FAQ for Septic Contractors

Q: How long will EarthBuster last before I have to replace it?
A:  The EarthBuster machine itself has been in the field since the year 2000, and has held up remarkably well. We are not aware of anyone having to replace the machine in that time.  We have polled those who bought the EarthBuster before the brand change, and we see that most of them have replaced the probe after a couple of hundred soil restorations for septic system jobs.  The probe, of course, is a consumable, not unlike a drill bit or a saw blade.  Even though it is extremely rugged, what it is asked to do is extremely demanding.  It is not uncommon for a probe to bend, crack, or break over time–and especially if it’s frequently used with the air hammer in hard or rocky ground.

Q:  How much money can I make as an EarthBuster septic contractor?
A:  That depends on your business model, of course, but generally speaking, we hear of pneumatic soil fracturing for septic tank jobs ranging from $1,500 to $4,000. This is based on a number of factors, such as the size and location of the drain field. A septic contractor usually spends 2-4 hours, plus travel, on every job. If you figure 5 jobs per week at a modest average of $2,000, that’s $10,000 in weekly revenue.

EarthBuster soil contractors range widely in how much work they get. One of our contractors reported 500-600 jobs in the last 3.5 years since he bought his EarthBuster. That’s about 200 jobs per year. He says the EarthBuster makes for about 50% of his total revenue, with the rest coming from drain field installs and related work.

Q:  How strong is the return on investment?
A:  You can earn your money back in 10 jobs or less.  Let’s compare it to a well-known standard:  The pumper truck costs somewhere between $90,000 and $250,000 to purchase and one job grosses somewhere between $250 and $400.  Then, there’s often a dumping fee of as much as $75 to $100.  Best case, on a $90,000 truck, netting $300 per pumping job, the pumper will have to work about 300 pumping jobs to earn the money back.  So, the R.O.I on the EarthBuster is about 30 times the best R.O.I for a pumper truck.  Do you see why we’re so excited about it now?!

Q:  What all is the EarthBuster good for?
A:   EarthBuster is already proven effective for septic drain field remediation and for the  draining of non-intentional ponds and puddles in all types of soil.  EarthBuster also has a fairly obvious use in agricultural hardpan remediation, though we don’t have any data ready to present on that usage at this time.

Q:  As a septic contractor, can I use the EarthBuster machine on infiltrator systems as well as on stone and pipe systems?
A: Yes, septic contractors can use the EarthBuster on infiltrator, mound, and conventional pipe and stone systems. When soil needs to be absorbed through the soil, our EarthBuster machine is ideal.

The EarthBuster probe should enter the absorption area, one to four feet outside of the chambers or stone channel, releasing compressed air at multiple depths up to one or two feet below the bottom.  With a 185 cfm or larger compressor, the process can be repeated without delay to recharge the tank to full pressure. The probing should continue on both sides of the stone or chambers every two to five feet depending on soil conditions.  This procedure will accomplish several things. The blast of compressed air will break up the biomat, loosen up the soil below and surrounding the gravel or chambers so effluent water can percolate efficiently once again. The upward formation of created fissures enhances desired evaporation rather than forcing the effluent down, threatening groundwater.

Q:  Who buys the EarthBuster soil fracturing machine for septic tanks?
A:  Lots of septic contractors and excavating companies, of course.  We also have contractors who own them for use on housing developments, where they can rejuvenate the drain fields of new homes, after all the construction traffic is done driving over (and compacting) the brand new drain field.  EarthBuster is also useful for draining unwanted puddling/ponding on construction sites, in municipal parks, on sports fields, etc.  We also expect to see sales pick up for agricultural use as we begin to address that market in the near future.  It is a well-known fact that growers need a good way to decompact soils in between plantings on tree and vine crops.

Q:  How far away can I park the compressor from the job site?
A:  We know that the EarthBuster works well on a 185-cfm compressor with 300 feet of hose.

Q:  What’s your turn-around time if I buy an EarthBuster?
A:  It depends on our inventory, but the longest you should ever have to wait for us to ship to you is two weeks from the date of your order.

Q:  How long will it take to get a replacement probe if mine breaks?
A:  Roughly two weeks from the date of your order. If we have them in stock when you order, we can ship it the very next day. You might consider keeping a spare on hand, so you don’t have any “down time” while waiting for a replacement.

Q:  As a septic contractor, can I operate the EarthBuster by myself?
A:  Yes.  Your most frequent need for help is to have someone keep the air hose out of your path, but you can do this yourself with the small inconvenience of having to dismount the tractor from time to time.    With some practice, you’ll learn how to cut down the number of times you have to dismount.

Q:  How far apart should my probe insertion points be in a drain field?
A:  It depends on the type, compaction, and moisture content of the soil in question.  To give some extreme examples, EarthBuster’s effective loosening radius in soft and moist soils can range as many as 10 to 12 feet from the probe insertion point, while in extremely hard and dry hardpan, it may only be 10 to 12 inches.  The operator should take note of the distance at which the ground surface can be seen to be moving with each air blast.  Further, the operator should understand that air blasts at a depth tend to travel upward in a shape somewhat like an upside-down Christmas tree.  So even if blasts at, say, 4 feet apart are completely adequate to loosen the soil nearer the surface, at a depth of 6 feet, loosening the soil adequately make take probe insertion points at every 2 or 3 feet.

Q:  How long does it take the EarthBuster to work on a drain field that’s not draining?
A:  You’ll see results immediately. One EarthBuster septic contractor was amazed that after injecting air at just one or two points, the over-filled septic tank began to gurgle visibly, and to drain out. In cases where water is already standing on the ground surface, you may well see it begin to drain by the end of your job.

Q:  How long does an EarthBuster septic contractor’s job last? Isn’t it only a temporary solution?
A:   Technically speaking, any solution is “only temporary”, including putting in a new drain field. We’ve had reports that EarthBuster treatments done 12-15 years ago are still working and haven’t been retreated since.

Something else that’s important to consider, however, is that the homeowner can also help to increase the life of the drain field by limiting what goes into the septic system. For example, the less bleach and water softener that goes into the system, the longer the drain field’s biomass stays small enough so that it’s not a system-crippling problem. With the price of installing new drain fields going higher and higher, a $1,500-$4,000 EarthBuster septic contractor jobs makes loads of sense.

Q:  Does EarthBusting mean that I won’t have to pump or jet anymore? 
A:  A professional septic technician can answer this on a case-by-case basis, as it comes down to the particulars of each individual system.  It may well be that some systems require less pumping and other maintenance after an EarthBuster treatment, but that decision should be made by those who can look into the system in question.  Probably the best way to think about EarthBuster’s main role in the septic business is this:  Septic tanks and lines get treated in various ways—pumping, jetting, repair, etc.—but the drain field itself hasn’t traditionally been considered a candidate for any type of maintenance or rejuvenation, other than the addition of bacteria into the septic tank.  The EarthBuster is specifically for rejuvenating the drain field, and no amount of pumping or jetting can do that.  This makes it an add-on service for many contractors, and a very good one at that.

Q:  Can I build a small business around just an EarthBuster, a skid-steer, and a compressor? 
A:  You bet!  You can get sublet work from septic companies, or you can market yourself directly to the homeowner.  You can even work with local pumper truck companies, teaching them to recognize the symptoms of a system that needs the EarthBuster, and getting them to give you referrals.  And don’t forget that you can use EarthBuster for grounds maintenance and agricultural use, too, so you don’t have to limit yourself to just the septic market.

Q:  How much money can I make as an EarthBuster-only business?
A:  Well, it depends on how and how much you go after it, of course, but consider this:  One EarthBuster owner has worked up to about 200 EarthBuster jobs per year after just 3.5 years.  Let’s say you averaged only $2,000 per ticket on 200 jobs per year.  That puts you at a revenue of $400,000 per year.  At that rate, even if you were leasing all your equipment, you’re still running quite a viable business model!