You might not see immediate results, but potential customers will remember you when they need portable restroom services


Sometimes spring can be a tough time to be in the portable sanitation business. Winter isn’t really ready to go away and the weather is really unpredictable. People place orders for weekend events, and then a bad weather report comes out and all of your weekend work is canceled. The municipalities are hesitant to put out park toilets, so you have a large inventory and nothing is really moving.

The phones aren’t ringing at their summertime levels yet, but you have a larger staff, so you are ready for the busy season. You look around your office and see too many people sitting still and it starts to make you a little crazy. So you have to make the phone ring.

How do you do that? By calling out. 

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When we have a slow week at work, we have a couple of go-to projects to bring in more phone calls and more work. First, we call everyone who had an event around this time last year. We generally call two to three months in advance, hoping to get repeat work on our calendars.

When the events have been exhausted, we move on to construction customers. We will print a list of every customer we have, by state or location, and start calling them. We update their records, asking if we have the correct phone numbers and email addresses. Before the call ends, we ask if they have any business coming up that they might need us for. We follow up that call by sending a brochure and letter with a notepad. If they put the notepad on their desk, our phone number is always in front of them. That is a win in my book.

The last project on the “make the phone ring” list is to start cold calling. I hand out the construction Blue Books, which are by state, to each customer service person in the office. They start at the beginning of the book and call every company listed. 

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They are given a script because cold calling can be really hard for some people. Cold calling tends to bring out the nasty side of the people on the receiving end. So your staff will at times get yelled at or hung up on. It can be hard to make 30 or 40 cold calls in a row, so a script really helps them stick with it.

The script outlines questions like “Does your company use portable toilets?” or “Do you have work coming up in our service areas?” Hopefully the call ends with us sending them a quote for some upcoming work. Quotes are done by email, so that makes it easy to send a follow-up email in a couple of weeks.

All of these calls out ensure that you will have some calls coming back in to your office. You may not see the results right away, but you will see it eventually. Either way, it will keep your employees busy during slow periods and it gives them a lot of practice cold calling, which is always helpful. It is never a fun project and you really have to encourage your staff to stick with it. Sometimes I will have a contest amongst the staff. The person who makes the most cold calls each week gets lunch on me.

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