Have you received a phone call from a broker
lately? These third-party providers use a search engine-optimized website and
network of contacts to attract customers who want to purchase multiple services
through one vendor.
Typically, brokers charge customers a higher
price and only accept payments online. The broker subcontracts the services to
local portable restroom companies. In return, the portable restroom operator
provides the rental service with minimal customer contact.
While some PROs report success (and higher
rates) with third-party rental services, others voice payment and reputation
concerns. Before working with a broker, consider the potential benefits and
disadvantages of subcontracted work.
The Benefits of Working with Third-Party Rental Services
Rental customers choose brokers for
convenience, as a broker provides a variety of services in one spot. The
customer doesn’t need to deal with multiple vendors and payments. Instead, they
pay for a third party to handle the details. Working with a broker may provide
several advantages to your company.
- PROs reduce payment and marketing costs. You
won’t invoice a customer, deal with collections, or pay for marketing. Instead,
the broker typically accepts payment online and then sends over your portion.
- Owners can charge a higher rate. Customers who
use brokers aren’t necessarily shopping around. They’re searching for the
easiest way to get the services they need from one platform.
- Portable restroom operators can access more customers. Large corporations and government entities increase efficiency by using
brokers, so PROs benefit from a broker’s national connections.
- PROs don’t deal with the customer. When
there’s a problem, the customer contacts the third party. For the portable
restroom operator, this can eliminate many of the FAQ types of calls.
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The Cons of Subcontracting Under Brokers
Unfortunately, not every third-party rental
service is on the up and up. Some may lack phone manners. Others may refuse to
pay for damages to your units. Before entering into business with a broker,
consider these disadvantages.
- PROs put their reputation on the line.
Although the customer goes through the third party, ultimately, it’s your logo
on the portable restrooms. Brokers with poor customer service or other issues
may reflect negatively on your portable restroom business.
- Owners don’t have control. Without customer
contact, you’re left in the dark until the third party communicates with you.
If the third-party broker isn’t responsive to both you and the customer, wires
can get crossed, causing uncertainty about canceled orders or other problems.
- Portable restroom operators lack customer data. While you can try to flip customers to your side, some contracts forbid
this activity, which makes it tough to get repeat business.
- Payment may still be an issue. While many
brokers pay immediately, there are still shady third-party rental providers.
Sure, you’re not tracking down customer payments, but you’ll find that it’s
even more difficult getting money from an online-only company.
Protect Your Portable Restroom Business
Brokers can provide an extra source of income
when you need it. However, it’s essential to protect your company by only
working with reputable third-party providers. Start by reviewing the broker’s
online ratings. Then, raise your rate for third-party services. Next, clarify
how excess charges are handled. Lastly, get your payment upfront. As with any
business situation, proceed with caution by making sure the pros outweigh the
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