How To Get Started: Costs & Equipment Needed For Trenchless Pipe Repair

In the plumbing industry, staying ahead often means embracing innovative solutions that not only benefit customers but also elevate a plumber’s service offerings. Trenchless pipe repair is a game-changer, offering a range of techniques such as cured-in-place pipe lining, spot repair, sectional repairs, robotic pipe cutting (reinstatements), and spray coating. For any plumber looking to expand their services, adding trenchless pipe repair could be a significant step toward increased revenue and a broader client base.

Let’s dive deeper to answer that burning question, “Should I start a trenchless pipe repair company?”

As technology and techniques continue to advance, being at the forefront of these innovations could be the key to long-term success in the plumbing industry.

Understanding Trenchless Pipe Repair

Trenchless pipe repair methods revolutionize the way damaged pipes are restored. Traditional methods involve extensive digging and disruption, whereas trenchless repair minimizes this by utilizing cutting-edge technology and techniques. These techniques include:

      • Cured-in-Place Pipe Lining (CIPP): This involves inserting a flexible lining into the damaged pipe, curing it in place with time, steam, hot water, heat or UV light. When installed properly, this creates a seamless, durable “pipe within a pipe.”
      • Spot Repair and Sectional Repairs: Targeted repairs address damaged areas without the need for extensive excavation, saving time and resources.
      • Robotic Pipe Cutting: Advanced robotics allow for precise cutting such as branch line reinstatements, removal of sections of damaged pipes, failed liner removal, and retrieval of trapped objects, reducing the need for large-scale excavation.
      • Spray Coating: This involves applying a protective coating to the interior of the pipe, effectively sealing and reinforcing it. Please note that spray coating is widely variable, depending upon the materials and application system used.




    Costs To Start A Trenchless Pipe Repair Company

    It’s no secret that trenchless pipe repair services require a financial investment. The costs can range based upon the specific techniques a contractor wants to adopt:

        1. Equipment: CIPP lining machinery, robotic tools, spray coating equipment, and inspection tools can cost from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars for each piece.
        2. Training: Proper training for technicians in these techniques is crucial for successful implementation. Training costs vary (it’s always free with no purchase necessary at Apex CIPP!) but are essential for quality service delivery.
        3. Licensing and certifications: Obtaining necessary permits, licenses, and certifications might involve additional costs.
        4. Vehicles: Before buying equipment, be sure to have your vehicle space in mind. It won’t do you any good to get the world’s best robotic cutter and not be able to transport it to the jobsite! A good used vehicle could be a great starting point for a new trenchless pipe repair contractor.
        5. Storage/Office Space: Not all contractors need a dedicated office or retail building. But you will definitely need a safe and secure place to store your company vehicle(s) and equipment. You might want to consider a private spot for your office, too. Following through on estimates and invoices will be easier when you have an organized area to work in.

      Profitability and Revenue ForecastHow much does it cost to start trenchless pipe repair. Apex CIPP WWETT trade show

      The profitability of offering trenchless pipe repair services can be substantial, given the increasing demand for non-invasive, efficient plumbing solutions. Plumbers and new contractors who incorporate these services can potentially expect significant revenue growth over time.

      The revenue projection depends on factors such as market demand, geographical location, competition, and marketing efforts. However, a rough estimate could be made:

          • Initial Years: In the first year, the revenue might be modest as the business establishes its presence and gains momentum. A plumber can expect to recover the initial equipment investment and training costs.

          • Subsequent Years: As the services gain traction, revenue can grow significantly, potentially doubling or more within a year. The expansion of the client base, increased referrals, and word-of-mouth marketing contribute to this growth. Pro tip: concentrate on great reviews! This will catapult your credibility and show potential customers that they can trust you to do the job right.

          • Five-Year Projection: Within five years, a successful trenchless pipe repair service could potentially generate revenue in the range of several hundred thousand dollars to several million dollars annually, depending on the number of employees, size of projects, and other factors.


        Adding trenchless pipe repair services to a plumber’s offerings is a strategic move. It not only positions the plumber as a forward-thinking professional but also meets the increasing demand for efficient, less disruptive pipe repair solutions.

        While the initial investment and training costs might seem daunting, the long-term benefits outweigh these. As demand for non-invasive pipe repair continues to rise, plumbers will see an increase in revenue and client base expansion, making the integration of trenchless pipe repair services a profitable venture.

        Embracing trenchless pipe repair services isn’t just about offering a new service—it’s about future-proofing your plumbing business, meeting customer demands, and significantly increasing revenue potential.

        Additional Read: Discussion on Pipe Lining Equipment Costs

        When considering adding trenchless pipe repair services to a plumbing business, one of the most significant initial costs revolves around equipment for pipe lining. Costs can vary significantly based on the specific techniques and scale of services a contractor intends to offer.

        Cured-in-Place Pipe Lining (CIPP) MachineryRenssi Drain Cleaning Machine R-Mill-36

        CIPP is a widely used trenchless pipe repair technique that involves inserting a flexible lining into the damaged pipe, curing it in place to create a durable “inner pipe.” Some of the costs associated with CIPP equipment vary based on factors such as:

            • Pipe Diameter Range: Machinery for CIPP can come in various sizes to accommodate different pipe diameters, which can significantly impact the overall cost.
            • Quality and Features: Higher-quality equipment with advanced features might come at a higher cost, but they often offer better performance and longevity.
            • Manufacturers and Suppliers: Different manufacturers or suppliers may offer competing prices for similar machinery.

          Robotic Tools and Spray Coating Equipment

          In addition to CIPP machinery, other equipment such as robotic tools for precise cutting and removal of failed liners or foreign objects, as well as spray coating equipment for applying protective coatings, are complementary to trenchless pipe repair services. The costs for these tools might include:

              1. Specialization and Functionality: Robotic tools are designed for specific functionalities, which can impact costs.
              2. Spray Coating Equipment Variation: The cost of spray coating equipment can differ based on the type of material used, the application method, and the size of the equipment.


            Cost Analysis and Budget Considerations

            For a contractor looking to add trenchless pipe repair services, conducting a thorough cost analysis is crucial. The initial investment required for purchasing or leasing this equipment can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the scale of the operation and the selected techniques.

            Strategies to Manage Equipment Costs

                1. Leasing vs. Purchasing: Contractors might consider leasing equipment initially to reduce the upfront financial burden. Leasing offers flexibility and the chance to test equipment before making a more substantial investment.
                2. Equipment Financing: Explore financing options or loans specifically designed for purchasing business equipment to spread out the cost over time.
                3. Used or Refurbished Equipment: Consider purchasing used or refurbished machinery, ensuring it meets quality standards and comes with warranties. Pro tip: Ask your favorite equipment sales company about used or demo units.
                4. Cost-Benefit Analysis: Conduct a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis to understand the potential return on investment (ROI) for the selected equipment.





              More Ways to Increase Success in Pipe Rehabilitation

              Research and Analysis

                  1. Market Research: Study the local market to understand demand, competition, and potential client needs for trenchless pipe repair services.
                  2. Technology/Equipment Evaluation: Research and select the specific trenchless repair techniques to offer, considering costs, benefits, and potential return on investment.


                Financial Planning

                    1. Cost Analysis: Determine the initial investment required for equipment, training, and certifications. Pro tip: talk to a full-service equipment and materials company. If they try to sell to you instead of listening to your questions, drop them! A good distributor will help guide you through startup without pressuring you to buy their products. Don’t believe it? Give Apex CIPP a call and find out for yourself.
                    2. Budgeting: Develop a comprehensive budget, considering equipment purchase or lease costs, training expenses, and ongoing operational costs. Keep in mind that you might get a better rate when you bundle equipment into one monthly payment.


                  Training and Certifications

                      1. Technician Training: Invest in comprehensive training for technicians and plumbers in the selected trenchless repair techniques. Pro tip: We offer free installation training – no purchase necessary!
                      2. Licensing and Certifications: Obtain necessary permits, licenses, and certifications required for offering trenchless pipe repair services. Check with your local and state requirements.


                    Equipment Acquisition

                        1. Equipment Selection: Purchase or lease the required equipment and tools for your chosen trenchless techniques, such as CIPP lining machinery, robotics, and spray coating equipment.
                        2. Supplier Partnerships: Establish relationships with reliable suppliers to ensure a consistent inventory of materials and equipment.


                      Business Integration

                          1. Service Integration: Incorporate trenchless pipe repair services into your existing business offerings and marketing materials.
                          2. Promotion and Marketing: Develop a marketing strategy to promote the new services, highlighting the benefits and efficiency of trenchless repair methods.
                          3. Client Education: Educate existing and potential clients about the advantages of trenchless pipe repair over traditional methods. Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to let your existing customers know about your new services. They may have additional needs or be able to refer their friends and neighbors.



                        Get Operational

                            1. Operational Setup: Develop standards and procedures for the implementation of trenchless repair services within your business.
                            2. Quality Control: Implement quality control measures to ensure high standards in service delivery.
                            3. Testing and Trial Runs: Conduct trial runs to ensure proficiency and efficiency in delivering trenchless pipe repair services. Pro tip: get some clear plastic pipe for test lining. Your team will be able to see what’s happening!



                          Monitoring and Growth

                              1. Performance Monitoring: Track performance metrics, customer feedback, and revenue generation from the new services. Focus on getting great reviews and collect testimonials to use in your marketing and social media materials.
                              2. Adaptation and Growth: Adapt strategies based on feedback and market trends to optimize service offerings and expand the client base.


                            Networking and Partnerships

                                1. Industry Networking: Engage with industry professionals, associations, and organizations to stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in trenchless pipe repair.
                                2. Partnerships: Explore collaboration opportunities with other service providers or contractors to expand service offerings or cover larger projects. Pro tip: network with realtors, building managers, and grounds keepers. They always need reliable contractors.


                              Compliance and Legal Considerations

                                  1. Compliance Check: Ensure adherence to all legal and safety regulations governing trenchless repair services in your specific region.
                                  2. Insurance Coverage: Update insurance policies to cover the new services and potential risks associated with trenchless pipe repair.


                                By following these outlined steps, a contractor can methodically integrate trenchless pipe repair services into their existing plumbing business, ensuring a smooth transition, efficient operations, and a profitable expansion of their service offerings.

                                For more information on adding trenchless pipe repair to your plumbing business or starting a new pipe rehabilitation company, go to apexcipp,com or call 941-300-0441.


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