Taking apart restrooms to give them a thorough cleaning and new parts is a great way to keep employees busy during the slow season.
As temperatures cool each fall, Chris Dundon begins an ambitious project: reconditioning his company’s 500 portable restrooms.
Dundon, owner of Dundon Plumbing and Heating in Orwell, Vermont, and his employees take their portable restrooms completely apart and place them in storage as they wait to be cleaned and repaired.
“We break them all down and pile them up,” he says. “Next, we pressure wash all the parts. When you take them apart, you notice any bad parts and then you can take them out.”
Taking the portable restrooms apart allows employees to get “behind everything” when using the pressure washer. “If you don’t take them apart, you’re not going to get the whole thing clean. I was just thinking about the best way to get the units cleaned and it made sense. The design of a portable restroom really hasn’t changed that much through the years. Some things may be different, but the basic design is the same. If you take care of the unit and keep it clean, they can last a long time,” Dundon says.
By removing and sorting through the damaged parts, Dundon can replace what’s necessary — whether it’s a baseboard, side panel or front door — instead of buying a completely new restroom.
“It’s a lot less expensive to buy just a part of a unit than an entirely new one,” he says. “A lot of our units are 20 to 30 years old, but they look brand new when we’re done with them.”
Dundon says the units are easy to take apart and workers discard the rivets and some hinges since they can be tricky to reuse. “Everything that’s plastic we can clean up and reuse,” he says. “What we do allows our units to last longer, which saves money.”
The plastic parts of portable restrooms are sturdy, but the two common reasons parts cannot be reused are graffiti and water damage. “Panels or doors may have graffiti that we can’t get off, so they need to be replaced,” he says.
Working on the project over the winter also keeps Dundon’s employees busy since that time of the year is traditionally slower for the portable restroom business. The company offers a variety of services from plumbing services, septic pumping, storage containers, oil/coal stoker boilers, heating and air conditioning services, duct cleaning, trash and recyclable collection and portable restroom rental.
When the crew is finished power washing the units and has reassembled them, a new decal is added and the units are ready for another year.
“You’d be surprised how well they clean up,” Dundon says.
While taking a portable restroom apart is not glamorous work, Dundon says it is part of his company’s commitment to providing the best service possible to customers. “No matter what we’re doing, the focus is on the customer and providing them with good service.”