A Step Up: How JW Craft Brings a Bit More to Portable Toilet Services

When Jennifer Corrigan, VP, and co-owner of JW Craft, wanted to get out of the hospitality rat race of working nights, holidays, and weekends, she went into event planning and then received a cold sales call in her office from a childhood associate who was representing a new portable restroom startup. Six months later, Ms. Corrigan stepped into a sales role, then VP. When the owners sold in 2014 to an unknown third party, she worked through a business development role and then left to start JW Craft with Jerry Craft and John Nebus.

Start With Solid Teamwork and Build Company Culture

Originally started in the 1980s by Jack Craft, the business was bought out by Jerry, one of Jack’s sons and John, one of Jerry’s lifelong best friends. Starting out as good friends of Corrigan’s, the team has set up a solid relationship built on professional trust. Before Corrigan had even become the owner, she would tap the two more experienced owners for advice. “I would sub-rent equipment from them and when they had an event that was new or even to double-check where they stood with man-hours/rates etc. They could consult with me for feedback without fear that I would turn around and try to win that event away from them,” she mentioned during our interview.
This professionalism and respect have been a strong part of the company culture since JW Craft was started. This culture is a big part of how they’re able to retain much of their team, most of whom have been with the company for a very long time. “Every role within our organization is important. We compensate well, we treat employees with respect, we empower them, and encourage advancement. We collaborate as a team because we are a team,” Ms. Corrigan mentions.
In addition to JW Craft, Jerry and John also co-own a hardware store, leaving Jennifer in charge of most of the business’s daily work. That being said, they aren’t absentee owners by any stretch of the imagination. She mentions during our interview, “Jerry and John come to the office almost daily to help with any operational challenges regarding technicians, service trucks . . . we may run into. We collaborate on the business’s financial health, and we base our decisions on purchases operational need.” Another team member is Melanie Sandy, General Manager and a 20-year veteran of the business, Paul Maysonet who has gone from service tech to Operations Manager in five years, Albert Gurerro who won PSAI’s 2019 Service Technician of the Year Award and provides valuable insight into new products.

Fleet Matters

The company uses a mix of PolyJohn, Poly Portable/Satellite, and Armal Wave equipment, providing them with the opportunity to customize what they have to each customer’s specific needs. Most of the trucks are 1500 waste/500 water, with a few 1600 waste/400 water, with some smaller steel- and aluminum-tank trucks as small as 700 waste/350 water.
Trucks are purchased through Amthor, Satellite, Engine & Accessories, Crescent Tank, and Keith Huber/Hol Mac. They also have a fleet of restroom trailers including Ameri-Can Engineering, A Restroom Trailer, JAG, and Satellite. The company is also working on a software upgrade to meet the demands of digital transformation by allowing customers to pay online.

Organic Growth

The company is strongly focused on guaranteeing strong, reliable customer service. This resonates with their customers and keeps them coming back for service time and again. Tied in with the company’s culture of respect and professionalism, this dedication allows them to grow organically, through word-of-mouth and referral services.

Corrigan mentions how communications play an important role in the company’s daily operations and growth, requiring their operations to remain flexible. “Customers communicate via email, phone calls, and sometimes text messages. JW Craft is key on communication. We all stay informed on what’s going on in each area of the business. It’s very important the left-hand knows what the right hand is doing at all times. We are in tune with our community. We stay informed through local associations, political news, local news, and communicating with our customers.”

Upcoming Challenges

As with any company, JW Craft faces its own challenges. It has already put into place one of the more difficult to deal with, which is managing environmental issues. She notes that the company’s success is in place by having procedures to avoid contamination, having spill kits on each truck, properly maintaining their vehicles, and only transporting portable restrooms empty.
The biggest challenge she sees is growing as more people relocate to the state and more companies are formed and grow. “No matter which industry you’re in, this happens all the time all over the globe. We just focus on what we do and do it the best we can.”

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