It may be hard to believe, but at the time of writing, we’re entering our ninth month living with COVID-19. None of us could have predicted 2020 and the impact on the industry around the globe.
With traditional sources of income for the portable restroom industry – weddings, construction sites, festivals, etc. – impacted and in some cases shut down, the future looked bleak back in March. But a surprising shift took place, and many PROs are now reporting better business than ever. So, what happened, and where are we at now?
The portable toilet industry bounced back quickly from the initial hit. PROs soon realized that while their planned events may have been canceled, new opportunities were arising.
Toilets on construction sites needed more frequent cleaning. Handwashing became paramount to stopping the spread of the infection. Toilet paper was suddenly the new gold dust. There was a widespread fear over the scarcity of hand sanitizer.
All of these concerns could be accommodated by PROs, who were well placed to answer such demands. Add to that the fact that porta-potties are generally considered safer than public restrooms, as only one person uses them at a time, and things were looking up for the industry.
An unforeseen outcome of stores, restaurants, bars, and cafes closing was the lack of available public restrooms. Even when a lot of these places were open, their restrooms were often shut to the public.
Hence, the need for outdoor restrooms went up and portable toilets soon answered nature’s call. Councils from all over began populating their parks and outdoor spaces – where people were flocking to get all-important exercise – with porta-potties.
Even on construction sites, things changed. Whereas current OSHA guidelines recommend one restroom for every10 workers, since the pandemic the PSAI now recommends one for every eight workers. Therefore, sites have been needing more units.
PROs are also being asked to service newer, essential areas like drive-thru COVID-19 testing centers.
Many PROs are seeing a boom in trade. As the Provincetown Independent reported, Nauset Disposal in Cape Cod broadened their service scope to include a lot more hand sanitizer stations and it’s meant a surge in business.
CBC in Montreal reports that Sanivac’s business has doubled, while Matrec says some customers want their porta-potties serviced five to six times a day.
Per the New Yorker, John To Go in West Haverstraw has had a nearly 40% increase in trade while A Royal Flush in Bridgeport got their welder to fashion hand-sanitizer units on the fly to meet demand.
Luckily for PROs, cleanliness has never been so important, and this shows no sign of stopping. Indeed, post-COVID there may still be a higher demand for sanitizer and hand-washing stations.
We’ve talked before about diversifying your business. There’s no time like the present. With their ability to adapt, PROs are not only able to survive the present pandemic but play a huge role in making everyone safer and putting minds at ease.
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