Another Successful Contractor

Another Successful Contractor

“We need your business-our business is going into the hole.”

Elmer Tasker, owner of Tasker’s Well Company, Northwood, New Hampshire, manages a sly grin every time he thinks of his business slogan which has held him in amusingly good stead for years. Elmer expands on his slogan, “Our business has been going into the hole for 19 years and we have little to show for it-three kids, a nice nestegg, and plenty of equipment to work with. We’re satisfied.”

Tasker gives one the impression of being the original rough-and-tumble independent businessman. He works hard, and, by gorry, so do his men. And, he makes money.

Elmer attributes a good portion of his success to having the foresight to go into debt to buy rotary drilling equipment when it was fairly new on the market. He says, “My brother was against going into debt (everything we had was paid for), but I knew damn well that without rotary equipment, we’d be a dying outfit.” This attitude led to his purchase of his first rotary rig, a Winter-Weiss Portadrill 10TE, in August 1960.

In 4 years, 3 months, Tasker’s first Portadrill paid for itself many times over in drilling 93,469 feet of wells. After this usage, the 10TE’s engine had run for more than 10,000 hours and it needed an overhaul. Instead, Tasker traded it in on a Model 10TG Portadrill. That was in November 1964. He has already drilled more than 28,000 feet with his latest rig.

Tasker has had no trouble with either of his Portadrill units. He helps himself along in avoiding trouble by giving them proper maintenance, though. Some parts are lubricated daily. Oil is changed every week, the filter every two weeks. The rig gets a complete lubrication weekly. Tasker changes the table grease every three months-the other gearboxes are drained and refilled twice a year. Belts give no trouble; the compressor is also virtually trouble-free.

Tasker likes his Portadrill 10TG because of its low maintenance as well as its high pressure air system. He can de-water a hole, without pulling his steel, to a depth of about 550 feet. With the 10TE, he could only de-water a hole to about 300 feet without pulling the steel. Then too, Tasker likes the engine in his 10TG-a GMC 6V-71NL series.

Tasker started in business with his brother in 1947. Previously he had farmed, and then served in the Army’s Medical Corps from 1940 to 1945. Originally, the Taskers were in the excavating business as well as the well drilling business. The brothers split into their own separate companies in 1959, because of business overload. Tasker continued well drilling, while his brother followed the excavating end of the business.

Most of Tasker’s wells are for domestic use in rural areas of New Hampshire. His wells average about 250 feet in depth. Formations vary from outcropping hard rock ledge to clay, hardpan, and boulders. His deepest well is 725 feet.

Tasker starts with an 8  in. hole and goes down until he hits bedrock (Tasker goes into the ledge for 10 to 25 feet to get a good seal and make sure he is in bedrock and not a boulder.) From that point, 6-in. pipe goes in for the seal, and Tasker finishes the well with a 6-in. drill.

There is one job in particular that Elmer Tasker is proud of. In 1965, a firm in nearby Concord called and asked if he would deepen an existing 320-foot well. The original well had been drilled with a churn-drill, and other well companies had refused to undertake the job of deepening it. Tasker accepted the job. He set up on Wednesday, with the well yielding only 5 GPM, and tore down Saturday with the hole 620 feet deep and yielding 40 GPM. Asked if the same fears that had caused other well contractors to turn the job down had bothered him, Tasker replied simply, “no”.

Tasker averages 560 feet of well per week; he has drilled 250 feet in 14 hours. He maintains memberships in various well drilling associations and is a Mason. He’s not active in these organizations though, well drilling keeps him too busy.

Elmer Tasker is quite a guy. He works his crew 12 hours a day –or more– and his business keeps going into the hole.