A Diverse Customer Base Helps Texas PRO Weather the Pandemic

A Diverse Customer Base Helps Texas PRO Weather the Pandemic

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For large portable sanitations companies like Texas Outhouse of Houston, the coronavirus has had a Swiss cheese-like effect. Revenues have been boosted in some areas, and in other areas holes opened up as businesses felt the pandemic’s impact.

“We have a wide range of customers,” says Steve Rockey, operations general manager. “COVID has curtailed some of their businesses while others haven’t been impacted much.”

One badly hurt sector is restroom and restroom-trailer rentals for special events, which were all but eliminated. Examples include weddings, motorcycle rallies and the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, he says.

The good news is that special event rentals aren’t a substantial part of the restroom provider’s business, Rockey says.

On the plus side, the company benefited from COVID-testing stations. “A lot of hospitals have set up outdoor tents for drive-up testing, so they’ve rented restroom trailers,” he explains. “And we also saw a fair amount of people who cancelled weddings earlier in the spring plan weddings later in the year.”

In addition, the unusually heavy hurricane season also generated unexpected revenue as the company provides restrooms and trailers for emergency disaster-relief crews, he says.

Furthermore, demand for hand-wash stations — coming from both new and existing clients — has increased. The flip side of the coin? Getting basics like hand sanitizer, soap and toilet paper was difficult for the first few months of the pandemic.

“I don’t know the exact numbers, but we’ve rented quite a bit more hand-wash stations,” Rockey says. “And we’ve managed to overcome the product shortages, thanks to some suppliers that came through for us. It’s not like March 2020, when everything was going nuts.”

The takeaway? “You have to be light on your feet and adjust,” Rockey advises. “You have to watch costs carefully and respond quickly to customers’ needs.”

Rockey thinks the demand the pandemic created for hand sanitizer and hand-wash stations could become permanent. “I think everyone in the industry thinks hand sanitizers and hand-wash station rentals will remain a need. “As for other parts of our business, we just have to go with the flow,” he concludes. “I don’t think anyone can predict if the economy will ever return to the way it was.”

Read the April issue of Portable Restroom Operator magazine for a complete profile of Houston’s Texas Outhouse.


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