Do you want to start a portable toilet rental business? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a portable toilet rental business with NO money and no experience.
Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample portable toilet rental business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample v marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for portable toilet rental companies. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a portable toilet rental business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.
What is a Portable Toilet Rental Business?
A portable toilet can be compared to the typical fixed toilet facility that is used in residences and offices. However, the difference between a portable toilet and a regular fixed toilet is that while the waste in a fixed toilet goes to the septic tank, the waste in a portable toilet is instead carried to a tank that is attached to the toilet. The tank is usually concealed within the base of the toilet and there are chemicals within the interior of the tank that ventilates the waste and also deodorizes it, while solid wastes as well as toilet paper are turned into powder.
There are various kinds of portable toilets such as; single-seat toilet urinals, multiple urinals, combined toilet and urinals and mobile vans that have multiple units of toilets and urinals as well. Portable toilets are usually made of materials that are water resistant in nature and can be cleaned, sanitized and are also germ-free.
The rental fee for a portable toilet is usually dependent on the kind of portable toilet. If you are looking to start this business, it is important that you calculate the number of units that will be rented, how long your intended customers will use them for and the location where the toilets will be placed. Find below a comprehensive guide on how you too can start a portable toilet rental business.
Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Business – A Complete Guide
- Industry Overview
The portable toilet rental business in the United States is one that generates an average of $1 billion annually and has had a 3.1 percent annual growth from the period of 2012 to 2017. The industry had its revenue decline on a huge level prior to 2012 as the construction sector in the United States collapsed which caused several work sites to be idle and therefore the demand for portable toilets to be stalled.
There are more than 3,500 portable toilet rental businesses in the United States employing more than 10,500 people. The revenue of the industry is expected to grow as the housing market expands due to the stability of the economy.
The distribution of establishments in the portable toilet rental industry is in line with how the general population in the country is distributed. Most of those operating the portable toilet rental business are located in the Southeast and West and this is because there is a large number of people residing in these regions as well as a large number of industry establishments spread across these regions.
An area with a large population will have high demand for special events and construction. Florida for instance accounts for about 4.9 percent of the portable toilet rental industry in the Southeast region due to its large population and several huge events that are usually held in Miami.
The portable toilet rental industry is one that has seen a lot of moderate contraction over 2012 and 2017. This is as one of its major customers, the construction sector, collapsed due to mortgage crises. And so even though the downstream market such as concert promoters, campgrounds as well as providers of outdoor recreational activities experienced a steady growth and sustained demand in the industry during the period of recession from 2008 to 2013, they weren’t able to cover up the poor demand that came from the construction sector and as a result, the portable toilet rental industry revenue fell at an annual rate of 0.7 percent between that period.
It is expected that the period between 2013 and 2018 will see the industry’s profits rise as the housing market recovers due to the growth of the economy. While the construction expenditure is expected to rise, expenditure from consumers on recreation is also expected to rise as well due to rising capita per disposable income.
This therefore means that there will be more people attending concerts and outdoor events which will require more portable toilets. However, while there will be rising demands for portable toilet rentals during this period, the industry’s profitability is expected to remain the same due to increasing environmental regulations which will mean higher compliance costs for operators in the industry.
The industry is one that is highly fragmented as there are a large number of small firms that are basically popular in their regions alone with only a few attaining national recognition. This is because portable toilets are homogenous in nature and buyers do not look to brand when purchasing as they always prefer buying from suppliers that sell cheaper than their competitors.
However, in order to stand out from others, most of the suppliers do not rely majorly on sales as they also offer a variety of sanitation services and also provide an assortment of structures that are temporary in nature.
In order to change its stagnating profitability, the industry has started looking towards technology. Most of the standard portable toilets and even the ones that are luxurious in nature are being re-circulated because vacuum toilets like those used in airplanes are gradually becoming quite popular as they not only use little water and no chemicals but are better for the health as well. However, while this might be optimistic for the industry, the price of vacuum toilets are quite high and with buyers willing to spend less in paying for portable toilets, this option is not the alternative it should be for suppliers.
This does not however mean that technology should be disregarded as many environmentally conscious agencies and organizations are tending towards vacuum toilets especially for crisis situations due to the fact that there is less waste to dispose of. Also, it is looking likely that the vacuum toilets will inspire the next generation of fixed toilet facilities since they use less water, a fact that will be considered a good thing by environmentalists.
Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Business – Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographic composition of those that demand the services of a portable toilet rental business include construction companies, entertainment companies, state and local governments, circuses, campgrounds and outdoor recreational event companies as well as other sort of buyers.
If you are therefore looking to define the demographics and psychographics of your portable toilet rental business, it should be targeted at those that engage in activities that will not require them to be close to regular toilets.
List of Niche ideas Within the Portable Toilet Rental Business That You Can Specialize in
The portable toilet rental business is one that involves renting out movable facilities at a certain location for a temporary period of time. The portable toilet rental business is one that is homogeneous in nature and as such there aren’t many niche ideas for operators in this industry especially as portable toilet renting does not generate majority of the revenue for the industry; which therefore means that those within the industry usually engage in other services to generate significant revenue.
Below are some of the niche ideas within this industry that one can engage in;
- Portable Toilet Rentals
- Portable Toilet Pumping and Cleaning
- Testing and Waste Collection
- Sale of Assorted Temporary Structures
The Level of Competition in the Portable Toilet Rental Industry
The level of competition within the portable toilet rental business industry is largely dependent on where the business is located and the number of people that are living there as well as events that are being held in that area.
Even though the portable toilet rental business is a homogenous one, what most clients want is a business that will not charge them break-neck rates, but can offer quality portable toilets. This is because the end users do not care for brands, so buyers have a bargaining power from the suppliers.
There are several portable toilet rental businesses in the United States with a large proportion of these businesses located in areas with large population. Therefore, if you are looking to start your own portable toilet rental business, you will have more competition in areas where there are a huge number of people living and working there and less competition in areas where fewer people are living and working in.
List of Well – Known Brands in the Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Industry
Even though the industry is filled with a large number of small firms that are regarded as regional players, there are still operators that stand out from others. Those that have been able to stand out also have a significant share of the market even though overall this might not be so significant.
Below are some of the well-known portable toilet rental brands in the industry;
- National Construction Rentals Inc
- Waste Management Inc.
- United Site Services Inc.
- Northwest Cascade Inc.
- Andy Gump Inc.
- Rumpke Consolidated Companies Inc.
There is a low market share concentration for those that are in this industry, as well as low switching costs that helps to strengthen negotiations which is however weakened by the risk from supply chains. According to research, portable toilet rental has a buyer power score of 3.6, which means that buyers have a higher advantage when it comes to negotiations than suppliers.
The structure of the market highly favors buyers and the fact that the market is highly fragmented means that there are suppliers available who have to engage in intense competition in order to gain a market share. Also, most suppliers have to lower their price in order to gain an advantage over their competitors.
Buyers usually leverage different suppliers in negotiation with an aim to pressure the supplier they intend to deal with to provide a better rental rate. Another factor that aids the power of the buyer is low product specialization as portable toilets are homogeneous across suppliers, leaving buyers with plenty choice regarding which supplier they are looking to rent the portable toilets from.
Buyers do not however have all the power as there are a number of weakening factors against them such as having to take on increasing input costs passed by the suppliers. Also, buyers’ power has been further weakened by the increase in demand from entertainment companies, local companies as well as state and local governments. The increase in demand forces prices upward at times.
Starting Your Portable Toilet Rental Business from Scratch vs Buying a Franchise
For any entrepreneur looking to start a business, the decision of whether to start the business from scratch or buy a franchise is an important one. It shouldn’t however be a confusing one as every entrepreneur is expected to have a business plan that will clearly state which means will be most suitable for them.
There are a lot of niche franchise opportunities for those looking to buy franchises as opposed to starting the business totally from scratch. Buying a franchise means you not only get trained but you will also be supported especially in key areas such as operations and marketing. However, before buying any franchise, it is best that you research on as many franchise opportunities as you can to find out which will best align with your business model.
Starting the business from the scratch means that you are totally in charge of all aspects of your business; which is why it is important that you have a comprehensive business plan in place that will help you outline all that you should be able to achieve with the business as well as what decisions and actions you should take during the course of starting and running your business. Even though starting a business might seem overwhelming, but the portable toilet rental business is not such a hard business to run, so you should be fine.
Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Business
As an entrepreneur starting a business, it is important that you recognize that you will be facing threats and challenges, and you should have strategies in place that will allow you to handle these threats and challenges whenever they crop up. It is however important to note that not all threats and challenges can be dealt with and that the best thing you can do is hope for the best outcome.
Some of the threats and challenges that you are likely to face during the course of starting your portable toilet rental business are economic downturn that will see less people going for concerts or less buildings being constructed, environmental regulations, unknown brand name and competition from already existing portable toilet rental establishments.
Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Business – Legal Matters
- Best legal entity to use for this type of business
When deciding to start a business, one of the most important decisions that will ever be made is what legal entity is best for the business. This is because the legal entity you choose for your business can have an impact into how your business grows and expand.
Knowing therefore how vital this is to the success of your business, it is best to check what legal entities those operating in the same area or state such as you are using so as to be guided because legal entities vary from state to state and so it is important that you do not just choose anything.
There are several legal entities that are available for entrepreneurs looking to start a business and they are sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and Limited Liability Company (LLC). As an entrepreneur, you should know that not all legal entities are suitable for all kinds of businesses and so you must consider the nature of your business before choosing a legal entity.
The attributes that are used to distinguish several business entities include; ease of setup and control, ownership issues, flexibility of the structure in relation to the business, liability issues and the taxation structure in relation to the kind of business you intend to run.
The LLC is a hybrid kind of legal entity and is mostly favored by entrepreneurs who are running a business that they intend to keep separately from their personal assets. Also, the LLC allows entrepreneurs to pay tax just once as opposed to say a corporation where entrepreneurs pay double tax.
Those who start as sole proprietors because they are starting the business on a small scale can however upgrade later to a business entity that will suit the need of the business at that point in time.
Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Portable Toilet Rental Business
One of the ways by which you can legalize your business is to establish it and in establishing your business, it is vital that you have a business name. Choosing a business name is however not as simple as it looks because not only must the business name be catchy, memorable and indicative of the industry that you are in, it also must not have been chosen by a similar business.
Below are some of the catchy business name ideas that are suitable for your portable toilet rental business;
- Gotta Go Inc.
- Quick Waste Services Inc.
- Clean Sweep Inc.
- Potty Portal Inc
- Porta Waste Services Inc
Having insurance is one vital part of a business as the insurance policies you buy protects you and your business from having to be held liable for any incident that might occur during a client’s use of your portable toilet. If you aren’t sure what insurance policies will be best for your company, it is best that you contact an insurance agent or broker especially one that specializes in the sanitation business as they will likely have better insurance plans for you.
Contacting a insurance broker will also let you know how much to set aside when looking to purchase these insurance policies. Below are some of the insurance policies that you should consider purchasing;
- General Liability Insurance
- Workers’ Compensation Insurance
- Property Insurance
- Commercial Property Insurance
- Business Auto Insurance
- Umbrella Policies
- Contamination/Pollutant Cleanup and Removal Insurance
Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark
The portable toilet rental business is one that provides mobile toilets to clients for a specific period of time. The portable toilet rental business is homogeneous in nature; therefore, in starting this kind of business, you will not need to bother about acquiring any sort of intellectual protection.
This doesn’t mean that intellectual property protection doesn’t exist for all businesses; it just means that entrepreneurs in this industry do not consider it important enough. However, you can go ahead and acquire an IPP on the name, logo and any other material deemed important of your company.
Is Professional Certification Needed to Start a Portable Toilet Rental Business?
Apart from your certificate of incorporation or that of ‘Doing Business As’ that you will get when intending to start the business, you will not need any professional certification whatsoever.
The portable toilet rental business is majorly a service oriented business that involves renting out portable toilets to those who need it. If however, you feel it is important to get professional certification in management, marketing and finance so as to run your business better, that is entirely up to you.
List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Portable Toilet Rental Business
When looking to start any business in the United States of America, you should ensure that you have all the necessary legal documents that will be required from you so that you do not run into trouble with the authorities who may punish you by giving you a fine or banning you from running the business or even both.
Below are 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)
Financing Your Portable Toilet Rental Business
For any business idea to come to life it requires finance, so finance can be defined as one of the bedrocks of a business. For entrepreneurs that don’t have the necessary finance to start a business, they have to source for finance from external sources which is why it is necessary for there to be a comprehensive business plan as this will enable the entrepreneur be taken seriously by those he or she intends to source for funds from.
Below are some of the financing options available to help start up your portable toilet rental business;
- Using personal savings or revenue from sale of property or stock as part of start-up capital
- Sourcing for soft loan from friends and family members
- Getting a business partner in order to split your start-up capital with
- Applying for loan from a commercial bank
Choosing a Suitable Location for your Portable Toilet Rental Business
Choosing the right location to run your business is very essential. According to statistics, portable toilet rental establishments thrive well in areas where there is a large number of people. This does not however mean starting your business in a rural area will not be lucrative; it is just that the volume of rentals might not be much compared to heavily populated areas. To this end, it would be best to offer other services as well so as to be able to diversify your streams of revenue.
While you can run the administrative part of this business from home, you will still need a location where you can lease a facility that will allow you store the number of portable toilets you intend to buy. The size of the facility must be one that all the units you intend to buy can fit into it conveniently and so it is vital that you shop for a facility first before getting in contact with the supplier you intend to buy the toilet units from.
When looking for a suitable location for your business, it is important that you consider zoning as some communities require that portable toilet rental businesses should be located in areas that are industrially zoned. This however means that your business must be located in an industrial park with administrative offices and the required fencing in place.
If however you have a property that can accommodate the number of units you intend to get and are located in a rural area and have neighbors that won’t mind, you can get in touch with your local zoning commission and ask that your property be reclassified as industrial.
If locating a good facility is very overwhelming for you, you might need to engage the services of a real estate agent who has thorough knowledge of the area to get you something that is in line with your budget. Ensure however, that the location of the business isn’t too far out so that you do not have to engage in extra marketing to ensure that your business is visible enough.
Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Business – Technical and Manpower Details
Before your purchase your toilets, you should realize that the type and number of toilets matter a lot. The number of toilets you would purchase should be dependent on the amount of people that you are looking to offer services to. Also, the type of toilets you get will be determined by those who will visit the location. Nowadays, toilet units have enough room and are also easily accessible by those on wheelchair. There are also luxury portable toilets with features that have been upgraded from those found in a regular toilet.
In order to succeed in this business, it is vital that you have ongoing contracts to service. This can be done by speaking with construction companies, city parks, local parks in your state and also scout out locations where people are likely to congregate with no available toilets in existence.
However, before you can have ongoing contracts, you should ensure that you will provide affordable services by knowing your cost and profit margin. If your rates aren’t favorable, another competitor could likely beat you by taking your potential costumers from you.
Usually your portable toilets should be serviced on your property but in this kind of business, some of the toilets might need servicing while on site, so it is necessary to have a holding tank for the human waste and also get a hazardous material endorsement. It is also necessary to know what the laws are regarding disposal of waste as there will likely be restrictions on where to dispose it, how much to dispose and how much you can hold on your property.
If you intend to run this business on a medium or large scale, then you might need to hire competent people to help with ensuring that you achieve your goals and objectives. You will need to ensure that your staff is trained in handling and disposing waste. Those you might need to hire include; manager, accountant, driver, field workers and security guard.
Therefore from the above analysis, you will require at least 6 key people to start your portable toilet rental business and run it effectively.
The Service Delivery Process of a Portable Toilet Rental Business
When starting a business, the entrepreneur needs to ensure that he has the necessary finance, and must establish the business legally. Once this is in place, the entrepreneur can then get in touch with the various suppliers to determine which rates will be most fair to him or her.
Once you know the number of units you intend getting, having a place with which to store them is very necessary and so you will need to secure a facility for this purpose. Once all that is in place, then it is vital that you look for means to ensure the business gets the required awareness to help it gain customers.
Starting a Portable Toilet Rental Business – The Marketing Plan
- Marketing ideas and strategies
Marketing is very vital to the sustainability and growth of a business and must therefore be taken seriously. Before you can market your business to your intended target market, you must be able to anticipate their demands and meet it.
For example, there are now luxury portable toilets or portable toilets dedicated to just females that have extra frills than the regular ones, and so before buying these kinds of toilets, you must be sure that they are what your clients are likely to want.
Before you can correctly anticipate the wants of your customers, it is necessary that you conduct a market research that will help you clearly define what your business is, who your target market is, what they are expecting from you and what you should likely expect from them as well. The market research should also be able to know who your competitors are, what their strengths and weaknesses are and what level of competition you are likely to expect from them.
If you are establishing your business in a location that has a large number of already established portable toilet rental companies, then you might need to hire a marketing executive or engage the services of an experienced marketing consultant to help create marketing strategies that will not only allow you to penetrate the market but also get a fair share for your business.
It is vital that you have general marketing goals and objectives so that whatever strategies created can align with your goals and objectives. You should also monitor your marketing strategies and remove or modify the ones that are not having much impact.
Below are some of the marketing ideas that you will need to gain awareness for your portable toilet rental business;
- Join several prominent portable toilet associations in order to network and gain awareness for your business
- Engage the services of a marketing executive to physically market your business directly to potential customers
- Place adverts in local newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Create a professional website and deploy SEO strategies to ensure that your website ranks tops in several search engines
- Ensure that you use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat to advertise your portable toilet rental business
- Ensure that your portable toilet rental business is listed in yellow pages as well as online directories
Strategies to Boost Your Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity
Every entrepreneur knows the importance of boosting the awareness of a brand as well as creating a corporate identity that will have a positive impact on the company. Boosting the awareness for a brand serves to put the brand on the spotlight as not only will the target market be aware of the brand but competitors as well will be, and so it is vital that you understand the business you are going into so that you can use your publicity strategies to effectively penetrate the market.
The positive impact that comes with publicity is why existing businesses do not mind setting aside a huge sum of money every year to effectively publicize their brands and create a corporate identity that can be positively viewed by the target market. And so if your intention is to start a business that will achieve prominence, then you have to publicize your portable toilet rental business.
There are so many means by which you can promote your brand and positively communicate the corporate identity of your brand. The internet has made it possible for a large number of entrepreneurs to use this means to promote their business and reach out to a large number of audience.
Publicizing your business can also be part of your corporate social responsibility as you can participate in and sponsor community events, hold seminars in schools to educate and lighten the students about waste management and send an article regarding waste management to your local newspaper.
Below are some of the strategies you can use to boost awareness for your brand and create a corporate identity for your business;
- Distribute business cards and paste fliers in strategic locations around the area where you are looking to start your business in
- Place adverts about your portable rental business in popular online forums and blogs
- Install attractive flexi banners in certain strategic locations in order to increase awareness about your business
- Use your social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to promote your business
- Ensure that you place adverts in local newspapers, related magazines as well as on radio and television stations
- Ensure that you have branded all your vehicles with an attractive logo and contact information