The Business of Portable Restroom Rentals

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You may not have thought of portable restroom rentals as your dream business. You might not get excited about the idea of hauling temporary bathrooms around, cleaning them, and emptying the holding tanks. It isn't a high-profile or glamorous way to make a living, to say the least. Of course, businesses that nobody really loves are often the ones with the least serious competition, and so profit margins tend to be higher than average. The money, then, is the reason you might like the toilet rental industry.

There are two basic types of clients for your service. The first are the short-term renters. People need an extra toilet for a wedding, or while the plumbing is being fixed in their home. Dozens of the units may be needed for outdoor concerts or street fairs and other events, again just for a day or a weekend. For these customers you just drop the bathrooms off and pick them up. The long-term rentals go mostly to construction sites, and sometimes to flea markets or other places that don't have regular restrooms. Those are rented by the month and require regular on-site cleaning.

How Much Can You Make?

Portable restrooms rent for $20 to $200 daily, usually with a minimum charge and a drop-off fee of about $25 each. Ones that have running water go as high as $500 daily, and air-conditioned "executive" units can top $1,000. Some companies rent a complete package at a set price, while others charge extra for items like hand sanitizer, deodorizers, mirrors, and lights. A typical price range for a weekend event is $100 to $175 for a basic unit and $150 to $250 for a handicap-accessible unit that complies with ADA guidelines.

There is generally more money to be made with long term rentals. The monthly charge for these, with a weekly cleaning and restocking, is typically between $100 and $250 each. If not too scattered, 100 units can be cleaned in two days per week by one employee, and at an average of $150 monthly would bring in $150,000 per year before expenses. There are hundred of portable restroom companies in the United States, and according to the data available, a handful of them do better than $2 million in annual sales.

Note: This page is from a chapter that didn't make it into 101 Weird Ways to Make Money, my most recent book, which is now available at your local bookstore or from these online book vendors: Barnes and Noble ... Amazon ... Books-a-Million

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Look to rent to groups that have regular events. If you get clients who have a week-long festival every year, they may use your service for the next twenty years. They might need 20 or 30 restrooms each time too. A few dozen clients like that can make for decent profits and more predictable revenue.

Qualifications / Requirements

When the time comes, you'll need an industrial storage area for your restroom stalls. Ideally it will also have a place to dump the holding tanks, to save the time and cost of doing this elsewhere. You will likely need permits for waste dumping, and possibly state licensing as well. The basic restroom units start at around $750, and ADA-compliant models can cost $3,000 or more. You'll need a suitable truck or trailer to haul the bathrooms to and from rental locations. Although you might start with a handful of units and grow from there, a fully-stocked business requires $50,000 to $150,000 to start.

First Steps

Working as an employee is a good way to get to know the business, but is not necessarily very fun or lucrative. Take notes and learn your lessons quickly so you can move on to building your own company. Pay special attention to any parts of the market that are not being served well. For example, is the company you work for getting calls for ADA-compliant restrooms that it doesn't have, or are customers looking for cheaper long-term rentals in volume?

Resources

http://www.restroomrentals.com - A place to list your service.

http://www.mrjohn.com - Example of a portable restroom rentals business.

http://www.allsafetyproducts.biz - Seller of portable toilets and supplies.


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