What It Takes to Dig a Septic Tank

An angry young man goes into what it takes to start a septic tank installation business in the US:

septic tanks

I can sympathize with the young man who posted about his attempt to start a septic tank business, and have had similar experience as well. I ran a small business with a couple of my family members out of their house in the suburbs. Things were ok for a few years until one day a little man in a cheap suit came by, asking whether we were running a home business. We spoke to him and learned that he was from the local township. He also insisted quite a few times on coming inside for an inspection, which we refused.

In the end, he gave us a bunch of forms to fill out, and reassured that everything would be fine even if we were running a business from home, we just had to fill out the paperwork. We took a closer look at the forms after he was gone and realized it was definitely not the case. The rules listed on the paperwork itself demanded for strange things, like the presence of multiple fire extinguishers inside the house, multiple licenses from different local bureaucracies and many inspections to be made. Whether the business itself was ultimately allowed to operate out of the house was dependent on the number of registered home businesses already nearby in a 1 mile radius, the presence of which known only to the township, which essentially gave them complete control to accept or deny whatever paperwork or application we submit.

If we had played everything by the rules, we would’ve put ourselves in a bad situation. However at that point everyone in the family involved are somewhat sneaky, experienced businessmen, and we understood the bureaucracy we were dealing with had employees who were overpaid, under-worked and generally uncaring. We decided to ignored the little man’s request for us to fill out paper works and play by his rules. We also moved the one part of our business, which involved packaged merchandise being shipped out of the house, to a warehouse nearby, since we learned this was what attracted attention from the township to begin with and the business had grown to the point where it was necessary anyway. After that, we continued using the house as our company’s office as normal.

The little man in the cheap suit never came back. About a year down the road, we received a follow up phone call from a very apathetic sounding woman from the township, asking about our business and the status of whatever application we were supposed to send them. We flat out lied and told the woman that we no longer operated the business, and no one ever came back to bug us over the issue again. In the end, using the house as an office saved us thousands of dollars per month compared to renting an office in a business district the “proper” way. God knows how many hoops and what sort of bureaucratic horror we would have had to deal with if we actually filled out those forms properly and played everything by the township’s rules.


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