Big-Spending Customers Demand Fresh and Clean Restroom Trailers

Follow this thorough maintenance guide to deliver your rolling restrooms for trouble-free performance

Question: We would like to establish a restroom trailer maintenance program. We have processes and procedures for our restroom units, and we need to do this for our newest product line, luxury restroom trailers. What thoughts and ideas do you have about this subject? 

Answer: We commend you for having a maintenance program for your units as this is an important strategy to maintain quality service for your customers. We have found service and maintenance checklists — as well as inspection forms — are the foundations of effective quality control programs.

Restroom trailers are becoming increasingly popular in our industry. These nicely equipped pieces of equipment are also a significant investment. 

Many PROs will clean and visually inspect their restroom trailer prior to delivery and at the conclusion of the event, transport back to the yard. Once there, they will clean and restock the trailer, where it will sit until the next event. Does this describe your company process? If so, consider these additional suggestions to establish a more robust maintenance program for these valuable assets.    

Create a quality check and maintenance plan for each stage of the rental process:

 Immediately prior to delivery

 Setup at customer location

 After event and before return trip to yard

 Between rentals

Immediately prior to delivery

A checklist is highly recommended. This allows for consistency and can prevent or avoid issues at the customer location. Problems can be resolved more easily at the yard than in the field. Consider creating a quality checklist to be used prior to delivery, at the event site, and upon return from the event. One method of inspection is an “inside-outside” approach:

Inside inspection 

 Urinals tight to walls

 Commodes tight to floor and not leaking

 Water supply lines not leaking

 Faucets tight to countertop and not leaking, underside plumbing not leaking

 Dispensers working and full of product (toilet tissue, paper towels and soap)

 Modesty partitions tight to wall and in good condition

 Doors (frames, handles, locks and hinges) are properly working

 Stall doors locked and secured prior to transport

 Countertops tight to wall without underside leaking

 Cabinets (doors, hinges, handles and locks) are all in good condition

 Lights (bulbs and covers) checked

 Skylights have covers sealed and fans working.

 Walls secure, molding in place and paint in good condition

 Floor is secure with no indentations or holes.

NOTE: Some PROs may have a separate inspection sheet for the interior of both the men’s and women’s restrooms. We have found this to be beneficial and more efficient in identifying potential issues.  

Also, some PROs will attach a sketch diagram of each trailer so specific issues on the checklist can be immediately and accurately identified. 

We also found this to be an excellent addition to the maintenance checklist.  

Outside inspection 

 Roof in good condition

 Seams sealed

 Skylight sealed, and skylight cover not cracked

 Air conditioner secure and seams sealed

 Exterior sheeting secure on all four sides of the trailer and paint in good condition

 Doors (frames, handles, hinges, closers, and locks) secure and properly functioning

 Exterior doors locked prior to transport

 Electrical boxes (covers, cords and adapters) present and working

 Steps, platforms and leveling jacks properly attached, security locks in place, clear of debris, anti-skid material in good condition.

 Steps, platforms and leveling jacks properly secured prior to transport

 Water and sewer connections

 Freshwater valves in good repair

 Waste discharge valve is in proper working order and cap secure and in place    

 DOT lights (running lights, brake lights and turn signals) working properly

 Tongue and hitch work properly (all bolts present, tight safety chain present and breakaway box is in place)

 Air pressure, brakes, bearings and lug nuts on tires and axles checked

Once complete, this checklist should accompany the delivery driver to the event site. The delivery vehicle should have extra supplies, wheel chocks for the trailer, extra water hose and power cord, in addition to tools such as channel lock pliers, hammer, screw drivers, etc. for any possible issues that may arise at the event site. A level is another handy tool to help with proper placement and location of the restroom trailer.   

Setup at customer location

With the delivery checklist in hand, the trailer can be properly set up. Any issues noted or repairs completed in the yard should be reviewed to ensure they were resolved.

 Before unhitching the trailer from the delivery vehicle, ensure the water source and/or water hoses will reach the trailer. Similarly, ensure that the power source and/or power cords will reach the trailer. When confirmed, disconnect the trailer from the truck.  

 Level the trailer and ensure the steps will properly extend and reach the ground safely.

 Connect the water and the power cords.

 Unlock the entry doors and inspect the trailer interior (fixtures, commodes, stall doors).

 Once connected to water and electricity, turn on the lights, test the faucets and commodes, open the stall doors, ensure the thermostat is properly set and that the protective cover is secure to prevent tampering.

 If the trailer roof brushed against low-hanging limbs or lines, attempt to inspect for damage by standing on the back of the delivery truck or use a small ladder if available. (Some PROs will have a ladder as part of the delivery equipment.)

 Communicate with the customer and resolve outstanding questions or issues. 

After event and before return trip to yard

 Inspecting for damage or wear and tear on the trailer after the event is critical and will dictate maintenance and repair tasks when the trailer is returned to the yard. A blank copy of the same quality checklist that was used prior to delivery guarantees consistency in the inspection process.

 Once complete, use the same safety measures to transport the trailer back to the yard — stall and interior doors locked; exterior doors locked; water lines and power cords stored and secured; leveling jacks retracted or stored; lights, brakes, tires and hitch inspected and secured.

Between rentals 

Once the trailer is back at the yard, many PROs will do an outstanding job in cleaning the trailer both outside and inside, restocking the supplies and using a checklist like that previously described to inspect the unit before the next rental. While this is important and necessary, it falls short in having a complete maintenance plan for your trailers.

Suggestions for an improved maintenance plan:

Complete cleaning of waste tank after every rental

 Using the leveling jacks, tilt the trailer in the direction of the waste valve.

 Open the waste valve and have a small open top holding tank under the valve to collect water that will be sprayed into the trailer’s waste tank.

 Depending on the construction of the trailer’s waste tank, use either a spray hose or a low power pressure washer to clean the inside of the waste tank.

 One method is to begin at the commode that is furthest from the waste valve and insert the hose in that fixture. Spray down and around all the walls of the waste tank. 

 After complete, move the spray hose or power washer to the waste valve and spray inside that area to dislodge remaining solid waste.

 After closing the waste valve, pump the open holding tank or other container used to capture the runoff from inside the tank.

 Level the trailer and using the opening in one of the commodes, fill the empty tank with no more than 10% of the total capacity of the waste tank with fresh water. This will keep remaining waste from hardening in the tank. Some PROs will also insert several deodorizer packets into the waste tank. Biocide packs, which break down solids, are also an excellent consideration.  

 Finally, a key to controlling lingering odor is to add a small amount of water to each of the commodes to seal odor from tank below. Some PROs will also put a deodorizing pack in the water as well. This should not be done in the winter during freezing conditions.  

Routine servicing of air conditioning system

This maintenance item is often overlooked but is important in the efficient operation of any restroom trailer. Several tips for monthly maintenance from trailer manufacturers include:

 Know the air conditioning unit’s output capacity to determine proper thermostat settings. If you are unsure of this information, contact your trailer manufacturer for details.

 Make sure all interior vents are opened so the system is not overworked.

 Check the filters to prevent clogs that can overwork the system.

 Blow out and clean the air conditioning compressor and the fins on the evaporator. (This task can be conducted less frequently if you are not in areas with a lot of dust and wind.)

Waterless urinals

Please keep in mind that waterless urinals do not flush, but merely drain into the waste tank. A cartridge trap at the bottom of the urinal collects uric sediment. Cartridge replacement is recommended every three months or after a series of large or extended events. Manufacturers suggest piping be clean with several gallons of water and perhaps using a mild cleaner after removing the cartridge to clear the line and eliminate any odor.

Tires, axles and brakes

 Tire pressure should be checked when tires are cold. Know the proper inflation and monitor at least monthly. Inspect tires for wear and damage. 

 Axles should have a visual inspection prior to every trip and mounting bolts should be checked and tightened monthly if needed.

 Brakes present an interesting challenge. Keep in mind that both the delivery vehicle as well as the restroom trailer itself have brake systems. The recommendation from manufacturers is to conduct a short road test to adjust the brakes on both the delivery vehicle and the trailer. By applying the brakes at different speeds — not to exceed 25 mph — proper adjustments can be made. If wheel lock-up occurs, the brake shoe adjustment is too tight. The correct synchronization is for the trailer brakes being applied with a slight lead over the tow vehicle’s brakes. Consult a mechanic if needed and monitor as needed. 

Breaker box and electrical system

Check fuses, connections and wires between services. If you do not have the proper expertise, consult an electrician at least every six months.

Roof, outside walls and bottom of trailer

Perform a detailed inspection of these areas at least monthly. Thoroughly inspect for loose seams, abrasions or abnormalities. This inspection should be more detailed and more thorough than the inspection conducted prior to each delivery. Some PROs will run water over the roof and skylight areas, checking for water leaks inside the trailer.   


By establishing an inspection and maintenance plan for your restroom trailers, you will increase customer satisfaction as well as increase the useful life of these valuable pieces of equipment. We have made suggestions but only you know the specific needs for your company. Once you develop a draft for a trailer quality and maintenance plan, seek input and suggestions from your crew. Once finalized, consistently execute the plan and you will have quality equipment to use in providing the best service to your customers.   


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