How to Start Portable Toilet Business

Portable Toilet Business is recession proof

I will be quick to suggest portable toilet business to anyone looking for recession proof business ideas. Portable toilet business is in categories namely:

  • Manufacturing of portable toilet
  • Sales of portable toilet
  • Portable toilet rental (Some people call it porta potty rental)
  • Making portable toilet available for public use.

In this article, the focus is going to be on the provision of portable toilet services for public use. If you don’t know how important this business is, you’ve got to ask yourself how many times you visit toilet in a day. We visit toilet naturally without putting much credence into it simply because we can quickly go there any time we feel like. But do you know that there are times that you will feel pressed and you will not be at the location you use to poop or urinate freely? I have found myself in situations that I was so pressed and I could not afford to get to where I was heading to before I had to quickly urinate. I belief this must have happened to you one or two times too. Everyone must visit a toilet at least once in a day. And it is not everybody that has access to good toilet facility. Such people will not mind using any portable toilet nearby. Even if you have good toilet facility, you may find yourself where you may need to use toilet elsewhere. I am saying all these so that you can put yourself in the position of thousands of customers who may require toilet service in a day. Portable toilet thrives in any economy. In as much people eat or drink, they must visit toilet. It is a call of nature. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor, male or female, young or old.

How can you start a portable toilet business?

Register your business

I know you are eager to know how to start this portable toilet business. The first step is to register the business. Find a good name that is suitable to the type of business you want to do and register it with the Corporate Affairs Commission or any Body that is responsible for that in your country. The procedures and the fees for the registration of the business will depend on legal structure of your business. If you want to register the business as a limited liability company, the registration fee will also vary based on the authorised share capital of the business.

Read Also: Factors Affecting Choice of Legal Structure of Your Business

Write a Business Plan

You will agree with me that every business has its peculiarity. So also is the portable toilet business. You need to define your target market. Which class of customers do you want to serve? Just to give you a clue. Among those areas people usually need portable toilet services are:

  1. Construction sites: During construction, you usually have people working at the sites but the problem is that you hardly find any facility ready for them to use.
  2. Weddings: It is not all weddings that are hosted in halls where there are adequate facilities to meet the needs of the large crowd that may be in attendance. Some people may even like to have their wedding reception in an open space where there is no toilet facility. Therefore, provision of portable toilet becomes a necessity in such circumstances.
  3. Political and religious gatherings: During political campaigns, party annual conventions and religious programmes, a large number of people usually gather in one place. In such a place, mobile toilet will need to be mounted in strategic locations to meet the need of the people.
  4. Motor Parks: In any motor park, you will always find people that want to travel or that are coming from trips. Before embarking on a trip, you see people dashing to the toilets before their vehicles take off especially if they are going on a long journey. At the same time, people alighting from buses may likely want to visit toilet as they might have spent a long time on the road. They may like to ease themselves before they arrive at their final destinations. That is why motor parks are good location for putting mobile toilet for the use of the people.
  5. Market places: If you are looking for places where you can easily find a large concentration of people, I will say that you just pay a visit to popular markets in some cities. Apart from people that will go to the market to buy things and quickly return, there are people that stay in the market from morning till the evening. Therefore, market places are hot points for locating a portable toilet.

Having established the market you want to serve, you can now start thinking of other things you may need to start your portable toilet business. For instance, if you want to focus on items 1 – 3 above, you may need a large warehouse where you will be storing your portable toilet. If you carry mobile toilet to construction sites, you need to evacuate them immediately the construction work is completed. Likewise, venues for weddings, political rallies and religious gathering will only require that you supply mobile toilet for specific period and then return them to your warehouse after the end of the events.

However, if you want to establish your portable toilet in motor parks and market places, you may not necessarily require a warehouse. You can place your mobile toilet in such places permanently. These two places are hot points for portable toilet business. Except you have political influence, it may be hard to secure such places.  But if you are focusing on the 1-3 above, the success of your portable toilet will hang on your marketing prowess.  All these are some of the things you will like to consider while preparing your financial projections in your business plan.

Also Read: 8 Reasons You Need a Business Plan for Your Small Business

Source for funds

The amount you will require to start a portable toilet business will depend on the segment of the market that you will like to serve. I mentioned that if you want to serve construction sites, weddings, political rallies or religious gathering venues, you will require a large warehouse where you can store your mobile toilet. You also need money for the purchase of the portable toilet. This is your inventory. If you don’t have enough funds for the warehouse and/or for the acquisition of the mobile toilet, you can choose to rent or lease them. This will help you save costs as you will not have to tie up capital in the purchase of portable toilet. You will only rent them when they are needed and you can quickly return them when the contract for the supply of the mobile toilet has been completed.

Obtain License and Permits.

You cannot start a portable toilet business without you obtaining licence and permits. Before you can be granted license to operate portable toilet business, you must be able to demonstrate your level of preparedness to comply with health and environmental laws in the handling and disposal of wastes. Any careless handling of wastes can lead to the outbreak of diseases. There must be a sewage where you can easily discharge wastes and this must comply with zoning rules governing the area.


Your portable toilet business needs a lot of marketing efforts especially at the initial stage. You can work closely with contractors, wedding planners in order to secure businesses. Few adverts in Newspapers and on internet will give your business a good exposure. You should also take advantage of free listing of your business on local directories. You need to be creative in reaching out to your potential customers. You can start your marketing with the word of mouth by telling your friends, relations colleagues and other family members about your business. Also, encourage them to help you spread the message to their friends and relations. With this, you will be surprised at the level of awareness this alone can create for your business. I usually encourage business owners to have Facebook page for their business. Facebook has more than one billion users around the world. That is to tell you that a lot of people are on Facebook. Regular posting (not spamming) about your business can give you some visibility.

Maintain good hygiene

Cleanliness is next to godliness. People will be attracted to your portable toilet if they know that they are clean. You should keep the portable toilet and the environment very clean. Avoid foul smell which may result from continuous usage without adequate cleaning. Therefore, you should have access to water to flush and clean both inside and outside the mobile toilet. Inability to maintain good hygiene may result to fines and penalties. It can also lead to the closure of the business completely. You have to comply with the applicable health and environmental laws.

Analysis of portable toilet business

Today, I will to use the combination of PESTEL Analysis and Porter’s Five Forces Model to analyse portable toilet business.  PESTEL Analysis will be adopted to discuss the environmental factors that can affect portable toilet business while Porter’s Five Forces Model will be used to briefly discuss the threats that may impair the success of the business.

Also Read: PESTEL Analysis And How It Can Be Used

Political factor: If anyone wants to start a portable toilet business has a good influence on the government of the day, he can easily secure a license to establish his business in lucrative centres like motor parks and market places. In the same way, a change of government which may bring about relocation of motor parks and markets to another place is an opportunity to start portable toilet business in such places.

Economic factor: If you are considering starting a portable toilet business, interest rate may have impact on the cost of funds. If you are borrowing to finance the acquisition of the mobile toilet, high interest will limit the profitability of the business. Also, the payback period for the business may be longer. During economy boom, there seem to be more events and construction works. These will have positive effects on portable toilet business.

Social factor: Population size may determine the income you will realise in your portable toilet business especially if you operate in motor parks and market places. Your revenue will depend on the number of people that use the portable toilet per day. For event venues, you can charge a fixed contract fee for the provision of mobile toilet.

Technological factor: If you want to start a portable toilet business, you need to consider whether you need to buy or lease your mobile toilet. With the ever changing technology, it may be safer to go for leasing arrangement if you don’t have money to buy the latest portable toilet. With leasing arrangement, you may not need to bother about your portable toilet becoming obsolete. However, if you have adequate capital, I will suggest you buy the mobile toilet with latest technology.

Legal factor: Portable toilet business is highly regulated because of the health implications that the business may have on the general masses. Therefore, you need to be aware educate yourself and comply with all health and environmental laws that may affect your business.

Environmental factor: You are expected to maintain a clean environment and your portable toilet should not produce any foil smell to the people. Of course, starting a portable toilet business is a good way of supporting “keep your environment clean” campaign.

The main threats that someone starting a portable toilet business may face are threats of new entrants, suppliers bargaining power, customers bargaining power and competition.

Read Also: Understand The Use of Porter’s Five Forces Model in Business

Even though portable toilet is regulated, anybody that meets the requirements can start the business. Already, the competition in the market is high. The effect is that, customers will have power to bargain the more. This may drive down the price customers have to pay. Also, there are few manufacturers of portable toilet. This gives them the power to increase the price of the portable toilet at will. This can make the business to be too expensive to start or to expand.

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