Education and Pride Promote Your Septic Pumping and Portable Restroom Business

Education and Pride Promote Your Septic Pumping and Portable Restroom Business
Beverly Lewis

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Let’s face it. The liquid waste industry has some work to do. After years of discussion and hard work, there are still those in the general public who say “eww” to portable restrooms and prefer not to use them. Crazy, right? After all, restroom facilities are a necessity anywhere people congregate.

The industry has made numerous modern improvements that enable operators to offer a clean, sanitary solution to portable sanitation needs. Innovations in equipment, deodorizers, cleaning methods, trucking and software combined with ingenuity provide options far superior to the days of wooden outhouses and chamber pots. 

Yet the portable restroom and sanitation industry continues to get a bad rap when it comes to image. Ask the average consumer what they think of a portable restroom, and you’re likely to elicit descriptions such as dirty, gross, smelly and unsanitary. This is probably fueled by bad experiences where units were unkempt and unclean or by misguided perceptions. 

Shaping public opinion

Maybe you’ve let your company succumb to this perception of the industry. Your equipment needs some maintenance and you do a mediocre job on service. You don’t bother washing your trucks regularly or putting your drivers in uniforms because you believe it really doesn’t matter what they look like; you’re just servicing a toilet. The bottom line is you really don’t charge enough to do it any differently. We’ve all been there — it can be a daunting task with no marketing experience. Why fight a losing battle? It’s just a portable restroom and no one really wants to use the darn thing anyway. Keep in mind though — you cannot prosper with this approach. 

Perhaps you take a lot of pride in what you do and take good care of your equipment and trucks. You strive to ensure quality service and genuinely want to make customers happy with modern, ergonomic portable restrooms, but you don’t do any marketing. You sit back and wait for referrals because you’re the cleanest restroom company in town. 

Or are you the guy with a really good sense of humor? You use humor as your primary branding tool — you’re “#1 in the #2 business.” Your customers think your marketing is pretty funny and they love your low prices. 

You might be the oldest company in town with a well-known name. Your grandfather started the company, and he was a genius at filling a need for prospective customers long ago. But the marketplace has changed; there is competition and innovation. Are you standing firm on “in business since the turn of the century” or are you finding ways to communicate in today’s marketplace? 

One thing is certain, if you’re in the portable restroom or septic pumping industry, you work hard to provide a necessary service for workers on job sites, athletes at sporting events, guests attending special events and occasionally being the hero that delivers a restroom when there’s a water main break. So why the bad rap? 

Value of sanitation services

In a competitive business environment you must not only provide stellar products and services, you need to educate your customers about the products you provide and your standards for service. Share the benefits of the products and services you offer. Give them a reason to choose your company over competitors. Why? Educating the consumer benefits your company and preserves industry standards that help shape the future of our industry. People don’t know the value in the service you provide unless you communicate that message clearly. 

Marketing is an effective means of promoting your company and educating your customers. Consider the many ways in which you communicate with your customer — business cards, brochures, phones, print ads, equipment, trucks and a website are part of your marketing and help shape your image. 

How to educate customers with marketing:

  1. Communicate professionalism in every aspect of your company.
  2. Create a mission statement and make sure your marketing and operations plans support it. You can’t say one thing and deliver another.
  3. Design a marketing plan that educates your customers on the value of doing business with you and effectively promotes your brand.
  4. Be easy to do business with. 

Communicating professionalism and product knowledge will help educate your customer on the value of sanitation services and promote your business as a leader in the marketplace. When your customers see you as a professional, they’ll think less about price and more about making a good purchasing decision from a business they know and trust. 

Your confidence will soar when you take pride in providing quality equipment and exceptional service to meet customers’ specific sanitation needs. And no Mr. Customer, I respectfully cannot do that for less. 

About the Author
Beverly Lewis runs a marketing agency, the Beverly Lewis Group, dedicated to helping small businesses with marketing solutions. Having served as the director of sales & marketing for two portable sanitation companies, her unique background combined with an expertise in marketing is well suited for the portable sanitation industry. She believes that a company’s image is represented in every aspect of the company. She is an active member of the PSAI and was awarded the distinguished Sani-Award in 2008 for outstanding service. Contact Beverly at or


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