Five Questions to Ask an Event Planner

When it comes to supplying portable restrooms for a special event, it’s important to ask the right questions. Whether your event is a pig roast in the park or a backyard wedding, the right questions will help you provide the right kind of support. And the answers to these questions just might get you extra business. Here are the top five to get you started.

1. Have you rented portable sanitation before?
This is, by far, the most important question, since it will determine the business path you’ll take with a customer. If the answer is “yes,” there’s a good chance you’ll find a disgruntled customer interested in doing business with someone new. This is your cue to shine! If the answer is “no,” pricing may no longer be a factor for this customer, since he has nothing to compare it too. The sale is yours to close. Don’t blow it.

2. Will the event have permanent facilities on site?
It’s important that you know if you will be supplementing permanent restroom facilities or if you will be supplying the only facilities on site. People tend to wait in line a lot longer to use a permanent facility. If portables are the only option, you’ll need to make sure the right number of units is placed to cover the demand. Follow this answer by asking a customer what he or she considers an acceptable queue for each unit.

3. Will alcohol be served at the event?
Alcohol consumption is a big factor to consider when supplying an event with portable restrooms. In fact, research shows that when alcohol is served, the use of portables increases 35%. If the event is a big “drink fest” – or even a small one – make sure your customers understand the need to compensate for additional restrooms.

4. Is the event ticketed?
If yes, how much is the cost of a ticket?
The answer to this question will give you numbers for an equation that will help you educate customers and possibly sell a few more portables. Here’s the equation:
NUMBER OF GUESTS x TICKET PRICE = GROSS GATE RECEIPT
GROSS GATE RECEIPT ÷ ESTIMATE CHARGED =
COST OF SANITATION PER GUEST

This cost of sanitation per guest is usually sickeningly low, but there’s a way you can use this number to your business’ advantage.
After an event, service techs will report how well the portable facilities accommodated the crowd. The report is often proof that more portables were needed, which is the perfect time to point out the “sickeningly low” cost of each unit. For just a little more money, a customer can get a lot more convenience.
Too often, the pros allow an inexperienced event planner to dictate the number of portable restrooms needed. Use this equation to educate customers. It provides hard numbers that are generally hard to argue with.

5. Are restrooms needed in parking areas?
It’s a good idea to capture that “first use” in the parking lot. When the only option at an event is located just inside the gate, it can get crowded. Parking lot portables help with crowd control, giving guests options before and after an event. And options are always good.

Ray Luden is the northeast area manager for PolyJohn, one of the leading manufacturers of high-quality portable sanitation products. Luden uses his decades of industry experience to help customers build their portable sanitation businesses.

By PolyJohn’s Ray Luden, aka the Toilet Whisperer

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