Terrell Harmon runs Harmon Pipe Service LLC in Rockmart, Georgia, about 45-50 minutes from Atlanta. The company has been in business for six years, and serves the metro Atlanta area, primarily north Atlanta Forsythe County and surrounding areas. They do mostly new construction, new subdivisions.
At its peak, Harmon Pipe Service (HPS) ran a crew of six, doing Mandrell testing, vacuum testing of manholes, pipe cleaning, and video inspection. These days, it’s pretty much just Terrell in the field and one other part-time employee in the office. After experiencing many facets of the business, he has found the work he most enjoys and which generates the greatest return on resources invested.
“I’m starting to slow down,” he says, “so we’re doing mostly video inspection. No cleaning anymore, no jetting—mostly just video.”
HPS primarily subcontracts to larger pipeline contractors on big commercial jobs, so with this single revenue stream, it’s critical to him that his equipment work every time. He’s been using Cobra CCTV pipeline inspection equipment since he’s been in the business. What keeps him coming back to Cobra?
“It’s a great product line; simple to operate, and it’s a great product for a fair price. It’s a great fit for me because the company is local, and their after-sales service is great,” Terrell says.
He runs two of our Model 800 crawlers, two V5 cameras, and Pan-Tilt-Zoom camera on a UTV unit for doing off-road stuff. HPS specializes in inspecting outfalls and other assets that require off-road access.
He recalls adding that last piece: “Most of my calls were becoming those for off-road jobs. I guess with the big vans, they couldn’t get video equipment to these places. I knew that carving out a niche for myself in the local market was a good positioning strategy, and I saw one in being able to get where they couldn’t. That’s what made me successful.”
So in 2000, Terrell approached us and said “I don’t want a van, but I want your equipment, and we’re going to be operating it on a UTV,” like a Polaris or Gator. He specified what he wanted, and we built him a UTV-based inspection system. The first model was a simple sheet metal fabrication. The second vehicle we beefed up the rugged factor and good looks by adding diamond plate in strategic locations. We then built a third one and began offering these models to the general industry.
These UTV-mounted systems are basically intended to get our equipment out where the landscape is more rural, and there just aren’t many wide, well-maintained roads. As Terrell explains:
“All sewer lines leave the road eventually. Some go through the woods, down to these outfalls in more distant and less-travelled areas. That’s what I specialize in. Everybody can’t stay in the road. That’s where I went with the UTV.”
He says that although it was something of a financial risk, he had really looked at the jobs that were coming in, and studied where his market was going, and believed it would be a good move. It was, only taking about 18 months to pay off that investment.
“Not bad at all,” he quips.
Aside from believing in his own idea, Terrell had to have faith that the Cobra designers and fabrication technicians would be able to execute the plan he saw in his mind. “They never had done (a UTV-mounted system) before, so I kind of worked with them. I said, ‘Here’s what I want, it’s going to work.’ I knew they could do it. We just had to mount the equipment on a UTV rather than in a van, just put a cover over it. I knew it would be fine, because Cobra is good equipment.”
Asked if he sees himself as a sort of pioneer, he chuckles and says, “Well, I’ll try anything.”
And he’s proven out his idea and gotten his mileage out of it. Now he’s ready to let the Cobra team show their mutual idea to the entire market, which is why we had it on display in our booth at the 2018 WWETT Show.
“I’ve been dealing with it long enough, and I was willing to let them bring it and have it at the show,” he says, “so, hopefully, it pays off for them, too.”
We have a funny feeling it’ll do just that. Thanks, Terrell!