How we solved a problem and started a new business
The history of the Dump Mate
It’s four years now since John first decided to do something to make emptying our toilet cassette easier and cleaner. We’d been motorhoming for two years by then, and every time we went to a dump station, he would get back in saying, there’s got to be a better way to do this!!
He started off by making a tube out of two different sizes of downpipe, a small one to fit in the sewer pipe, and a bigger one to take the flow from the cassette. This required a joiner, which he filled with ‘knead it’ but he knew this wasn’t going to be hygienic. Plus the downpipe plastic was going to grow mould, it was heavy, and didn’t dry satisfactorily.
We went to a few plastic manufacturing companies with our prototype, and eventually found someone in Christchurch who was interested enough to help us. He arranged for a tool to be made, and advised on the right type of plastic to use (ABS) and we were able to refine the shape, and choose the colours. The tool cost a small fortune, and we nearly didn’t go ahead, but decided to ‘just do it’ and hope that other people felt the same way we did about emptying their cassettes.
During the six months that we waited for the tool to be made, there were a lot of other things to do. We had to source a manufacturer for the bags that are supplied with the Dump Mates, and set up a website and Facebook page. We designed and got our bookmarks (business cards) printed, and ordered the tassels to put on them. We had advertising copy to write, and photos and videos to organise. John even built a model dump station for demonstration purposes.
By July 2019 we had 1200 Dump Mates in our garage, (a very scary moment) and we had to start selling them. Things were a bit slow to start with and it took us 3 months to sell the first 100, but now we have sold over 3000, and things are a lot more relaxed. Last year we were approached by Burnsco, who are now retailing them, which has made things a lot easier for us. We don’t have to make so many trips to the NZ Post Depot.dumpmate.co.nz
We tried a couple of small motorhome shows, but that wasn’t for us; we love meeting our customers, but prefer a one-on-one situation.
We still have the same Burstner motorhome, which has now done 73,500km, and our latest adventure, now that we have more time, is our ebikes, which we love to ride.
We hope to see you on the road somewhere, you can’t miss us, we have Dump Mate signwriting all over our motorhome. :D Heather and John McMurdo
Make an adapter for dumpstations that have bigger holes: ckw.nz/dumpmate-adapter