Jim Holcomb, owner of Roto-Co, Inc., the largest Roto-Rooter franchise in the United States, made the strategic decision to expand the company’s CIPP business line in the markets where it was most needed. One of those regions is Salinas, CA. Previously, Roto-Co had sub-contracted CIPP lining projects to a SoCal CIPP contractor, but based on the growing demand for lateral repairs that eliminate the need to dig and replace, Holcomb identified this opportunity as a great way to expand his business and better serve his customers by Roto-Co performing the CIPP work themselves.
First step of the expansion was purchasing two CIPP systems with supporting liners, resin and the tools from MaxLiner USA. “The decision to work with MaxLiner was based on the success record we have had in the past with them training and setting our CIPP teams up in some of our other locations like Sacramento and Palm Springs”, said Holcomb. “My V.P. of Operations, Mike Jennings, led those efforts, and quite frankly, our crews took to it right away and are kicking butt!”
Next step, training. Three days of training for the Salinas team commenced this past July – “Prior to Chad Miller (Technical Services Manager, MaxLiner USA) arriving, he helped us a lot with the prep work,” shared Jennings. “He helped our branch manager in Salinas determine what additional tools he would need and instructed him on how to set up the box van for lining to ensure we were prepared and ready for training. He also helped us to identify which jobs were the best candidates for training the crew. We reached out to our customers ahead of time, informing them that we were training and would have a larger than average crew on their properties.”
Following MaxLiner’s recommended training schedule, day one began at Roto-Co’s shop in a controlled environment. There the team became familiar with the equipment, safety precautions and the processes of properly wetting out, inverting and curing liners. By the end of the day, the crew performed multiple practice inversions with the LinerGun followed by successfully building and installing a liner. This also aided in determining what additional tools and supplies were needed as they prepared to apply practice to the live install.
“The best way to learn is when things don’t go smoothly during training,” shared Miller. “I was happy we encountered several small hurdles to overcome – from preparation to equipment and a deeper than expected pipe once we got to the jobsite. Our first live install project was for a home about to go on the market which had a partially new sewer line installed. Prior to selling the home must pass a sewer inspection, hence the reason for the call-out for a trenchless repair. The line from the house to the clean-out was new, but from just past the clean-out to the city main the original clay pipe remained. The existing sewer ran under the newly poured concrete sidewalk towards the city main, located below the middle of the street. Inspection verified the 4” VCP was partially collapsed with a negative offset. This would be the ideal location for an open-cut repair and an access point for the liners – shooting one up towards the new PVC pipe and clean out, and the other toward the city connection beneath the road. While digging, the excavation crew exposed an unmarked water main and temporarily made a repair the day before we arrived on site. Fortunately for the property owner, a liner could be used instead of a very costly, open-trench, full pipe replacement while eliminating the risk of working along the water main and expediting the repair time so the home