If you don’t thoroughly plan out every detail of your special event service, you’ll end up losing profit
A big event is more than just a big sale for your company. It means hours of planning and very careful coordination.
You are potentially moving hundreds of pieces of equipment, more than a handful of trucks and a good portion of your staff. You can’t just wing something of this size. It’s like a giant puzzle. You just have to take your time putting all of the pieces together.
Since there won’t be an event without your equipment, the first step is to tackle those needs. How many restrooms, sinks, trash bins, etc. do you need? Will you have to borrow from other companies or do you have enough equipment in your yard right now? We have our yard managers count everything we currently have in stock. Then we match that number to what we need for this one big event. But we also have to account for all the other rentals we have that weekend too. Then we reach out to our competitors for anything we are missing. Once you have all of the equipment accounted for, you will feel a huge sense of relief.
But equipment can’t move without people. So you have to make sure you have your manpower accounted for as well. The dispatcher will put together a list of everyone working that weekend. Then we pair workers to trucks.
Once accounted for, each worker is given a job. If this is a really big event, most workers are attendants during the event. Their job is to restock toilet paper, pick up trash, etc. Then we need more people to service units during the event or overnight in between the days of a multiday event. For a really large event, we pull everyone together when it’s time to remove everything since that usually has the tightest time frame.
Finally, we start putting all of the moves on paper. For example, if this event needs 500 toilets and we have another large event the weekend before, we will move all of the equipment from one event to the next, never taking them back to our yard. This saves money on tolls and truck time, plus it is less work for us. From there we keep adding more equipment.
Some customers are very specific about what they want delivered each day of the load-in. But sometimes we have been known to beg for a little leniency when we are trying to move more equipment than they want or need to change dates to fit our schedules.
Other events will give us a lot of leeway. If the latter is the case, we try to do deliveries early in the morning or in the middle of the day to avoid traffic. For example, for the start of the NYC Marathon we place around 1,800 toilets in Staten Island. This many toilets take a long time to move. So we start moving equipment to Staten Island a month in advance. On days where we don’t have a lot of route work, we will run loads of toilets from our yard to the event location all day to get the job done.
Once event day rolls around, we put one person in charge. He or she is the go-to for all customer and employee questions. If you are lucky enough to be working a well-managed event, this person will get a walkie-talkie and a golf cart, allowing him or her to really stay on top of all of the staff, and make sure they are constantly cleaning and replenishing toilets.
Unfortunately, when the event is over and everyone is exhausted, it is now time to load up and go home. The load-out takes less planning because you are just moving whatever you can to get the site emptied out. Trying not to use your entire workforce is the biggest part of load-out, since you probably still have routes to run and other work to do.
No matter the size of the event, you must plan in advance. When you lose control of your workers and equipment, your profit starts to diminish. And then you have to question if this job was really worth your time. So plan ahead, make smart decisions and then you can walk away with a big profit!
About the author: Alexandra Townsend is co-owner of A Royal Flush, based in Philadelphia.