5 Tips to Keep Summer Special Events Running Smoothly

5 Tips to Keep Summer Special Events Running Smoothly

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It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time servicing a special event or the hundredth, special event season can be an unmanageable storm for an unprepared portable restroom operator. Here are some tips to help you provide excellent service and ensure everything goes smoothly.

1. Plan ahead.

Event planning does not begin in the summer months, or even in the spring. Being ready to go when the busy season rolls around requires planning in the fall/winter months when business isn’t as hectic as it is when the weather turns warmer.

This can be done efficiently by creating a giant to-do list, asking for feedback from employees and co-workers to see what can be improved and delegating tasks to departments best fitted for each job. If new employees need to be hired, do so in the off-season so they can be better trained for the summer months and gain an understanding of what needs to be done.

Other tasks like ordering new restroom units and making repairs are best not put off until the last minute. During quarterly safety meetings, go through every step of servicing a unit, down to refilling the toilet paper and signing the service log. In the hot summer months, it may be tempting to cut corners, so reiterate to employees that doing so can be harmful to the customer and your bottom line.

When the event draws closer and temperatures start to rise, map out service routes and times. Have a plan in place in case a truck breaks down or service areas become inaccessible. Coordinate with event staff and figure out where waste will be disposed, and be sure to keep an open line of communication between your company and these coordinators.

Schedule new units to arrive at your yard early, up to a few weeks before the event begins. This allows time to make necessary changes, from adding company decals to making sure there is plenty of hand sanitizer and checking for malfunctions of any kind. 

2. Preparation.

You’ve been planning since the off-season, you have units available and ready to go, and you have opened a line of communication between event coordinators and your company. Communication is key, and prior to event setup, it is beneficial to go over the goals of the event and what it encompasses. This is the time to get all the information needed about an event in order to estimate how many units will be necessary.

The Portable Sanitation Association International outlines six areas to focus on when determining how many restrooms a special event needs:

  • Type of event and traffic flow
  • Number of attendees and duration of the event
  • Outside temperature and weather
  • Food and beverage availability — if alcohol is being served, plan on 10%-20% more units
  • Special needs — if ADA-compliant restrooms are required, which can also serve as baby-changing stations
  • And terrain and curbing.

While it is important to communicate with event staff, it is just as important to communicate consistently with your drivers and service techs as well. Have a plan in place for servicing restrooms and, for the duration of the event, have an on-site technician available 24/7 in case any issues arise. Create a checklist and map for crew members so they understand where everything is and what needs to be done when. 

3. Location.

Request a site visit prior to delivery, especially if there are concerns about placement or fit. Take time to measure the space. Draw a map or take pictures for the driver so there are no issues with setup and coordination.

Avoid placing units in high-traffic areas where people will line up and be in the way. If the event is a marathon, keep in mind that no one will want people lining up in the streets. Ideally, the bulk of units will be visible, but out of the way from the main aspects of the event. Keep service areas readily accessible, yet out of the way of foot traffic.

4. Keep restrooms clean and well stocked.

While things like toilet paper and hand sanitizer should be fully stocked prior to the event, be sure to periodically check units throughout the event so they stay well stocked and clean. Keeping a service log in units helps communication between employees with a record of what was done and when. Units should be serviced twice a day at times when the crowds die down to allow for easier access and serviceability.

Choosing the right deodorizer can make or break the cleanliness aspect. Even if the unit itself is spotless, the wrong smell can make it seem less clean than it is. In the hot months of summer, stronger deodorizers are necessary to help keep things smelling fresh and clean. There are many deodorizer options out there, but operators may want avoid bulk liquid options, as drivers tend to spill those. 

5. Set yourself apart from competitors.

While these tips are all necessary to best service a special event, there are a few ways you can go above and beyond what is expected from event coordinators.

Having an on-site technician or someone from your staff at the event during the duration will set you apart from a company that sets up, disappears, and then reappears and takes everything away when it’s all said and done.

Another way to stand out is to guarantee takedown in a day. Event staff will appreciate this, and you can even turn it into a competition between your employees by trying to beat past takedown times.


Know that communication is the basis for all things running smoothly at a special event. Small mishaps will happen, but with these tips in mind and a plan in place, you can make the small bumps in the road seem manageable. Best of luck as the weather warms up and special event season kicks into full swing.



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