Fred Hill Provides Portable Sanitation In The Nation's Capital

Gotta Go Now’s Fred Hill conquers challenges to build a fast-growing business in the nation’s capital.
Fred Hill Provides Portable Sanitation In The Nation's Capital
Fred and Renita Hill, owners of Gotta Go Now in Washington, D.C.

Vast experience in the construction industry – as a general contractor, home inspector and income property investor – may have played an important role in Fred Hill’s success in the portable restroom business. Hill’s Washington, D.C., portable sanitation company, Gotta Go Now, has quadrupled revenue every year since startup in 2006.

“It’s all predicated on service,” says Hill, 51. “That’s what keeps them calling.” Part of the success – even throughout the past recession – may be attributed to his paying close attention when he worked in the construction field. He knew what he wanted in portable restrooms, and he knew what wasn’t being offered. So his solution was to enter the industry himself.

After starting modestly with 175 restroom units (mostly Satellite Industries Tufways), he now has almost 500 units, most yellow PolyPortables Integra models. “All the customers are loving them,” Hill says. “They like the brightness of them.” 

Hill says demand has shown the potential for continued growth. “My goal is to have 1,000 units,” he says. “I’m always optimistic and have always dreamed about getting to the 1,000 units. That’s the drive that has kept me going.”

Hill has added a three-unit trailer by Comforts of Home and an eight-unit trailer he built himself. And the company started renting child-sized TJ-Shorty units from T.S.F. Company Inc.; he has 10 units he refers to as the Pint Size Potties division, which was his wife Renita’s idea. The units go to Little League games, kids’ birthday parties and other events.

Cardboard trash containers Hill bought from Party Time Tents & More Inc. at a past Pumper & Cleaner Environmental Expo have been a popular add-on for special event customers who like the convenience of hiring Gotta Go Now to haul away trash. The company has 500 of the containers.

His trucks include 2005 Ford F-350 (400-gallon waste/150-gallon freshwater) and 2004 Dodge Sprinter (with 200-gallon waste/75-gallon freshwater) flatbed/liftgate trucks with steel slide-in units and Conde pumps from Northern Services; a 2007 Isuzu NQR with a 600-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater Imperial Industries tank and Jurop/Chandler pump; a 2000 International 4700 with a 1,000-gallon waste/300-gallon freshwater Best Enterprises stainless steel tank and Jurop/Chandler pump; and a 2002 F-650 24-foot stake body with liftgate.

Expansion presents challenges, but Hill plans to keep overcoming them.

“We’ve got a good team of people that want to work and see success come our way,’’ he says. “It’s going to be a lot of work, [but] I grew up learning from my grandfather. [He said], a day you don’t work is a day you don’t eat. I never forgot that.”

EXPLORE FIVE ISSUES THAT AFFECT FRED HILL AND HIS PORTABLE RESTROOM BUSINESS:

1. Serving The White House

In a few years, Hill has made his company’s name known to the White House and other high-profile capital events, like the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace & Freedom Walk and President Obama’s re-election campaign. “We’re starting to gain recognition among politicians,” Hill says, adding that he has supplied restrooms to a host of congressional events, including some on the National Mall for politicians of all parties.

He doesn’t consider the political events any more challenging, except for the time-consuming security checks and last-minute notifications of events. “When they call, within an hour or so, we’re able to do a delivery,” he says. “We set our schedule around that. It’s very fun; everybody’s moving at a fast pace.”

2. Satisfying Government Customers

When Hill got out of general contracting, he took a job as a supervisory construction analyst with the D.C. government and began building a portable sanitation business on the side. The experience was a perfect training ground for landing government contracts for Gotta Go Now.

One of the larger government-funded opportunities includes the renovation of a dozen schools in D.C. “They were old and inefficient,” says Hill. Most of these are two- to three-year contracts. Gotta Go Now is providing eight to 30 restrooms on each site.

Hill has a dedicated marketing team that pursues government contracts. “The awareness of what is out there has really grown,” he says. “It’s pretty amazing that we’ve grown as fast as we have.”

3. Successfully Utilizing Certifications

The company’s growth is fueled by many valuable certifications. In addition to being a minority and disabled-veteran owner, Hill also benefits from participation in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s HUBZone Program (the Historically Underutilized Business Zones program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities).

“We have a lot of opportunity to work in those categories,” he says. “We are taking on more federal projects; with our certifications, there is definitely going to be a need to fill those requests.”

And while Hill admits that some of his competitors work in some of the same areas, “Our opportunity comes when their contract runs out.”

Many certifications must be renewed annually, and Hill’s marketing staff and business consultant handle the paperwork and research.

4. Serving Major New Developments

In addition to working on the new school construction and renovation in D.C., Gotta Go Now also landed and fulfilled multiple contracts for events and construction at the new Gateway Pavilion, which will host many outdoor events. Gotta Go Now has done an event almost every weekend at the pavilion. They supplied eight units for the construction. “After that, we’ve had as many as 30 up there for special events. I’ve seen as many as 3,000 attendees at these events.”

5. Coping With Multiple Sclerosis 

“The doctors called me the Miracle Kid,” says Hill, who is coping with debilitating multiple sclerosis. While he has had the degenerative autoimmune disease for years, he takes shots three times a week to keep it in check. Stress can impact his health, but Hill says his condition has not altered his ability to work.

“[Doctors] thought it would have been [worse] by now,” he says. “They’re happy. The treatment that I underwent was new, and I can only think that it’s been one of the major changes in my health. So I believe and keep fighting.”


“Take 5” is a feature in which one PRO or industry leader shares unique business challenges with the entire portable sanitation community. It’s a chance for service providers to meet over the back fence – and across the country – to learn more about each other and promote industry excellence. If you know a PRO who would be an interesting subject for “Take 5,” send their contact information to editor@promonthly.com.



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