8 Things to Look for on the WWETT Show Exhibit Floor

It’s a great time to shop for innovative equipment and supplies to operate your business more efficiently.

8 Things to Look for on the WWETT Show Exhibit Floor

im Kneiszel

It’s trade show season for the portable sanitation industry, and that means huge venues like the Indiana Convention Center and the WWETT Show — which stands for the Water & Wastewater Equipment, Treatment & Transport Show — are creating a massive marketplace of ideas for your business. The 2018 show is coming up (education days are Feb. 21-23, and exhibits are Feb. 22-24) in Indy, and thousands of PROs will be on hand to kick tires and slam restroom doors.

For many, a trade show is about educational seminars and networking opportunities. But for everyone, it’s a time to shop for supplies and equipment in advance of the busy construction and special event season. I’ve walked the show floor for many years, and I am still surprised by something new every February. Take it all in, and enjoy the show!

To get you started, I’ll share a few tips on what to look for in the exhibit hall:

1. A new take on trucks

What layout do you prefer for your restroom service trucks? The standard tank configuration, the tank turned 90 degrees behind the cab to make room for supplies, or maybe even a flattop tank so you can deliver and pump units at the same time? Where on the truck do you like the hose hangers, the bucket-fill, the inlet and outlet valves, work lights, or sight glasses or tubes? Seeing a wide variety of truck designs at a trade show will give you ideas for the next time you want to build out a custom rig for your crews. And it’s your time to check out the work of the truck builders. How clean are their tank welds? Take a close look at the way they run wiring and install accessories and toolboxes as well as the quality of their painting and other little details. You can bet the manufacturers want to show off their best work at a trade show, and the warm, well-lit exhibit hall is a good way to take a close look and judge their quality for yourself. Ask questions, and learn more about how trucks are put together. Even if you don’t find your next truck on the show floor, you may meet your next builder.

2. Unit innovations

Restroom manufacturers come up with new wrinkles every year and often introduce them at the WWETT Show or other trade shows. You want to be there to see what’s new. … A new design might be the answer to an issue you’re facing. Watch for advances in ergonomics, such as the location of a grab handle or the layout of the holding tank. Look for units that are lighter; more compact; and easier to move, load on a trailer, or set up for more efficient cleaning. Does your favorite unit come in a new color or exterior look this year? Are there other types of restrooms that could serve your clients well, such as high-rise construction units, roomier units for family use at special events, or super-durable or VIP models that can enhance your service offerings? This is your chance to conduct a “test ride,” so to speak, of every manufacturer’s product on the same day.

3. The latest vacuum equipment

A few years ago, a pump manufacturer had a contest at the WWETT Show to see who could break down its unit the fastest and replace the vanes. It was fun watching seasoned technicians try to beat the clock, with the winner to receive a new pump. That was just one example of the thorough look you can get at pumps and related equipment at the WWETT Show. Seeing all the different pumps up close with industry experts is one way to research pump brands, and it’s always good to be knowledgeable about the products before a breakdown when you need a pump in a hurry.

4. Find something scent-sational

Have you used the same deodorant products for your restrooms year after year? That’s fine if they perform up to your standards in the worst summer heat Mother Nature can throw at you. Maybe you’d like to try something new? If so, the WWETT Show is a place to start a deodorizing experiment. I’ve always thought it would be interesting to compare the myriad of deodorants sold on the exhibit floor. Why not pick up samples of each concentrated liquid, dry disc, and toss-in pouch offered at the show, and then have your technicians try them out in a variety of construction and special event restrooms. You may find one product works better for weekly services at a construction site, while another offers a more pleasant user experience at the county fair. Keep track of what you use where, and then ask your customers for feedback.

5. Restroom accessories

New products emerge every year that allow PROs to make their restroom service stand out from the crowd. Some of these items from past shows include solar lighting, insulated restroom covers and advanced washing systems. The exhibit hall also allows you to look for needed accessories, such as restroom movers or dollies, vacuum hoses, and holding tanks. At every show, you’ll find something to make your service or restrooms unique and memorable.

6. Fleet routing and tracking

Has it been a while since you looked at new options for software to help your business? If your computer technology is going on a decade old, it might be time for PRO 2.0. Think about how everyone you know is going mobile; the smartphone is replacing the computer for taking care of business. Can your crew access all the information they need via their pocket computer? We’re so far removed from a paper and pencil, and there are always faster, smoother-operating and more reliable programs to keep you up to speed with your most demanding customers. Major software providers will be on hand to walk you through their systems. Maybe you’ll find something to build more efficiency.

7. Financial aid

So, you need a new truck or major machine. Maybe you can pay cash, maybe you can’t. Even if you can write a check, maybe there’s a smarter way to finance growth for your PRO business. Lenders who specialize in serving small businesses or the wastewater industry in general will be on hand to share financing options you may not have considered before. Don’t assume the way you’ve always paid for equipment is the right way to make major purchases today. In the present economy, borrowing could be an attractive option, allowing you to keep a little cash on reserve and making it possible for you to purchase more equipment when demand grows.

8. Marketing premiums

Where would your business be if you couldn’t find effective ways to get your name out in front of potential customers? Sure, you do a lot with the graphics on your truck, a good website and local advertising budget. But promotion can be more personal. Vendors will be on hand that produce items like refrigerator magnets or eye-catching new labels for all of your portable sanitation equipment. These graphic arts vendors will have good suggestions for how to get your name and website address in front of more eyeballs, which will translate into new customers for your business.

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED

If you can’t make the WWETT Show or another trade show this winter to see new products, there are no worries. When manufacturers want to get the word out about their new offerings, they come to PRO. Turn inside, and you’ll see loads of advertising from the industry’s best builders of restrooms, trucks and accessories. And in our Industry News, Product News, and well as monthly Product Focus columns, we share more information about the latest product releases. 



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