INFOGRAPHIC: Tips for Preventative MaintenanceJune 18, 2018
How to Remove Graffiti from Your Restroom UnitsJune 25, 2018
The days of beating your competition by using spreadsheets on clipboards are over. Technology offers automation and convenience combined with in-depth reports to optimize every aspect of your portable restroom operation.
Today’s customer expects options and convenience. They make last-minute decisions to add a service while you’re on-site. Alternatively, clients call if they run into an issue with one of your drivers, and they expect immediate answers. Without technology, you rely on someone being in the office to access customer data, inventory, and troubleshoot problems.
Technological advances put information at your fingertips via mobile apps and cloud-based software. Technology solves the problem of the PRO trying to be everywhere at once. Increased productivity results in growth and top-notch customer satisfaction.
Assess Future Growth Before Upgrading
Many portable restroom companies start with simple accounting software but find that they need more options as their company grows. Others require advanced technology to plan efficient routes and maintain units.
You’ll know it’s time to upgrade when administrative tasks fall by the wayside, customer call-backs take days instead of minutes, and you find yourself heading into the office during your downtime.
Mobile capabilities and cloud-based services allow you to manage your portable restroom business regardless of location. This accessibility frees up your time to put effort into what matters most.
Start by assessing your current needs and see where you have room to grow. The best technology grows with your changing business. It streamlines your current processes and offers real-time productivity solutions.
Here’s a look at the most common types of technology used in the portable restroom industry and the various ways they benefit your company.
- Credit card readers
- Route planning
- Inventory management
- Rental management
- Dash cams
Credit Card Readers and Programs
The number of people choosing credit or debit over traditional cash or check payments increases yearly. Customers expect portable restroom businesses to offer convenient payment options. As a PRO, anything you can do to get paid faster benefits your company.
If you rely on getting invoices paid via paper check, then you need to take a critical step forward. If you’re already swiping credit cards, then you need to upgrade to a chip card reader.
EMV chip cards are replacing the traditional magnetic strip card. The EMV chip card contains a microchip, and each transaction creates a unique code. There are safe options that allow you to take credit card payments over the phone, at the customer’s site, and in your office. Upgrading from a swipe terminal to an EMV terminal prevents liability from fraud.
- Stay competitive by offering convenient payment options
- Less risk to your company by securing timely payment
- Low start-up cost
- Easy to use
Costs and Fees
Credit card readers charge you a fee per transaction. These fees range from 1.60% to 3.40% depending on the company and whether it’s a manually entered transaction or chip/swipe transaction. Some companies offer lower transaction fees with a monthly subscription.
- Fast set up and no commitment
- No internet connection needed for mobile payments
- 2.6% + $0.10 per transaction
- One-time fee of $49 for a Square reader to use with a mobile phone and $169 for a reader to use with an iPad
- A subsidiary of Wells Fargo
- Mobile option is 2.69% per transaction and a one-time card reader fee of $49.95
- Storefront option is $12.95 per month with touchscreen tablet for counter and 2.69% transaction fee
Whether it’s for an emergency service, reimbursement for repairs, or invoice payment, getting paid immediately impacts your business. Don’t turn away payments. Instead, offer the convenience with the security of a credit card chip reader.
Route Planning Technology
Having route planning technology at your fingertips empowers you to make quick decisions that save your drivers time and increase profits. Efficient route planning improves your quality of service and helps you meet customer expectations.
Many options exist for those looking to upgrade from using printed route sheets or calling a driver mid-route to provide updates. There are opportunities to fit all budgets, from software choices for offices to free mobile apps for drivers. Route planners give the PRO access to driver and customer information regardless if you’re working out of your mobile office or from home.
Several of the route planning options offer upgrades to smoothly integrate your route planning with inventory and customer service management. You can start with route planning, then add on service modules as your business grows.
- Address emergencies quicker
- Efficiently manage fuel use and expenses
- See profitability analysis based off your routing decisions
Costs and Fees
Monthly fees, one-time licensing fees, or the purchase cost of a device using a free app vary depending on your needs and budget. Purchasing a tool, like an iPad Mini ($399), then using free software is a natural step towards ditching paper and pen. Monthly services cost anywhere from $5 to $20 per month, while one-time licensing fees cost upwards of $200.
- Upgrade to route planning without changing your accounting software
- Lite Version (route planning only) $17/month or $197 one-time fee
- Plus Version (multi-users and more report capabilities) $37/month or $497 one-time fee
- Pro Version (includes inventory) $57/month or $797 one-time fee
- Offers a drop stop feature for multiple pick-ups and drop-offs
- Easy-to-use mobile apps that take hundreds of variables into account
- Team version includes enhanced reporting and full route sharing and tracking
- Individual Basic Version is free
- Individual PRO is $5 a month
- Team Version is $20 a month
- Runs on a computer or smartphone
- Information intensive, offering a vast range of reports, including forecasting
- Automates route planning, so the technology plans the best-optimized route for you
- Estimated pricing around $200 a month, but contact them to get a quote based on your team size and needs
- Uses Microsoft® Bing Mapping technology
- Provides real-time information on routes, customers, and service calls
- Offers single-screen views for easy access to data
- Industry leader with software developed by waste industry professionals
Many cloud-based systems include inventory and accounting for an additional cost. If you plan on upgrading any of your current methods, look ahead to future needs and see if software that combines programs will work for your portable restroom business.
Inventory Management Technology
Inventory check sheets are the reliable low-tech option that many PROs use. However, there are several types of technology that fit various budgets and needs. A QR code tracks assets and stores information according to users. Anyone can download a free QR reader on their phone, making this an inexpensive choice. Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags cost more than QR/barcodes but hold information such as service and maintenance history. Upgrading to inventory management software allows you to say yes to a client just by checking your phone.
Using technology for inventory enables you to view what’s in stock and what needs servicing. It saves tedious administrative time and time lost looking for something that has left the lot.
Upgrading your inventory system doesn’t have to be costly, and you’ll find that many programs add this capability to their route management or accounting software as upgrades. Inventory management tracks the lifespan of your portable restroom units, including maintenance and revenue. Knowing this information allows you to make decisions on future purchases and make on-the-spot commitments to customers, which affects your future growth and budget.
- Cloud-based services allow you to check the availability of units while with a customer or on the road
- Reports, such as service or revenue, offer the big picture allowing you to better plan for future growth and purchases
- Resolve customer issues using maintenance records showing service dates
- Quickly identify problems or lower-revenue generating units
Costs and Fees
As noted above, Ritam Technology offers an upgrade to route management that includes inventory. Other options offer one-time licensing fees or a monthly subscription. Pricing varies from $50 a month and up.
- Combination desktop, mobile app, and web app
- No individual barcode readers, your drivers use their existing smartphones
- Instant confirmation when services are completed
- $697 one-time fee or $58 and up for a monthly subscription and multiple users
- Get a customized quote based on the number of users and items tracked
- Includes barcode scanning, service, maintenance and more
- Starts at $320 per year for 200 items up to $1026 per year for 2000 items
- Offers monthly plans, starting at $49.99 per month and up
- Easy to add inventory to system
- Drivers know what to take based on real-time inventory
- Upgrade to include accounting and more as you grow
While the traditional method works well enough for many small businesses, it fails to give the PRO a complete picture. Modernizing your portable restroom operation through inventory management software gives you access to data and enables quick decisions.
Online and Software Accounting
The portable restroom operator often invests in accounting software first. Many PROs start with basic desktop accounting software. As time goes on, then you may realize that you’re outgrowing your current system or need data available on your mobile device.
New accounting technology utilizes the cloud, which means that it puts your data safely online so that you can access it regardless of location. Mobile apps are perfect for the busy PRO needing to invoice a client on the spot or add information, like a new phone number, to a client’s account.
- Add receipts from the road
- Less hassle at tax time
- See profit or loss with one click
- Upgrade to include customer information, track routes and inventory
Costs and Fees
Standard services can be purchased as stand-alone software used only at the office or upgraded to include cloud-based monthly subscription options. The monthly service fees range from $10 a month for small businesses to $100 for advanced features, payroll and more.
- Cloud-based software includes free mobile apps
- Snap photos of receipts using smartphone
- Upgrade plans to include inventory
- $10 to $100 a month depending on services and number of employees on payroll
- Access your data using your phone, tablet, or desktop from any location
- Offers option for accepting credit card payments online
- Lite version covers 5 clients for $15 a month
- Plus version allows for 50 clients for $25 a month
- Premium version works with 500 clients for $50 a month
- FreshBooks Select services larger needs
Changing accounting programs can be scary. Many companies offer customer support to help you transfer your data over to the new system. Look for potential upgrades and make sure your accounting system will grow with your company.
Rental Management Technology
Prepare for future growth by considering software that offers accounting, customer management, inventory, and route and fleet planning as an all-in-one product. The CRM is for the company seeking optimum growth. This technology is a fantastic investment into your company’s future.
Every aspect of your portable restroom operation is fully integrated into one central system, allowing you to optimize every part of your business. These programs feature the best of every process adopted from all categories. All CRM programs offer mobile apps so that you can stay on top of everything from home or on the road.
- One program to download across devices
- Reports that integrate customers, inventory, and routing into one big picture
- Prepares your portable restroom operation for growth beyond primary accounting systems
- Often based on standard ERP programs
- Compatible with most credit card readers
Costs and Fees
Rental management technology is the priciest option yet offers countless options and room for growth. Nearly all the software mentioned requires a customized quote based on your business size and needs. Some offer modules that can be purchased as separate units.
- Specifically for the portable sanitation industry and designed by rental experts
- Manages customers, accounting, inventory, routing, and equipment maintenance
- Access all your information at any time on your mobile device
- Designed for the portable restroom industry by the largest provider of software for the waste and recycling industry
- Easy to use mobile app and software
- Handles billing, routing, customers, inventory, and equipment maintenance
- Easy to navigate
- Offers a customer portal, driver’s app, and software
CRM software helps the business owner optimize and analyze every inch of their portable restroom business. This technology is pricey but easy to use. Automating your administrative tasks, while staying on top of details leads to increased productivity in every area of your company.
The dash cam technology offers the best risk management for your portable restroom operation. By installing a dash cam in all company vehicles, you mitigate risk and lessen hassles with customers and insurance companies. Add dash cams to your fleet without disrupting other office processes and management software. Dash cam technology provides a simple way to update and protect your business.
In the portable sanitation industry, it’s important to react quickly to emergencies. Often, this requires communication between your driver, while fielding calls from the client. Unfortunately, the PRO isn’t always in the office. The dash cam is a reliable witness, even for a solo operator. It allows you to manage emergencies or client issues from any location. If you’re still using traditional methods for inventory management or routing, you can add dash cams and take your customer service up to the next level.
- Use video to witness and document accidents or issues at a customer’s location
- Process insurance claims quicker
- Possibly see reduced insurance rates
- PROs can access data and make decisions based on real-time events
Costs and Fees
As dash cam technology grows, prices drop. Dash cams cost $80 to $200 each. You can enroll in an optional monthly service plan, which costs $15 per month up to $60 per month per truck.
- Easy to install and use
- Uses WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) technology which allows clear recording regardless of the time of day
- Uses compression technology so space isn’t an issue and a driver can view videos from the entire trip
- Pricing runs about $125 per camera
- Leader in the industry and well-known brand
- Allows you to take snapshots from inside or outside your vehicle, which is great for documenting damage
- Offers a dash cam player to review footage on your computer
- Prices range from $75 to $170 per camera depending on model
- Uses WDR technology and wide video range
- Includes an emergency lock button and accident auto-detection feature
- Pricing runs about $170 per camera
A dash-mounted camera reduces accidents and keeps you abreast of problems. Dash cams provide an easy way to update your operations without making big software changes. Hundreds of options exist, so determine your needs and consider options within your budget.
Streamline your portable restroom business by upgrading to new technologies. Offer your clients a convenient experience while automating the background work. With the vast array of options, from free apps to full rental management systems, tools exist to fit all business sizes and budgets.
If you’re already using accounting software and aren’t ready for massive investment, then look into stand-alone options for route optimization and inventory tracking. You may find that the additional efficiency more than pays for the monthly cost.
Being able to make sales and service commitments while on the road by utilizing inventory, route management, and credit card chip technology attracts and retains clients.
For PROs looking to maximize inventory and maintenance while keeping up-to-date customer profiles and view those details along with financials, upgrading to a rental management program makes sense. The CRM optimizes your business and increases productivity.
The advances in technology also minimize your risk. By having mobile access to maintenance records and dash cam footage, you can offer your clients real-time solutions from any location. There are many ways to upgrade or update the technology you use. Making the switch from a clipboard to a cell phone may seem like a burden at first, but many people use their mobile phone for everything, so it’s a natural next step.
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.”