Choose a sanitary bin to suit your business – not your supplier!

First decide on the service you need!

Before I get down to talking about actual sanitary bin design, let me explain that there are two types of sanitary bin service: the bin replacement service or the liner exchange service.   A bin exchange physically removes the bin from the premises every time and replaces it with another (clean?) bin.  This works fine in offices and industrial sites.  In theory it should work fine in all buildings but would you want a service company carting a dozen sanitary bins through your restaurant or hotel lobby especially at during busy times (periods doesn’t seem an appropriate word in this context).

A Liner exchange on the other hand removes the waste from the bin and it is placed in a modesty bag which is discretely removed from the premises. The bin should be cleaned and sanitised on site which means that you are guaranteed not to get a cigarette burnt old scabby bin left in place of the shiny new one you had on installation.

Most service companies that do provide a liner exchange service either use a scented antimicrobial liner which inhibits smells or use a silicate powder or sachet to do the same job.  The bin exchange companies tend to do neither.

At this point it is pretty irrelevant which bin style you choose as most bins (90%) of those on the market can be either bin or liner exchange.

Is there such a thing as a ‘designer’ sanitary bin?

Well Versace haven’t launched one yet (that I am aware of), but yes, you can get various designs dependent on your business needs.

The standard bin is a grey or white unit , but becoming more popular are the ‘green’ bins from Kennedy Hygiene – it is actually grey but made from 100% recycled plastic which does mean that every batch is a slightly different shade but it is certainly a step in the right direction and is no difference in price to a ‘standard’ bin.

Low tech designer option of sanitary bin

In the bad old days ‘designer’ bins had their lids dipped in chrome to give a shiny ‘expensive’ finish.  However with advances in coating technologies you can have any colour you wish or even a mix and match of colours – of course there is a cost but several suppliers now have an all-black bin which is the current ‘hot’ favourite.

Is there a ‘high tech’ designer option.

The short answer is yes.  Several manufacturers now sell ‘touch free’ or IR sensor bins and you can get them in various finishes.  The real star of the ‘high tech’ stakes is the wall mounted Sanipod from Pure Concepts, a New Zealand manufacturer of washroom products that has introduced an infrared bin with an integral liner which means it can be emptied safely everyday drastically reducing any risk of odour issues.  It is also wall mounted, one of only two companies (the other being Vendor in the Netherlands) who produce an ‘off the floor model’.

So what is best for me?

That is where your local washroom service provider will come in.  You can search for an IWSA approved supplier here for your area and you should get at least two companies to speak to.  The more populated the area you live in,  the bigger the choice.  However all of the above come at a cost.  It should not be surprising that servicing equipment in the washroom is labour and cost intensive, so be very afraid of anyone offering you a great service and a great looking bin for less than £50 per annum.  The economics just don’t stack up so the supplier will have to find other ways to get their money.

How to add extras onto a sanitary bin quote:

  • Duty of care note fees – should be free but some companies charge up to £250 annually so be careful and check before you sign.
  • Congestion charge fees – only applicable to London currently but be aware
  • Fuel Surcharge fees – yep some folk try anything.
  • Service avoidance – selling you a monthly service but appearing every 2 months
  • Selling bolt on services after the contract is signed – a classic is installing an air freshener and air purifier, one cancels out the other so you pay double for no effect.
  • Random price increases – the national service providers have a clause in their contracts that basically allows them to increase prices as often and by as much as they want.  This tied into a 5 year deal becomes a very expensive option.

So the simple sanitary bin is not quite as simple as you first thought and by discounting heavily to get you to sign up to a 5 year deal most national suppliers then employ an army of ‘business development managers’ whose job it is to upsell additional services and generate margin from the original loss leader.

My message is “ tread carefully and choose a bin to suit you – not your supplier!”

Are you justified in turning away business? | The Toilet Expert

When it’s the right thing to turn away business

Just a small blog here and really more on the general business side of things rather than the specifics of washrooms – although this was about a washroom service contract.

Today I declined the opportunity to secure some business.  Am I crazy?  I think not.   When I started my own business many years ago I would chase every piece of business I could, grateful for the opportunity and the hope that it would turn into something substantial.  Some did and some didn’t of course, actually a lot didn’t and it may just be all those little alarm bells from bad decisions over the years that made me say no thanks.

I am going to explain this one a little more and if you have any comments then I will be glad to hear them.

First Contact

The initial enquiry was to provide a sanitary bin service in a new office for a UK company setting up an office in Scotland.

It might seem strange that if they have offices across the UK they haven’t asked their incumbent to supply, but they might like to use local suppliers so a quote was issued in good faith.

The devil is in the detail

On acceptance of the quote a 5 page supplier approval document was sent to us which included such info as 3 years accounts, amount of staff, staff turnover, rates of pay of staff and sub-contractors as well as the usual public and employers insurance requests and RAMS (Risk Assessment and Method Statements) they even asked for environmental and equal opportunity policies.

Very few customers ask to see our insurance documents – mostly large corporates or public bodies.  Most companies appreciate that we as IWSA, SMDSA, British Safety Council members or associate members must be reasonably good at what we do, that and the list of corporate clients that scream ‘QUALITY SERVICE!’.  For large tenders and contracts we will of course provide audited accounts as part of a PQQ, no bother.  But to install and service a solitary sanitary bin with an annual value of less than £100.  It seemed a bit excessive and I made a decision that as a business we had more pressing matters than taking an hour or two to secure the contract. Let me add that the hour or two is probably the margin in that piece of business.  Furthermore as we do not tie our clients into long term contracts and the fact this potential client had no loyalty to her incumbent supplier could there be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? Probably not.

Strange but true…

The strange thing was in all the documentation that was asked for the one thing that wasn’t requested was a copy of our waste carriers licence.  Occasionally we get asked for proof of our waste carriers’ licence which we provide to every customer as part of the Duty of Care note.

So I am going to pop this into hyperspace and see if you agree or disagree.  Please feel free to share, discuss or call me a fool.