Then and Now: Outdoor Restrooms, Inc.

October 6th, 2017

If you’ve used a porta potty at a Royals or T-Bones game, the Kansas Speedway, the Kansas City Zoo, a Jackson or Johnson County park, an outdoor concert or a festival like Boulevardia, then you are already intimately familiar with Outdoor Restrooms, Inc. (ORI).

Dennis Abbott had 30 years of experience in the industry when he founded ORI in 2004, which he ran with his son, Jeff. Brothers Gary and Greg Springer had joked with Dennis for years about buying ORI if he ever wanted to sell. Abbott took them up on their “offer,” selling the company to the Springers in 2013. ORI started as a family business, and the Springers carry on that tradition. Gary’s wife and son, Beth and Tyler, and Greg’s wife, Natalie, all work at ORI, while Jeff Abbott retains a stake in the company and is operations manager.

ORI wasn’t Gary and Greg’s first rodeo in owning and operating a business. The two founded Springer Building Group (which is still in operation and managed by Greg) and previously owned a lending company, which served Adams Dairy Bank customers. Between Abbott establishing ORI’s strong foundation and the Springers’ business acumen, the company has grown from six employees, three pump trucks, two pickup/delivery vehicles and 900 units in 2013 to 25 employees, eight pump trucks, eight pickup/delivery vehicles and 2,400 units and six VIP trailers in 2017.

The Town That Service Forgot

“We believe our competitors were complacent with who they were and what size they were when we bought ORI in 2013. The service element was suffering because of their complacency. We took advantage of that, not grabbing customers, but instead attracting them with better service. It worked, and ORI has set the bar high for the Kansas City market,” explains Gary Springer. “You can’t have people in other cities taking service calls for your equipment in Kansas City. Beth and Natalie personally handle the phones and our customers know if they call before noon, they’ll have portable restrooms on site the same day. We have the capacity to move 80 units at a time. That’s just one of the many components of our customer-first philosophy.”

ORI has brought service back to Kansas City, and the competition has stepped up their game in response, creating a win-win for all, especially for those of us using them.

Meeting High Expectations Requires Continuous Investment

Keeping up with demand and growth takes financial investment, and portable restroom equipment isn’t cheap, especially the luxury trailer kind that ORI uses for celebrities and formal events. “Ours is definitely an expensive industry to be in, but demand keeps increasing. Plus, the increase in construction projects alone means we often have 40 units at a time on one job site for up to a year,” says Gary, “Originally, we set out to double our size in five years, and we’ve exceeded that, like by double and a half.”

ORI earned the contract to provide portable restrooms for the Kansas Speedway (races and events, such as the Scouting 500) in May, 2016, after which the company added 600 new units and two vacuum trucks and hired five new employees. ORI also has provided porta potties for two World Series now, as well as luxury units for all the Royals’ charity events. “It’s a lot of work and a lot of hours, but it’s also a lot of fun because we’re working behind the scenes and run in to drivers, pro athletes and performers,” Gary explains.

Even as ORI continues to exceed expectations of service and success, some things haven’t changed. When the Springers bought ORI, Abbott had already established business accounts at Adams Dairy Bank. The Springers continue banking here, including their personal accounts and business accounts for Springer Building Group. Gary says, “Service-wise, ORI stays within a three-hour radius of Kansas City, but we use local businesses for our accounting, legal, banking and such. We’re active in the Blue Springs Business League and prefer supporting those connections.”