The Swiss Army was on to something in the late 1800s when they had a manufacturer design a knife capable of opening canned food and disassembling the army’s service rifles. Loaded with a blade, reamer, can opener and screwdriver, the knife became a worldwide symbol for versatility.

Contractors should think of their earth drill as the next Swiss Army knife. With the right accessories, earth drills break into new applications, such as horizontal boring and foundation repairs. A simple kit or attachment is a small investment for the ability to offer an entirely new service to customers. Consider these four earth drill accessories to expand business and increase profits.

Bore Horizontally, Profit Vertically

Turn the familiar “drill down” mantra sideways with horizontal boring. Horizontal boring attachments allow contractors to complete a variety of jobs, including conduit, pipe, cable and irrigation installations.

Typically, a manufacturer offers two types of kits: one for dry drilling and one for wet drilling. A dry auger kit bores to lengths of 4 feet and is best suited for smaller projects, such as boring under sidewalks. Larger projects, like boring under streets or driveways, require the use of wet drilling kits, which bore as far as 30 feet. Wet drilling involves connecting a water hose and water swivel to the drill bit to flush out the borehole.

If you already own an earth drill, these kits are a cost-effective addition, averaging about $275 for a wet auger kit or $350 for a dry auger kit. When it comes to ROI, reduced labor costs make the initial equipment investment worth every penny. 

Bells and Buckets

Contractors have heard of selecting a machine with all the bells and whistles, but what about one with all the bells and buckets? For tapping into the foundation-repair market, consider a bucket auger or bell tool. These tools perform home and light commercial building projects, such as drilling holes for concrete piers.

Bucket augers work well in soft soils and reduce side friction to allow for drilling deeper holes. These tools average around $200. Bell tools are used after the hole is drilled to ream out the bottom into a bell shape. The bell shape reduces frost heaving and offers additional support when anchoring the pier as opposed to push piers, which are straight columns. A bell tool costs about $1,500, which is a relatively inexpensive investment considering it prevents thousands of dollars of expenses if a foundation sinks.

Do More Than Drill Holes

Get creative with an earth drill and consider using it for anchoring projects. Some manufacturers offer a variety of attachments for mobile home, utility or even tent anchoring.

Mobile home anchors make securing mobile homes fast and easy. While traditional methods involve using an expensive and slow pipe-thread machine, an earth drill with an anchoring attachment takes several hours off the project. Some manufacturer’s earth drills can install each anchor in less than a couple of minutes and can complete an entire home in as little as 90 minutes.

Installing utility anchors is also faster with an earth drill. For example, an earth drill installs each anchor in a power utility tower anchoring system in about a minute. Only one person is required for the job, which cuts labor costs.

Often, outdoor celebrations involve renting large tents to shelter guests. Setting up these tents has the potential to become a lucrative business opportunity for landscape contractors or rental centers. For these projects, consider purchasing an attachment to anchor the tents. This involves an initial investment of $1,200 to $1,300, but it expands a contractor’s service offerings and cuts back on costs associated with manual labor. These types of attachments pair with hydraulic earth drills and drive tent anchors in and out of the ground within seconds as opposed to manually hammering in tent stakes. After all, there’s a party to get to!

Auger Adapters

Ideally, a contractor purchases an earth drill from a manufacturer that offers a wide range of augers and accessories. However, for those who already made a sizable investment in a brand without these benefits, consider purchasing an adapter. Some manufacturers design adapters that easily make other brands compatible with their accessories. This way the contractor gets the perks of the accessories without having to immediately invest in an entirely new drill.

Sure, it may not fit in a pocket, but the right accessories can make an earth drill just as versatile as a Swiss Army knife. Even a small investment in a couple of accessories expands a contractor’s service offerings. Keep this in mind when looking for new ways to maximize an earth drill’s profit potential.