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Pipe lining demo using UV LED curing - Apex CIPP at WWETT Show

Ditching The Ditches: Guide to Adding Trenchless Pipe Repair To Your Plumbing Services in 2024

Tired of digging and frustrated by labor costs, equipment needs, and mess it leaves behind? If you’re looking for a way to level up your pipe repair services and tap into a booming industry, trenchless pipe rehabilitation might be right for you. This innovative technology lets you repair underground and in-wall drainage pipes without the demolition – think less sweat, more profit.

Expand your business & increase revenue, especially during the slow seasons

But before you hire a lining crew, you might want to dive deeper into the real costs and details for adding trenchless pipe rehab to your menu of plumbing services. Like any business venture, starting new or expanding your company involves investments, training, and strategic planning. Fortunately, we’ve been focusing on this industry for more than a decade and have developed this guide to break down the nuts and bolts of adding CIPP (cured-in-place pipe) services, focusing on real costs and actionable insights.

Why Add Trenchless Pipe Repair To Your Existing Plumbing Company Offerings?

Let’s face it, there will always be a need for traditional dig-and-replace methods when it comes to plumbing. However, these methods can be a costly mess for the property owner. Many knowledgeable plumbing companies are using the best of both worlds – traditional plumbing repairs when necessary, and trenchless pipe repair when it better serves their customers. 

From the customer perspective, the option of a faster repair with low (if any) impact to their property, is a dream come true. So, the fact that the billable plumbing cost-per-job could be higher, can be offset by the customers’ savings in foundation repairs, tile and/or wall repair, or concrete repairs that would be necessary with conventional pipe replacement. In fact, many estimates claim that the overall savings to a customer choosing trenchless methods can be as much as 40% or more.

Cast Iron Pipe Before/After Being Lined With Structural Pipelining

Here’s a quick rundown of why you should consider adding trenchless pipe repair to your plumbing services:

  • Market demand is skyrocketing: According to Market Research Future, the global trenchless pipe lining market is projected to reach a whopping $15.88 billion by 2027, growing at a staggering 12.5% CAGR. That’s a lot of potential customers knocking on your door.
  • Minimal disruption: Imagine fixing pipes without tearing up concrete foundations or opening up walls. Clients love it, and it saves time and money on restoration.
  • Shorter repair times: Trenchless solutions can save the property owner days or even weeks of disruption. Installation methods like UV LED curing can allow repairs to be ready just minutes after installation.
  • Moderate Training and Crew Needs: Although conventional plumbing training can take years, trenchless pipe rehab can be learned in shorter segments and with equipment-specific training, allowing you to build teams at scale.
  • Environmentally friendly: Trenchless methods use less energy and materials, minimizing environmental impact. Green practices are increasingly important for businesses and resonate with clients.
  • Higher profit margins: Compared to traditional methods, lining jobs can offer 20-50% higher profit margins due to reduced labor and material costs.

The Investment Breakdown: What It Really Costs

Now, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. Here’s a realistic picture of the initial investment you can expect:


  • CIPP lining system: $40,000 – $120,000 (e.g., varies greatly with cured-in-place pipe systems, installation methods and features)
  • Camera inspection system: $3,000 – $20,000
  • Jetting equipment: $5,000 – $25,000
  • Safety gear and tools: $3,000 – $15,000

Training & Certification:

  • Trenchless technology training: $2,000 – $5,000 (e.g. National Association of Sewer Service Companies – NASSCO) Or, find a reputable company that offers FREE training and operator certification!
  • Industry certifications: $500 – $1,000 (e.g., PACP – Pipelining Assessment Certification Program) Or, use a company that trains teams from all over the country, for FREE!

Business Operations:

  • Marketing and advertising: $0 – $25,000 – depending on your chosen strategy, unless you are adding it to your current marketing outreach or DIY-ing it.
  • Insurance and permits: $2,000 – $5,000 – this can vary on the municipality requirements for your service area.
  • Business licenses and registration: $0 – $1,000 – you probably already have these, if you’re performing plumbing services.
  • Vehicle wrap and branding: $2,000 – $7,500 – optional, but why not have a rolling billboard?

Total estimated startup cost: $52,000 – $225,000

Remember, this is just a starting point. Costs can vary depending on your location, chosen equipment, and the scope of your initial service offerings.

Building Your Expertise and Brand

While equipment and training are crucial, remember, you’re also selling your expertise and professionalism. Here are some key tips to stand out:

  • Network with property managers and realtors: Build relationships to become their go-to specialist for low-impact pipe solutions.
  • Specialize in specific pipe materials or problem areas: Cater to a niche market such as cast-iron pipe repair to differentiate yourself.
  • Invest in marketing: Showcase your expertise through case studies, blog posts, and before-and-after images for your future customers to see.
  • Focus on customer service: Exceed expectations by providing clear communication, timely estimates, and exceptional service.

Remember, success requires more than just equipment.

Building a well trained team is crucial to your success. Invest in people that align with your company’s mission to provide outstanding results. A great sales and installation team is worth everything to both your company and your customers.

The Bottom Line: Is adding Trenchless Pipe Lining Right for You?

If you’re a skilled tradesman with a strong work ethic, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a desire to offer cutting-edge services, trenchless pipe rehabilitation could be an ideal fit. It’s a growing industry with high profit margins and environmental benefits.

How do you get started? Next steps:

You might have some experience with trenchless pipe rehab from attending trade shows or maybe you’ve subbed out some pipelining work and watched the installation crew. No matter your level of familiarity, we recommend starting with a consultation. At Apex CIPP, we listen to your goals and really get to know you. We only recommend equipment and materials that we trust and we never hesitate to let you know if there’s a better option, even if we don’t sell it.

Next, you can schedule training for your team. We offer free training for up to four people at our Florida location. You should leave our facility feeling confident to use your new equipment and start your trenchless pipe repair services. And we gladly offer support throughout your trenchless pipe rehab journey. We’re here for you every step of the way.

Apex CIPP Solutions offers free consultations to those interested in adding trenchless pipe repair to their plumbing services. Training and professional consultation in pipe lining, also known as CIPP (cured-in-place pipe), pipe patching, connection/junction lining, robotic reinstatement cutting, spray coating, drain cleaning and more are available. Complimentary specialized training is also included with system purchases.



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