Some might say Michael Harris was born into a unique vantage point of Stanislaus County. From as far back as he can remember, Harris has been riding in a T.P. Express truck. Originally acquired by his father Wayne in 1987, this year marks the 30th anniversary of the portable restroom Oakdale business. Harris purchased the business in 2009.
“I started working for him when I turned 16 years old,” Harris said of his early days working for his father’s business. “I’ve been riding in the truck since I was a baby.”
Following his retirement from Anheuser-Busch/Budweiser, the elder Harris relocated to Oakdale. Shortly thereafter he purchased the business from then-neighbor Kenny Johnson.
“When I started they were all wood,” Wayne said of the early portables. “You know, with the moon on them.”
They owned 10 of the wooden units and slowly began to expand and invested in plastic units.
“I was careful not to get too big too fast,” he explained. “Bigger isn’t always better. It was just me, my wife and my baby and that was it.”
Thirty years later, the business has grown to an inventory of over 300 portable units, a VIP trailer and the addition of septic service/pumping.
According to the younger Harris, a large part of the portable business goes to agriculture locations, festivals and weddings. The septic business, as well as purchasing an extra truck, was a decision he made close to two years ago.
“I was getting calls all the time for it and was passing it on,” he said of customers seeking septic service. “I realized I need to get into that business.”
As the business has grown, so too has the staff. T.P. Express currently employs two additional drivers and Michael’s wife works the front office. Dad pops in on occasion to ride along with a driver friend.
“Our days start at 4 a.m. and can go as late as 4 p.m.,” Harris said. “We have long days right now. Business picks up from April until October.”
As for the biggest misconception about the portable business, father and son agree.
“Everybody thinks it’s so dirty and I don’t feel like it is,” Harris said of the business he grew up in. “We’re always cleaning. We’re always sanitizing everything. We even sanitize before we go in to pump the toilets. Everything is disinfected before we go in there.”
As for the community and keeping the growing business local, Harris shared his loyalty remains with his hometown.
“Oakdale is my favorite place,” he said. “I grew up here. There’s just a connection with the people. Everyone looks out for each other in this town.”
For additional information or pricing on T.P. Express services call 847-2626 or email email@example.com.