The Throne Depot, Boston MA – Porta Potties Fit for Royalty!

Boston entrepreneurs, Steve Brodeur and Michael Cormier, are the owner-operators of The Throne Depot, and creators of the most prestigious concept in the portable toilet rental industry. The partners have created an urban rental product opportunity for even the most discerning of porta potty patrons. Each of their pristine portables is maintained using only the best cleaning supplies and features a full stock of environmentally friendly restroom hygiene products. 

The Rise of a Boston Porta Potty Dynasty

Maybe calling it a dynasty in the making is a stretch — or, is it? The growth of this rental service company is pretty staggering. Brodeur tells the story of the early days, before the partnership, and how he and Cormier came to invest in this industry and start up this unique company. “Michael and I were in the truck business in the late ‘90s, in Hinos. (Hino is Toyota’s largest division in the world.) We have 30 of them. They’re the trucks we use. 

I worked for Mike. He had a dealership, I was doing sales for him. There was no porta potty to be sold in the whole state. We looked at that, we started that. I had been in the dot-com business previously. I was a salesperson selling online software. People ordered their cement and lumber online. I was in that business for a couple of years, and then we started the porta potty company. We thought, “How hard can it be?” 

Note here that to meet The Throne Depot leadership is to promptly and simultaneously encounter their dry wit meshed with razor-sharp business acumen. Steve goes on, “So, we bought 26 toilets in December 1995. By 2013, we were buying as many as could fit on an 18-wheeler, 120 toilets on a truck.” 

Marketing and Sales at The Throne Depot

Asked how the business secures new customers, whether by standard marketing and sales, contract bidding, branching out around anchor clients, Steve explains, “We currently manage our current customers’ needs very carefully to provide top service. So, we may call and send email blasts to let them know about options for enhancing the products and services we provide for their users at their sites.” 

What about marketing methods? He continues, “We put our company stickers on all four sides of every unit we provide. Most businesses in the industry don’t put them on all four sides. Our portable restrooms are our biggest real estate and our best advertisement.” 

East-Coast Partnership Takes the Throne!

Steve recollects, “We both worked our full-time jobs and started the company part-time in 2005-2006. Mike went full-time in 2010 and I went in 2011. Then, the real estate market crashed in 2008, [which damaged the national economy]. Growth has been consistently climbing year after year since that time. 

We are very service oriented, so we continue to grow with and work with our customers as they grow. For example, we started doing the annual Boston Pride for the People event in 2006. This was our 10th time working with them. It started with providing the event with just delivering a few portable units. This year we provided 250.”

Today, Steve and Mike have about 6,000 portable restroom rental units in their inventory. That includes about 30 trailers with 2 to 10 units per trailer. It also includes about 400 Handicap Accessible Toilets. The company also offers numerous handwashing stations. The business operates in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Southern New Hampshire. The company currently has around 50 employees on average, including 10 office staff members. 

“We are a family-owned company. We have employed a lot of people locally. We have great employees. We work with municipalities, including the City of Boston. We provide services to the arena where the Bruins play. Many of our restroom units are there at the stadium for the whole season.“

Royal Service for The Throne Depot Customers

The business model of The Throne Depot is straightforward, ranging from a one-time, single-unit porta potty rental to long-term large arrays of full-scale restroom trailers with all the hygiene facility options. With so many thousands of restroom rental units in inventory, there is no rental restroom need at any private social event or any commercial or industrial purpose that goes unfilled by The Throne Depot in the Boston market.

The owners and their ever-growing team don’t just provide a first-class rental product and service. They are focused on staying ahead of each customer’s request. Steve explains that, first, they help people by supplying exactly what they need for their purposes with the region’s best portable restroom equipment and services (sometimes vs. what they thought they wanted and needed). Second, they go the extra distance to over-deliver on service by perpetually cultivating an employee base that is customer-centric and fixated on quality. 

That may mean recalculating and reconfiguring for the customer to provide their event guests with the most comfortable and convenient use of the facilities they provide. Or, it may mean hand-holding anxious brides and other event hosts through planning to ensure a smooth procurement and placement experience for them. 

Environmentally Conscious Business Leadership

Steve emphasized that none of the cleaning or hygiene supplies used by their service impact the environment. When asked how much difference that really makes to prospective customers, based on what he’s heard from them. He answered simply, “That is usually not really a final decision-making factor for them, even though it may be initially [when they’re shopping for potential vendors].” But, it is a priority for us to run an environmentally sound business.”  

Quality Drives Growth of Restroom Rental Business

We asked Steve, what types of growth has your business experienced? “The major push for us is our trailers. We will continue to add those. There is an ever-increasing demand for those on construction sites, at small events, large events, for seasonal activities, and everything in between. It’s our major growth area.

Our trailer division provides customers with a luxury restroom experience. The trailers are temperature controlled with air-conditioning and heat, important for winters in the northeast. They also feature running water, solid-surface countertops, and a built-in sound system. They’re growing in popularity because they elevate the guest experience at any event and increase employee morale on construction sites. 

Our quality management system ensures that the freshness of each rental unit is unsurpassed. First, two people inspect each portable restroom unit before it goes to the customer’s site. Then, there are quality control inspections. A quality team member picks a driver to follow and goes to examine the toilet unit within an hour after it’s been serviced to check quality. We have several people who do that, including drivers who’ve become lead techs, supervisors on the road, and in-house supervisors.” 

Company Culture at The Throne Depot, Boston MA

Steve Brodeur reflects on the national employment market condition, “Everybody’s impacted by the workforce problem in our country. We work in that situation daily. Our approach is to provide employees with a good place to work and earn a living. We provide full benefits, including a 401k plan, health insurance, and more. 

Our employees get certified through the Portable Sanitation Association International, which benefits them in their employment and brings best practices to our operations. We also have an Employee of the Month award, Driver of the Month, referral bonuses, a photo contest, and Safety awards.”

SOCO Service Guarantee

Your SOCO (Service or Call Office) is a prominent feature of your marketing and branding program. What kinds of reasons are typical for being unable to service a portable restroom unit on the customer’s site? 

“The industry standard is to move on and return at a later time if there’s a truck or fence or blockage in front of the toilet. But, we don’t leave until the driver calls our office. We guarantee service to the toilet while we are there or communication with the customer about why it cannot be serviced at that time. We reach out to the customer to give them an opportunity to come out and make the unit accessible for servicing. We will go ahead and wait so we can complete the service work. We do not want to go back later. We want to provide service at the regular time. 

We were able to service three locations today because of that policy. So, our customer at each of those sites does not pay twice. That’s unique to our business. This is one reason why we don’t have a lot of service issues. We have developed this and other important service policies through many years of growing and implementing better ways to operate in the business. 

Our SOCO policy is copyrighted. Nobody else uses it. We really depend on it. Our customers depend on it. If you need a toilet for your event, the last thing you want to discover is that the toilet facilities were not getting serviced due to some issue and nobody reached out to help you resolve it in time.”

Key Future Risks 

ALW asked this successful long-time Boston business owner what he sees as a potential internal or external problem that could impact the future of his company. Steve readily identifies a general economic concern, “The high interest rates will slow down the building trades, and it’s the cause of the high cost of our equipment. So, from the cost of goods to the high interest rates…” 

Advice for Industry Newcomers from Steve Brodeur, The Throne Depot, Boston MA

“What advice do I have for people coming into portable restroom rental business ownership? Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s called having integrity. Keep your word. A lot of people come into this thinking it’s an easy business, but it’s work. They soon end up dropping their price and can’t deliver what they promise to their customers. So, provide a good service at a fair, reasonable price, and show up when you say you will, and do what you say you will do for people.” 

 

For more information about The Throne Depot, call (800) 404-4038 or visit thronedepot.com/

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