Woman Uses Crawler Inspection Tech To Launch 2nd Career

November 2008 Vol. 63 No. 11

When a friend told Laura Placht that she’d be perfect for sanitary and storm inspection, it was beyond anything the former church secretary ever imagined as a second career.

But a new ordinance in some Missouri cities had dictated that all lines in any new development be inspected by the developer before the city takes them over. This created a business opportunity that Laura began researching immediately – on the internet, in trade journals and by talking to other professionals in the industry.

In October 2007, she started Pipe Peepers LLC, based in New Haven, MO, specializing in sanitary and storm inspection. With her business plan established, she obtained Woman Owned Business Enterprise Status in the state of Missouri. She immediately started meeting with the city officials and developers, setting up accounts payable and receivable, and seeking advice on equipment. With one camera operator, Roy Hardester, who has 12 years of construction experience, she now operates one of the few woman owned pipeline inspection companies in the country.

“I actually get excited to be able to look at the video and identify sags and cracks in pipes,” she said. She continues to develop her eagle eye. In preparation for her first big job, Placht knew that a versatile inspection system would be central to her business. She wanted a local contact in case repairs were needed and located distributor Steve Hyink of Key Equipment & Supply. He took Placht and a team of construction consultants she was acquainted with through the criteria for selecting video inspection equipment, including the benefits of a steerable, compact crawler with intuitive software. She realized that with the right system, she could work out of her home with little overhead. And, if manageable enough, the equipment could do the job with one operator.

Equipment, software selection