How to start a portable toilet (porta potty) rental business

Who would have thought that a portable toilet business could fetch you six figures a year?

I guess it makes sense because we all need to “go” at some point, and someone needs to provide these facilities. 

porta potty business

There are already millions of portable toilets 🚽 in use worldwide, and the industry is still growing rapidly.

You’re probably itching to learn more about this opportunity and with good reason!

This article has all the details you need to launch a successful portable toilet rental company.

Let’s get started and first find out how a portable toilet business is a good idea…


Why A Portable Toilet Business Is A Good Idea?

Here are some reasons


Many industries need portable restrooms. 

Portable toilets are used in far more situations than you might imagine.

Concerts,

Construction sites,

Golf courses,

Parking lots,

Outdoor weddings,

Landfills.

Carnivals,

Disaster relief events,

Athletic / sports events,

Rest stops,

All of these can benefit from renting portable toilets.

If you want to work in the portable toilet industry, it’s important to understand the type of events and the corresponding toilet needs of the attendees, speakers, and organizers.

You should target these specific groups with your advertising and sales efforts.


Portable toilets are good investments because they’re durable.

A portable toilet is useful for more than just providing a place for folks to relieve themselves during hectic events.  

Porta Potty rentals are convenient since…

they can be moved with minimal effort,

they are low-maintenance,

they won’t clog your pipes or drains,

they’re hygienic, and

they’re crafted from strong but lightweight plastic.

There is a significant initial investment in high-quality equipment, but this pays off in the long run.


It pays well. 

Of course, working in the portable toilet rental industry is a not-so-nice occupation, but the pay can be well worth it.  

The compensation takes into account not just the unpleasantness of the work but also the experience required to accomplish it well. 

You and your employees have to fully understand the following aspect of the business: 

  • Tank maintenance 
  • Vacuum and wand servicing 
  • Cleaning routines 
  • Service strategies 
  • Transportation 
  • Marketing 
  • Excellent customer service 

Needless to say, this job isn’t for the faint of heart. 

Now to start this business, what do you need?


What You Will Need To Launch A Portable Restroom Business? 

Capital 

Well, (like all other businesses) to launch a successful portable toilet business, one needs to have substantial initial capital. 

At first, you need to hire or lease a large storage unit to keep the portable toilets in while they are not in use or after they have been cleaned up.(more on this later)

You will also need to purchase the necessary cleaning supplies, like chemicals, deodorizers, toilet paper, and the like. 

You will also need to shoulder the cost of the haulage truck, the salary of the workers, and the cost of the restroom facilities themselves. 

Considering everything you’ll need, financing may be an option.

A well-written company strategy is required when getting a loan.


Storage Facility 

Why do you need a storage facility when the portable toilets go to the clients who will likely have them for a while? 

Yes, sometimes, even before one client is finished with them, another client already requires them.

But this might not always be the case.  

So you would need to have a place to keep your portable toilets because they won’t constantly be needed. 

After a client finishes with them, they will need to be transported back to a storage facility.

This is also where you can maintain them and apply branding. [in my market, I think fun branding could set these companies apart from competitors!]


Porta-Potties (or Portable Toilets)

So porta potties are of various types:

standard,
deluxe,
trailer – type etc.

Hence when deciding to purchase your first batch of Porta Potties, it’s important to consider factors like budget, intended use, expected maintenance costs, and ideal clientele.


Standard Porta Potty

standard porta potty

This is a single-unit toilet without a sink or flush and is almost universal in design.

They are primarily used at outdoor events like concerts and construction sites. 

This is often chosen by homeowners who are remodeling their homes and would benefit from a bathroom for workers. 

You could rent out the cheaper ones for less than $180 a month.

A Porta Potty like this costs at least $750.


Deluxe Porta Pottyy

This one is the flush-enabled type of Porta Potty.

It features numerous amenities found in a real restroom, including a side urinal, a sink for washing hands, and even a mirror. 

It’s an upgrade from your standard Porta Potty.

Food festivals, picnics, parties, and other events where attendees will need to wash their hands enjoy this since it is more sanitary.


Portable Toilets with a Crane Hook 

crane lifted porta potty

Crane hook porta potty can be hoisted to rooftops of multi-level buildings to provide restroom facilities to the crews working on the rooftop.

Trailer-type Porta Potty

trailer type porta potty

This variety of toilets is a trailer designed specifically to be used as a restroom facility.

With flushing toilets, decent lighting, and an overall beautiful interior, this trailer may be the best-equipped among the bunch. 

They are designed to hold many portable toilets so they can accommodate more users.

These are the ones that are used at movie shoots, weddings, and upscale outdoor events. – they’ve got AC and everything!


Handicap-accessible porta potties

These are designed to provide accessibility and convenience for people with disabilities or mobility limitations.

These portable toilets typically have

Wider doors,
Grab bars and handrails,
A flat entry
hand sanitizer dispensers,
and
non-slip floors
to enhance safety and hygiene.



Staff

As a business owner, you will manage the day-to-day operations and will need some staff to do the real work.

Some help that you might need is,

Cleaners
Maintenance workers
Drivers
etc

More hands will be needed to help your business advance the larger it becomes


Haulage Vehicles 

Clients would like to have Porta Potties delivered to their desired sites.

So there are several types of vans, trucks, and haulage vehicles that you can choose to transport portable toilets.

They are supposed to be roomy and capable of transporting the units and probably the staff too.


Waste Disposal Site 

Managing porta toilet waste is very important, and it’s also the one where mistakes can cost you. 

As you are a professional and should have everything in order, your clients won’t inquire as to where you plan to dispose of their waste. 

The government has designated waste disposal sites.

You should be registered with such a site and have satisfied all requirements to be able to dispose of waste there. 


Need some motivation to start the business. Watch this video below.

All set to take action…??
Let’s get into the other nitty-gritty details of the movable toilet rental business…


A Step-by-step Guide For Starting A Portable Toilet Rental Business 

Write Up A Business Plan 

Making a business plan is the first actionable step.

The planning process involves more than just coming up with a company name.

The plan will address every single aspect of the venture that could have an impact on its performance. 

List everything about your business, including:

  • What would it do? 
  • How would it operate? 
  • Where will it be located? 
  • How much will it cost to run the business?
  • How much can you anticipate gaining from it over time? 
  • How many employees will you need? 
  • How much will their salary be?
  • And so on… 


how to start a porta potty business - form a legal entity

Partnership,
Sole proprietorship,
Limited liability company (LLC), and
Corporations are the four main types of business structures.

If your portable toilet business is sued, creating a legal business entity, such as an LLC or corporation, safeguards you from being held personally liable.


Register For Taxes 

Before starting a business, you must register for a number of state and federal taxes.

Apply for an EIN in order to register for taxes.

This is easy!

You can obtain your EIN without charge by mail, fax, or on the IRS website.

Your options for how your company will be taxed may vary depending on the business structure you select.

For instance, some LLCs might benefit from S company tax treatment (S corp).

There are particular state taxes that can be applicable to your company.

Do your research and find out more about the franchise taxes and state sales taxes for your region. 


Set Up Your Finances 

For the protection of your personal assets, it is crucial to set up a great bank for your business.

Your personal assets—your home, vehicle, and other valuables—are in danger if your company is sued and your personal and business accounts are merged.

This is referred to as piercing your corporate veil” in business law.

Moreover, understanding how to establish corporate credit can help you secure loans, credit cards, and other funding under your company’s name rather than your own.

You’re likely to get better terms and credit limits.

In addition to being necessary for loan applications, opening a business bank account will:


Secure Your Permits 

It’s important to manage waste properly when running a portable toilet business.

The government has regulations in place to ensure that waste is transported and contained safely.

Before starting your business, you need to get permission from the government.

Also, make sure to research the locations where you plan to place your portable toilets to confirm that it’s allowed.


Get Business Insurance 

To operate legally and safely, your portable toilet business needs insurance in addition to licenses and permits.

Business insurance can help protect your business financially if something goes wrong.

There are many types of coverage options available to cover different risks.

General Liability Insurance is a good starting point if you’re unsure about the risks your business may face.

If you plan to hire employees, you should also look into Workers’ Compensation Insurance, which may be required by your state.


Find The Right Portable Toilet Supplier 

In order to get your portable toilet business up and running, all you have to do is find the best supplier in your area.

Where ever you are in the world, use the Portable Sanitation Association directory to find porta-potty suppliers.

After this, you have to rent out the porta potties for your business.
Here are our criteria…


Choose higher quality Porta Potties

Porta-potty quality should meet industry standards.

The Standard Unit is the most common and may be seen on most building projects.

They can endure severe weather and cleaning chemicals because of their robust construction and thoughtful design, which prioritizes air circulation. 

The larger Enhanced Access Units are designed to accommodate guests using wheelchairs.

They are convenient for families with young children because they have features like handrails and baby-changing stations.

The goal of designing a restroom trailer is to make using the facilities feel more like being at home.

If a business owner needs restroom trailers with many stalls, urinals, and showers, they’ll have to do some further research to find a provider who carries this inventory.

You’ll want portable toilets that have the following: 

  • Strong corners that can withstand frequent handling and strapping for transport
  • Doors that close firmly and won’t sag
  • Premium components like toilet seat hardware and side panels 


Customer Service of the supplier

If you want your business to make it, you need to partner with a manufacturer/supplier that has shown reliability.

Make sure they are reachable and dependable and provide excellent customer service.


Define Your Brand 

define your brand how to start a porta potty business

In this context, “brand” refers to the values and reputation of your company.

Having a memorable brand will give your company an edge over the competition.

Put your company’s logo on everything from the tools, vehicles, and the portable toilets themselves.

It will make your business more recognizable.

It will also give your workers a sense that they’re part of an actual company. 


Determine Your Target Market and Start Marketing 

Now is the time to choose your target market.

This will help you in choosing the type of portable toilet as well.

For example, the standard, no-frills portable toilet is the best option if your target market is construction companies.

A deluxe Porta Potty is a good idea if you expect a lot of customers who throw fancy outdoor parties.  

Also, each market requires a unique approach to marketing and customer service.

The medium, be it email or brochures, can be the same, but the message needs to be tailored to the specific audience.

With good advertising strategies, you can drive out the customers.

If it’s not in your budget to pay a marketing team, you could get the word out via free or low-cost avenues like social media and word of mouth. 

Talk to project managers, event planners, and others in similar positions in order to save money. 


Streamline Your Operations 

You have a higher chance of retaining clients if you maintain a high level of service and ensure that the portable toilets are always immaculate.  

A venue that hosts a lot of outdoor events may allow you to supply restroom trailers for all of the activities held on the property.

Always keep a level head and put the needs of your customers first.

Do you think that the job’s unclean nature discourages new business?

Think again. 

There is a lot of competition in the Porta Potty rental business.

You will need the following: 

  • the best sales presentation
  • the highest quality porta potty
  • exceptional customer service, and 
  • a thorough understanding of the service, sanitation, transportation, and operational aspects of the business 

…if you are to succeed in densely populated locations. Consistency is key. 


Be Prepared To Deal With Foul Stuff 

If you were under the impression that Porta Potty rental services are all sunshine and rainbows, think again. 

Even though there are sanitation facilities available, there are times when you will find yourself in the center of an unpleasant situation. 

Depending on the surroundings and weather, you might have to deal with muck, water, and dirt.

Who knows what might turn up if booze is involved? 

Porta potty rental companies have reported vandalism, such as spray paint and scribbles on the walls, as well as selective burning and feces on the floor.

No two situations are ever the same, so be prepared for some surprises. 

The transfer of waste is yet another unpleasant but necessary part of the job.

Accidents, spills, and leaks can occur during the transfer from the truck to the holding tank if proper precautions are not taken.

You may not have to deal with these things personally, but you will know about them since you’re the boss. 


As we are talking about starting businesses, here is another ‘neater’ business idea if you like to try (like our friend did in this video)


Join an Association 

Joining an association gives you access to portable restroom industry resources, networking opportunities, and educational programs.

Members can also stay up-to-date on industry news and trends and receive discounts on products and services.

There are a couple of such associations in the US.

One porta-potty provider association in the US is the Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI).

Another association is the National Portable Storage Association (NPSA), which represents the portable storage industry, including portable toilets.


FAQs – Porta Potty Enterprise

What equipment is needed for the porta-potty business?

Some essential equipment needed for a porta-potty business includes:

Portable toilets – the main product and service offered by the business

Cleaning supplies – such as biodegradable toilet bowl cleaner, brushes, buckets, sponges, and mops to keep the portable toilets clean and sanitary

Service vehicle – such as a truck or trailer to transport the portable toilets to and from locations

Hand sanitizer dispensers – to provide hand hygiene for users

Waste tank deodorizers – to control odors

Handwashing stations – to provide a handwashing option for users

Baby changing tables – to provide a convenient option for parents with young children

Other equipment may be needed depending on the specific needs of the business, such as additional vehicles, generators, and lighting for nighttime events.

How much does it cost to start a portable toilet business?

The cost to start a portable toilet business can vary depending on several factors, such as

the number of portable toilets purchased,
the cost of insurance,
the cost of permits and licenses, and
the cost of equipment and supplies.

The estimated cost to start a portable toilet business can range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more.

This cost includes purchasing or renting portable toilets, a service vehicle, cleaning supplies, and other equipment.

Additionally, there may be ongoing costs such as maintenance, insurance, and marketing expenses.

It’s important to create a detailed business plan and budget to determine the specific costs for starting and operating a portable toilet business.

How profitable is a portable toilet business?

Renting portable toilets has the potential to earn between $50,000 and $100,000 annually, but this number may vary based on the individual situation. 

How to start a restroom advertising business?

Some general steps to start a restroom advertising business.

Research the market – identify the demand for restroom advertising in your area and the competition in the market.

Develop a business plan – create a detailed plan that includes your target audience, pricing strategy, marketing plan, and financial projections.

Obtain necessary licenses and permits – check with your local government to determine the necessary licenses and permits required to operate a restroom advertising business.

Secure advertising space – negotiate with businesses, such as restaurants, bars, and event venues, to secure advertising space in their restrooms.

Design and install advertisements – create eye-catching advertisements that meet the specifications of the advertising space and install them in the restrooms.

Maintain and update advertisements – regularly clean and maintain the advertisements to ensure they remain effective and up-to-date.

It’s important to note that starting a restroom advertising business may require a significant investment in advertising space and design costs.

Therefore, it’s essential to create a detailed business plan and budget to ensure profitability.

How much do porta-potty cleaners make?

The average salary for porta-potty cleaners in the United States is $29,102 per year as of 2023. However, the salary range typically falls between $26,376 and $32,345 per year. 

What is the portable toilet rental cost per month?

The estimated monthly rental costs for different types of portable toilets:

Standard portable toilet: $50-$475
ADA-compliant portable toilet: $100-$700
Deluxe flushing portable toilet: $125-$3,400
Two-stall trailer: $325-$7,200


Final Thoughts

Operating a portable toilet service IS an honorable profession because it requires training, dedication, and legitimacy. 

Don’t undervalue yourself just because it’s a “dirty job.”

At the end of the day, someone’s gotta do it! 

And I think it’s safe to say that folks will always have to go the bathroom, so you might as well make a fortune meeting that particular need.

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Brooks Conkle Banner Image
Brooks Conkle

Brooks is an entrepreneur, father, husband, & follower of the golden rule. He has over 15 years of experience as an entrepreneur after graduating with a Finance degree from Auburn University. Addicted to starting new business projects, he believes in creating multiple income streams and a life of flexibility. Business should work around your life, not the other way around. He creates content on his website, sharing his projects to help other hustlers in marketing, personal finance, and online business.