Some of the most profitable business ventures there are today come from the service and support sector. If there’s one thing that people do every day, it’s use the bathroom. Sometimes the need to use the restroom occurs when there isn’t any plumbing available. That’s where a porta potty business can provide a service that is profitable for everyone. People can use the bathroom and the contracts you receive to place a portable bathroom and service it put money into your pocket.
It all begins with the realization that this kind of business doesn’t bring with it a lot of glory or glamor. You may be looked down upon in your community as the “porta potty people.” There are also health hazards that are directly associated with this kind of business because you will be consistently exposed to human waste.
1. Start Your Business
You’ll need to get your business up and running. Start by creating a business plan that outlines your goals and mission. Register your business name, start a checking account, and raise capital for the purchase of your portable toilets if you need the cash.
2. Purchase Your Toilets
You can’t run a porta potty business without any portable toilets in your inventory. The number of toilets that you’ll need to purchase is dependent on the amount of people that you’ll expect to service at every anticipated leasing location. There needs to be about 1 portable toilet for every 50 people at any given time. If a park receives 200 visitors at any given time, then you may need to purchase 4 toilets to fulfill the terms of your lease.
3. The Type of Toilet Matters
Most people don’t want to deal with a filthy portable toilet. The days of a basic square unit that’s the size of an old-fashioned phone booth are gone. Wheelchair accessible units are available today, luxury portable toilets with upgraded features are available, and even units with urinals can all be found. The type of visitor to a location will dictate the type of toilet that is required.
4. Get Long Term Leases
The key to business success is to have ongoing contracts to service. Speak to local state parks, city parks, and construction companies to talk about leasing options that may be available locally. Scout out locations where people tend to gather in your community where toilets may not be available.
5. Calculate Your Costs
To get a long-term lease, you must be able to provide affordable services. This means you’ll need to be able calculate out what all of your costs are going to be so that you can get a good, but fair profit margin. If your prices are too high, a competitive porta potty business could easily swoop in and steal your potential contracts from you.
6. Talk About Zoning
Most communities require that a porta potty business be in an industrially zoned area. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to locate your business in an industrial park and build administrative offices and fencing to support your business venture. If you are out in a rural area with few neighbors, you may be able to talk to your local zoning commission to get the property you already own reclassified as industrial.
7. Get the Equipment
You will need to have specific equipment on-hand that will allow you to service the porta pottys. Some portable toilets will need to be serviced on site. That means you’ll need a holding tank for the human waste and you may need a hazardous materials endorsement on your CDL. Some portable toilets can be serviced on your property or wear your disposal site happens to be. You may be able to lease this equipment out if you don’t have the capital to make a cash purchase.
8. Obtain Full Insurance Coverage
You’ll need more than just general liability coverage with a porta potty business. If you have employees with your business, you will need to have worker’s comp coverage in case an injury or exposure occurs while on the job. This means you’ll need to file for an employment identification number and create an official business presence in some way, like as a corporation or an LLC.
9. Market to the Niche
There are a number of supplemental contracts that can help make your business profitable. Fairs, carnivals, private events, and even farms may all have a need for a porta potty at some time during the year. If you are able to market to the niche leases that are available in your area and service the accounts properly, you’ll be able to work your way toward a very successful business.
10. Know the Laws
Most communities have specific restrictions on how human waste can be disposed of during the year. There will likely be restrictions on where you can dispose of it, how much can be disposed, and how much you can hold on property that you own. Talk to your local department of health to see what regulations you’ll need to follow so you can plan your business accordingly.
11. Advertise Like Crazy
Portable toilets are something that most people only think about when they need them. When you advertise, your goal isn’t going to be to get an immediate sale, although sometimes that can happen. The goal is to put your brand and service at the front of the minds of your local community members. When they have a need for a porta potty, they’ll think of your advertising, and then you’ll receive a phone call.
12. Join an Association
There are a number of portable toilet associations that are around the world right now that are worth joining. By networking with other businesses that are like yours, you can keep track of industry trends and know when it is time to upgrade your equipment or your portable toilets to better serve your clients. There are often small fees associated with these associations, but the networking and information has a lot of value.
Most businesses will fail within 5 years of them being started. By following tips like these, however, you can make your new porta potty business one of the next great success stories.