The Story Behind Mainline Inspection Services

By: Patrick Hooper

I want nothing more out of my daily personal and professional interactions than to deal with others honestly and be dealt with honestly.

Over the years I have held several sales jobs. For a salesperson, the pressure to meet and exceed revenue goals is constant. Your best week, month or year is never good enough. Success is measured in growth of revenue over past production and is also compared against other salespeople’s achievements. The strain of ever-increasing goals and expectations can drive even the most honorable among us to ignore their conscience in order to make a sale.

Before starting Mainline Inspection Services, I worked for a large company conducting video examinations and preparing estimates for sewer and drain line repair/excavations. On the surface, my job seemed straightforward—inspect pipes, identify problems and offer assessments and solutions. My actual job, however—the reason I was sent to customers’ homes with expensive, specialized video equipment—was to generate revenue.

If there is ever a time for a person to make a hurried, ill-advised repair decision, it’s when they are standing ankle-deep in raw sewage in the basement of their home. What better situation could a salesperson hope for? Often times in such situations, a video inspection will reveal a major collapse in the pipe that will need to be repaired or replaced. But equally as often, it won’t.

What is a commission-based technician to do when half of his day is spent examining a pipe that doesn’t necessarily need to be repaired or replaced? All the while, thoughts of weekly sales meetings, relentless revenue expectations and the pressures of providing for his family are running through his mind. The pressure to adjust repair quotes to fit profit goals rather than the customer’s immediate need is definitely present. After all, though the sewer line would probably be fine after some maintenance, the customer would probably be better off in the long run with a brand-new line. It’d be doing them a favor to recommend a complete replacement, right?

Don’t get me wrong—we, as examiners and estimators, were never told to sell unnecessary repairs. However, the necessity of the repair jobs sold was never as pressing a concern as the figures that were posted on the sales board. It’s safe to say that the sin of selling an $8,000 sewer line replacement, when a $500 hydro-jet cleaning would have sufficed, was not an offense thought unforgivable.

A sewer backup and flooded basement is one of the worst experiences a homeowner can face. It’s an upsetting, embarrassing, desperate situation that requires immediate action. I felt bad every time I was called to a home where a backup had taken place. I wanted to help the homeowners—I wanted to put my camera in the line and share the good news that the problem wasn’t too severe. Unfortunately, even if the situation wasn’t dire, I had to make a commission to put food on my dinner table, and “good news” doesn’t pay the bills in the sewer repair business.

That’s why I left the field of excavation estimating and started Mainline Inspection Services. M.I.S. provides honest and unbiased examinations, assessments, and recommendations, but we do not offer, sell, or directly refer sewer or sanitary infrastructure repair services.

As stated on our website: Mainline Inspection Services’ goal is to educate our customers about the condition of their properties’ sanitary infrastructure, giving them an advantage when making decisions about real estate purchases, maintenance and repairs.

This philosophy is guided by both our entrepreneurial spirit and personal faith. We truly want to help our customers—not just to grow our business—but because it’s the right thing to do. By helping our clients avoid, identify and solve problems, we’re able to support our families and our community, which is proving to be a winning philosophy all the way around!

“I want nothing more out of my daily personal and professional interactions than to deal with others honestly and be dealt with honestly.”

Being able to provide for my family through a business that offers a beneficial service, creates jobs and contributes to my community—all while being completely honest and ethical with my customers—makes me extremely proud of what Mainline Inspection Services stands for. And that’s why my continual goal is to make M.I.S. a company that my customers will be proud to support.