A Slide-in on a Flatbed Is a Game-Changer for This PRO

Working on a hunch, Illinois Portable Toilets’ Russ Gulliford improved his company’s efficiency and profitability

A Slide-in on a Flatbed Is a Game-Changer for This PRO

David Gulliford of Illinois Portable Toilets services a portable unit with the company’s flatbed service truck featuring a slide-in tank by Advance Pump & Equipment at Spalding Park in Champaign, Illinois. (Photography by Bradley Leeb)

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In 2011, Russ Gulliford had a brainstorm: What if his company, Illinois Portable Toilets in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, could integrate restroom pickups and deliveries into daily service routes? The entrepreneur had a hunch that this could be accomplished with the right kind of truck — and that greater profitability would follow.

The hunch proved to be correct. Gulliford worked with Advance Pump & Equipment to develop trucks with slide-in units (featuring either 500-gallon waste and 350-gallon freshwater aluminum tanks or 800-gallon waste and 350-gallon freshwater aluminum tanks) that sit across the frame behind the cab (on Ford F-550 or Peterbilt chassis).

This configuration allows room to carry four standard restrooms on the truck bed, which is actually the top of the water tank, plus two more units on the liftgate. The design provides the flexibility to use trucks that are small enough to maneuver more easily on job sites than a larger truck, yet handling all the daily duties, Gulliford says.

Russ Gulliford, Illinois Portable Toilets owner
Russ Gulliford, Illinois Portable Toilets owner

Where did the idea come from? “It must’ve been a God-thought,” says Gulliford, a reverent man who’s passionate about the concept of servant service. “I don’t think I could come up with an idea like that on my own.

“But it’s been a tremendous benefit,” he adds. “I tell people they should try it out on just one truck — buy a flatbed, install a slide-in tank and go to work.”

The increased profitability stems from the ability to do more work more efficiently. For example, trucks often can carry an extra restroom or two, which allows them to respond in the middle of a route to an unexpected customer request for additional units.

“This happens a lot because customers sometimes forget to order additional restrooms when they need them,” Gulliford explains. “So rather than have drivers turn around and go back to the yard for more restrooms, they can just divert from the route they’re on, if they’re near the customer. And we end up looking like rock stars because we save customers the embarrassment of not having enough restrooms on site.”

“I wish I was smart enough to tell you how much money it saves us, but I can’t,” he adds. “All I know is that our bottom-line profits have soared ever since we incorporated deliveries and pickups into our service routes.”

To optimize routes, drivers use software from RouteOptix and Samsung tablets.

The company can get away with smaller waste tanks because drivers frequently off-load waste into larger septic service trucks, which then take on the more time-consuming waste-disposal runs. “Our drivers typically do 30 to 40 stops per day and collect about 300 gallons of waste per truck per day,” Gulliford explains. “And we typically run nine trucks a day. So that won’t even fill one of our 3,600-gallons septic-truck tanks.

“Honestly, I can’t overstate how well this works,” he says. “I thought it would work when I thought of it, but it ended up working out even better than I imagined.”

Read more about Illinois Portable Toilets in this month’s issue of Portable Restroom Operator magazine.


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