The portable toilet industry is growing so fast it’s expected to be valued at $20.43 billion by the year 2028.
That’s an increase of 12.61% from the 2021 valuation!
There’s money to be made for PROs (public restroom operators) of all kinds — established ones, new ones and those thinking about expanding their current operations.
In fact, HowStuffWorks.com ranked the portable toilet industry as one of the top 10 highest-paid dirty jobs.
PROs beat out both oil rig workers and garbage collectors in terms of how much money they make annually. Now is a great time to invest in portable toilet rentals and protect your investment by getting the right insurance for your inventory.
This article will help you understand how portable toilets can be different from other businesses and then break down what insurance you need for your business.
We’ll also give you some tips for researching the industry and crafting a winning business plan.
Ready to learn more about the portable toilet industry and its insurance? Keep reading below!
As a business owner or someone working to get your operation off the ground, you understand the importance of insuring your assets.
The portable restroom industry is similar to many small businesses, but there are key differences you’ll need to understand when it comes to insurance.
Some of the most common small business insurance plans include a business owner’s policy (including general liability, commercial property, and business interruption service).
Of course, there are others available to small businesses such as cyber liability, business identity, key person, or business income. Every business is different, so it’s important to sit down with a trustworthy insurance representative to go over your options.
There are three specific types of insurance every PRO needs to consider:
In the next few sections, we will go over what each of these means for your portable toilet business.
Obtaining this type of portable toilet insurance is good practice for any small business. It’s essential to protect you from various unexpected issues.
General liability protects businesses from losing money due to property damage or claims of bodily injury. You can imagine how this coverage benefits PROs.
Imagine if a portable restroom tips over with someone inside (who gets hurt and wants to sue) or a tornado wipes out your entire inventory. Any of these scenarios could bankrupt your business.
Don’t believe us? The average cost of a slip and fall claim is $20,000. Portable restrooms are often used in large outdoor events where it’s more likely someone could get injured using your service.
While general liability isn’t required by law, it’s essential for any small business. Plans typically cost around $50 or less per month and cover around $1 million per occurrence.
You’re probably wondering, what is inland marine coverage and how does it relate to my portable restroom business?
It sounds like this insurance deals only with shipping over water, but it really applies to all freight transportation and how products are stored.
Exporters or businesses with large shipping operations need this insurance to cover the work they do over land and sea, but as a PRO you can see how it could protect your business.
You regularly haul portable restrooms to event spaces, unique locations, or job sites. Anything can happen on the road, and one traffic accident or shipping mistake can devastate your operation.
The beauty of inland marine coverage is how it also protects inventory in storage, which could prevent you from losing money if your portable toilets are damaged by nature or vandalism.
In 2021, Idaho Fish & Game published an article describing the rising costs of replacing portable toilets: “A portable outhouse that cost $50 to rent just a few years ago now costs $150 per month to rent in 2021.” One of the units was burned and another was kicked over.
If you’re thinking about opening a portable toilet business, expect to have something like this happen at least once, if not more.
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Paying for this type of insurance seems odd for a small business specializing in portable restrooms, but think about it. How do your restrooms get from one venue to another?
You have a truck or trailer that is used to deliver and pick up rentals. This would be considered a commercial vehicle, and therefore, you would need to insure it.
Commercial auto covers the employees who are delivering your products, as well as your vehicle and portable restroom units.
The greatest advantage of having this insurance is paying the medical bills of anyone hurt in an accident and the damage done to vehicles.
According to the National Safety Council, vehicle accidents without injuries cost an average of $4,700. If you include injuries, that amount is $23,900.
These are not costs you’ll want to pay from your profits.
Business owners can expect to spend around $142 per month for commercial auto, yet this amount can be higher or lower depending on the size of your business, location, the number of employees, or how many vehicles you want to insure.
First, let’s talk about the opportunities. One of the biggest is how many customers and venues need your service. It’s not just construction sites or outdoor concert spaces.
You can also do business with carnivals, community events, disaster relief agencies, golf courses, stadiums, parking lots, sporting events, indoor or outdoor weddings, circuses, landfills, and many more.
Another benefit is that portable restroom units are low maintenance and durable. This makes your job easier, but you’ll still need to do your market research because there is a lot of competition out there.
Not only should you invest in high-quality products and tools, but do your research on short-term vs. long-term rentals. For example, long-term rentals require more maintenance (waste disposal and chemical treatments) but can be a steady income depending on your business plan.
There are also risks associated with this industry. As we stated above, there is a lot of competition. There are specific companies that only serve individual markets like construction sites, and most likely they are the dominant supplier.
It’s helpful to choose a market and think about whether you want to specialize in short-term or long-term markets before going after new clients. Don’t try to beat the big kids on the block when you just start out.
The other huge risk is what can happen to your units. They may get destroyed by natural elements or vandalism, or they may be damaged in an accident. That’s why it’s so important to obtain comprehensive insurance coverage.
If you’re thinking about expanding your portable toilet business or checking out insurance, think about the type of portable toilet you want to operate.
There are five different types of portable restrooms:
Before investing in new units and insurance, think about your ideal customer. Do they want a low-cost, easy standard portable toilet? Or, are they looking for deluxe portable toilets with sinks or easy accessibility for all types of visitors?
What you choose to work with will also have a big impact on your budget, business plan, and ultimately the amount of insurance you’ll need to cover your investment.
Considering whether your rentals are short- or long-term will also affect your bottom line. Do you want to spend your money on shipping many short-term rentals or maintaining long-term rentals that you don’t move frequently?
We hope that after reading this article you’re more informed on the portable toilet industry, and most importantly, understand the types of insurance you’ll need to carry.
You have the potential to make a lot of money as a PRO because so many venues need portable toilet rentals. Maintaining your portable toilets is relatively easy, but there are many risks.
PROs can lose most or all of their inventory during natural disasters or acts of vandalism. Another common risk is damaging your rental units in a traffic accident during delivery. Drivers can also be injured in this type of situation.
That’s why it’s important for your business to carry general liability, inland marine coverage, and commercial auto insurance to ensure you’re protected.
We recommend contacting a reputable local insurance agent and discussing your options. At a minimum, you should get these three types of insurance, but based on the specifics of your business, you may decide to purchase other plans.
At the end of the day, we know you’ll love working in the portable restroom industry, and with the right business plan, you’ll be more than fairly compensated.
Disclaimer: Content provided by JohnTalk is intended solely for general information purposes. JohnTalk does not claim to offer legal, tax, investment or accounting advice. We do not accept liability for direct or indirect losses resulting from the use of information provided. For specific advice about starting or investing in a business, consult with a qualified and licensed professional.
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.”