3 Portable Restroom Business Blunders

A funky infographic helps show — rather than tell — you which areas of your business could use some improvement. What advice do you have?
3 Portable Restroom Business Blunders
Use the advice from some established portable restroom operators to continue your business-building endeavors.

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You’ve made the commitment and begun building your portable restroom business. But now business has plateaued and sales are floundering. From customer service to potential service expansion, where does your portable restroom business fall short?

Here’s a look at three common mistakes portable restroom operators make when they enter the industry. Plus, a visually enticing infographic helps show — rather than tell — you how areas of your business could use some improvement. 

1. Frequently switching suppliers

Lynn Boyett, owner of Boyett’s Effortless Sanitation in Pensacola, Florida, is fiercely loyal to his suppliers — he’s been with many for decades — and they to him. So he knows they’ll do whatever it takes to get him what he needs.

“We don’t jump around,” he says. “I know that’s probably not the American way but I don’t believe in it. If they take care of me I’m staying right there.” He also tends to stick with products that have worked for him whether it’s portable restrooms, cleaning supplies or trucks.

The strategy seems to be working, as Boyett has been around for nearly 35 years (the company for almost 60).

Portable restrooms currently account for 65 percent of the company’s work. Boyett started out with Satellite Industries units, was happy with them and never saw a reason to change. They’ve got 4,000 units — orange and blue Tufways for construction work and teal Maxim 3000s for special events.

“We put out 395 units in 31 days,” he says. “We were putting them together as fast as we could get them.”

Although he sticks with Satellite for his portable restrooms, for his hand-wash stations Boyett uses PolyJohn Enterprises Bravo units. The company also has three restroom trailers — 23- and 35-foot models from Wells Cargo COG and a 28-foot model from JAG Mobile Solutions.

2. Ignoring out-of-the-ordinary requests

Peggy and Richard Dean, owners of Dean’s Septic, Pit-Stop Portables and Pit-Stop Event Services in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, had no idea how adding shower and restroom trailers — and accepting an out-of-state job — would affect their businesses.

The company’s website says they will take their shower trailers to any of the 48 contiguous states — but that wasn’t the original plan. They assumed rentals would be local but then they started getting out-of-state requests. In 2005, they got a call from their former Illinois supplier needing a trailer for Hurricane Katrina. “I had never anticipated using our shower trailers for disaster relief when we purchased them,” Peggy admits. That project lasted eight months.

They soon received another call from a youth camp in Texas that found them through an Internet search. “Shower trailers were few and far between in those days,” Peggy says, explaining why they would have gotten a call from so far away. Since the company’s two trailers were already spoken for they invested in two more. The Texas job, which they still serve, worked out especially well because the event takes place in the off-season.

By 2008 the Deans committed to offering their services throughout the country and began marketing through flyers and on their website — and event planners took them up on it. “We’ve gone as far east as Maine and as far west as Las Vegas and everywhere in between,” she says.

The company now has 13 Ameri-Can Engineering restroom trailers and 12 shower trailers, but adding restroom and shower trailers was no easy feat in the beginning. “It was a learning curve,” Peggy says. “We’ve gotten to the point where we’re doing bigger venues where the client is asking for something a little bit larger and a little bit nicer that’s more pleasing to their customer.”

3. Not going the extra mile

The Rental Store in Jamestown, North Dakota, acts as a one-stop shop for portable sanitation rental needs in the booming Bakken oilfields. Owner Duane Barth says thorough restroom cleaning and a continued effort to expand are what keeps his company moving forward.

“We’ve grown because we’re not afraid to get out there and look for business, knocking on doors, putting up fliers and cold calling,” Barth says. “If you have a personal relationship, they come back again and again. I have the attitude that they won’t walk away. If there’s a problem, I’ve given customers restrooms for free for up to six months in order to keep their business.’’

He got his first oilfield client in 2008 when he rented restrooms for workers on the Keystone pipeline. After that work was finished, companies he worked with asked for restrooms at oil rig sites. As demand grew, Barth added a satellite office (Bis-Man Portable Toilets) in Bismarck, which is 100 miles closer to the oilfields.

Barth charges mileage from Bismarck for servicing the oilfield restrooms. Companies willingly pay it because technicians deliver the services clients request.

“We’ve been fortunate to pick up some big accounts up there. We give them excellent service,” Barth says. That includes servicing the restrooms twice a week for some clients — and always thoroughly cleaning the restrooms.

“Nobody likes a dirty restroom,” he explains. “You shouldn’t be able to smell a restroom 10 feet away. We make sure we use enough chemical to reduce the odors.” Workers use Walex packets and Cabana Spray by Safe-T-Fresh. With summer heat, they spray an extra dose for longer performance.

Technicians wash down the restroom, refill the chemical and hand sanitizers and spritz a fragrance spray to keep it fresher longer. For the next truck he purchases, Barth plans to invest in Biffs Pathfinders disinfecting system, which uses a spray head to apply disinfectant, which he says will save two minutes per service of each restroom.

Use the advice from these established portable restroom operators to continue your business-building endeavors.

What advice do you have for portable restroom operators? Post a comment below!


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