Planes, Trains and Automobiles?

Not exactly—portable restrooms, sinks and trailers are more like it!

In these times, when diversification and expansion within your company framework is so important, it might be time to take a hard look at these areas.
If by some chance you have gotten to where you are in the portable sanitation business and you don’t yet deploy restrooms, sinks and trailers, what are you waiting for?

Before you venture into providing these services, ask yourself these few questions:

How much am I comfortable paying for these facilities?
How long do I expect them to last?
How much do they (realistically) cost to repair?

In many individuals’ minds, the portable restroom is what it is—a seven- and one-half-foot tall box that sits on a 44” x 47” base. I, personally, believe that it’s more than just a tall box and that when it is fitted out with available amenities, it can be the talk of the party. When considering deployment of these facilities, the mindset of the end user is very important.

The large event market has long been a tremendous profit center for this industry. What’s better than setting up an event with eighty plus regular units, six to eight wheelchair units and an array of hand-washing units, a few restroom trailers and VIPs? Add in some services, then pick everything up and set it all up again the following weekend in a different location.  It’s ideal.

I don’t believe that the event market is suffering as much as their coordinators are trying to make you believe. The buzzword I keep hearing is “staycation.” Corporate sponsorship may be down, but more families are enjoying the local event scene now, as they may not be able to afford to travel.

The worst thing these events can do now is cut back on the level of sanitation that they consider providing for these events. You need to be at your best to up-sell to the individuals who plan the events and help them understand the ramifications of shortcutting in this area. You know the deal: if the restrooms are disgusting, then many of the attendees will simply leave. Getting them back in coming years may be difficult, simply due to the condition of the restrooms. Be sure to remind the event coordinators of this when discussing pricing.

In the private sector, the mindset of the end user brings a whole different thought process to the table. Whether it is the backyard party, block party or wedding in a park setting, most of these folks want what they want and in some cases, are trying to keep up with the Joneses. It’s a perfect scenario for providers in the industry—put your best equipment and service on the table and then charge accordingly. By no means should you gouge; but make certain to address the customers’ needs and get your price.

When targeting your customers, remember that portable restrooms with freshwater flushing, sinks, lights and mirrors are readily available and are great additions to your fleet of rental equipment. Women prefer them, as the waste in the tank is concealed. Consider putting together a wedding package: a standard unit with a hand sanitizer for the men and a unit for the women with all the amenities.

The sink, whether it is freestanding or installed in the unit, is the perfect piece to up-sell to your existing customer base and create additional revenue. If you are not talking up hand washing for special events, you are missing the boat. It’s not a large investment, and it’s becoming more and more important to customers. Not only are sinks used in or around the bank of restrooms, they are often needed in the concession areas as well. In some places, sinks are mandatory on construction sites and are even required to be heated. With all of the new GAP-compliant regulations being developed, the need for sinks in the agriculture sector will soon be mandatory.

Don’t forget hand-sanitizing options as well. They are mounted on the wall in a unit and can come in free-standing stations.

Lastly. the restroom trailer has really found its niche in the business. Whether it is a huge event that requires multiple trailers or a high-end backyard wedding, these units can get you into places that your business has never been before, including golf tournaments, NASCAR and upscale corporate events, to name just a few.

I suggest taking measured steps in this arena, as your investment can be substantial. I know of smaller operators who get into the trailer game and work regionally with other operators to have a chance at some of the larger events they would normally not be able to handle themselves.

Long-term rentals are now beginning to develop for trailers, and, with the inventory of trailers from the mid to late 1990s starting to age, I believe they will start to show up more and more on construction sites.

In a nutshell, you can’t rent what you don’t have, and now is not the time to be saying no when it comes to new areas of business. Restrooms, sinks and trailers could be valuable assets to your company and to your profit margin.

Consider these options, make sensible choices, and don’t give your service away!

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