Kens Mobile 07813 958104 
Landline 01803 524347 
Adam's Mobile 07920 528929 
James' Mobile 07813 120452 
 
 
Ken's Mobile 07813 959104 
Landline 01803 524347 
Adam's Mobile 07920 528929 
James's Mobile 07813 120452 
Choosing a Drainage Contractor 
What to know, what to avoid & what to do 
 
Many years ago, I asked another drainage contractor how much he charged to clear a drain. His answer was, "Whatever I can get away with". Alas, that attitude is still prevalent in the drainage industry........ So, how do you avoid falling prey to such practices? 
 
1. What to look for when choosing a drain unblocking service: 
Are they genuinely a local firm? - Some are not even based in Devon, although they will try to give the impression that they are ...... and conveniently located right there in your home town and, somehow, just about every other town in Devon. 
Can they do what you need? - Some jetting specialists just do outside drains and they aren't geared up for inside work such as unblocking toilets and clearing sinks and showers. 
Will they have a good quality CCTV camera rig with them? 
Having cleared the blocked drain, do they usually do a CCTV camera inspection? 
Do they always bring a high pressure water jetter? 
Is there a proper local address that they work from? 
How long have they been trading? 
Are the Google Testimonials good and credible?  
Is the person who deals with your enquiry helpful, knowledgeble and called Ken? 
Do they offer you a sensible ETA? 
Will they phone to let you know when the van is on it's way to you? 
 
2. Getting a quote for a drain clearance or CCTV drain survey: 
Make sure that you fully understand the basis of the charges. 
Distrust ambiguity or lack of transparency. 
Ask for the quote to be confirmed by text or email 
 
3. Basis of charges
Fixed - A fixed price should be just that, although reasonable exclusions can apply so long as they are clearly explained. 
Not 'from' - How can it be both fixed and from?  
Not 'just for rods' - If they charge more for using the jetter, they will probably use the jetter. Same goes for the camera. 
Call out charge - Some do. Some don't. Just be aware whether or not there is one. Proclaiming 'No Call Out Charge' is not necessarily an indication of merit. Sometimes it can be quite the opposite and little more than a 'loss leader' hiding other, possibly excesive, charges. 
Timed charges - Be sure you know when their 'clock' starts. Usually it is from arrival on site but it is best to make sure. Also how long is each time period and is a partially completed period charged as a whole period? Make a note of when they arrive, when they stop work and how long they are just sat in the van. 
Combined charges - Where different rates are applied at the same time, rather than being either/or as you might expect. I know of one example where an apparently reasonable rate of £95 per hour for 'labour' became over £214 per hour when running concurrently with the rate for the jetter - which was applied even when the jetter wasn't being used. Camera extra. 
High pressure water jetter? This is the main tool for drain clearance and we wouldn't dream of turning up without one or charging extra to use it. After all, this is what we do. 
Camera? This is an indispensible aid during drain clearing and for checking afterwards. We don't charge extra for it's use or for recordings. Many drain clearance contractors do. 
Extra man? Some firms charge for an 'Second Man' if there are two men in attendance whether you asked for that or not and whether the jobs warrants it or not. Sometimes we have one man in the van. Other times two. The rate we charge is the same as it is the one mobile unit you are paying for.  
Chemicals? These are unecessary and we dont use them. Usually they are little more than a nice smell at an exhorbitant cost. 
 
4. Distant Company - Disadvantages 
Having travelled a long way, they might be tempted to make the job 'worth their while' by charging as much as possible.  
They are unlikely to have other jobs in your area that day; so you might get bumped down the list as more local (for them) jobs come in. 
They might not be too bothered about upsetting a customer many miles from their base who they will probably never see again. 
 
5. Local Company - Advantages 
They will be able to plan their day efficiently without wasting time on distant travelling.  
They will be able to stick to a schedule and turn up when they say. 
They will be keen to build up a good local reputation so they will want to give you the best service. 
 
6. Local Company - Really? - How they give that impression 
They use many similar trading names that differ only by the substitution of different town names.  
They publish multiple, locally optimised websites or webpages mentioning a particular town many times and featuring the local telephone dialing code which, of course, just transfers to their head office..... Wherever that may be. 
Trading addresses may often be absent from on their website 
 
7. Shady practices - Padding a job out 
The vast majority of our clearances take around an hour, including a quick look with the camera afterwards; and yet I often hear of customers who have been charged for much longer than that. 
One trick to look out for is where the high pressure water jetter engine is left ticking over with the hose in the drain in order to 'run up the clock'. I saw this on Rogue Traders.  
 
8. Shady practices - 'Special rate for cash' 
If someone is willing to defraud the taxman, they will think nothing of defrauding you. 
Don't be part of this. Get a proper receipt.  
If VAT has been charged, there should be a VAT number on the receipt. 
 
9. Up front credit card mandates. 
Some firms insist on this before they will come out. Not our style. 
This allows them to take from you whatever they decide is due 
Also it saves them from that awkward moment when they hand you the bill - hoping that you will just pay it rather than dispute it, faint or burst into tears. 
However, don't forget that you have redress through the credit card company for unsatisfactory jobs paid for by credit card.  
 
10. Cancelled due to 'an emergency'? 
We occasionally get calls from people who have been waiting in all day to have their drains unblocked only to receive a call, late in the afternoon, from the contractor to say that they 'can't come out now as they had an emergency call out to the hospital'. Of course, everyone will accept that Hospitals should have priority. 
However.......... This has occured far too many times for it to be random or believable. I suspect that what really happened was that the contractor had found something more conveniently located nearer to home. 
Apart from the wasted day, the poor customer would then have to pay someone else's evening rate to do the job...... or suffer the blocked drain until the next day. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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