Providing clean, stink-free restrooms during summer events is the key to keeping customers happy.

Good news, folks! Spring has finally sprung, in the form of warmer temperatures, colorful flowers and your office phone finally ringing off the hook. The bad news: This is the toughest time of year to provide a great experience to all of your customers.

To be honest, our business is known for its odor. You are always fighting to prove to customers that portable toilets really aren’t that bad! I can’t tell you the number of phone calls that include the statement, “Will it be clean when it gets here?” Who would ever deliver a dirty, stinky toilet?

Turns out, it happens more than you think. But all of that “bad press” can be prevented by taking a little extra time and care during the warmer months. The first step to success is making sure that everything is cleaned the second it hits your yard. The longer the waste sits inside the toilet, the harder it is to get that smell out. I know everyone is busy, but that should always be the most important job of your inventory control employees. If the unit is really dirty, pump it, spray it with water and pump it again. The cleaner those toilets are, the happier your customers will be.

Related: Satellite Industries Inc. - Quick Tabs deodorizer - Pumper & Cleaner Expo 2011

Once your restrooms are out in the field, the work gets harder and honestly, a lot smellier. During the summer months, your technicians are working hard to keep your restrooms clean, but the heat and the crowds are making their jobs really difficult. So it is important to get feedback from drivers. How many workers are on a job site? Was the park full of picnickers when your technician serviced the restrooms? These are all causes for extra service or extra restrooms. 

After all of these steps are taken, the quality of your service is really what keeps customers coming back. This means proper training for drivers and using really great products. The PSAI has a certification program that is designed to teach skills like proper cleaning, delivery and more. If you are looking to improve the skill set of your technicians, maybe certification classes are something you should consider. 

During our quarterly safety meetings we bring in a restroom and have a technician demonstrate proper cleaning techniques for everyone. Every step, from signing the service log to washing down the unit, and finally refilling the toilet paper, is reviewed. When workers get really busy, especially during the warmer months, it is tempting to cut corners. That is the last thing you want and it is important that you reinforce this to them constantly.

Related: “Forging Ahead” - Casa Grande Pumping Service - August 2012

Finally, consider the products and brands you are using. Is your deodorizer powerful enough? Do you use the bulk liquid, the tablets or the packets? If you think your restrooms are too smelly, it’s probably time for a change. If you have been to the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show recently, you know that there are tons of deodorizer brands out there. Look into all your options.

In the past we have used the bulk liquid. While it worked fine, there was too much waste, leading drivers to spill the liquid. For the last couple of years, we have been using Satellite Industries’ Safe-T-Fresh deodorizer packets. In the wintertime we use their Quick Blue Winter and in the summertime we use the Quick Scents Plus, which is stronger. The Quick Scents Plus has more active ingredients in it that control odors during the summer heat and increased usage. You only need one packet, but on a really hot day, our drivers will use extra packets as needed. As a last resort, they will pierce the packets so they dissolve faster. This releases the scent right away and can eliminate really strong odors.

When you really break it down, great service is the key to happy customers. Great service means no odor and a clean product. So train your technicians properly and you will have customers constantly coming back to you.

Related: Guest Blog: Five Questions to Ask an Event Planner

About the Author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.

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