Year in Review: The Most-Read Stories of 2020

Year in Review: The Most-Read Stories of 2020

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As the year comes to a close, we take a look at some of the most popular stories on If you missed any of these, now is your chance to catch up.

10. Keep Your Directional Drill in Top Shape With These Maintenance Tips
Equipment maintenance is never a trivial matter, but when it comes to directional drilling, it perhaps carries a bit of extra weight. An equipment breakdown in the field due to neglected maintenance doesn’t just mean downtime. It could mean completely abandoning a hole midbore and starting a job over at the beginning. This article provided some key maintenance advice.

9. Finding a Niche in Municipal Work
If you can get a foothold with municipalities in your area and prove yourself, it can lead to consistent and profitable work. In this article, contractors who have regularly done work on the municipal side offered some advice.

8. Vacuum Excavation Continues to Infiltrate the Drain Cleaning World
Only a few years ago, manufacturers of equipment like vacuum excavators wouldn’t have thought about bringing such equipment to a trade show devoted to drain cleaning, portable restrooms and septic trucks like the WWETT Show. But that’s changing with drain cleaning contractors continuing to grow beyond their typical tools of the trade, as this report from the WWETT Show earlier this year explained.

7. Diesel Fuel Alternatives Being Explored by Construction Industry
Diesel has powered construction equipment for decades. But as it becomes less viable to rely solely on diesel, equipment manufacturers are making investments in various fuel alternatives for powering heavy machinery.

6. Pipe Rehab and Inspection Tools That Help the Bottom Line
To mark the editorial theme of pipe installation, repair, inspection and rehabilitation back in February, this article provided a sampling of equipment in that arena that some contractors find especially valuable to their operations.

5. Why Your Business Shouldn’t Be All Things to All People
It’s tempting to want to please everyone and gain every customer you can, but in reality that mindset can hinder rather than help your business, as regular contributors Carter Harkins and Taylor Hill explained in this article.

4. 3 Ways to Satisfy a Disgruntled Caller and Get Off the Phone
Soft skills are just as important to hone as technical skills. One such soft skill? Telephone customer service. It may look easy on the surface, but until you’re responsible for navigating the world of tough calls, it’s difficult to appreciate the kicking, blocking and sparring skills some customers have perfected. This article provided some tips for dealing with challenging callers.

3. Rental-Purchase Options Ease Financial Burdens of Equipment Ownership
When you’re hesitant to buy new equipment outright, a rental-purchase option can help you meet your immediate needs while reducing the amount of risk you take on. This article explained more.

2. Annual Report Reveals Increase in Excavation-Related Damages to Utilities
As much as safety is emphasized in this industry, the latest annual report from the Common Ground Alliance — covering 2019 — showed an increase in excavation-related damages to utilities. Even if that’s not the preferred trend, the fact that this story was one of the most-read of 2020 shows that safety is a priority to readers, and that is a positive sign.

1. Now is the Time to Develop Your Business Plan for 2021
2020 has been a year of survival rather than long-term planning. This article ran back in September, but its message undoubtedly still resonates. While we’re not yet beyond the pandemic, now can still be a good time to think about how to best position your business for the future.


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