The Business of Portable Restroom Rentals
By Steve Gillman
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.
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
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
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.
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
- A place to list your service.
- Example of a portable restroom rentals business.
- Seller of portable toilets and supplies.