Our readers love to hear about difficult onsite projects. There are many reasons you should share how you overcame the latest big challenge.


It’s the time of year when installers are frantically whittling away at the list of jobs they committed to for the 2017 construction season. If you’re like many contractors I’ve talked to this summer, you have 25 jobs on the docket and a few more months to work before inclement weather starts to play a role in your scheduling. (Of course, we’re talking mainly to the folks north of the Mason-Dixon Line, where snow and frozen ground are factors.)

It’s a race to the finish line. Will you complete those projects this year or have to call some customers and give them the bad news that their new system will be a holdover until 2018? It’s no fun making that call, but in many respects this is a happy predicament to be caught in.

Think back several years to the slow economic recovery after the bottom dropped out of the real estate market. Houses weren’t being built, so you were missing out on a lot of new-construction systems. And with a dismal jobs outlook, many people who needed to replace an existing system were putting off the work as long as possible. At that time you were wondering how you could keep your crew busy without having to lay off good and talented workers.

Related: Editor's Notebook: Is It Time to Hire a New Crew?

BUSINESS IS BOOMING

It’s a different story today. Rather than laying off workers, many of you are wondering where you can find a few good crew members to satisfy homebuilders and homeowners finally ready to address failing systems. The economic upswing is certainly having a positive impact on our industry. With more revenue coming in, companies are updating equipment, working on branding through marketing and new websites, and training young technicians who represent the next generation of professional installers.

In the midst of a flurry of work this fall, I ask you to keep in mind the industry coverage Onsite Installer provides. If an upcoming job will test the abilities of your technicians and designers, let us know about it. If you are working on an extreme home site that presents challenges for your equipment and system components, give us a holler. We’re always looking for these types of projects to write about in these pages.

Your work season may be coming toward the end, but we still need to fill the magazine with System Profile stories that focus on the tough jobs you face. Sharing your tough-job experience will help the installer community in many ways:

Give kudos to your team: Installers are the unsung heroes of the construction industry. The work you do is dirty and difficult; your handiwork is covered up never to be seen again. Let’s face it, a craftsman-like onsite job doesn’t draw an ooh and aah from homeowners like a hardwood floor or a granite countertop.

A story in Onsite Installer provides the rare opportunity to showcase the skilled workers you are blessed to have on staff. Through words and photos, we can detail the straight trenches, level tanks, and clean plumbing and electrical work performed by your crew. In today’s work world, employees want to be recognized for a valuable contribution and a job well done. We will name names and show your team in the trenches, literally.

Focus on your company’s professionalism: What you do is not just hard, manual labor, it’s bringing complex design plans to life that have a critical impact on your customers. You might spend some time every day on the working end of a shovel, but make no mistake, installers are professionals, pure and simple. You and your crews must decipher engineered plans, work with demanding regulators, manage big project budgets and be frontline protectors of our environment.

Sitting in on training at the WWETT Show for so many years, I am amazed at the depth and breadth of knowledge installers must possess. I like to convey that level of training and dedication to the industry as a way to motivate readers to always be upping their game. As a trade publication, the message goes out to other installers, but there’s no reason you can’t share the story with potential customers through social media, your local newspaper and on your website.

Build a successful installer network: Whenever I attend a wastewater industry event, I hear about the value of one-on-one networking between contractors. Installers meet and can share their problems and challenges for the betterment of their small businesses and the industry as a whole. Think of a System Profile story as a big networking opportunity. I’ve heard about installers from opposite ends of the country developing a valued relationship after meeting through one of these stories. A reader calls the subject company because they shared a similar challenge and the two strike up a friendship. As contractors have told me, it’s beneficial to find another professional who is not a competitor to swap ideas from time to time.

Raise awareness about new technology: Installers are always finding new products to improve treatment quality, work on smaller lots or in poor soils, and to promote more economical solutions for their customers. When you find a new technology that works, wouldn’t you like to share the news with installers in other states or regions? If not just to help another installer, how about to promote the practical solution so the manufacturer can continue to make and sell it? Fractured regulations across the U.S. and Canada sometimes make it difficult for new technologies to reach a broader audience. When you tell us about a successful application of a new product, we can share the news.

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Show the world how installers make a difference: Septic systems often get a bad rap. We see in the headlines that failing systems are often blamed for algae blooms and poor water conditions that close beaches. Unfounded claims sometimes lead communities to push for municipal sewer expansion that may be neither more environmentally friendly nor more cost effective than proper onsite systems. When our system profiles are shared through the Onsite Installer website or state wastewater associations that pass them along, the public perception can be — slowly and surely — changed. Our message can be that failing systems may be an issue, but that today’s onsite technologies can solve those problems.

IT’S NOT TOO LATE

Sure, the leaves will soon be creating a colorful tapestry on the landscape and then falling to the ground. But you’re not ready to hibernate for the winter and neither are we. Just like you’re lacing up the boots and getting to work every morning, we’re looking for more new systems to write about through the fall and into the winter months. And when the January landscape up north looks like a barren moon scene, we’ll be talking to installers in Florida, Texas and Arizona where the work never stops.

If you have an interesting project to suggest for a System Profile, drop me a line at editor@onsiteinstaller.com and tell me about it. In the meantime, I hope you can check most of those 2017 jobs off the list before taking a well-deserved winter break.

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