If you’re like the majority of Americans, you have probably used a port-a-potty (port-a-John, port-a-Jane, or port-a-loo) before. Not surprisingly, if you have found yourself reading this article, you are probably also interested in diving into the portable restroom rental industry as a new business venture.
The portable restroom rental industry is a small niche catering to a wide customer base, so there is quite a bit of information you should take down before making the commitment to start your small or large business venture. We have compiled a Top 10 list of things you should know before getting into the portable restroom rental industry to help spark your interest and inspire you to commit to your newfound interest.
Here are the top 10 things you should know before getting into the portable restroom rental industry:
If you think portable restrooms are only used under a few circumstances, you couldn’t be further from the truth! Portable restroom rentals can be used for: carnivals, concerts, community events, construction sites, disaster relief, golf courses, stadiums, parking lots, sporting events, indoor or outdoor weddings, circuses, landfills, rest stops, entertainment events like backyard parties and so much more.
If you are interested in the portable restroom industry, know the difference between events and what types of restrooms are appropriate depending on the venue, audience and event planner(s). Your sales and marketing should narrow in on these audiences and cater to each group.
Portable restroom rentals truly serve more than just relief stations for busy events. Portable bathroom rentals are used due to the benefit they serve amongst a wide customer base. Generally speaking, portable bathroom rentals are easy to transport, require low maintenance, avoid clogging pipes and drains, are sanitary and made of lightweight plastic, making them durable in many environments.
When you decide to go into the portable restroom rental business, it is important to take the time to make an initial investment in high-quality products. Making an initial investment in tools, accessories and products (like the portable restrooms themselves) manufactured with high-quality materials will ensure you make your money back year after year without needing to replace parts.
When you are ready to make a business plan, consider long-term and short-term rentals for portable restrooms. Long-term rentals will ensure a steady flow of income toward your business and require a certain degree of maintenance. Waste disposal, chemical treatments, recharging “blue” sanitizer, providing routine cleaning and restocking portable restroom supplies like hand sanitizer and toilet paper are all aspects to consider when offering long-term rentals at sporting events or construction sites.
Prices will drop considerably for a long-term rental. Some portable restroom rental companies will charge $175-$500 per month for a single freestanding portable restroom on a construction site. A one-time 24-hour rental will cost around $175-$225 for single use. Adjust your contracts to reflect any maintenance, delivery and transport for long-term and short-term rentals.
Supply and rental industry standards state that for an eight-hour event, two portable restroom rentals are sufficient for a crowd of fewer than 50 people. As the crowd increases by 50 people, additional portable restrooms are needed. Each event is specific to its layout as well. Make sure when you are working with a facility that you suggest a layout that makes sense for the crowd and event purpose. Knowing and understanding the details of every event allow you to be prepared for the environmental conditions, event specifications, crowd size, if alcohol will be served causing more frequent bathroom use and staff you need to employ (or not) for routine maintenance and care.
What are some conditions to take into consideration when forming an initial budget or quote? As always, a budget is specific to the event, but in the portable restroom rental industry here are just a few factors to consider when providing a quote for an event staff:
Make no mistake, the portable restroom rental industry isn’t all flowers and daisies — you are dealing with other people’s waste on a daily basis. Sanitation services do help, but sometimes you will get in the middle of a stinky situation. If environmental conditions are at play you could be met with mud, water and grime. If alcohol is present, who knows what you might find. Portable restroom rental businesses have reported graffiti, torn walls, selective burning and even waste on the floor. You just never know what you’ll be met with each and every time.
Waste transfer is another hold-your-nose aspect of the job that will take time to get used to. If you aren’t careful, when you are transferring waste from the truck to a holding tank waste can leak, tanks can de-pressurize, hoses can spray and accidents happen. Remember to laugh; it’s all a learning curve.
Undoubtedly, the portable restroom rental industry is a dirty job, but the salary can be very, very good. In fact, the portable restroom rental industry or portable toilet cleaner hopped up to spot number 7 on the 10 High-paying Dirty Job list compiled by How Stuff Works. The salary reflects the dirty aspect of the job but also the precision and expertise needed to get the job done correctly. An employee or employees, as well as the business owner, will need to understand the interworking web of the business including: tank maintenance, vacuum and wand servicing, cleaning routines, service tactics, transport, marketing and advertising and excellent customer service. This job is not for the fainthearted!
Think the job is too dirty for much competition? Think again. The portable restroom rental industry is fiercely competitive, and often, small businesses are family-owned and employees are grandfathered in. In areas where the population is large and events are frequent, you will need the best pitch, the most high-quality product, excellent customer service and deep knowledge of service, sanitation, transport and operational aspects of the business. What makes your business different? Highlight your answer and emphasize it during your business plan or sales pitch.
The portable restroom rental market oversees a variety of different clientele from event planning to new construction. Each customer or group or customers will need their portable restroom rental for a different purpose. Assessing the market in this business simply pertains to being aware of projects, events and activities in your selected area. You can assess the market by driving around and looking for new build signs, tuning in during wedding and event season, taking notice of ‘coming soon’ posters or looking out for flyers geared toward outdoor events.
In the construction sector, there are a few different modes to stay plugged into the potential rental market. A division of McGraw-Hill (F.W. Dodge) publishes the Dodge Report. This publication lists upcoming construction projects all across the United States as well as targeted regional projects that could be helpful for your sales, marketing and advertising efforts. You can also use websites like The Blue Book for reference points geared toward the construction industry.
The second sector is event planning, and similar tools can be used to assess the frequency, duration and location for local and regional events you wish to pitch. Primarily, rentals in events are short-term but can generate solid relationships resulting in repeat business. Check out The International Festivals and Events Association and The International Association for Fairs and Expositions to target your next client.
Last and most importantly, remember that high-quality products, service and tools make a world of difference in the industry. When your event planning staff and customers are happy with the cleanliness, customer service, durability and dependability your team uses in short-term and long-term rentals, you are guaranteed to see the business rush in. Get educated on everything in the portable restroom rental industry from tanks to transport, sanitation to budgeting. Portable restroom rentals see high foot traffic and are exposed to the elements. You want to make sure you are giving your customers the best possible experience, no matter what!