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Erin Van Schepen

8 things to avoid when planning for portable restrooms

Erin Van SchepenOutdoor events of any size usually require portable restrooms. While this necessity seems easy enough to plan for, there are several missteps that even the most seasoned event organizers can make. These issues center around booking restrooms, placement of these restrooms, and the types of equipment that are rented. The following tips will run through some of the common mistakes event organizers make, and how to avoid them.

1.     Ordering too few portable restrooms
We all know budgets get tight, and organizers are usually looking to cut costs. You may think ordering fewer restrooms is an easy way to save money, but this assumption is incorrect. The Portable Sanitation Association International (PSAI) recommends that you rent one portable restroom for every 100 guests at your event. This means if you are expecting 2,000 people to attend your event, you should rent 20 portable restrooms. You may even need to rent more than that if your event lasts all day, and many attendees will be staying long periods of time. You also want to consider if alcohol is being served at your event, since we all know alcohol consumption means more trips to the restroom.

2.     Inaccessibility
You will want to make sure all of your guests have the ability to use the facilities, so book enough wheelchair-accessible portable restrooms. The Americans with Disabilities Act recommends that you provide one wheelchair-accessible restroom per cluster of restrooms, but it also requires that at least 10 percent of your restrooms be wheelchair-accessible. You should also place these wheelchair-accessible restrooms in areas that are easy to get to. Don’t place them near large crowded areas or spaces that are difficult to maneuver in. One of the largest complaints from people with disabilities is that they don’t have access to all the areas of the event. Ensure that access to restrooms isn’t one of their complaints.

3.     Putting all restrooms in only a few locations
We have all attended an event where there are large banks of portable restrooms in one central location but very few additional locations. This is a mistake that can be easily remedied. Think about the layout of your event, and how people will flow through it. Place a few by the entrance, and then spread larger banks by the foodservice areas and locations with high traffic. Lastly, don’t forget to place several by the exit. You don’t want the last thing that people remember to be an over-used portable restroom.

4.     Not providing adequate sanitation offerings
If your event doesn’t have any stationary restrooms available, you may want to consider going a little further than simply providing standard portable restrooms. You have to think about the final experience of the attendees when deciding what types of sanitation offerings you will rent. If your event centers around food, such as a food truck festival, you may want to provide hand-washing stations. Your customers may not want to eat food with their hands after using a portable restroom that provides only hand sanitizer. This may lead them to spend less money--or even leave

5.     Making people feel uncomfortable
Many festivals, fairs and events are for the whole family. There will likely be parents with young children, and it’s in your best interest to care of them. To make them feel more comfortable, consider providing areas for diaper changing and breast-feeding. You could also consider booking a luxury restroom trailer for a VIP or the women-only section of your event.

6.     Not booking far enough in advance
You should make sure to book your portable restrooms at least four to eight weeks in advance of your event. This will give your provider plenty of time to ensure all equipment will be available. It also gives you more time to hash out your placement plan and schedule. When the big day gets close, the last thing you want to worry about is portable restrooms.

7.     Using more than one service provider
If you are looking to cut costs by using several small restroom providers, you may want to re-think this strategy. Sometimes these small companies may be willing to go lower on price, but they may not be able to handle the volume that you require. When this is the case, some coordinators will then simply go with several small providers. Unfortunately, this could cause increased difficulty when coordinating pick-up and drop-off times, placement, and schedule coordination. Large providers will be able to work with you to devise a cohesive plan for your event.

8.     Choosing price over service
You’ve always heard that you get what you pay for, and portable restrooms are no different. When you go out for your restroom bid, there may be one company that comes in drastically cheaper than other providers. Seems great right? However, these providers may achieve this low pricing by using sub-par equipment, or not paying their workers fair wages. You are better off going with a company that is attentive and can provide your attendees with the best experience possible.

Erin Van Schepen is the marketing coordinator for On Site Companies, a portable restroom and luxury restroom trailer company based in St. Paul, Minn. The company specializes in portable sanitation offerings for special events and construction.


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