Are you thinking about starting a new portable toilet business?
Are you looking for tips to start you own portable restroom activity?
If you answered yes to these questions, then this article is for you!
Learn everything you need to know to help you start your own porta-potty rental company.
We are going to start with the first steps and things to think about to start your portable toilet business from nothing.
So, here you are, you did your market research, your Portable Restroom business plan is done, you made your decision: you want to work in the portable toilet industry.
Actually, you do not just want to work in this industry, you want to create your own portable restroom rental company, and be your own boss!
Good. The portable toilet industry is lucrative and in expansion. It is a great service industry, even though it can be seen otherwise.
In the first steps of creating and setting up a new business, there are many elements to take into account, and it can be overwhelming.
Start by making a business plan, it is a very useful step. For more information on the business plan for a portable restroom business, read our article dedicated to it here.
Once you made your business plan, you will know what you want your Portable Restroom to be, where you will offer your services and to whom, what equipment you will need, how you want to operate…
You can now be more detailed and think about the practical side, and how to implement your Portable Toilet business plan.
So, how to start your business? Chose a name, create a brand, decide which legal structure you want, find a location, register, open a bank account, get the permits you need… Let’s start now!
Even though we will get back to marketing in our article with marketing tips for Portable Toilet Rental Business, it is important to think RIGHT AWAY about building your BRAND, which will make you stand out from the competition, make you look bigger, more credible and should attract customers.
This process start by choosing a good name for you portable toilet Hire Company. It is always best to use Key Words (such as “portable toilets”, or “portable restroom hire”) so that you will be found more quickly by your clients on a Google research. It is also important so that people understand right away what you do.
Be specific, clear, and make sure that you can trademark the new name. Check to see that it is not already registered or copyrighted (for example on https://www.trademarkia.com), you can also verify if the “www” is available, check also if the FaceBook Page is not taken, etc.
Depending on your target market (more info on target market in the Business Plan for Portable Toilet Company article), you can chose to be funny or more formal (“you dump it, we pump it” vs “VIP toilet”).
Create a logo, which is the core representation of your brand. He should represent who you are, stay simple, but be consistent with the values you define in your business plan.
Think about the following aspects for your logo:
- be clear and simple
- be easily understandable & remembered
- should fit in any kind of space
- make it unique and stand out compared to your competition
If you’re not creative enough to create your logo yourself, you can hire a marketing company, find a freelancer or a friend that can make it for you, or even try online logo creators.
For branding, also define:
- the colours of your business, it is advised to choose 2 dominant and 2 supporting colours. As colours create emotions, look online which colour will best correspond to your business values… and preferences!
- the fonts you will use for your company name and business documents
Once you have chosen: stick to them! This is part of your company branding.
Branding means being consistent: every material coming from your company should include your name & logo, and stick to the colours and fonts that you defined before. Everything should always match. Think about:
- any part of your paperwork: sales documents, invoices, presentation…
- your online presence (website, social media…)
- decals for the equipment
- printed materials such as flyers, catalogues, brochures, business cards, ads…
- t-shirts / uniforms
Take into consideration that one day you might want to branch out into septic, temporary fencing or waste bins so be sure to leave room for expansion of the name.
More tips for naming your business: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/223401
You can follow these steps to register your business name: https://articles.bplans.com/the-complete-guide-to-registering-your-business-name/
Chose a business structure
Once you got the perfect name for your new portable toilet business, think about the best-suited structure for your business needs. This step is very important as the legal structure you will chose can have an impact on your business growth and expansion.
Depending on your country, the form of business will vary, but it will determines:
- the amount of taxes you will have to pay
- the cost of creation and administration of the business
- the paperwork you will be required to present
- the personal liability
- or also your ability to raise money
It also depends if you want to start this business alone or with a partner.
Ask yourself: what will be the investment of each partner (financial, work force), the responsibilities and duties of each, etc.
When defining the business structure, do not focus only on the present, but also think in your future needs. What happen if the company gets bigger? What happen if you decide to sell it? What happen if something happen to you?
You can look at the competition in your area and check what structure they chose to help you take your decision.
Along with legal business structure, you have to think about these vital components:
- getting a business checking account. Find out with your bank what the best option for your business is.
- getting Insurance coverage. This will protect you and your new company in case of a problem, injury, incident, or anything that might occur in relation with your portable toilets or business. You need insurance for general liability, the property, trucks, or your employees if you decide to take help. Contact an insurance broker or agent (better if he specializes into the sanitation business) if you’re not sure about the best insurance policy for your new portable Restroom company.
- Getting adecuate license or permit related to the Portable Restroom industry (see below “find a disposal site”)
As indicated in your business plan, you need to define your financial plan & investment.
You have to know how much you will need to invest to start your business. Start-up costs depend on various factors and can vary a lot between different companies. You can start by making a list:
- costs of creating & operating the business (administratively)
- acquisition or rental of a storage place
- acquisition of equipment
- costs of operating the business (servicing, trucks…)
This will help you to define your primary investment.
Do you have personal savings? Do you know where you will find funds? Are you going to ask your friends & family for a little help, get a business partner, or ask a loan to a commercial bank?
If you’re going toward a loan from the bank, then it is necessary to have a professional suitable business plan in order to be taken seriously.
Define also the billing process, which mean how and when you will invoice your clients: at the beginning or end of the month for long-term rentals? On a month basis or on a 4-weeks (=28 days) basis?
Stay consistent and accurate.
On the long-term, you need to make a financial plan in order to know your operating costs on a daily basis and when you start being profitable:
- fixed costs (insurance, loan, rent, leases, taxes, utilities, wages, licenses, marketing, software…)
- variable costs (gas, dumping fees, supplies, seasonal costs, equipment repairs, advertising, taxes)
- planned sales
You NEED to know exactly what your cost of doing business is in order to be profitable and effective.
Find a location
Finding a good location will depend on your area or operational region. It is not much about the administrative part of the business, which you could do from almost anywhere, but about the storage of the porta-potties & trucks.
The size of the location will depend on how many portable restrooms you want to start with, in order to make sure it will fit conveniently into your storage area. Look for the storage facility before getting the supplies.
Try to find a location that is not too far from your operating area, to avoid extra costs (in transport as well as in marketing). Make sure you are looking into Industrial zoned areas.
Keep in mind that your portable toilets might be outside at clients for most of the year (it also depend on your target market: long-term vs short-term rental), but make sure that when they are not used on site, you have enough room to store them.
Traditional Portable toilets and related equipment need quite a lot of space to be stored, so think about how many units you plan to buy, and, again, think about the future and the expansion of your company. A large warehouse is a very good solution (which will protect the equipment from the outside elements), but you can also look for an outside area.
Contact a commercial real estate agent to assist you in your search if needed.
Find a disposal site
You will require Licence or Permit (depending of your country) for the proper handling and disposal of the waste collected. Waste will have to be disposed in a municipal or private sewer system going through a treatment plant. Know the laws and educate yourself to be sure you follow the regulations regarding waste.
The portable toilet industry is closely linked to health and environment, as you transport, handle and dispose of human waste. That is the reason why you have to be educated about the industry and associated laws.
You will need to arrange for your waste disposal, which mean finding a sewage disposal site. A permit will probably be needed to dispose waste, and the fees charged to dispose the waste can vary.
Think about the localisation of the disposal site. It shouldn’t be too far from your operational area. If you are doing long routes, think about a disposal waste site along the route so you don’t waste time and money coming all the way back home to dump what is in your truck.
You can contact your local sewer authority about disposal, your local health department for advices, and investigate local zoning departments.
If you have the choice, look and compare the disposal site close from you, evaluate rates, operating hours, how much can be disposed… & Plan your budget for waste disposal.
As per your Portable Restroom business plan, you need to identify your market and ideal potential clients.
What business opportunities do you have in your area?
Are you going to specialize in special events, construction site, recreation, natural disasters, agriculture, family gathering…? This will also determine the rental period: short term or long term.
How many portable toilets will you rent out on a regular month?
Once you have identified your ideal potential customers, you can focus on sales and target this market.
Choose your marketing tools depending on this niche, such as the event organizers, construction industry, local municipalities or your community.
You can contact directly construction companies, local State parks, or event organizers in your area… Look for locations where portable toilets are inexistent but would be needed.
Distribute flyers, send invitation via social media, make calls… Getting customers is one of the most important part of your business!
When you know the future name of your new Portable Restroom Company, and what the best legal structure is, it’s time to register it!
Prepare all legal documents, start the financing process and government related licences.
Again, this part will differ depending on the country where you’re establishing your Portable toilet Hire Company.
For the United States, you will need to register your company with the Corporate Affaires Commission. Procedures and fees will depend on your Portable Restroom business legal structure. Below is a list of some of the legal documents that you will need to run your portable toilet rental business:
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Business Plan
- Business License and Permit
- Insurance Policy
- Employer Identification Number (EIN)
- Contract Document
- Federal Tax Identification Number (TIN)
Little advice: try to start your activity in the spring, as it is the beginning of the season for portable toilet operators. This way you will be able to get contracts more easily than during the slow winter season and get off on the right path.
Now that you created your Portable Toilet Hire Company, you still need to do a VERY IMPORTANT task:
choosing and getting your equipment!
Do you know which are the Top 5 Items you need for your new Portable Restroom Company?!
Our next article HERE will give you all the best tips to chose the best Portable Toilet Equipment!