Getting Started Guide

Section 1 of this guide helps you determine what to purchase and Section 2 focuses on how to buy it. If you already know what you'd like to purchase, you can skip to Section 2

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What to Buy?

If you're here, we're going to assume you're interested in sewer cleaning equipment. There are three basic classes of sewer cleaning equipment, which operate at 3 totally different price points. In this section, we'll go over the different classes of equipment and their prices to help you determine what's right for you.

Learn the products

The Jetter: The Least Expensive

A "jetter" is basically just a high pressure, high volume water pump between a big storage tank and a hose long enough to reach far into the sewer lines. A jetter can be mounted on a truck or on a trailer, and is by far the least expensive way to clean sewers, but there are severe limitations to this method. This equipment is best suited to a small municipality with tight bugetary constraints.

The Combo Truck: The Most Popular

A "combination truck" combines a huge vacuum system with the high-pressure, high-flow water system of a jetter truck. This combination of vacuum and water allows for the highest degree of sewer cleaning by removing the material that is causing blockages, instead of just washing it along. Additionally, it's easy to turn a combination truck into a hydro excavator to easily locate underground utilities by digging with high-pressure, low-flow water together with vacuum.

GapVax MC
The Recycle Truck: The Future

A "recycle truck" is a combination truck that cleans the water vacuumed from the sewer and uses it to run the jetter pump. This allows for decreased fresh water usage and increased productivity by eliminating the time spent filling the tank. With this method, sewer cleaning workers can be 3x more productive in terms of time spent cleaning than traditional combination trucks.

Set your budget

What product is right for you is largely driven by your budget. Set your budget range below to figure out which option falls within your range.


View your matches

Based on a budget of 300K to 500K, we recommend the following product(s):
Jetter Truck
Jetter Truck

The least expensive way to clean a sewer with modern technologies.

Combination Truck
Combination Truck

America's most popular way to clean sewer lines in small towns and big cities.

Recycle Truck
Recycle Truck

Recycling is the future of sewer cleaning and will minimize your long-term costs of cleaning.

Study the competition

Now that you've figured out what to buy, we encourage you to take some time to figure out what makes a good piece of sewer cleaning equipment. We encourage you to also look at different choices like Super Products, Vactor, SECA, Vac-Con, Aquatech, and Super Vac to name a few. To see what makes GapVax different, take a look at our history. In the next section, we'll go over the methods for purchasing your equipment.

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How to Purchase?

There are two primary methods for a public entity to purchase a large piece of equipment. The first is by soliciting bids to figure out what you want, and the second is by first figuring out what you want, and then purchasing through a cooperative purchasing agreement like NJPA or HGAC. This section will highlight those choices.

Going to Bid

Going to bid is the oldest form of public purchasing. While purchasing has since evolved, it still remains a highly used way to purchase large assets for government fleets.

Strengths and Weaknesses: The strength of going to bid (in theory) is that you get the best price across multiple suppliers. The problem is that not everyone is making the same thing, so you can't 'compare apples to apples'. At GapVax, for example, we put a lot of thought into the little things that add up in the long run, like using the best hydraulic hose, and having thicker flanges, and so on. These types of details never make their way to the bid spec, but they do affect the long-term cost of ownership.

Dangers: The most common mistake with bid specs is to try to combine facets from different manufacturers. This results in a Frankenstein-like mess that no one can build. Often manufacturers will bid the job, but without really meeting the desired specifications. For this reason, the bottom line price can be less informative.

Cooperative Purchasing: Sourcewell

Sourcewell (formerly NJPA) is a cooperate purchasing agreement that solicits bids from a number of established suppliers to make purchasing easier for the purchasing agent. The entire process from public notice, to RFP's is managed by Sourcewell.

Estimated Cost: $6K - $10K

Cooperative Purchasing: HGAC

Another popular national purchasing cooperative is the Houston-Galveston Area Council Buy Board. Like Sourcewell, the municipality submits a little paperwork to HGAC, and the rest is fairly simple. HGAC has a little more paper work than Sourcewell, but also has a slightly lower fee.

Estimated Cost: $5K - $8K

Statewide Cooperative Purchasing

Many states have their own purchasing boards. We prefer the national cooperatives, but we also tend to use some others in Texas, Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Most established manufacturers in the sewer cleaning industry have already went to bid with the national cooperatives, and some have gone to bid with state contracts. That means they've already solicited all the pricing so you don't have to.

Next Steps

Once you've got an idea of what product class you're looking at, and how you'd like to purchase it, you can begin to figure out what specific product you're going to by. That involves choosing the features, as well as the manufacturer. We recommend setting up demos with different manufacturers. We also recommend including any operators and mechanics in the demos, and taking their input seriously.

A Final Thought: Purchasing sewer cleaning equipment is a extremely serious investment, both at the time of purchase and over the 10-15 years you'll have to product. Take the time to talk to customers of different manufacturers to see how the product is working after 5, 10, and 15 years and beyond.