Star Treatment

Canada’s Full Moon Rentals has built a reputation for providing stellar location service for the British Columbia film and television industry
Star Treatment
One of Full Moon’s restroom trailers is set up outside a VIP real estate open house to provide necessary portable sanitation service.

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Boutique portable sanitation provider Full Moon Rentals has built a specialty with star power, serving a thriving niche film and television production industry in trendy Vancouver and all of British Columbia.

Based in suburban Coquitlam, the company has used its expertise in serving entertainment industry customers to maintain a base from which to expand into special event services and more traditional rental lines. A stock of high-end restroom trailers and a sparkling corporate image help maintain the contractor’s reputation for high-end service.

Full Moon was established in 2001 by two Teamster drivers who recognized that the needs of the entertainment industry weren’t being fully met by existing portable restroom operators. Current owner Gregg Sundstrom, a 25-year construction industry veteran, had been loosely tied to the entertainment industry by operating a film production trailer rental sideline for a friend from Los Angeles.

“I’d heard that the business was up for sale and bought it in 2004, along with the contracts that the owners had established,” Sundstrom says. At the time of purchase, about half the customer list was entertainment industry clients.

Full Moon’s convenient location puts the company in easy range of most of the province’s major film and television production facilities. It covers the entire Vancouver metropolitan area, largely to the west, including Vancouver Island.



Over the years, Full Moon has served a veritable Who’s Who of television and film clients, including The X-Files, Millennium, Smallville, Dead Like Me, the Stargate franchise, Battlestar Galactica, the X-Men and Fantastic Four film series and such one-off film projects as Things We Lost in the Fire, starring Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro.

With three full-time employees, Full Moon offers a range of equipment from exclusive trailers to standard restrooms, and everything in between.

The company offers 11 specially built restroom trailers in three models. The entry model is the Deuce, while the next model up is the Town and Country, which handles up to five customers at a time. The top-of-the-line Squire features wood louvered doors, marble laminate walls and wood-look floor. It can serve an event of up to 250 people.

The Deuce and Squire models were built by Intercontinental Truck Body of Vancouver and the Town and Country model was built by Jexcar, part of the North America Trailer Company Ltd., located in nearby Chilliwack. Belying their deluxe appointments, the units are built to withstand frequent moves from set to set.

Full Moon’s portable line includes 10 VIP restrooms from NuConcepts. It also offers about 35 Maxim 3000 units from Satellite Industries Inc. The company is ordering 10 to 20 Piccadilly Poly portable units from Piccadilly Concepts LLC.



Servicing the units: a GMC T-7500 with 1,500-gallon steel tank and Masport pump, and a GMC T-6500 with 1,400-gallon steel tank and a pump by Elmira Pump Company Inc. The tanks were manufactured by Fort Fabrication and Welding of Surrey, British Columbia. Restrooms are delivered using a GMC Sierra 3500 pickup with a power liftgate. When needed, a 12-unit restroom transport trailer by Trailex is used. Occasionally, units are taken to offshore islands by ferry or barge.

For entertainment industry contracts, Full Moon usually provides its own rental units and services other units already on the set, often owned by the production’s transportation coordinator or other independent contractors. Once on set, the units are frequently shuttled from location to location, usually by Teamsters who transport all of the production equipment.

The production area of the film set is known as “the circus.” “That includes (vacuum trucks), trailers, RVs, actors’ trailers, electrical trucks, make-up and wardrobe trailers, change rooms and catering trucks,” says operations manager Brent Harris, who has been with Full Moon for five years. “The circus can travel to three to four locations in a single day, from oceanside to mountains. Often, we get a call from the transportation coordinator at the production company telling us that we can service the restrooms at this location in the morning, or another location in the afternoon. We just go where the action is.”

Full Moon has become a preferred contractor, in part because the staff understands on-set protocol and etiquette. Having worked the sector for a number of years, they also have developed personal rapport with contacts in the entertainment industry.



“They know us and the drivers by name,” Harris says. “And they know we’ll work within the restrictions of a film set. Recently, for example, a production company was filming a stunt on a closed residential street. We know the cues for when filming is on, and will wait patiently off to the side until we get the signal that it’s OK to come in and provide service.”

Attitude is everything. Cameras, autograph-seeking and undue attention paid to actors are forbidden. Often there’s little to see on set, except actors standing in front of green screens where backgrounds and effects will be added electronically in the editing suite. Harris has, however, encountered a raft of celebrities that includes Nicolas Cage, Michelle Pfeiffer, Pamela Anderson and Steven Seagal. A-list celebrities, however, are generally hustled off set during service times.

“That’s the protocol of working with stars on the set,” Harris says. “You need to work around that. On the other hand, on one set, Robin Williams approached us and asked us what we were doing. He’s just a jokester and a very interesting person to work with.”

Working safely around the extensive film equipment is also a priority. Trucks are, for example, prohibited from parking on electrical cables, which can shut down the set’s massive generators – and the entire production.

Entertainment contracts are variable, with film work measured in weeks or months, and television series contracts stretching from as little as three months to as many as 10.



Entertainment industry contracts represent about one-third of the company’s business. That’s not because there’s less entertainment work, but because the company has expanded into other areas. Another third of the contracts are special events, including corporate events and weddings. The final third includes miscellaneous contracts, including construction, universities and municipal work, such as parks.

When a big event comes along – the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics for example – Full Moon relies on other partners to supply a ready stock of rentals.

“We might bring in some of the larger trailers or shower trailers from the U.S., because they’re simply not widely available here,” Sundstrom says. “For the Olympics, we partnered with Smithrite Portable Services in Coquitlam. We also used Porta Kleen restroom trailers brought in from the U.S.”

The company has imported VIP restroom units from S & B Porta-Bowl Restrooms in Denver, Colo., and is working with trailer broker Conclusive Solutions of San Diego to bring in a supply of shower trailers for a future event.



Full Moon also has developed several ancillary services, including rental of Norwesco polyethylene waste tanks, offering 500-gallon and 1,000-gallon units.

The company rents stainless steel portable sinks with hot and cold running water and wastewater holding tanks from Apollo Manufacturing of Vancouver. “These are primarily rented to events where there’s food preparation,” Sundstrom says. “We often rent them to the catering services for special events.”

Temporary fence rentals are offered as a complementary service to restroom rentals. “It’s not expensive to get into and because the product is durable, once you have it, you have it forever,” Sundstrom says.

Word-of-mouth is critical for the entertainment industry contracts, although Sundstrom places ads in some industry publications.

“We’ve completely given up on advertising like the Yellow Pages, which was becoming too expensive and generated little business,” Sundstrom says. “We’ve done some trade shows and special event coordinator conventions, and we’ve also bought some Internet advertising on various industry websites.”

Sundstrom’s best lead-generator is his company website, which was given a complete overhaul to reflect Full Moon’s upscale services.

“It’s currently our best sales tool,” he says. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned from working with the entertainment industry, it’s putting our best face forward.”


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