Marketplace: Together, couple forms restroom trailer rental service Simply Privys
August 13, 2018
The dream was simple. Start a business together so both husband and wife can work from home and set their own schedules.
The plan to get there, however, was a bit more complicated. Then, Jessie and Charlie Thompson discovered an untapped market for portable restroom trailer rentals in the Park City area. They made some calls, raised money and launched a restroom-rental service called Simply Privys this summer.
They came up with the idea after attending several weddings around the country that utilized restroom trailers with flushing toilets and running water. Each time, they would return to Park City and see that few businesses were renting restrooms in the area.
The Thompsons were already on the lookout for a business idea during the time. They had just had their first child and wanted jobs with flexible hours. Plus, Jessie said, they thought it would be fun to work together.
The couple met while working together as ski patrollers at Deer Valley Resort. About ten years ago, they remodeled an old farmhouse together.
"Starting a business as a couple, the hardest part is being able to work together," Jessie said. "We felt like we had been challenged by that previously and that we had done pretty well."
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Charlie grew up with parents who owned a business, and he said that it was something he had always set his sights on. He said it brought his family closer together and showed him good work ethic, and he wanted the same for his wife and two daughters.
So, when Charlie's sister had portable restroom trailers at her wedding on the East Coast two years ago, Charlie took the opportunity to ask the business owners about their trailers. The couple returned and considered buying a company or expanding a franchise to Park City before ultimately deciding to launch their own business.
"We figured let's just start from scratch," Jessie said.
In the spring of 2017, the Thompsons reached out to various friends and family members in the community to ask for support. They found some investors, ordered five trailers and got to work as soon as the trailers arrived this summer.
They began renting the trailers for graduations, weddings and family reunions, and then they signed a contract with the Park City Institute to provide restrooms for the Big Stars, Bright Nights concert series.
The contract was a turning point for them. Seeing the trailers at the concert venue reaffirmed they had made the right decision, Jessie said.
"At the start of it, there are a lot of hard times," Charlie said. "There are a lot of times where you look at each other and are like, 'What are we doing to ourselves?' But then you start to get that positive feedback and you start to feel that traction."
Jessie and Charlie said they hope to continue expanding their restroom trailer fleet so they can meet any request that comes their way. They enjoy taking the stress off their clients during big events by providing an important but sometimes overlooked service.
Leaving jobs to pursue a new business endeavor together can still be terrifying, Charlie said. He sees his two daughters and knows that he has to work hard and have a successful business in order to provide for them.
But he enjoys working for a business that he and his wife built together. He said that maintaining the business while balancing care for his toddler and newborn will likely be an ongoing challenge, but at least he knows he is not doing it alone.
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