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Is It Better to Run a Specialization or Serve-All Business

Whether it’s due to the threat of an economic downturn or the desire to reach an extended market, portable restroom operators can benefit from the industry specialization model but may also do well as a serve-all business. A typical question we hear from PROs is whether or not they should broaden their business base through portable toilet upgrades or by offering other rentals (fencing, waste containers, etc.) for events.

Portable restroom operators frequently expand their services and products while focusing on portable sanitation. However, others branch out into providing septic clean-outs and rental equipment for events and construction. Regardless of the direction you take, having a plan for growth is crucial.

Benefits of a Specialization Business

PROs who specialize in portable sanitation services and products become experts in their industry. Their hyper-vigilant focus on trendy equipment, efficient systems, and a thorough understanding of the market, allows these portable restroom operators to stand above the competition. A specialization business:

  • Builds your reputation. Specialty upgrades, like trailer, luxury, and ADA units, make your portable restroom business a one-stop-shop for portable restroom needs, which adds to your credibility.
  • Broadens your market. With a specialization business, you’ll attract larger companies in your target market.
  • Creates portable sanitation specialists. Sticking with portable sanitation services allows your staff to become expert professionals, as they spend every day working with similar equipment.
  • Streamlines processes. Less new software, tracking, and inventory saves administrative time.

Your unique selling point is that your knowledgeable staff has the time to dedicate to emergencies, huge events, and government contracts. This credibility combined with excellent customer service helps you stand out from the generalists who do a little bit of everything.

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Benefits of Using a Serve-All Business Model

Some PROs branch out to fill a need or capture an additional market. Businesses in rural areas may add other services to satisfy a void in their community. Others use new products to attract more clients to their portable restroom business. The serve-all business model provides a safety net because even if construction jobs drop, the chances are that homeowners will be looking to DIY projects and rent equipment or party supplies. A serve-all business:

  • Protects companies during downturns. Diversifying into non-sanitation services makes it easier to adapt to changes in the local economy.
  • Builds on current systems. You’re already in the rental business, so adding equipment for construction projects or events is a natural next step.
  • Increases leads. The serve-all business model allows you to cross-promote and broaden your market.

By offering a variety of services, you protect your portable restroom business and make new connections in other industries. This diversification allows each element of your company to produce leads for the other segments.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution on which services your portable restroom business should offer. Operators with small or rural customers may see added benefits of providing services outside of the portable sanitation industry, as competition is often slim. However, companies operating in dense cities may struggle to compete without specialization. Whether you choose a serve-all business model or a specialization business, focus on your market first.


Looking to Take Your Portable Restroom Business to the NEXT LEVELDownload 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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