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Poo Carters is a family-run business turning over a healthy profit, with six trucks on the road and eight full-time employees.
But like many successful businesses, the early days of blood, sweat, and tears tested the fortitude of husband-and-wife team, Trudie Thomson and Rodger Everett.
“It was very hard and stressful in the beginning, but rewarding as well,” Rodger reflects.
“Nowadays I will be driving along and see 200 of our toilets and I think, ‘We did that’.”
Poo Carters is a septic waste removal and pump-out service based outside of Yass in NSW, servicing a wide range of the surrounding region including Murrumbateman, Wamboin, Royalla, Sutton and Canberra.
They also hire out toilets for events, such as weddings, and they are one of the biggest liquid waste suppliers in their region.
Poo Carters buys all of their toilets from Australian Portable Toilets, and have some 220 available for hire.
“Trudie will make sure the toilets for events look and smell really nice,” Rodger says.
Before the couple started their business in 2014, their lives, like many people’s, were busy and stressful.
Rodger was working in the mines in South Africa as a fly-in, fly-out worker, and Trudie was working as a chef.
“The distance was hard on the relationship and I was always tired from the 36-hour flight to reach the worksite and then the long, 12-hour days,” Rodger says.
At the time, Trudie’s father was servicing aerated systems for another company who wanted him to buy a vacuum truck. So Trudie and Rodger stepped in to snap up the truck and start a septic waste removal business.
Trudie admits to feeling nervous at their career tilt.
“It meant quitting my chef job and then we didn’t have any income to rely on, but Rodger said, ‘If you want to focus on this you have to give it 100 percent’,” she recalls.
So in 2014 Poo Carters was born, although the beginnings were less than auspicious.
“The old home-made vacuum truck cost $30,000, and we maxed out our credit cards on hoses and equipment,” says Rodger.
“The first time we started the truck, it caught on fire.”
The business took a couple of years to build, too, but finally they were able to sell the old truck and buy a new one.
“One of the local builders kept encouraging us to expand into toilet hire and eventually we bought one,” Rodger says.
The builder wanted more toilets on site, and so the couple contacted Australian Portable Toilets.
“We told them we couldn’t pay right away, we were still building our business, but we were good for it and they were great about that,” Rodger says.
Three years since they expanded into portable toilets, the couple credits Australian Portable Toilets with helping them to become the success they are today.
“They have been fantastic as they have really helped us expand our business and to help us get set up, and we wouldn’t have been able to do it without them,” Trudie says.
Rodger says the strength of their relationship to Australian Portable Toilets is absolutely critical.
“That supplier relationship is very important,” Rodger says.
“Nothing is ever too much trouble and it makes it easier for us to know that we are buying a good quality product.
“If we ever have any dramas they are a phone call away and they’ll move heaven and earth to get us what we need.
“We have the option to go to other places to get our toilets but we wouldn’t dream of going anywhere else because they’re so good to deal with.”
Trudie and Rodger’s professionalism has, no doubt, also been pivotal to their business success.
“We treat people well and we pride ourselves on the quality of our work, that the gear is presented properly and the toilets are clean,” Rodger says.
“Our guys turn up in uniform and not in tracksuit pants. We make sure we do what we do better than the next person.”
This story was written by Johanna Leggatt. Johanna is an Australian journalist with more than 15 years’ experience in both print and online. She has worked across a wide range of subject areas, including health, property, finance, interiors, and arts.