Profit in the potty

Well, this was a first for all of us… a photo shoot in a restroom! You can probably surmise that our photographer was in an adjoining stall shooting overhead. All the while, the remainder of the facility was open for business. We certainly got funny looks from some folks, and others decided to use another bathroom altogether.

In my discussions with Rod Dornsife, and his partner, Max Leaver, from Restroom Alert, I learned about an opportunity to introduce digital technology to analog ways of doing things. The business idea of this month’s Feature Story was literally born in the bathroom of a Starbucks.

“The place was a mess!” Rod said. There was the typical inspection log–on a clipboard, behind the door–containing a checklist for employees. However, someone wasn’t doing their job and someone’s boss needed to know. “There must be a better way,” he thought, and Restroom Alert was born.

Restroom Alert is a way for business owners to keep tabs on the cleanliness of their restrooms. Utilizing a smartphone app and crowdsourcing the collection of information from their clientele, business owners can keep tabs on when their facilities need attention.

Once I got past my initial confusion to understand his business, the ideas started to flow. “You could apply this technology to dozens of industries that are still operating in the pre-digital era!” I exclaimed. Then, a multitude of applications ran through my mind: hospitality, medical, even military!

That’s when I noticed a stone-faced Rod. “We know,” he said. “The applications are endless, but we are staying focused.” Obviously, they had already realized my revelation. However, they made a strategic decision to stay the course. Bathrooms were it, and good for them!  After all, this is an opportunity to own a segment most haven’t thought about.

When I got back to my office, I did some quick math and things quickly got interesting, very interesting. This is when I began to take Restroom Alert much more seriously. There are an estimated 75 million commercial restrooms in the United States. If Restroom Alert can capture just one percent of that market (750,000), and only charges $5 per month, Rod and Max are looking at $45 million in revenue!

Do I have your attention now? Staying focused is the right decision here because of the market size. Good move, Rod! I’m glad you didn’t let me distract you.

Rod and Max have a lot of work to do before they get even remotely close to these figures, but the technology is in place, and they are going to give it a splash. Perhaps when they are flush with cash, they will plunge into different markets and shower other opportunities with great technology.

Okay, seriously, I’ll stop now.


Until next time,

Brian Barquilla

Leave a Reply