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Brokers: The Good & The Bad

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 cons.

Looking to Take Your Portable Restroom Business to the NEXT LEVEL? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Operating A Portable Restroom Business.”

Thinking About GETTING INTO the Portable Restroom Industry? Download our FREE Guide: “Your Guide to Starting A Portable Restroom Business.”

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