The decision to purchase portable sanitation equipment is a big one. It’s hard to beat the convenience of owning your own equipment, which can include: portable sinks, portable toilets, hand sanitizers, and similar products. But it also requires an initial financial commitment and long-term dedication to cleaning and maintenance. With that in mind, if you decide to make a purchase, you’ll want to make sure you get a good return on your investment. To help you out, we’ve put together a portable sanitation equipment purchase checklist that includes the questions you should get the answers to before committing to a purchase.
What kind of equipment is needed?
The logical starting point when shopping for portable sanitation equipment is to identify exactly what you need. To find out, consider who will be using the equipment and the kinds of events at which it will be used. When doing outdoor events like weddings, farmers markets, or community festivals, it’s highly unlikely that there will be a handwashing station easily accessible. You likely will need to bring your own portable sink as you prepare and serve food. If bathrooms are not nearby, you may want to consider a portable toilet as well. And if you want to promote sanitation and provide a convenient solution for customers, a hand sanitizer is an option, too. In most cases, a portable sink is a necessity. Whether or not you want to possess additional sanitation solutions may depend on your budget or the nature of your business.
What product features are important?
Once you’ve decided which pieces of equipment you’re interested in, you need to choose the key product features. Portable sinks offer a variety of options, so do your homework to find the sink that will work best for you. The FDA requires handwashing water to be at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit, so you’ll want to look for a heated unit. Sinks can come with one or multiple bowls. Consider the number of people who will be using the sink to decide how many bowls will be needed to serve your needs.
Portable sinks can supply water the standard way with knobs or handles, or they can be “hands free” using a foot pump or similar device. A hands-free sink is obviously the more sanitary option. Sink sizes vary in part due to the capacity of the holding tanks. Smaller potable water and gray water holding tanks will make the sink lighter but offer fewer washes between refills/drains. Larger tanks will provide more washes but cause the sink to be heavier. Think about the size and length of the events you’ll be doing to decide what water capacity will be best.
As a general rule of thumb, portable sinks should be lightweight, durable, easy to fill and empty, and have a small footprint. One person should be able to transport, operate, and service the sink.
Are supplies included or available?
Portable sanitation equipment requires supplies like soap, paper towels, sanitizing foam or gel, toilet paper, and cleaning tabs. Verify that those things are either included or made available by the seller. It is more convenient to be able to get those things from the same source rather than having to devote additional time searching for them.
Is the price reasonable?
As with any other big purchase, you’ll want to get a fair deal. Be diligent and shop around. By comparing options from multiple sources, you can make sure you get the most bang for your buck.
Is the manufacturer/seller reputable?
Price is a big consideration, but so is quality. Portable sanitation equipment should be purchased from a source that has a proven record of providing quality, durable products. Search for company reviews, product reviews, and testimonials to make sure you are dealing with a reliable company.
How is the customer service?
Your primary focus will be on the products, but it’s important to consider customer service as well. When you need assistance while researching or purchasing products, you’ll want to deal with people who respond promptly, are helpful, and are pleasant to work with. Additional customer service considerations include easy ordering and affordable, timely shipping and delivery.
Is there a warranty?
Even if you’ve done your research and are confident that your purchase is designed to last, there are no guarantees. Sometimes, parts break or the equipment stops operating like it’s supposed to. It’s good to purchase products that are covered by a warranty in case you have any issues.
Does the manufacturer/seller keep up with regulations?
In order to best serve customers, portable sanitation equipment manufacturers/sellers should have a good understanding of why customers need the products. By keeping up with local, state and federal regulations, they can improve products and develop new ones to ensure that customers are always in compliance.
SINKSNMORE provides a variety of resources for the food service industry. Visit FoodSinksTB.com to download a FREE Health Department Compliance Bulletin or request a FREE Handwashing Compliance sign.
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