Here’s a math problem for you: You’re organizing a large outdoor art and wine festival. You expect one thousand people to attend. You will have concession stands serving beverages and small food items. The event will last for approximately four hours. The more people eat and drink, the more likely they’ll be in need of restroom facilities, a roll of toilet paper.
Once they’re done using the toilet facility, they’ll likely be looking for a hand-washing solution like soap, clean water, and a paper towel, or hand sanitizer.
All things considered, how many porta-potties per person will you need for any given special event, outdoor event, construction site, or another project?
We’ll give you the answer. In that situation, you’ll likely want at least 8 to 10 portable toilets.1 However, even this answer can be complicated by several factors when it comes to selecting this portable restroom option for your event. Whether you’re organizing an event or setting up a construction site, this question is much more than hypothetical when it comes to planning out portable restroom units for either your guests or employees. After all, the wrong answer could leave you in a pile of…well, you get the point.
How Do I Calculate the Number of Porta-Potties I Need?
How do porta-potties work for the number of people you need them for? Let’s take a look. The standard porta-potty can handle about 200 uses before the waste tank, toilet seat, toilet bowl, and overall unit needs to be emptied and cleaned.
Of course, unless you know exactly how often everyone is planning to use the portable bathroom, that information won’t help you get to your final answer for the total cost of your portable potty rental.
So let’s give you some stats that are a bit more useful if you’re in need of a porta-potty rental:2
- If you’re planning an event, you can start calculating by assuming you will need at least 2 porta-potties per 500 people for one hour.
- As the number of people or the duration of the event increases, so too will the number of porta-potties and rolls of toilet paper you will need. For instance, 1,000 people for one hour would require at least 4 porta-potties.
- Attendee increases work somewhat linearly (2 times the people = 2 times the porta-potties) but as numbers increase things can change (4 times the people isn’t necessarily 4 times the porta-potties). Duration increases also aren’t linear. Since not everyone will need the porta-potty at the same time, the increases can be slower.
- For instance, 500 people for 2 hours would require 4 porta-potties. At 3 hours, 4 porta-potties should still suffice. At 4 hours, you’d likely want to increase to 5 porta-potties.
If you’re planning an event where beverages and alcohol will be served, you have to assume people will need to use the portable bathroom more frequently. Raise your porta-potty estimates by 20% for events of this type.2
Beverages are just one consideration you’ll need to keep in mind when calculating your portable toilet rental needs:3
- What type of event am I planning – Some events have specific times when breaks will occur and people will head to the bathrooms. For this type of event, you’ll need more porta-potties than, say, at a fair, where people will use the facilities on their own timetables, and there won’t be a rush at any given time.
- What’s the temperature going to be – When it’s hot, it’s important to stay hydrated. Of course, greater hydration means more trips to the bathroom. If you’re planning an event in the heat, you need to account for more frequent porta-potty visits. Additionally, hotter temperatures may further encourage a bad odor or stench. Therefore, keeping track of how often you clean your porta-potty rental is always a good idea.
- Will people be eating – We already covered alcohol, but all food service needs to be considered. If people will be eating at your event, they’ll be more likely to need the bathroom at some point.
- Where will the porta-potties go – You may be limited on how many porta-potties you can provide by the ground itself. You want your porta-potties to be set up on flat surfaces (you definitely don’t want them to tip over). This means you may need to set up more frequent but smaller bathroom stations across your event.
- Who will be using them – Porta-potties are unisex, meaning any gender can use them. However, depending on the nature of your event, you may want to provide different facilities for men and women. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure you have enough so that everyone has the chance to go in a timely manner. And don’t forget, hand sanitizer goes a long way in the world of portable sanitation.
- When will they be emptied – Unlike a regular toilet, porta-potties need to be emptied. Depending on the length of time you’ll need your porta-potties, you need to think about cleaning. Hiring a team of sanitation workers to do the dirty work is a viable option. After 200 uses, each porta-potty needs to be emptied and cleaned with the right materials like the blue liquid solution and clean water. If you’re planning on a multiple-day event, you’ll want to be sure you clean your units with the common blue liquid chemical solution and fresh water. Be sure to clean them often enough, so they remain often enough that they’ll remain functional throughout––and, more importantly, prevent any bad odor.
From human waste to other forms of liquid and solid waste, people tend to throw other items into portable toilets––so it’s always a good idea to give them a deep clean to keep your crowd pleased.
Another thing to consider is how many attendees will need specialized facilities. Larger porta-potties are available for people who are wheelchair-bound. You also need to consider the needs of families and whether some of your porta-potties should be equipped with changing stations.
This is more than just a question of convenience. You may be legally required, depending on your event and its location, to provide a certain number of accessible facilities. Being sure all your attendees have the facilities they need will help make your event more successful in the long run.
Your Porta-Potty Questions Answered at ASAP Site Services
Portable toilets work wonders as a toilet option if you’re planning something with limited access to plumbing facilities. However, if you don’t get the number of porta-potties right, you’re going to have an angry crowd or group of guests on your hands. And, while erring on the side of too many may be preferable, you also need to budget properly and rent only what you need.
At ASAP Site Services, we know there are a lot of questions when it comes to renting a porta-potty. Beyond just the number, there are also questions about the best types of porta-potties to use and how they fit into your budget. We’re here to help. Get in touch with us today!
- Portable Sanitation Association International. SPECIAL EVENT CHART. https://assets.noviams.com/novi-file-uploads/psai/PDFs_and_Documents/psai-extended-chart__1_.pdf
- ASAP Site Services. How Many Portable Toilets Do I Need? https://www.asapsiteservices.com/portable-toilet-rentals/how-many-portable-toilets-do-i-need/
- Portable Sanitation Association International. Renting Portable Units. https://www.psai.org/renting-portable-units