Do Your Research Before Bidding a Job in a New Area

Allen’s Environmental Services learns a pipe lining bidding lesson the hard way

Do Your Research Before Bidding a Job in a New Area

Barney Allen, of Allen’s Environmental Services, learned a lesson about working too far from home. “You know,” he says, “you can get into a job and it costs you money.”

This one did — a few hundred thousand dollars out of his own pocket to do the job right and satisfy the customer. It began when he connected with a couple guys who promised to help him get business in Florida. The state line is only 170 miles from his home base in Statesboro, Georgia, and the two men found a job relining some sewer pipes.

“They did not steal money; they did not take a penny. They underestimated the job,” Allen says. “These guys told me we could do this job in six weeks. We got out of there in 7 1/2 months.

“[When a guy] goes out and bids a job, he needs to know his craft,” he says. These two guys didn’t.

The first problem was the water table. “If you have sewer lines 4, 5 feet deep and your water table at 2 feet, you have a serious problem,” Allen says.

Taps had also been done crudely. There were no watertight fittings, and the result was a lot of infiltration. Pipe dimensions provided to the company were wrong. The pipes described as 5-inch were really 5-inch outside diameter, not inside diameter, so the cutting equipment wouldn’t fit. Allen had to buy extra equipment to do the work.

Well points were needed because there was so much infiltration into the job site, and the pumps on those points had to run 24 hours a day so technicians could work the next day.

Then there was the weather: a lot of rain. “And, you know, motel rooms go on. The motel people don’t give you a discount because it’s raining and your men are sitting in a room.”

Allen’s takeaway was to stay close to home where he knows the area, knows the conditions and knows the people he’s dealing with. If he agrees to a distant job now, he subcontracts to companies he knows will do a good job. Lesson learned.

Learn more about Allen’s Environmental Services in the May issue of Onsite Installer.


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