After spending years as a franchisee of a sewer business with dismal profit margins, David Perdicaris knew he had to get out and redefine the drainage and plumbing industry. What began as a stressful and costly experience in Perdicaris’ life ultimately transformed into “one of the best things” that has ever happened to the FreeFlow Environmental founder and CEO. By Brianna Bohn
After spending years as a franchisee of a sewer business with dismal profit margins, David Perdicaris knew he had to get out and redefine the drainage and plumbing industry. What began as a stressful and costly experience in Perdicaris’ life ultimately transformed into “one of the best things” that has ever happened to the FreeFlow Environmental founder and CEO. With almost four decades of experience as a top-performing franchisee and independent operator under his belt, Perdicaris now shares all that he has learned in a proven, sustainable business model.
In early 2004, the franchisor revolutionized the septic market by bringing the knowledge he gained working with large clients in big cities to smaller residential communities in rural Indiana. “I brought the high-tech instruments, approach, and aspects that allowed us to be competitive in the Chicagoland plumbing market into the rural septic market and began to thrive,” Perdicaris said.
Since then, FreeFlow Environmental has been diagnosing and remediating home drainage problems for thousands of customers. With two new franchises that opened in February in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and an in-house training center being established in Valparaiso, Indiana, the brand has its sights on providing services to all 384 metropolitan areas in the U.S. While this goal may seem lofty to some, FreeFlow Environmental’s mastery of the digital world in an industry that uses outdated methods has allowed it to pivot quickly and grow as a result.
“We don’t see ourselves as a plumbing, sewer and drainage company using IT. We see ourselves as an IT company that focuses on sewer, septic and drainage. It is a huge difference because it manifests itself in our proprietary CRM (customer relationship management) and the services we offer to customers, and franchisees. We bring proprietary sales, marketing and implementation methods to both septic and sewer repair, unlike that which any other brand is currently delivering,” Perdicaris said.
With access to cutting-edge technology and a large support team, technicians do not need to be well-versed in sales tactics, because they are aligned with a project manager who guides them through the process. For a fee, the brand even offers further support to franchisees who are new or limited in size. With this service, FreeFlow Environmental’s central office immediately answers questions and provides guidance to those in the field, using live updates of their QuickBooks, the CRM and cameras that are on the job. In addition, franchisees receive expert digital-marketing management.
While experience in the trades is not required, it is helpful. The brand provides the tools and support needed to be successful, as long as you are willing to get your hands dirty occasionally.
Perdicaris, who often spent 80 hours a week in the field before creating his unique concept, shared what he has found most rewarding as a franchisor. “By far, the most fulfilling aspect of being a part of this is watching other people achieve their dreams when they never thought that was plausible,” he said.