Ask a neighbor if he knows a good guy in the septic business and you might be surprised to learn that “the guy” is a lady.
Laura Camhi is the first and only female septic tank contractor in Palm Beach County. She is the owner of Danny’s Septic Service, a leading player in the “potty industry.”
Camhi has been in the septic industry since 1986. She previously owned a franchise, which she sold, starting Danny’s Septic Service in 2000. She became state licensed herself seven years ago.
“I have my work cut out for me. People don’t take females as seriously. I have to work extra hard, three times as hard, as a man to earn the same credibility,” Camhi said. “I had been running the business even when I had a partner. I see that at trade shows with other companies. The women are making the business work behind the scenes, and their husbands act as the face of the businesses… That’s why I always wear sneakers instead of heels — flexibility on the go.”
Danny’s Septic Service has 12 employees, many of whom have been with the firm more than 15 years. They operate numerous vehicles, and Camhi rattles them off like they were pets: “Three pumpers, a dump truck, two Caterpillars, a Kubota trenching machine and a digger, a Ford F-550 to haul machinery, a Ford van for cleaning clogged drains and several others.”
Camhi learned her management style not from college business courses, but in a more personal way. “Having a family is like owning a business,” she said of her 100 percent ownership of her firm. “I call the employees ‘my kids,’ and having a female in charge is better for the employees and the clients. We are more caring and on-point compared to men, and we pay more attention to detail.”
She continued that a woman’s touch means they treat customers’ homes like they were their own, and the customers themselves like they would want to be treated. “Our guys are clean and knowledgeable and never try to sell things the customer doesn’t need,” she said. “No one works on a commission in our company.”
Danny’s Septic Service is not a franchise, so there are no additional franchise fees. When a customer calls in, they can talk to the owner.
Customer service is important to Camhi, and the company has an AAA rating with the Better Business Bureau, is on Angie’s List of Super Service and has more good reviews in the septic industry than any other firm in the region.
“Some have reviewed us as the finest and most efficient, fair-priced septic service in the area,” Camhi said. “That’s what we strive for every day.”
Everyone at Danny’s Septic Service works hard to be the best at what they do, she said.
“I believe our people and their unbridled dedication to the customer is what truly sets us apart,” Camhi said. “A company is nothing without the goodness and heartfelt devotion of its employees.”
Camhi has found an added benefit to her female-owned company.
“Interestingly, it is usually a female who calls to make arrangements for septic problems,” she said. “They are happy to deal with a woman in the office who is knowledgeable.”
Usually Camhi will know what the client needs after a quick phone call.
“Maybe 99 percent of the time, we can tell what they need, based on the issue,” she said. “We offer free estimates and up-front pricing, so customers know what it’s going to cost before they commit.”
She also makes recommendations to help keep costs down for clients.
“I had a person call at 3 a.m. because their washer was backing up in the shower,” Camhi recalled. “Rather than send a crew out with emergency night rates, I had them stop running the water, and the service people came in the morning so there was no premium charge.”
Danny’s Septic Service is licensed to work all over Florida, but the cost of transporting the equipment means that they do most of their work from Boca Raton to Martin County, with a heavy focus on the western communities.
“The majority of our residential work is in the Wellington area, where we also do restaurants, clubs, laundries and barns,” Camhi said, explaining that on horse farms, they install horsehair interceptors, which is basically a septic tank for horse’s hair.
“We offer everything from repairs and maintenance to completely new systems,” she said. “We want people to use us for the maintenance, which is very important to the longevity of the septic system. Septic tanks are out of sight and out of mind, until there is a problem. Maintenance can keep those problems away. Things like having a pump-out every one-to-three years, bacterial additives that help prevent back-ups, minor repairs of inlet or outlet if they are backed-up, as well as drain cleaning when necessary all help a system last.”
When the need arises, Danny’s Septic Service offers commercial and residential services including: septic tank pumping, installations and replacement; system inspections and evaluations for real estate purchase or sale; lift station pumping and servicing; grease trap pumping and cleaning; drain-field repair or replacement; and Florida Department of Health 4015 inspections.
“We even give clients the number of the health department to combat misinformation that some firms have put out there about septic systems,” Camhi said. “Customers can hear the facts directly from the ones who govern the industry.”
Danny’s Septic Service is open daily with 24-hour emergency calls, and the phone is always answered by a live, knowledgeable person.
The company offers promotional specials of $10 off any service they offer for Angie’s List customers, service referrals and readers who mention this article, until July 31. Details apply; customers should ask when they call.
For more info., call (561) 689-1555 or visit www.dannys-septic.com.