Our new porta potties are a hit all over Sonoma & Marin counties. We've listened to our clients and bought a portable toilet color they wanted, a color that blends in well with the landscape here. Our new Standard & Deluxe toilets also feature a dirt free floor, no longer will you walk into a bathroom with stains or wet spots on the floor, our floors always stay clean.
Rent A John
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
How Google & other search engines ruined marketing for your portable toilet business.
A long time ago (12 years ago in fact) when you wanted to advertise your portable toilet services you'd simply pay $20-$200 per listing in the Yellow Pages depending on what size/feature your ad was. And that was basically it, you relied on word of mouth and the bottle neck that was the Yellow Pages for new customers, you didn't need a website or anything of the sort. Once people started to realize that they could find services online things changed.
We were among the first to get a website / web page listing in the late 1990's, back then nearly everyone who searched portable toilets came to our little website there was little other choice (nobody else had a website). We thought this is great, we can advertise our services for free and get a bunch of new clients, this strategy worked quite well for a while. Having taken a HTML class in high school I cheated and put a bunch of keywords in hidden text to rank higher in search results (this strategy doesn't work anymore). But in the mid 2000's everyone else started to realize the that the internet is really important to getting them new clients.
What has happened is that large companies will pay SEO specialists thousands of dollars to get their page at the top of page 1 and the smaller/poorer companies can only watch as their customer stream dries up. So instead of paying just a few bucks a month for ads your paying hundreds & thousands for it. There really is nothing you can do to stop it, the best course of action is to spend a few weeks learning SEO (search engine optimization), though the specialists are good nothing beats a sheer passion for promoting your business and products.
Ever search for portable toilets in your area? You'll undoubtedly notice many companies or sites that you've never heard of before and that don't really offer services to your area but still advertise portable toilet quotes. These are direct service companies (middle men). What they do is take new customer quotes/calls, arrange for one of the local companies to deliver a portable toilet and charge the customer directly (with a little extra fee on top of your charges of course). In my opinion they're vultures who know the ins and outs of website design and SEO and take advantage of that fact to steal business from local portable toilet service providers. We know because we ourselves work with one of them, it's provided a few clients for us and since we charge the same rates we tolerate it (I wish I had em all actually). One thing about working with direct service companies is that they pay on time and deal with the potential headache a customer can be. But for those of you who don't work with them it's simply another competitor, even worst a competitor that has better advertising, gets more customers than you yet almost does nothing while you clean up people's bathrooms.
In conclusion, times have changed and unfortunately not all for the better, while Google and other search engines are very popular now for people who are searching for your services, it's now very VERY time consuming, competitive, and potentially very pricey to get your portable toilet rental company advertised online.
REVIEW: Portable Toilet Service Truck Isuzu NPR|NQR|W3500|W4500|W5500 1999-2004
Rating 5 of 5 (Gotta Have)
Though uncommon the Isuzu NPR (NQR, W Series) makes for a fantastic portable toilet delivery or service truck. This body style introduced in 1995 became much more in 1999 when Isuzu introduced a new 175hp version of their 4 Cyl inline diesel (up from 145hp). Unlike the 1995+ the 1999+ had a new Asin Automatic compared to the unreliable Jatco version. More power & reliability was the game which made this truck the most recognizable LCF in North America.
These trucks are tanks, they are incredibly reliable more than almost any other truck I have ever owned. These trucks have proven themselves so valuable that we switched our entire fleet to them from the Ford, Fuso, UD, IH's we were using. There is truly no comparison in terms of reliability. The list of mechanical repairs for the entire fleet is so short I'll list them in order of occurrance right now... Rubber Brake Line Burst, AC Belt Snapped, Radiator Cracked, Radiator Cracked. We've bought these trucks used with 100k on them and owned these trucks for around 3-4 years now and driven some of them over 100k+ miles and that's all that's gone wrong.
LCF's are known to have great turning radius's which is quite handy for portable toilet service, however when compared to other LCF's like the UD & Fuso the Isuzu turns slightly worst. However it's still much better than a standard truck. It's a bit easier to get in and out of than the other LCF's out there and the cabin is a bit roomier especially when compared to the UD. When doing maintenance/repairs (how little they are with this type of truck) it's very nice that the entire body of the truck simply lifts out of the way of the motor, this makes the entire engine completely clear and easy to access any part of, very very nice indeed.
Another common complaint I hear of these trucks is that they are slow, this truck isn't a power stroked speed demon but it's certainly sufficient in most scenarios especially in hilly California. I would definitely say that if your going to let an employee drive than this truck certainly will keep them out of trouble, speeding causes accidents anyway. The truck is slightly faster than a pre power stroked (turbo) 7.3l ford Diesel.
Fuel economy is surprisingly low at around 12mpg and because your riding over the front wheels it's a bit rougher than a comparable F series, however you do get much better visibility and maneuverability than most other trucks on the road. One worry however is that because your sitting literally at the front of a vehicle the crumble zone for a head on accident is almost non-existent.
Isuzu also makes a Gas version, though gas itself isn't that practical its suitable for a CNG conversion. A couple of tanks and a regulator later your buying fuel at $.80 to $2.00 a gallon, a huge savings compared to gas & diesel, much better for the environment as well.
In conclusion, I'm surprised that this is such a rare truck for portable toilet suppliers, this truck has everything a portable toilet operator would need and then some. Portable toilet truck manufacturers take note this is the truck you need to be designing tanks for.
Rating: 5 of 5 (Must Buy)
I know what your thinking a Toyota Tundra for portable toilets? YES, this extremely rare combo is a match made in heaven. These trucks take so much abuse it's unimaginable. We purchased a 2002 Toyota Tundra V6 5 Speed brand new from the dealership as a delivery vehicle. Unfortunately a few weeks later our old Toyota pickup got into a wreck so we put the slide-in tank into this vehicle and turned it into our new pump truck. So from around 5k miles to 250k miles this truck had a 300-400 gallon waste tank in the bed, much above it's 1/2 ton rated capacity BTW! We did have to modify the suspension with airbags for safety reasons (too much body roll. You might think that the V8 is the way to go, not so, the v6 had plenty of power to climb up the hills here in Northern California and at the time was the only option if we wanted a manual transmission (we did). Compared to Fords & Chevy's these trucks are cheap to buy, they're not as popular as the Fords & Chevy's around these parts.
I have come to hate manual transmission trucks since owning this, employees tend not to know how to drive them and thus the clutches always burn out, however Toyota has engineered this truck to be a cake walk to fix. We can have a new clutch installed in about an hour or two. Speaking of reliability this truck rarely let us down, there was one problem that lead to a wheel coming off but that didn't damage the truck it just left us on the side of the road (Toyota issued a recall the next year for them). All we did was change the fluids as we desired, replace the battery at 200k, spark plugs at 150k and Alternator at 220k.
By the time we were done with this truck the bed was rotting away, every panel was dented and scratched, the seat was worn to the foam, but the motor ran like new, the truck passed smog and shifted great, mechanically it was in great shape. Let me be perfectly honest with you, we (mostly employees) abused this truck very severely, fluids weren't changed on schedule, we never even replaced the timing belt (every 100k it's supposed to be replaced), it looked like it was used to play bumper cars, it was over loaded for its weight class, it was driven on horrible Northern California pot holed roads, and it didn't skip a beat. It's hands down the most reliable vehicle I've ever owned.
In conclusion: If your just starting out you can't go wrong with buying a new or used Toyota Tundra, they make great delivery & pump trucks for the company on a budget. You can easily find parts at the dealer, junk yard, etc and they have the most important feature of anyone looking to buy a service truck, RELIABILITY.
Rating: 2 of 5 Stars (Don't Buy)
International has/had a reputation for building reliable commercial trucks with the venerable DT466 Diesel Engine. However this reputation has proven to be unfounded at least with their newer trucks from 2003+. Unfortunately International has been very stubborn to change and hasn't hired the best of engineers or have tested their design well.
This trucks Achilles heal has proven to be its reliability of which it fails to deliver. The truck has had several recalls and some problems that should be recalled. There have been issues with the cabs actually coming off to computer updates & more. If you like the coffee at your local service shops waiting room than this is a best bet. One of the most expensive yet common failures of this truck is a cheap seal located on the cylinder sleeve, it'll fail between 50k-150k, however though the seal is cheap it will cost $7000-$12000 to replace it as it's essentially the same work as an in frame kit rebuild. Other minor mechanical faults like leaky air tanks, air brakes that lock up, transmission failures all add to the list of mechanical problems we've had with it.There have been times when driving this truck that the wiring goes wild and lights blink gauges start bouncing etc, you shut off the truck restart it and everything is good again, very strange indeed.
What seems to have happened is that they switched to more environmentally friendly materials for gaskets & the like combined with the fact that the people who designed the DT466 are probably dead or retired ( the engine is nearly 30 years old), so the new engineers don't know whats going on (speculation). International has also had a recent bad reputation for making the Ford 6.0L diesel engine. After several recalls and lawsuits in just a couple years Ford ditched the 6L in favor for their own in-house designed 6.4L, this to me speaks volumes at the current state of IH.
Some of the better features of the truck is the cabin & exterior, they're decently attractive & modern. The interior dash is especially nice when compared to the 4700 which this replaced. The ride is a bit rough on pot holed roads but that's expected with a truck like this. It's common to hit a bump too hard and fly off your chair. The radio is nice with good quality speakers, the A/C blows ice cold and there's plenty of storage above your head and around for any work related paperwork etc.
Fuel economy has been a modest 8-12mpg due to the variable vain turbo charger.
To conclude though attractive and modern, the DuraStar/4300 lacks in the most important feature of a commercial truck, reliability, the last thing you want in the portable toilet business is to leave your customers hanging, and this thing has on several occasions.
Rating: 3 of 5 (Maybe)
Poly Portables toilets look almost identical to Poly John toilets from the 90's, in fact they're so similar most people cannot tell the difference. It takes a well trained eye to spot the differences in the corrugation. I suspect one company simply copied the other, they're so similar parts such as the feet maybe interchangeable.
Before we switched to Poly John we used Poly Portables, one of the reasons we switched to Poly John was that their restrooms looked very similar to our old Poly Portables so we could get away with using them both at one site.
What made us change our minds on using the Poly Standard was the extra price and that we got sick of changing springs. If there's one defining flaw it's the door spring, they're guaranteed to fail. Unfortunately they haven't really come up with a good solution to fix the problem. The real issue is regarding the cable at the end of the spring and the metal retainer at the end of the metal cable. It breaks because naturally the retainer is supposed to rotate to keep the spring/metal cable parallel to it, however it corrodes (aluminum?) and in a few months it doesn't move freely anymore, it simply pops several times when opening the door. After a couple of months of bending back and forth the metal cable snaps and the door won't stay shut anymore. TIP: to prevent further problems spray that area of the spring with oil or lube it makes the spring last many times longer.
Other issues are the vent pipe, it's brittle and commonly breaks, though this may be fixed by now. The vents around the roof seem to some how break apart also.
Another concern maybe the CEO of the company, she has been known to have a bit of an attitude and was quite rude to me a few years ago. The lack of professionalism and integrity is one of the reasons why I no longer do business with her company.
If buying used "Poly Standards" make sure you don't buy ones with wooden feet, they're quite horrible. The feet rot and come loose from the base of the toilet. They're also horribly heavy and hard to drag around. They updated first with a solid plastic skid that was a bit brittle (especially when you drill stake holes), to a hollow version with stake holes built in (the best type).
These restrooms make decent portable toilet trailer candidates, the tanks are made so they can stop some waste from coming out.
In Conclusion, these are pretty average toilets, they're an old design from the early to mid 90's, there's decent sign space and amenities for most of your customers.
Review: Poly John PNJ3
Rating 4 stars (Buy)
We consider the PNJ3 as the industry standard for portable toilets, it's the most generic form available and in our area of Northern California we see these things all the time. The Poly John PNJ3 is reliable which is very important to a sanitation company however it has a big draw back when you want to mount these to trailers, they will almost always spill the contents of the waste then being driven from site to site. The reason for this is the opening at the top of the holding tank. It's very large and doesn't have a "catch" for the waste that rises up from the walls (this is what causes most splash outs). They do have a solution to this which is simply a lid that has to be manually added and removed each time the toilet is to be used however this is VERY unpopular with customers as the waste from the tank ends up at the bottom of this lid, very unsightly indeed. If your watching Poly John I have invented a solution to this problem you'd be interested in...
A common accessory is to add a hand wash sink to these port o lets, we found that though the sink is a great design with a large basin, easy access for maintenance, however they also have some defects, the main one is that the no kink drain hose which seems to be very low quality always breaks resulting in a costly purchase of a new quality no kink drain hose (after which the hose never breaks again). Because this hose is actually above the clean water tank dirty water can drain straight into the sink. Another issue is the soap dispensers, they're one of the worst I've seen as they leak soap constantly. It would have been much better to make the dispensers seal so they wouldn't spill.
Company: They've been very friendly to us for the most part, however we had an invention to improve their portable toilets (seat cover dispenser) that they past on citing that out of the USA these are not very widely used. We once had another manufacturer (Five Peaks) cancel our order though we had already rented those units out and had to quickly find another supplier, Poly John delivered on time and kept our customers happy.
Color choice recommendations: Tan, Light Gray, Aqua, we recommend a color thats light and appealing, this also makes the restrooms seem cleaner for longer increasing customer satisfaction. We chose Aqua however we now feel that Tan would have been better.
Here's a list of pros & cons:
Pro: Cost, these are very affordable especially for what you get
Pro: Attractive, these have nice curves throughout
Pro: Lot's of sign space, most manufacturers forget that we put signs on them
Pro: Very durable, the springs almost never break, nothing ever falls apart etc
Pro: The optional sink is easy to maintain and has a large basin
Con: The door is made from two sheets of plastic, if you accidentally push a sheet in it'll cave in and detract from the cosmetics.
Con: The holding tank can spill waste easily, so don't shake this thing around or mount it on a trailer
Con: The redesigned toilet paper rod is horrible, when you take out the paper the rod drops to the ground (we now use zip ties on the hook end to ensure it doesn't fall out
Con: The sink has a defect in which the no kink hose fails
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