PortaPottyChallenge How Many People Can Fit Into a Porta-Potty
#PortaPottyChallenge: How Many People Can Fit Into a Porta-Potty?
April 9, 2018
Leasing & Buying Equipment for Your Business
INFOGRAPHIC: Leasing and Buying Equipment for Your Business
April 9, 2018

How to Save On Ordering SuppliesTake a close look at how most successful portable sanitation businesses operate, and you’ll discover an owner who runs a “lean machine.” Efficiency and cost-effective practices are the hallmarks of a profitable operation.

One of the most important means of saving money is maintaining control over the cost of your supplies. Because your supplies are a variable cost (you spend more on supplies as your sales increase), it’s critical to find the best prices to start with.

Supplies include:

  • Blue
  • Fragrance/deodorizer
  • Urinal cleaner
  • Unit washdown
  • Toilet paper
  • Paper towels
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Hand soap
  • Graffiti remover
  • De-icer
  • Urinal cakes
  • Urinal screens
  • Air fragrance discs
  • Fresh sink tabs
Begin with Accurate Projections

Make periodic projections of the amount of supplies you need, especially as your business grows. Projections become automatic after you’ve done them for a while.

Blue and toilet paper are the supplies that “move” the fastest. Total the number of weekly cleanings you are doing and the number of units in any special events you’re servicing.

Since each unit typically requires 3-5 ounces of blue, 1 gallon of blue provides 25-42 cleanings. Each weekly service usually includes 1 roll of toilet paper (2,500-sheet roll) and 2 new rolls for special events.

Keep an extra case or box of all your other supplies in the shop. It won’t take long until you’ll have a feel for when your supplies are running low.

Become a Knowledgeable Shopper

Do your homework and compare prices. Make a list of all your supplies, then call suppliers and ask what their prices are because, most likely, you won’t find prices listed on websites.

Don’t sacrifice quality for a lower price. Decide which products perform to your service standards, then compare prices.

Make sure to compare apples to apples, especially when it comes to quantity. Look for these pricing opportunities:

  • Prices will vary by volume — the more you order, the better the deal.
  • Suppliers may be willing to negotiate prices.
  • Ask about rewards programs or loyalty programs that give price breaks for regular customers.
  • If you’ve never tried a product before, ask for samples before you decide to buy. Most suppliers will be happy to send samples your way.
  • When comparing blue deodorizer, make sure to compare the cost and performance of similar “grades” of blue. Some manufacturers recommend 5 ounces per service, while others are more concentrated and only require 1 or 2 ounces. It is critical to understand what you’re comparing.

Keep the pricing information you gather on file.

Get “Shipshape”

A good price on a product can be offset by high freight costs, so look for the best deals you can get on shipping.

  • Bundle your orders — If possible, don’t order only one or two items at a time. Orders that load one or two pallets will save on freight per product. When you’re ordering blue and toilet paper, that’s the time to order other supplies you’re running low on.
  • Purchase in bulk — When you buy all at once, you save by not paying shipping on multiple orders. And as mentioned above, the cost per unit is lower when you buy in volume.
  • Use a single vendor when possible — Separate vendors mean separate deliveries and unnecessary shipping charges. However, it’s not always possible to order all supplies from one vendor.
  • Pick it up yourself — If your business is located close enough to a supplier’s CDC (customs bonded warehouse) or central warehouse, you may save money by picking up the order in person. Make sure you have enough room to transport your order in one trip.

You can realize significant savings by smart shopping. Even small savings add up over time.

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