Tips To Prepare For Busy Season For Portable Toilet Operators

The weather is getting warmer and as you know, the busy season is quickly approaching. Whether it’s your first time around or if you’ve been in the industry for years, you may find yourself wondering if you’re fully prepared. We sat down with two of our amazing ServiceCore employees who previously worked for portable toilet companies, Wes and Stefania. Wes was in the portable toilet rental industry for two years and Stefania for almost 10 years. With their combined experience, they wanted to share their knowledge and tips so you can be as prepared for the busy season as possible. ServiceCore hires employees with the hands-on industry knowledge so we can build the best platform for portable toilet business owners. Keep reading to see what tips they have for you to dominate  busy season:

What role were you in and what was busy season like for you at your portable toilet company?

Stefania: “I worked at Mr. John of Pittsburgh in sales from January 2012 to November 2019. I started as a rep and left as an Inside Sales Manager. Busy season was chaotic, but in all the best ways! There was always an element of having to come together as a team to face an unexpected challenge, despite your best attempts at planning for everything, be it a water main break, a large event, or a new, complex job in hard-to-reach places. There were moments of yelling or running, attempting to flag a truck down to add one more work order sheet to the stack before they pulled out of the yard. It was always LOUD. It was also like a well oiled machine, at times humming so well it was like a dance. Our customers frequently called to mention the hard work of our drivers and how much their work mattered. By the end of summer, you could always tell because everyone was so tired. We would all be thankful for fall/winter, but always ready for spring. 

I then worked at Approved Toilet Rentals from September 2020 to December 2021. This was an intense period of growth and organization. We were lucky in that ServiceCore allowed us to do both things at the same time. We were able to organize our inventory and rebuild our routes in a way that was more profitable, all while packing on more and more business.”

Wes: “I was in the industry almost two years, the entire time was busy because of Covid. Summer was its own monster with weekend and event deliveries and pickups. I was working 90 hours a week which included late nights and early mornings.”

What types of things did your portable toilet company do to prepare for busy season?

Stefania: “Preorder as many inventory parts and pieces as possible. Order new equipment based on needs and projected growth areas. Review special events from the previous year and contact/review orders with our customers with the goal of adding equipment as needed based on usage reports from ServiceCore (if we had reports of “overused” units, we would share this as an opportunity to upsell). Prebook as much as possible to help forecast labor needs and equipment needs for the season. Hire more drivers, always.”

Wes:Inventory prep is key, making sure you have the supply for the demand is the number one priority for busy preparation.

Repairs, along with inventory come repairs and fixing any units that may have been damaged to get your supply back where it needs to be. Ordering spare parts in advance is a big part of this. Order all of your parts after the busy season of the prior year. Getting inventory can be difficult if it’s ordered on short notice. Make sure you have what you need!

White boards or event calendars to project manpower needs for upcoming week’s events. Keeping track of this information along with unit counts will ensure you are never caught shorthanded.”

What are some things you wish you would have done to prepare?

Stefania: “I wish we would have had all of our units barcoded in time for busy season so we could have gotten the most out of itemized inventory, but better late than never.”

Wes: “All of the things I just mentioned could have been executed better in my prior role. We got by, but there is always room for improvement in these situations. Plenty of times I had to deliver things because I didn’t have an employee to do so.”

When should portable toilet operators start preparing for busy season?

Stefania: “As soon as you slow down.”

Wes: “As soon as the busy season ends the year before!”

What are some things portable toilet operators should keep in mind for busy season?

Stefania: “Make sure to build audits into your weekly workflow. This is the stuff we “get too busy for”. An audit for “unsent invoices” might pull a surprising yield because you are reviewing it after working your busiest week ever. We are human and make mistakes! (I know we did, hence the audit, haha!)” 

Wes: “Inventory management, product management (cleaning solutions, toilet paper, hand sanitizer) never run low, spare parts for repairs, accurate unit counts and unit type counts.”

Here are some other tips for portable toilet business owners keep in mind: 

  • Keep yourself and your staff as a priority
    • If you aren’t keeping yourself healthy and fueled, how will you be able to deliver the best service?
    • Check-in with your staff members to make sure they are mentally and physically prepared for their weekly duties 
  • Incentives for employees and customers 
    • If you’ve had a hard time finding more employees or getting your current employees motivated to work extra hard, offer incentives (overtime, contests to win money or gifts, added job benefits, etc.)
    • Customer incentives can help you lighten loads by offering discounts on services if they allow you to drop off units in advance on a less busy delivery day and things of the sort
  • Look to your friends in the liquid waste industry
  • Be strategic with hiring
    • Hire seasonal employees, if they perform well, they can turn into long-term employees after the seasons over 
      • Hiring new employees in the midst of busy season can be a nightmare but it is necessary at times
    • Try to hire well in advance to make sure your employees are trained and well prepared for the rush
    • Create a system for new employees to be easily integrated into your business for seasonal hires or replacements throughout the year
  • Prepare your equipment
    • Make sure you have all equipment in prime condition so you don’t have to deal with any broken-down trucks or inventory
    • Maintenance of your trucks and potties before the season begins
  • Buy new equipment in advance
    • Don’t wait until you are running out of rentals to start looking for more, production and delivery time are sometimes unpredictable and won’t allow you to receive them quick enough 
  • Track your portable toilet inventory
    • Nothing is worse than losing a unit, think about serializing your inventory so you can make sure you know where it is and if it has been serviced at any time any place
    • Plus, you can easily assign units to jobs in advance by looking at your availability calendar on ServiceCore so you don’t rent out units that already are deployed

Having all-in-one software to aid you in keeping your business organized and prepared is a great tool to make your life as easy as possible, especially when busy season approaches. ServiceCore has helped many customers in preparation for busy season with our inventory tracking, customer management, route optimization features and much more. If you want to learn more about how ServiceCore can help you streamline your business to get ready for business for busy season, click here.