Sewer Line Inspections

I am in the process of planning to add a sewer camera to our list of services. For those of you already doing them as an add on service, can you please share what percentage of jobs request scoping the sewer line?


Portland OR
~60% of our inspections include a sewer scope

Thanks for your response! What camera do you use? I’m looking at a Rigid Mini.

Ridgid SeeSnake 200ft Self Leveling Reel
And the Ridgid cs6x video recorder.
Ridgid is the way to go IMHO.

Thank you! It seems like Rigid is the way to go.

I maybe do 1 sewer scope out of 6 inspections but the more of them, The more I’m pushing it. especially for homes that are 15 years or older. Of those older homes I will discover about 1/3 have some serious issues that need to be addressed and the cost can be several thousand. I must admit I’m an old softy when it comes to young newlyweds buying their first home, and it seams they are usually the ones buying the older homes…I give them a price break more often than not (if cleanout is easily accessible) on a sewer scope inspection. Because I just hate to see kids saddled with a very expensive sewer repair down the road. I did an inspection about two weeks ago for some young kids (expecting their first kid this summer)…(House built mid eighties). The sewer line was a mess with intermittent partially collapsed lines from tree roots for all of the 70 feet to the city hook-up. (I took of the skid to get past some of the collapsed lines). These kids really wanted the house, but I guess the seller would not make concessions to allow for repairs estimated at $7K…My client just called me to do an inspection on another home…scheduled for next week.

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I appreciate your response. It seems like something I would be using quite a bit. Did you do any formal training? I know InterNACHI has a live class. There is also an online course through ITC.

Sewerscan training which I think is through Monroe. Good basics of materials and defects. The path to learn all of the ins and outs is pretty long, but worth it.

@ptolbert That’s an impressive percentage, do you mind sharing what you are charging for this service? How much time would you estimate each one takes?
Feel free to PM if you don’t want to share publicly.
Thanks in advance

Our fee is $150, which is sort of in the middle for price. Most inspection companies charge $125-$150 in our market. There are plumbing companies who do it for $99 as a kind of “loss leader” and there are plumbing companies who charge $250+ who don’t want to be bothered with a sewer scope only. We offer a discount when customers bundle inspection/radon/sewer so that definitely increases our percentage. Agents in our market are recommending it on every one as well so the consumers are aware of the service before contacting us which I don’t think is the case everywhere.

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That is awesome! Thank you for the information! I’m planning for the financing now. I’m going with the Rigid.

Very good Idea to get the proper training. I fortunately worked for a septic and sewer cleaning company that also installed sewer and septic systems back in the day but I also took some formal online training specific to sewer scope inspections. If you are not familiar with drain lines, I would suggest some training that involves more than just an online course. You also need to know the limitations as an inspector as to what you can do with regards to accessing the line. It still needs to be a non-intrusive visual inspection. You need to be able to access a readily available entry point.. there are going to be many homes were you can’t find a cleanout and you can’t go removing toilets you or your client don’t own.

What about lead fit-all cleanout plugs that are more or less one time use?

You could remove them but most of the time you would need to replace it when you (and most likely will) damage it. I have not run into those since back in the eighties when we were doing drain cleaning. The boss had a few replacements on the truck. It would be up to you if you want to pack (lots of) extra parts. You may just want to err on the side of caution, assess the situation. Sometimes best to have them call a (plumbing) company more suited to deal with the oddities you will run in to. An investment in a combination sewer plug wrench is a good investment.

One other thing, (IMO) you may want to hold off on the extra several hundred dollars needed for a sonde and or receiver/locator. It may be nice to be able to locate a defect but most likely not needed, because you are going to be recommending further investigation by a licenced plumber to repair no matter where the defect is.

Those lead plugs are the norm here… If the house is from before 1970s and had its house trap snaked, because the cast iron threads in the house trap would be rusted and worn out a lead plug would replace the original threaded one. Yes, they are one time use and you’d need to replace them, that’s why I asked.

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