What Else Can We Do For You?

Every work site requires a variety of support services. Are you leaving money on the table by providing only portable restrooms?

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What came first, the portable sanitation or other construction site services? For our PROfile company this month, Cal-State Site Services, a million feet of fencing was amassed before owner Rick Modlin decided to add portable restrooms to his successful company’s offerings.

“We’ve seen prices driven down in our industry, and customers want one-stop shopping – one invoice instead of two or three for various services,’’ Modlin explains to writer Ken Wysocky. “The only way to compete is to add another product and develop another revenue stream. And the most logical thing for us is portable sanitation.”

For you, the established portable sanitation provider in your region, Modlin’s game plan might work in reverse. You might be able to find another revenue stream with fencing … or roll-off containers … or full-service cleaning, to name a few.

Whichever way it works, small service businesses are finding that expanding their menu means selling more services – and bringing in more revenue – from each customer.

It makes perfect sense. If you already provide the portable restrooms for a small construction company, wouldn’t they want to hire you – a known quantity and quality provider – when they need a container, a site office or storage trailer, or workers to clean up after they leave the jobsite?

And this idea of rolling up services extends beyond the construction site. If you deliver 30 restrooms to your local county fair this summer, wouldn’t the fair organizers be relieved to find you also could deliver the trash receptacles, fencing to control crowds on country music night, or water tanks to serve their food vendors?

 

IT’S THE UPSELL

After all, one principle of selling small business services is that it requires less effort to upsell existing customers than to start cold calling for new customers. That’s why they always ask if you want fries with your burger at the fast-food restaurant down the street.

But more than simply raising your revenue-per-customer ratio, expanding service to your biggest clients makes it easier when it comes time to send invoices and seek payment later on.

You know the vast majority of existing customers can be counted on to pay their bills promptly … or you probably would have stopped working for them a long time ago. And more income from fewer accounts reduces paperwork and lightens the burden on your office staff. And a staff freed from shuffling papers and trying to collect on bills has more time to spend on new marketing efforts.

All these factors point to the synergies of expanding your offerings. This is why we like to focus a few issues of PRO every year to the importance of diversification. If you haven’t broadened your scope, you might be missing out on some significant opportunities in your home territory. You can bet your competitors are looking for more ways to serve customers, and using new skills and equipment to wrestle business away from you.

 

YOUR COMPETITORS ARE DOING IT

It doesn’t take much Web surfing to find companies looking to get onto a construction site or special event and then explode their offerings to become a dominant service provider for that customer. In a few minutes of Internet research, I was able to find some great examples of companies that aggressively market their emphasis on one-stop-shopping.

The name says it all.

Take Mr. Dirt, for example. The company with locations in Texas, Arizona and Nevada (check them out at www.mrdirtusa.com) started with street sweeping, then added portable sanitation, water truck services and high-pressure power washing. Their services offerings include everything from street washing to dust suppression and swimming pool fills to stain removal. They land a customer, then say, “Now what else can we do for you?’’

We clean everything.

And then there’s American Companies in Kansas City. The company has posted a great video review of its services here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IZYCude-Fk. The business is split into three distinct subsidiaries to try and capitalize on all aspects of site cleanup. American Waste Systems sells restrooms and roll-off containers. American Sweeping Inc. offers sweeper trucks. American Labor Source Inc. provides the manpower to clean everything from construction sites to parade routes.

One of their concepts is offering “day porters,’’ workers who comb work sites to keep them constantly clean. They also offer to go beyond the restroom at special events with what they call the Total Venue Division, which provides portable stages … and even DJs and bands for private parties.

We’re green and growing.

Green Tech Transfer & Recycling of South Bend, Ind., promoted its Eco-Hut restrooms and service diversification on a local public television program, Outdoor Elements, which you can see here: www.you tube.com/watch?v=BwUiDDEj-cs&feature=related.

Green Tech heavily promotes a reputation for environmentally friendly service with its portable sanitation business, and extends that same business philosophy to its work in materials recovery. As part of its site services offerings, Green Tech accepts a variety of materials, from construction debris to wood, plastic and glass, then seeks new markets where it can sell the discarded waste.

 

DON’T LOSE THE PORTABLE SANITATION FOCUS

While diversification can be a good idea, I don’t mean to say you should expand at the expense of the quality portable sanitation service you provide. You can never forget the core business that brought you success and built your reputation in the community. After all, if there is one area of site services where customers won’t stand for poor service, it’s where clean sanitation is involved.

So, think about expanding your site services offerings when it’s logical, you have the ability to do so and the market will accept it. But be careful not to spread yourself too thin and sacrifice your good name in the community.



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