Meet Your PolyJohn Representative: Gregg DeLong
What led you to come to work for PolyJohn? I’ve been in the portable toilet industry for two-thirds of my life. Forty years ago as a teenager, I began repairing wooden portables. Later I got my first route with United Sanitation, one of the largest portable sanitation businesses of its time and that helped finance my education. With United, I worked my way up to Vice President of Sales for their manufacturing division. I was one of their first salesmen for the USANCO toilet. When United sold the company to Dow Chemical, I left six weeks later. I started and ran a successful flooring company until fourteen years ago when I met Ed Cooper. At the time, he had a fledgling business called PolyJohn. He needed someone who knew the business well enough to lead his sales efforts on the West Coast. I feel privileged that he selected me and I’ve been with PolyJohn ever since.
How does your past experience help you as a PolyJohn Representative? At PolyJohn, it’s my job to help my customers improve their businesses. We don’t believe in making more money simply by selling more units; we believe our first job is to make our customers more successful. When they’re successful, then I’m successful. My experience covers everything my customers might need to know—driving routes, managing routes, running my own business and growing my own business. As an employee, I helped United Sanitation launch their manufacturing business, then I made my own business a success and I’ve helped PolyJohn grow as well. With all that experience behind me, I have confidence that I can help my customers prosper.
What’s the first thing you tell somebody in this business? That’s easy ... be proud of what you do! You don’t have to listen very long to hear the negative comments about this business. Yet, we’re all in a service business supplying a fundamental human need. People need food, shelter, clean water and clean sanitation facilities. If you take pride in your job, you’ll never lack for customers and people will naturally give you the respect you deserve. The other thing to remember is to know your market and don’t be afraid of the big guys. If you are getting into this business and there is already a giant competitor in your area, you can use “being small” as your advantage. A small operator can always provide better and more personal service than a giant. A small operator can also develop a better relationship with their customers and employees.
How would you describe your personal service philosophy? I’m a listener. Then, if I can answer a question, I do so honestly and straightforward. If I don’t have the answer, I know where to find it. By listening, I can learn a lot about an organization, and I can discover new ways to help my customers improve their businesses.
Gregg DeLong, Southwestern States PolyJohn Area Manager
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