How Portable Restroom Operators Are Finding Ways To Maximize Cash Flow

How Portable Restroom Operators Are Finding Ways To Maximize Cash Flow

By far the #1 complaint we hear from Portable Restroom Operators is that billing their customers and getting paid (quickly) is stressful! It is extremely time-consuming, and prone to mistakes because there are a lot of duplicate entries. But, the top Portable Restroom Operators have figured out how to use billing to their advantage. It’s easy for their staff, less prone to errors, and drastically reduces past due invoices.

So how do they do it? It all comes down to one thing. But, before I tell you what it is, let’s look at how you may be billing your customers today.

Many Portable Restroom Operators have traditionally invoiced their customers on a monthly basis, with the first payment due one month after the restroom is delivered. Others choose to invoice every customer at the end of the month.

This presents several degrees of risk (and a lot of wasted time). It will put the customer’s account into arrears if no payment is made and customers will often expect a pro-rata invoice if the restroom is delivered or collected part-way through a fixed billing cycle. Situations like this create extra work for the office and can lead to less revenue coming into the business.

Since restrooms are often priced on a weekly basis, it makes sense to invoice every 28 days (four weeks) rather than monthly. This benefits the Portable Restroom Operator because it reduces administrative time/mistakes (nobody has to calculate the monthly fee for shorter or longer months) and also creates thirteen 28-day billing cycles rather than twelve one-monthly invoices, thereby increasing the value of each contract over the course of a year.

Ok, so let’s get back to how the top Portable Restroom Operators use billing to their advantage. It’s almost too simple to be true, but they get the majority of their customers to pay by credit card.

Portable Restroom Operators that get the majority of their customers to pay by credit cards have reduced past due invoices by 50% or more and get paid faster!

Wait, I know what you’re thinking. Some of the commercial businesses you work with don’t pay by credit card. That’s ok. The key takeaway here is to get the majority of your customers to put a credit card on file even if they want to pay by check. Why? If a customer’s account is past due, you charge the credit card that you have on file. This will drastically reduce your past-due invoices and increase your cash flow. You’ll also create a better experience for your customers, especially if you put them on autopay.

So how can you put this into practice in your portable sanitation business? Here’s a playbook that we learned from the top Portable Restroom Operators.

  • Find a way to do batch billing daily. Wait, isn’t that creating more work? That depends. If you’re running your business on spreadsheets, this will be really hard, but if you have a tool that allows you to batch-bill your customers, this will be easy!
  • Put your customers on autopay. Have your CSRs explain this upfront and you’ll get paid immediately once the invoice goes out.
  • Get the majority of your customers to put a credit card on file.
  • Make it easy for your customers to pay you online (especially if you run septic routes) because checks are quickly becoming a thing of the past.
  • Finally, make sure you’re not paying more than 3.25% in credit card processing fees. If you are and need help, talk to us today.

Bonus: If you can make it easy for your staff to get billing done quickly each day, they’ll have time to collect from past-due customers. One of the Portable Restroom Operators that we interviewed told us that when they started batch billing customers daily, it freed up time for their billing gal to call out to past due customers. In one year, she recovered over $500,000 in past due invoices for their 20+ truck business! How much money do you think you could recover for your business?

If you are interested in learning more about trends just like this in the portable toilet industry that help make your business more productive, check out our free trends report!