PipeSpyder™

    • Adapter Sleeves

    • Black Carrying Case with Foam Inserts

Keep in mind CPI Products also offers a lifetime warranty and a 30 day return policy with no questions asked on all of our products. The Pro Kit Plus is the most comprehensive kit we have available and is priced at $799.95. Buying this kit saves you about $120 from buying the items contained within it individually.

Universal Roller Skid

This is the main product included and can handle 6” to 18” pipelines. The three legs are able to contract and expand, and have narrow wheels on the end to smoothly roll along. This device is made to hold the inspection camera inside, so it can always be centered and be above the muck. It's constructed from lightweight, durable, corrosion resistant composite nylon.

The URS can negotiate bends at 8” to 90º and elbows at 6” to 45º while keeping the camera centered. The adjustment screws at the back and front hold the camera in place and take away any stress when the device is being pulled in and out of pipes. There are also slots for the auxiliary flashlights and a safety harness that contracts the device for easy extraction. The URS is compatible with most standard cameras 2” and under in diameter.

TrapMaster™

This a handy tool for smaller pipelines from 4” to 6”, P-Traps, and difficult spots with many bends and elbows. The TrapMaster™ consists of two separate pieces made of the same composite nylon as the URS. The front section houses the inspection camera and the back section is placed about an inch behind.

Each section has four wheels along the side of the four rocking Seam Leaper™ wings, which guide the device through the pipelines while protecting and centering the camera. The TrapMaster™ is compatible with any push camera up to 1.5” in diameter.

Mini Roller Skid

This tool is made from the same composite nylon material and is designed for 4” to 6” pipelines. The Mini URS is a one piece device with 8 wheels along the sides, which allow the skid to smoothly roll through smaller pipes. This device easily negotiates 4” 90º bends, and keeps the camera centered while protecting it from wear and tear.

PoleCat™

Plumbers will find this a very handy tool to use when needing to inspect manholes, drains, sewers, or any open area hard to get to. Simply screw this device on a standard extension painter's pole and strap the camera on with the two nylon straps. Then the tool can be adjusted to bend to the angle needed to inspect.

3” Wheel Kit

These wheels are larger than the standard wheels on the URS. Using these 6 replacement wheels the URS can center the inspection camera in a pipeline up to 14” in diameter.

LED Kit

This kit consists of three LED lights designed specifically to be used with the URS. These can be clipped and strapped on the URS to provide extra light in larger pipelines. They're made from polycarbonate, which is resistant from chemicals, water, and corrosion. Each light has 4 LR 44 1.5V alkaline coin cells, a break-a-way safety lanyard, and colored lens discs.

PolySpiders™

The Pro Kit Plus comes with 3 each of 4 different sized PolySpiders™. Basically, these are designed to mount on the camera spring or push cable to keep them from pushing against the walls and creating sharp angles. These prevent cable locking and flexing and allow for a smoother inspection process.

Adapter Sleeves

The Pro Kit Plus also contains 4 different adapter sleeves. These are for the Mini, the TrapMaster™, and the URS. Basically, these are nylon tabs placed inside these devices between the front and the camera head. These provide extra protection, help smaller cameras fit snug inside, and eliminates any contact with the set screws.

Summary

The Pro Kit Plus contains all of the useful tools plumbers need to enhance the pipeline inspection process and protect their expensive pipeline inspection camera equipment. From pipes as small as 4” to as large as 18” and open inspections of drains, this kit has all the innovative tools CPI Products has to offer.

Save money and get all the innovative tools you need, in order to get the job done right. CPI Products stands behind the design and quality of our products, and that's why we offer a lifetime warranty. CPI Products, partnered with our parent company Cavallero Plastics, is located in Pittsfield, MA. All of our products are manufactured direct, made in the United States, and shipped worldwide. To learn more please contact us today.

The Demand for Plumbers and Plumbing Products Projected to Rise

Monday, May 30, 2016 2:08:26 PM America/New_York

While the construction industry rebounds and plumbing products become more in demand, finding the plumbers to complete the jobs will get more difficult. According to online publication Plumber, in an article written on January 7, 2016 called: “Demand for Plumbing Products to Reach $12.3B in 2019”, growth in the residential and non-residential market will steadily increase demand by 6.3% a year. This is good news for the industry, yet still hasn't attracted enough young people to become plumbers in order to fill the growing demand.

 

Young Plumber Tradesmen in Scarce Supply

“A shortage of plumbers and other skilled laborers is creating a squeeze in Sioux Falls.” This according to an article in an online publication called Angus Leader, written on March 27th, 2016 by Patrick Anderson, called: “Plumber Shortage a Drain on Homebuilders.

The amount of unexpected retirements of plumbing tradesman coupled with a shortage of interest in young people toward the trade, is creating a shortage in the plumbing industry. According to the article: “The industry is expected to add 49,100 openings by 2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Although the average salary and benefits of plumbing is increasing in many regions in the U.S. (Sioux Falls is $46,480/year), the interest doesn't seem to be there yet for younger people to become plumbers. This is creating a shortage of plumbers, which is in contrast to the increase in plumbing products and construction demands, especially in the next few years with more expected retirements coming from Boomer generation plumbers.

Tom Hines, Frisbees general manager, is interviewed in the article and explains: “Part of attracting the next generation of plumbers means battling a perception. Plumbing can be a hard sell for teens because it comes off as a dirty, labor intensive job.” Hines goes on to say much of plumbing is not dirty, “When it comes to new construction, you're dealing in brand new piping and plumbing that's never been used before.”

 

Plumbing Products' Rising Demand  

According to the article on Plumber, the projected rise in plumbing products is from a new study from the Freedonia Group, which is a Cleveland-based industry market research firm. The article states: “In the nonresidential market, increasing construction of such buildings as hospitals, hotels, educational facilities and offices will promote demand for fixtures and fittings, as these structures generally have many bathrooms and extensive kitchen facilities.”

On the residential side, the article states: “The residential market will see the most rapid advances, as strong growth in housing completions and design trends that call for homes with more and larger bathrooms and larger kitchens will boost demand for a broad range of plumbing products.” Also included in the projected rise is: “Such items as commercial-size kitchen sinks, whirlpool baths, and walk-in bathtubs...”

New construction, renovations, and water/energy-saving advances in plumbing fixtures, are all part of the equation in the projected increase. This increase being estimated to reach around $12.3 Billion in just 3 years in 2019.

 

Summary

The plumbing industry is looking bright with significant projected growth in the market, yet is this allure enough to attract young people into the skilled trade? Nevertheless, the work will get done, yet likely with more delays than people would like. Supply and demand will dictate a likely rise in the cost of hiring plumbers, as the scarcity of plumbers is projected to continue.

Younger people will likely catch on soon enough, as the salary and benefits increase to attract them into this great opportunity to become a tradesman plumber. The opportunity is there for those willing to learn, and who realize the negative perception of the job is more of an illusion. Especially considering the types of projected increases in the future are “clean-like” jobs.

For young or old plumbers, finding the right equipment to help get jobs done faster will be at a premium. To meet this end, CPI Products has the innovative plumbing tools you need to get the job done faster and with more efficiency.

CPI Products is a fully integrated commercialization company specializing in push camera pipeline inspection accessories. CPI Products is the sole manufacturer of the Universal Roller Skid. We've designed products to help the plumbing industry worker smarter, faster, and with more efficiency. To learn more, please contact us today.

The Universal Roller Skid is Revolutionizing Pipeline Inspections

Wednesday, May 25, 2016 4:01:14 PM America/New_York

When it comes to pipeline inspections for push cameras, there's been nothing like the Universal Roller Skid available before now. Not only is this product offering to streamline the inspection process with better visuals and easier applications, but also importantly protecting the costly inspection camera systems used. This is why the Universal Roller Skid is revolutionizing pipeline inspections. 

Easier Application and Better Visuals

Whether you're plumber, municipality worker, or a worker dealing with larger infrastructure like an oil pipeline – the URS will enhance pipeline inspections while making them easier. It has the ability to traverse pipelines from 6” - 18” in diameter, while negotiating 6” to 45º elbows and 8” to 90º bends. And the best part is the camera stays centered and protected from any debris.

The URS is able to maneuver and negotiate like this through the pipeline because of its superior design. This design includes three thin legs with two thin wheels on each of the legs front and back, for a total of six wheels. The legs contract and expand in a scissor like motion, forming to the size of the pipeline which it's navigating, all the while keeping the inspection camera centered in a protected cover.

Keeping the camera centered while going through the pipeline allows for better visual inspection, while the three flashlights (located and secured on the outside of the protective core) light the way. The camera being centered, keeps it above the water line and avoids debris.

Adjustments and Extra Design Elements

The URS comes with a small clip on the back section, which is fastened to a cord that can collapse the legs and wheels to the smallest height and size. By fastening a strong cord or string to this clip, the operator can pull this while pushing in on the camera cable, to collapse the URS and pull it out of a sprung junction.

Other innovative design elements include adjustment knobs on the front and back of the core center, where the camera and cable are located. These knobs can be finger tightened to firmly secure the camera inside the core in the front, and securely tighten the cable in the back, so when pulling on the cable, the camera head won't be stressed.

The URS is also made from corrosive resistant, lightweight, and durable composite nylon material, for ultimate long-lasting use in all applications. There's also a spacer sleeve located in the core center, which accommodates different sized cameras.

There are also three small flashlights, specifically designed to be fastened on the sides of the URS core area. These flashlights are attached with zip ties and secured into place with small notches. They fit snug into place, so they'll stay in place no matter the circumstances. These flashlights enhance whatever light is given off from the camera itself.

Also, the thin legs and wheels are designed to cut through the debris the URS encounters, while the contacting legs can navigate branches and jetting objects with the camera still remaining centered.

The Purpose of Using the URS

There are two main purposes the URS is designed for: enhancing pipeline inspection applications and protecting expensive inspection camera systems. The URS is a unique piece of equipment, that's revolutionizing the way pipeline inspections are conducted. The affordable cost of the URS, coupled with the durable long-lasting design and materials, make this a must have for plumbers, municipal workers, and any other workers dealing with pipeline inspections.

The Universal Roller Skid is sold by CPI Products and is manufactured direct, made in the USA, and shipped worldwide. CPI Products is a fully integrated commercialization company delivering market changing industrial products. To learn more about the Universal Roller Skid, please contact us today. 

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