Survey: How is COVID-19 affecting site services?

Over the last week we’ve reached out to our vendors to find out what they’re seeing on the ground. Specifically, how is COVID-19 affecting site services in the construction, events, and waste industries? Will hand washing supplies last through the crisis? With vendors in 35 states responding to our survey, here’s what we’ve discovered.

Like much of the country (and the world), most vendors viewed toilet paper and hand sanitizer stock issues as a top concern. About 40% of vendors said they expect to run out of one or both at some point before the COVID-19 crisis is over.

Anecdotally, we have heard from one vendor that hand sanitizer is being stolen from porta potties at an “alarming rate.” Because this has become such a major problem, the vendor had to begin charging restocking fees of $30 plus a $60 trip fee for each time they need to come out and replace hand sanitizer. Vendors, just like the general public, have limited supply and have asked customers to keep an eye on supplies to avoid theft.

Despite concerns over stock issues, most vendors reported feeling prepared for the situation. Less than 10% of vendors stated they felt unprepared. In addition, less than 10% of vendors said they expected layoffs. Another 15-20% reported being unsure whether or not layoffs would be expected as the situation goes on.

Across product lines, portable toilet vendors reported the highest likelihood of service delays. Roughly 24% of portable toilet vendors expect some service delays of some sort, and of course they are also the group experiencing stock supply concerns.

Only 15% of roll-off dumpster vendors anticipated service delays, with most responding they expect to see little to no impact from COVID-19. Front-load dumpster vendors responded similarly with only 11% expecting to see service delays. Storage container vendors seemed to meet in the middle at 13% expecting to experience delays.

While these numbers are low, there could be pockets of the country where delays and higher pricing due to demand are possible. Our account managers have been talking with vendors across the country to get a sense of where delivery times may be longer. We’re also keeping an eye out for vendors in neighboring cities where additional products such as hand-washing stations, for example, might be called in to fill rental orders.

To that end, three states stood out as being the most concerned about potential long-term impact. Vendors in Ohio, Oklahoma, and New York seemed particularly concerned about COVID-19 affecting site services, and we’ll continue to monitor those areas to find out what’s happening and what can be done.

In one case of short supply vs. demand, we were given a quote of $50,000 for a restroom trailer! Needless to say, we helped the customer find another solution. (And in fairness, that may have been a glitch from a vendor’s pricing system.) No matter what comes our way, our account managers are staying on the ball to find solutions that work for everyone.

With changes related to COVID-19 happening so quickly, we’re committed to staying in constant contact with our vendor partners and our customers to make sure we’re adjusting to meet the needs of everyone on the ground.

We’ve had the opportunity to build relationships with thousands of companies nationwide, so we’re working with them to make sure you can still seamlessly order, schedule, and manage your products and services.

Current customers can continue using myZTERS.com to manage their accounts. And to protect the safety of our account managers, we upgraded our technology so they can continue working from home.

Things will continue to change in the coming weeks and months. This is just a quick snapshot of COVID-19 affecting site services. We will continue to monitor the situation, and we’ll be here to answer any questions and help you keep your jobsites working. Have questions? Reach out to your account manager or contact us here.

5 Ways to Save on Commercial Waste

Property owners and facility managers often have to streamline to save on commercial waste, How often do you analyze how much money you throw away with the garbage? Commercial waste is costly. From wasted paper and packaging, to disposing of appliances and pieces of furniture, your company may spend hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on commercial waste services. Here are five ways you can analyze your output and save on commercial waste.

1. Create a “Green Team” 

Create a committee or a team of people within your facility to evaluate and reduce overall waste. For example, 70% of office waste is paper products. If you manage an office building, ask your Green Team to find ways to reduce paper waste in the office. There are many ways this can be done. Start with these ideas:

  • Set the printer defaults to print double-sided pages.
  • Send electronic copies of presentations before meetings (and skip the paper versions).
  • Encourage staff to re-use manila envelopes and file folders.
  • Update your mailing lists regularly to prevent direct mail and mailers from being returned undeliverable.
  • Create a culture of sustainability through trainings, office reminders, and recycling bins. 

2. Save on commercial waste by shopping providers

If your facility is located in a large urban area, you may have several choices of commercial waste providers. If that’s the case, then you’re in a good position to negotiate a more competitive contract for your commercial waste service. Whether or not you’re in a competitive area, a commercial waste broker may be able to find you a more affordable solution.

You can also do some research by asking other owners and property managers about their waste services. What do other facilities pay for their commercial waste management, and what’s included in their rates? It pays to contact a nationwide waste service company like ZTERS, because we help companies find custom waste solutions across hundreds of properties every day. We understand prevailing rates and services nationwide, and we can help you find the right products and service schedule for all your facilities.

3. Analyze dumpster usage, downsize if necessary 

Chances are, your company doesn’t fill its dumpster to the top before the dumpster is picked up. Ask your Green Team to measure your weekly dumpster usage and keep records about how full (or not full) your dumpster is before each pickup. 

If space in your dumpster is often wasted, downgrade your dumpster size or request fewer pickups. Analyze the number of dumpsters your company uses, as well as the size of the dumpsters. If you’re paying for two small dumpsters, you might save money by consolidating to one larger dumpster. 

Review prices with your waste services company and decide what size and type of dumpster is right for your business. Then decide how many times your dumpsters need to be serviced per month. Sometimes reducing the frequency of dumpster service will reduce costs without causing a waste buildup problem.  

4. Share the cost with neighboring businesses

Smaller facilities often don’t produce enough waste to make dumpster service cost effective. These companies often pay for more dumpster service than they need because waste companies have high minimum service levels.

What if you could share your dumpster with a neighbor and split the cost? If your facility is near other small property owners or small businesses, find out if another property owner or manager would like to share a dumpster. When making these arrangements, be sure to read the waste service contract carefully and discuss each aspect of the contract with the neighboring owner. Communication is key when entering into an agreement with another party. 

5. Recycle

In some areas, even with the ebb and flow of the recycling industry, recycling costs can be lower than waste disposal. Create a culture of sustainability in your facility and encourage occupants to recycle whenever possible. Talk to your waste service provider about your recycling options and come up with a plan that reduces the cost of waste pickup. Some materials can be sold for scrap or otherwise traded or sold to reduce your overall commercial waste costs.  

Commercial waste disposal doesn’t have to break the bank. To find out more about how you can save on commercial waste costs, call our commercial waste division. We’re glad to analyze your waste stream and find a solution that’s right for your budget.