Wade Collins knows hard work.
On a visit to in-laws in The Dalles, he saw he could make a run at the portable toilet business in our area.
A divorce gave him the opportunity to take that challenge.
In 2014, he arrived with a single pickup to pump sewage after leaving an excavation business and the fun side of a shovel behind.
“I bought 27 toilets and got the 28th for free,” he said of his first days in the Mid-Columbia. He was licensed on April Fool’s day and pumped his first toilet on May Day. “The next month I bought 28 more with some ADA units and handwash stations. By the end of my first year, I had 100 units.”
“I worked 20-hour days and pretty much just power-napped in my truck,” he said. That lasted for three years.
With the work ethic came a commitment to a superior product and quality control. Every toilet he rents is double walled. Pink toilets are available for women only, with locks available. Bang-up cleaning products are used, and toilets are scoured with a 1200 PSI pressure washer and finished with elbow grease—inside and out. There’s no fudging. First impressions with portable toilets are everything.
Collins said all you have to do is sit on the toilet lid and take a hard look—consequently the same view customers have when using the porta potty. Dirt, cobwebs and other less desirable elements come into view and can then be cleaned properly.
That attention to detail has earned him a good chunk of the orchard business, he said.
The other crucial point in growing the business was to be responsible to his original customers, which meant not shortchanging his base to take on a one-time event such as providing toilets to a forest fire camp.
Collins now has some 1,000 toilets.
He has added three additional pumping trucks and plans on having a Kenworth with a 2,500-gallon tank online this summer for bigger septic tank jobs.
He also plans on hiring several more employees.
Karen Carlin, with expertise in accounting and marketing, is holding down the front office at 309 Court St.
And his three sons, Tracer, 16, Schooter, 18, and Schooner 20, are employed in the business.
Sons Racer and Chacer and daughter Pyper will also get in on the fun this summer—might even get locked in a porta potty and drenched with a pressure washer on occasion.
“It’s not a glamorous business,” said Schooner laughing. “You have to have fun somehow. “
For more information, call 541-298-2727