Andy Gump Temporary Site Services: An Early Innovator in Portable Restroom Rentals

Construction in the San Fernando Valley in the 1940s was very much up in the air. With much of the nation’s resources being pumped into fighting Nazi Germany and the Axis Powers, the shape of construction depended largely on the available materials, which were scarce. As we have covered in recent articles, the early forms of portable toilet facilities were invented as a relatively convenient and impermanent way to accommodate the toileting needs of construction workers and dock workers. In the 1940s, these were largely limited to the coastal shipyards. Some enterprising waste disposal companies saw this innovation as an opportunity to expand their businesses.

Around that time, the proprietor of Andy Gump Temporary Site Services acquired his own septic service business for a cool $300. As the second World War was beginning to wind down around the middle to the end of the decade, many of the orchards in the San Fernando Valley were giving way to housing developments. For a new septic service company, this meant new customers and more business.

It was the perfect opportunity for the Andy Gump company to expand its services with some of the most advanced portable restrooms available at the time. During this period, portable restrooms were not the largely plastic and fiberglass structures we see so often today, and they certainly were not anything like the luxury mobile bathroom units that mark modern waste disposal companies as a local industry leader. The available portable toilets were large and heavy, made from wood, sheet metal, or a combination of the two. They had to be towed via large trailers, and improper relocation could easily destroy the units.

But Andy Gump Temporary Site Services made the right move to become a permanent part of the community and business culture of the San Fernando Valley, and they remain as such to this day. While many similar businesses were busying themselves obtaining these portable bathroom units, Andy Gump and his partners decided they could build their own units. He and his friends made portable restrooms from scrap plywood.
This was a major project to be sure. But the Gump portable toilets cost very little to build, and they were much lighter than the models that similar companies were buying used from shipyards and large construction sites. Andy’s portable units were cleaner, easier to move, and were less of a problem should one meet with misfortune on the road. These material differences gave the Andy Gump company a logistical advantage over other septic service and portable unit companies in the area. Gump and company could move the units more quickly. They could build new ones in less time than other companies could buy one and have it delivered.

This gave the company all the elbow room they needed to win customers and to make a name for themselves. During the rapid growth that occurred after the war, Andy Gump and the company employed some clever marketing to help cement their position in the community. Each time the Gump company would deliver a portable unit to a new customer, the company’s sign painter wrote “Another Andy Gump” in big, friendly print on the unit. As the Gump toilets became known for their measurable superiority, the Gump name became synonymous with quality.

Like most of the small to medium-sized septic services companies we have covered here, the Andy Gump company benefited from sharp business decisions at a critical time when the community they serve needed them most. Gump was innovative and struck when the iron was hot. But of course, the company’s current leadership will rightly tell you that Mr. Gump set down a set of core values that have enabled the organization to become an institution in the San Fernando Valley. These values include integrity, follow-through, providing value to people who need it before making sales, respect for all contributors, gratitude, fairness, and much more. Of course, most people and businesses will tell you they hold these values and values like them. But for an organization like the Andy Gump septic service to achieve the level of success that they have in the wild-west days of the septic service industry means that they have a track record of proving it.
Today, you can still expect to see the Andy Gump call sign on nearly every portable toilet in and around the Southern California area, proudly declaring “Another Andy Gump.” These days, they provide the bulk of the high quality, luxury restroom facilities in the form of large 7 Stations and ADA units. These are popular for movie sets, concert VIPs, and construction executives. But they also provide the kind of single restrooms that are so common at parks, events, and build sites. The one thing we notice right away is the obviously superior build quality of the ADA single units Andy Gump Temporary Site Services provides.

We don’t know how they have managed to consistently outclass the competition for over 70 years. But the proof is in the pudding.


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