Posts Tagged ‘service’

Service Call Fee for Septic Bids

Saturday, April 1st, 2017
Here’s another story for the “I cannot make this stuff up file.”
Let’s talk fees for a second. Our “Service Call Fee” is $125.00. That fee get’s our truck on site and starts working for emergencies. But then we go by the hour plus parts until we are done.
There are other guys out there that’ll do a $75.00 service call.
We lose some work to this problem over the phone. One needs to understand the difference.
So let me set up this senario that happened yesterday.
Client calls up a service call by competitor. It’s $85, super cheap. But when they show up to replace a 2 foot section of pipe underground was bid out at $1,200. And it’s only 24 inches underground.
Client didn’t call me because that’s something I don’t really do. It’s the pipe between the house and the septic tank called the “Transport Line”
Client calls me up and asks if I do this type of work, I say no. Not really. But he tells me the bid, and my jaw drops. That can’t be right, I must be missing something.
I told him I would do it. But be prepared it could cost $600-$800 dollars. I’m shooting from the hip here, as I am not there looking at it.
I arrive. Service Call is $125.00 to get there. I dig out the line, 1.5 hours of labor. 2 fittings and a section of pipe and bentonite clay, was about $50.00. We used the client’s own gravel to bed the pipe.
His bill was under $400.00. Still far under my “Over-the-phone-shooting-from-the-hip” of $600-800.
And way super less expensive than the $1,200 bid from competitor.
Food-for-thought. $125 service call isn’t that bad anymore.
Thanks for reading,

Real Estate Transaction Buyer Beware Septic Service

Tuesday, December 31st, 2013

Here comes another story of, “I just can’t make this stuff up”

Scenario. Buyer and buyer’s agent call me to inspect a septic system of a house that they are going to purchase. I note that
1. There is an electrical problem that needs an electrician.
2. The alarm float has become detached from the float tree and needs to be reattached.
3. The solids levels in the tank show that the tank does not need pumped; however, there is severe diaper wipe contamination and should be pumped out before putting back into service. Garbage cannot be in septic systems.

*Note: I can only pump the tank and fix the alarm. I am not an electrician. Cost for pumping this tank and fixing the alarm. About $300.00

Okay, pretty straight forward. Right?

Wrong. Seller is a flipper in this county. Buys and sells home that are old drug houses and puts on a coat of nail polish and sells them. Listing agent works for this builder and will protect builders interest at all costs.

Listing agent calls for another septic inspection.

This is the actual notes this septic inspector put into the comment section of his inspection. Also note, he never mentions the diaper wipe contamination.

***Alarm float was installed using a loop method ( unattached ) which is an approved method — BUT I agree with previous inspector attaching alarm
float is better method.
This septic tank is listed on drawing as being a 1000 gallon septic tank on as build drawing, not 1250 as reported on previous report.
Accumulations in septic do not warrant pumping this septic tank as they are at about 30 % of county pumping requirements.
Pumping a septic tank prematurely destroys the bacterial environment within the septic tank requiring the bacteria to regenerate. The only benefit
to pumping a tank prematurely is it helps keep as pumpers in business.
Property owner has electrician scheduled to come repair circuits for alarm and pump chamber***

So lets break this down.
1. Alarm float was installed using a “Loop Method”. I have contacted installers and septic designers. No one has ever heard of this “approved method”
2. He notes that the size of the septic tank is 1000 gallons as per asbuilt and not 1250 gallons as I have noted. Asbuilt is wrong, tank is 6 ft diameter, 6 ft operating depth. After match its 1250 gallons. I can’t argue the math.
3. He noted that the tank should not be pumped as it will destroy bacterial environment. Um, this one loses me. It has garbage in it.

So let’s speculate now. We Don’t pump the tank. 6 months to 1 year later, diaper wipes enter the pump station and clog up the pump. This has happened, just go back in my timeline. I have pictures of pumps eating diaper wipes and sending some out to drainfields. The last time this happened it cost the homeowner over $1,600.

So again, fast forward one year. Buyers are living their lives, following all the rules of septic. But some of these wipes make it to the pump. Call me. I come out and tell them that the tank sent diaper wipes to the drainfield and burned out the pump. And then the next thing happens all the time. They tell me that they don’t use diaper wipes and would never flush those. And I have to tell them that they should have pumped the tank when they moved in.

But that is why they hired me. To tell them what they are getting into. I am not telling them to not buy the house. Just letting them know that their septic system should be pumped out because of the garbage contamination.

I have never got into the politics of my business. I just want to go to work and go home. But now I am getting tired of this type of behavior.

Question that comes to mind is, “why is this competitor not mentioning the diaper wipe contamination in his notes? Is he protecting the “builder/flipper” from spending another $300.00

And in case anyone is wondering…..this competitor is the same as the competitor who made homeowner dig up her own tank, and charged another client for a dead goat removal from her tank.

So here we are. I have been doing this for eight years. And in those years, I have had zero complaints filed with my company. And I have files zero complaints of anyone else. But I feel like I have to do what’s right. I can’t allow my voice to only complain on facebook about these guys any longer.

I am filing a legitimate complaint with the Clark County Health Department today. And let them take it from here.

I really hope that the clients of mine, that he has burned, remember, as the Health Department will be contacting them soon. Don’t lie, don’t embellish the truth. Just tell it like it is.

He’s gotta be stopped.

Sorry so long, and thanks for reading,


For updates on this post, please follow the link to my FACEBOOK PAGE and read all comments.  It gets a bit technical, but if you can follow this, you’ll see the outcome.  Send me an email if you have any questions about this.

Latest customer testimonial via website: Memorial Day 2012

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Dear Ronnie,


You were awsome today. Your willingness to respond on a holiday weekend was a life saver. We really appreciate your patience, politeness and understanding. The fact that you took the time to explain in detail to multiple people the workings of septic systems was cool. Your knowledge of not only your job but state and federal regulations shows your dedication to your work. I especially liked how you looked up county records and knew more about this system than I.

The care you took bringing in your equipment to not damage trees and only digging up what you needed to preserve the property and not hurt our mother earth. Your over the phone quote was spot on and options to lower the bill is appreciated. I can’t tell you the last business I dealt with,with great customer service like yours. Your positive attitude, care, concern, patience, and honesty speak volumes of you as a person. You surely saved our weekend gathering and I’m sure my aunt Maja (home owner) will be pleased when she finds out. Thanks to you I now know more about poo, enzymes and bacteria than I ever did before. Many blessings and many thanks.


Darren Penland


It was really no problem at all. I enjoyed your family’s company and
kindness. Also know this. In the eight years I have been driving a septic
truck, I have never had anyone Ever walk my truck all the way out to the
road as you did. I really appreciated that, and it made second job, truck
driver, so much easier.

Thanks a million,


Septic Tank Enzymes

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

Done paying taxes, time to head out the door. Fun filled day.

I guess a septic tank is blowing up in Yacolt. He started to back up in the house. So he took the lid off the septic tank, and sewage is “mushrooming” out of the septic tank and blowing up all over the grass.

But they use enzymes, they should never have a problem. I told the homeowner to turn the bottle of enzymes over. He read the small print, “Along with regular pumping maintenance every 2-3 years.” Oh, hasn’t pumped it in over 20. I know what this drainfield will look like.
Now what’s really funny, is he doesn’t want me to bring the semi up just yet. He wants me to bring the inspection car. He thinks it’s going to be something simple. I hope it’s not raining. I want to take a lot of pictures of this one.

Busy two weeks

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

It’s been a busy two weeks.  I have photos and stories to share.  I will try to get them on this weekend.

I can’t believe how busy it’s been.  Considering it’s spring break and all.  Got a great workout yesterday, a homeowner has a septic tank that was 3.5 feet down.  Took an hour and 10 minutes to excavate by hand.  Good times.  I slept well last night.

Thanks for reading,



First Call Septic on TV

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

Here is a lost segment when First Call Septic was on TV with Channel 12’s reporter, David Schmitke



Septic Tank leak repair

Monday, March 19th, 2012
Inside Septic Tank Repair

Inside Septic Tank Repair

Here I am inside a septic tank. I know, good times.  However, this homeowner was quoted $4,000.00 to replace a septic tank.  He was never given the option to repair the septic tank.  Now it’s easier and less messy to have it replaced.  But a homeowner needs to know all of his options.  He was really hurting for money due to our downed economy.

When he went to the County permitting department to apply for a tank replacement permit, he was told he may want to call First Call Septic first before spending all this money to see if it could be repaired.  He was told if First Call Septic can’t fix it, then it can’t be fixed.

When I arrived, I could see this was a two part clam-shell like tank.  It’s an easy fix.  Just have to clean the septic tank out.  Im not going diving to make this repair.  Then apply the high strength sealer.  It works great.

It’s always good to get a second opinion when dealing with septic system component replacements.  Because in many cases a repair is possible and much more affordable.


Thanks for reading,


Made in America Parts Only

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

I cannot stress this enough.  It’s always amazing to me that someone will complain about our economy, and then send their hard earned money overseas.   There are so many people here out of work, and are willing to work.  And

Made in America

Septic tank riser lid made in America

yes, buying American Made parts and supplies is more expensive.  First Call Septic has taken a stand many years ago.  We’ll do our absolute best to find parts made here.  From the pumps we use, to the risers we install, to the lids that cover septic tanks.

Now I know it’s hard.  It’s tough when one has to decide.  $55.00 for a riser lid.  Or $35.00 nearly the same lid made in china.  But truth of the matter is, it’s more expensive to manufacture parts in this country.   Now, I won’t install a lid made in another country.  Nothing against those other countries, but our country is having a difficult problem.  With all those unemployed right now, I have to bet there are people willing to make lids, pumps, switches right here.

Even the boots my employee and I wear are manufactured here.  Yes we could have saved some money and went to a major outlet store chain that has boots made in another country for about $45.00.  But I have a pair of Red Wing Boots, manufactured in Minnesota.  I have to buy a new pair about every two years.  They get resoled about every year. And that’s about a $400.00 investment every 2 years.   There are shoe salesman, shoe manufacturer, supervisors, store owners, and everyone involved in those boots are able to go home and eat cause we made a commitment to purchase here.

I also purchased a Mack Truck about 4 years ago.  Keep in mind I could have purchased a Hino truck.  They are more fuel efficient.  They are about just as reliable.  But I have to believe that there is a family out there, that can go home and eat dinner tonight because We chose to buy an American made truck.  We also only install American Made parts, when ever we can.  We are still working on trying to find switches manufactured here.

The pumps we use are manufactured in New Jersey and Texas.  They are solid cast iron pumps and are the pumps your grandparents installed and never had problems for over 2o years.  You never heard of Grandpa or Grandma having septic tank pump issues.  But now installers have started using plastic pumps manufactured over seas and they get hot and warp and in some cases only last about 5 years.  They alarms are going off sewage is backing up.  Then the homeowner calls a septic provider.  If they call me, they get one of these great cast iron pumps.  If they call another provider who is a bit cheaper, they get a plastic one.  So I have to ask, How expensive is cheaper parts?  A great pump is going to run anywhere from $300.00 to $600.00 depending on the pump needs.  A cheap pump is less than a $100.00.  But a cheap pump needs replaced on average every 4-5 years.  And that cheaper pumps money is going over seas.

So please, before I can apologize for our prices, know that when you use First Call Septic, we have done everything we can to keep America Rolling.  Insist on American Made products and goods.  Please.  For the love of our country and our fellow countrymen.

Most people don’t realize and I hope that they get one thing from all of this.  You the people can vote everyday.  Everytime you spend a dollar, anywhere, you are voting.  Purchase products made here, and from companies that share the same values as you do.   If you spend your money in other countries, or with companies that don’t share your values, you are giving them power.

Okay, I don’t mean to ramble, but our country is in such bad shape.  And it makes me sad to see why some people just don’t get it.   I could buy parts made in another country, buy trucks made in another country.  That would bring our prices down for sure.  But then we’d be supporting another country and not our own.

Thanks for reading,



Happy Veteran’s Day November 11, 2011

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Happy Veterans day everyone. If you are a veteran, we are greatly in debt. I thank you all for our freedom and your service.

In honor of our vets the First veteran that calls us for an inspection will receive that inspection for absolutely free***. I will pay all applicable sales tax and filing fees with the county. This offer is available in Clark County Only. So if you are a veteran, please call the office to schedule 360-686-0505. This offer is also available to one veteran. Sorry, It’s not that I don’t appreciate each and every one of you, but I’m not rich, and it is expensive. If you aren’t available, just send this info to a veteran you know, (on septic of course ha ha). Have a great veterans day.


And please don’t forget to “like” our Facebook page.


Thanks for reading,