At Salina Septic Service, customer service is paramount…
Cole and Calle Leister, owners of Salina Septic Service, said good service is about exceeding expectations, under-promising offers and over-delivering results.
“Everyone in our team is on the same page, knowing that we have a high standard and we put in the work needed to do a good job every time, without being asked or expecting a promotion,” Cole said. “We do our best at all we do, and that micro-company culture drives great results.”
Basics of the septic business
Cole and Calle have three employees who drive trucks, service portable toilets, and perform septic tank installations, replacements and repairs.
Wayne Fuller, of rural Salina, established the company’s predecessor, Fuller Septic Service, in 1952. Cole’s father and grandmother purchased the business from Fuller in September 2016.
Sowing in with no paycheck, just faith and hope and grit
“Initially, I wasn’t an owner in any way, shape or form. I didn’t even take a paycheck,” Cole said. “I wasn’t invited, but I wasn’t turned away.
“I threw myself in the middle of it and trusted that something good was going to happen eventually.”
That potential payoff didn’t take long to land in his hands.
Cole received 50 percent ownership of the company just two months later.
Blossoming business, romance
In fall 2016, she saw Cole struggling with the pressures of working in the field, repairing and servicing tanks and toilets, while also trying to manage administrative work in the office.
“I could tell he was getting a little overwhelmed, but he’s not really one to ask for help,” Calle said, “so I just told him that I was coming in to help him, and that was that.”
In the summer of 2017, she became a full-time employee and started receiving a paycheck. Cole proposed to her shortly after.
Though he did find her to be an excellent helpmate and partner, he had already decided to propose, but the timing of their engagement was very close to her official joining of the family business.
“We fit really well together as a couple and as a team,” Cole said. “We just mesh.”
Before becoming a Salina Septic Service employee, Calle worked in a chiropractic clinic that she enjoyed and was furthering her education in medical billing and coding to contribute more to the company, but she left that behind to serve her new family. Cole and Calle married in October 2019.
“I loved the company I was with, but that’s not anything I would pursue or do anything with now or in the future unless it was necessary,” she said. “I’m in this for the long haul with Cole.”
Advancing into the future
Looking ahead, Cole wants to keep growing the business, whether that includes expanding the company’s service area, service offerings or both.
“I want to see how far I can go before I can’t anymore,” Cole said. “It’s a personal drive.”