Novel finance schemes help drive Pipe Inspection Business

Novel finance schemes help drive Pipe Inspection Business

Despite the current economic conditions, Alan Hasson, General Manager at instrumentation specialist Ashtead Technology, reports continued growth in the drain/pipe inspection sector, but he says “This growth is not the result of more people inspecting drains, pipes and culverts, or more pipes being inspected; we have managed to maintain this expansion by investing in the latest inspection technologies and through the creation of innovation financial models to make this technology available to a wider market.”

Ashtead’s relationship with a Saxmundham based drain services contractor is a good example of the ways in which access to technology can be improved. Suffolk Drain Services operates throughout East Anglia providing high pressure jetting, concrete cutting, scale cutting and culvert cleaning. However, conscious of a need to also offer inspection and CCTV services, company owner Vince Clark recently started to hire an iPEK Rovver 125 from Ashtead. Vince says “This allowed me to assess whether there was sufficient return on this aspect of the work, without having to commit myself to an expensive purchase.”

Compact, lightweight and highly manoeuvrable, the Rovver 125 has proved to be extremely reliable in the most challenging environments, inspecting pipes with diameters ranging from 150 mm (6in) to 900 mm (36in) in humid conditions and even fully submersed. The Rovver’s remote pendant enables an operator to raise and lower the camera, change camera zoom and orientation, control focus and lighting, engage the clutch and steer the crawler around obstacles such as debris and offsets.

Vince’s son Grant started working for him at about the same time as the Rovver hires commenced and soon became highly proficient in its operation. As a result, Vince decided that the Rovver 125 should become a permanent asset for the business. However, he did not want to take on an expensive bank loan or to start a scheme with a finance company, so Vince says “The Ashtead ‘Rent-To-Own’ (RTO) scheme was the perfect solution because it enabled us to treat the equipment as our own and to spread the payments over an extended period. However, the main advantage was being able to access the normal Ashtead support as if we were just renting the equipment.”

The inspection services offered by Suffolk Drain Services have now become an important part of the business and Vince says “It is Ashtead’s 24 hour turnaround support that has been key to our success – we cannot afford excessive downtime when we are on site so we need extremely reliable equipment and we need to know that any problems can be dealt with very quickly.”

Summarising, Alan Hasson says “Vince’s experience is common amongst our customers; not just for remote control crawlers, but also for other inspection equipment such as pushrods and cable/pipe locators. We are continually renewing our fleet of equipment and the financial plans that we offer ensure that the latest technology can be employed by almost all customers irrespective of budget. This strategy, coupled with a growing acceptance that rental is often more financially attractive than purchase, is helping to ensure that our business continues to grow.”

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