Fancy Flush: Traditional Start-Highly Innovative Business

Fancy Flush owners, Roman and Heather Schmidt, worked with professionals in the wedding and wine industries. Roman was not inclined to go into the traditional portable toilet business that his father had been in through Roman’s entire life to that point. So, he and Heather chose a road less traveled—a niche submarket of the industry.
The couple discovered a need among their wedding and wine business contacts, developed during their years of working with clients in those industries. The wine and wedding pros were having difficulty finding appropriate portable restrooms for their elegant events. Roman and Heather decided to fill that need.

Choosing the Luxury Portable Restroom Niche Market
Heather’s experience is in roles involving a lot of face-to-face customer interaction. She explains, “With my customer service experience and Roman’s marketing and tech experience, and expertise in our chosen industry, it was a no-brainer to partner up in starting the company. It wasn’t easy, but I also learned to back up trailers, set them up and maintain them, so that I could be just as hands-on as Roman is.”
Roman’s background in marketing, SEO, graphic design, website development, business, engineering, product design, etc. made him a natural for transition into entrepreneurship. He explains that during the financial crisis, he took a strong interest product invention and innovation, attending numerous session to learn from successful product developers.
“I gained valuable knowledge about risks and challenges of bringing a new product to market, and evaluated my options, Roman recalls. Ultimately, I chose the more familiar and practical alternative of luxury restroom trailer rentals. The business presented a high profit ratio and comparatively very little risk.”
And, the rest is history. Roman and Heather embarked on a little startup—and here’s Fancy Flush today:

Sleek and Simple Business Model
“Our business model focuses on the event rental industry,” Heather explains. “We’re positioned as an event equipment rental company, along with tents, lighting, etc. We’ve structured a simple and transparent operational system, and we utilize my marketing experience to generate leads. We originally hired contractors to do the delivery driving. But, we came to learn the downside of that kind of outsourcing, and now we do most of our delivery using in-house resources.”
The company has found that there do not appear to be any outside repair services for the restroom trailers, so they do all of that work in-house. Fortunately, Roman is an expert on the portable facilities, from, electrical and plumbing, to repairing gel coating, etc. So, all of that work is also done in-house. Heather emphasizes the company’s track record and quality policy, “Our clients never get a broken product.”

High Creativity Distinguishes Fancy Flush
“We’ve designed and manufactured some of our own restrooms and heavily modified others to give us a great competitive advantage,” Roman said. “We are working on even fancier restroom trailers now that would be our flagship models and really define our name. We currently have some wild ideas for new restroom trailers, really high-end models that are quite novel.
Our refined order/delivery process also enables us to deliver better products quicker, but with much lower overhead than competitors.”

The Pinnacle of Boutique Business Branding
“We wanted to create a unique image for the company, so we came up with our catchy name Fancy Flush. It’s a brand identifier that people are likely to remember. And, the name does good marketing work for us, by indicating what we do.
The name “Fancy Flush” is also upbeat and very positive, unlike other catchy names that give a much less appealing impression of some businesses and to the entire industry.” Roman notes, “I’m amazed that it wasn’t already being used before we thought of it; it’s the perfect name for a luxury restroom company.”

Old-Fashioned Passion for the Product
“I think that what really makes Fancy Flush stand out is our focus and our passion for our product.” Roman shared, “I’ve become an expert in the field of restroom trailers. I’ve spent hundreds of hours learning about them and working on them. And, Heather knows about as much as I do. We’ve built the business together, and we love what we do.”
Fancy Flush also has an amazing office manager. By all accounts, she loves the business. “She’s really personable with callers,” Roman emphasizes. But we had already discovered that from our own experience with Kim in our introductory call to set up this interview. “People always tell us how great it is working with her, he added.” That makes sense to us too, because one of the first things we said to Roman on our first phone meeting with him was how exceptional Kim seemed—really the epitome of genuinely friendly helpfulness and professionalism.

Rapid Growth of Fancy Flush
Luxury portable restroom rental is a seasonal business in San Francisco. The summer season is very busy, and winters are very slow. Because of the busy summer, Fancy Flush has had to grow rapidly. Roman explains, “Our clients demand our services, and if we’re booked all the time they’ll simply stop wasting their time calling us.” So, the company has had to grow in order to keep up with demand and preserve its client base.

Cutting-Edge Technology at Fancy Flush
Fancy Flush out-paces the industry in high technology and forward thinking. “We are really into tech. We are looking into developing products based on NASA tech, harmonizing workflow and generally improving efficiency. We are always changing and improving. It’s what really keeps me interested,” Roman shared.
“We’re super into connectivity, the cloud, technology and apps.” He continues, “We’re virtually paperless, and we use lots of Google products and services, like Google Maps to get to our sites. I plan to create an app that combines all of those that Fancy Flush uses, and more, into a streamlined product for licensees.”
Roman added, “We also look forward to the time when good reliable e-trucks that will get incomparable gas mileage come on the market.”

Challenges for Fancy Flush
We struggle with finding enough reliable workers, especially people with the necessary skills and the talent to back up our very large trailers.” Roman added, “Uninformed clients occasionally may present a little bit of a challenge. A client may expect us to break the laws of physics to place bathrooms into impossible locations. To avoid such confusion, we simply try to keep our clients informed, and we offer site visits in advance, to ensure that all arrangements are clear.”

A Green Luxury Portable Restroom Business
“We are super green, we use recycled products, and recycle much of the trash waste our clients generate,” Roman said. The company uses solar energy, and recycles everything possible, even their toilet paper rolls that are too small to be reused for upcoming events.

Fancy Flush Franchises
The Schmidt’s have trademarked their company name “Fancy Flush”, as Roman explains—”to gear up for future licensing and franchising opportunities.” They want to provide the industry newcomer looking for an exciting and distinct market space with their company’s proven structure for launching and growing a luxury portable restroom enterprise, as a Fancy Flush licensee.

The Future of Fancy Flush
Going forward, Fancy Flush plans to transform the luxury portable restroom product into something entirely unexpected, to provide facilities that will elevate the customer experience to unprecedented levels.
Through their planned franchisee program, Roman and Heather also look to a future of helping each new Fancy Flush owner quickly grow their business, acquire state-of-the-art inventory, fully utilize their planned streamlined operations software platform, and afford the startup all of the many advantages of Roman Schmidt’s years of industry knowledge and wealth of business and marketing expertise.
Fancy Flush, under the exceptionally well-rounded and staunchly-grounded leadership team of Roman and Heather Schmidt, presents a formidable competitor in the luxury space of the industry. In light of the young company’s strategic growth model and management’s qualifications to follow through, this business is certainly one to watch.

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