Embrace Online Pricing of Portable Restrooms to Improve Customer Experience

Devan Hanson of Texan Restrooms ignores the pricing wars and gives his customers what they want: quality service and convenience

Embrace Online Pricing of Portable Restrooms to Improve Customer Experience

Texan Restrooms owner Devan Hanson consults with an employee.

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Can the online shopping model popularized by the likes of Amazon translate to the brick-and-mortar world of portable sanitation? While some portable restroom operators may bristle at the transparency online ordering brings to pricing, Texan Restrooms owner Devan Hanson is giving it a go.

The company, which has been in business for three years, is located about 68 miles southwest of Fort Worth in Stephenville, Texas. Its inventory includes about 375 PolyJohn units. Texan Restrooms’ website includes a clearly marked and easy-to-understand chart listing prices for construction and special event units, holding tanks and hand-wash stations; the number of service stops; and delivery fees. Discounts for bulk orders are listed as well.

Hanson uses Wix to host his company’s website, and “the questionnaire to fill out is extremely easy to set up,” he says. “Any website builder will know how to do this and set up for your typical portable restroom operator. Now that it is up and running, I maintain the site and make changes as needed.”

Hanson says he began offering this information online because he wanted to “make things simple and easy for the buyer, or in our case the renter, to navigate and get what they want with minimal effort. The driving force for offering this online ordering is it’s where the world is at technologically, and if you don’t adapt and change, you will miss out on a significant portion of the market.”

Focus on customer convenience

Hanson estimates he gets about 50% of his business from online inquiries. “Online ordering is open to everyone,” Hanson says. “But we get more orders placed through our website for the small backyard party than we do with big corporate companies or cities.”

Convenience is a big factor, even for bigger construction firms. “I have several builders who text their new orders to me,” Hanson says.

“Most of them have several jobs going on and are extremely busy. Making a phone call to order a restroom can be three to four minutes they don’t want to spend on the phone. It’s easier for me as well, and it provides a paper trail as well that comes in handy to go back and reference when things were ordered to be delivered and or picked up.”

To order online, a customer simply fills out the requested information online, and then Texan Restrooms staff will call or email the customer to confirm the order and take payment.

“When customers call, they already know the pricing, so the conversation is shorter and you only get calls from people who are willing to pay your price,” Hanson says. “We don’t waste a lot of time answering calls from people who are just price shopping. We cut that out by having [the prices] for everyone to see.”

Stress quality service over pricing

To further expedite orders, Hanson is working with Ritam Technologies, a rental software company, to provide a portal for customers to log in and pay their bill without ever talking to staff.

“I will more than likely implement that option once it goes live,” Hanson says. “The biggest reason to offer this is simplicity and convenience. If you want to purchase something online, you want to know how much it costs and would like to do it quickly and easily.

“It’s hard to realize the direct impact of having our pricing on our website, but I can tell you that when people call or place an order through our website, they are not shopping around, are serious about renting and are ready to place an order,” he adds.

It may all sound like a win-win for PROs and for customers, but what about the naysayers who don’t want competitors to know their pricing model?

“I don’t see any cons to putting pricing on the website for everyone to see,” Hanson says. “Competition is going to find out your prices one way or another, so it doesn’t bother me. I feel that if your competition is worried about your pricing and trying to change their business model after yours, then they probably haven’t been running a very effective and profitable business to begin with.

“I do not get tied up with what my competition charges because it all comes down to service. If you provide it, the business will follow even if you are higher priced.”

Hanson has seen firsthand the benefits of adopting this Amazon-esque model of online pricing and ordering, and he remains confident that adopting this model will help others too.

“I am sure most PROs who are keeping up with technology and adapting to the market already offer some form of online communication with their customers,” he says.

“If you are not already, you should be getting to the point where you can engage your customers without speaking to them and taking payments automatically because that is what they want.”


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