Cotter’s Sewer | Septic | Portable Toilets

Cotter’s Sewer | Septic | Portable Toilets is an innovative company for several reasons. Many of the local septic service and portable toilet companies we’ve covered over the last year have got their starts in places and locations where portable toilet technology was, as they call it in the IT industry, “bleeding edge,” which means that the failures which breed innovation happen in the field, and often at the user’s expense.

Many of these companies got their start shortly after World War II when the contact between industry and the everyday household was relatively light. At that time, in particular, it was portable toilets that were mostly in the development. Back then, these types of assets were more like outhouses built on top of a sled than a finished, self-contained product.

Cotter’s stands out for having been established at a time when modern portable toilet technology, as we know it today, is fairly common. That is to say, it’s tougher for a new, small company to get the technological edge on their competition and to become established on the local level. But this is exactly what Cotter’s has done, and as we will see it may have to do with the fact that the company changed hands in 2014.

Established in Laurel, Montana in 1998, Cotter’s has made itself an essential service in a part of the country where a high water table, multiple major waterways, and intermittent freezing conditions make their services indispensable to the local populations. A quick scroll down their home page confirms this suspicion with bold text about three-quarters of the way down that reads, “Don’t ignore sewer line problems.”

The section goes on to list the following service categories: Sewer Drain Cleaning, Septic Tank Pumping, and Portable Toilet Rental.

For industry experts, that list of services in that order likely paints a familiar picture of a progressive and systematic septic failure- and in this case- that is entirely accurate. Cotter’s pulls ahead of the competition by being willing and able to deal with emergency sewer line problems and sewage backups, the likes of which are fairly common in their part of the country.

While we have yet to talk to other such companies in Laurel, MT, Cotter’s is likely the most technologically advanced local sewer service provider in the area. They are particularly proud of their robotic pipe crawler/camera probe, which gives their techs the ability to spot sewer problems that ordinarily, only an excavator could address.

Like many similar companies, Cotter’s makes itself available on a 24/hour 7-days/week basis. This, as our audience will understand, is perhaps the best way a local level sewer service company can make itself into a vital resource.

But, of course, Cotter’s does not make its bones solely by servicing frozen, broken, and otherwise troubled septic tanks and lines. They also provide a serviceable list of portable toilet rentals and related products and services.

Their portable toilet team works primarily with construction contractors, providing portable toilet hauling, and cleaning services to help builders stay on time and under budget. They clean and sanitize their portable toilets no less than once a week when in service, depending on the number of units being provided to a site and the number of workers who will be using it. Cotter’s has a small team of dispatch experts who have worked out a formula that lets them schedule portable toilet cleanings ahead of time, which saves some heartache for everyone involved. They also do event rentals for short term events like weddings, backyard receptions, and the like.

Their hand wash stations have been in particularly high demand during the COVID-19 health crisis. These units can be equipped with paper towels and hand sanitizer. These rentals have been a great asset for work teams which have had to provide verifiable evidence that they are staying within the restrictions of local regulatory bodies and federal health guidelines. These have made it possible for a number of contracting teams to stay in business during these tough times.

All that being said, there are two services in particular which Cotter’s offers that we have not seen in any other local level septic service and portable toilet rental company. These are trailer units available for customer pick up, and cleaning service for privately owned portable toilets. In this part of the country, most people own a heavy-duty pickup truck. With their portable unit rentals, customers are invited to come down to the company’s stockyard and drive away with a rental toilet-trailer. This lets customers save money on the mileage they would ordinarily be charged for.

Furthermore, with the frequent septic problems common to this part of the country- many people buy will a portable toilet and fail to plan for its cleaning. Fortunately for the people of Laurel and Billings Montana, Cotters provides cleaning services for these privately owned portable toilets.

Finally, it bears mentioning that Cotter’s also makes themselves available through their Facebook page which is unusually popular for a page of this kind. At the time of this writing, they have over a hundred people actively checking and interacting with the page. It’s quite likely that many of their regular customers are anticipating freezing and/or flooding problems this time of year.


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