Dumpster rental is an excellent way of giving yourself an easy, hassle-free disposal method that doesn’t require a massive up-front investment. However, it can still be an expensive venture if you aren’t prepared and don’t know the average cost to rent a dumpster in your area, so knowing the specifics of how dumpster rental services price things can be surprisingly important. If you are interested in getting a dumpster to your home for a construction or renovation project, here is a quick look at what you might be expected to pay.
How does dumpster rental work?
The cost to rent a dumpster isn’t a pre-set, flat rate, and it can vary heavily depending on a range of different factors. Before we get into any numbers, though, it helps to understand the way that prices are calculated and how you can estimate your rental cost without even asking a company directly.
Dumpster rental is relatively straightforward: you rent a dumpster, it gets delivered, you retain the dumpster for a set period of time (with a week often being the minimum rental period), and then the company comes to collect the dumpster again. This could be a roll-off dumpster, a hazardous materials container, a disposal bin for landscaping debris, or even a simple waste management option for construction materials.
The second part of the process is the pick-up or collection stage. The company sends a truck out, picks up the dumpster, and then takes it to dump the contents somewhere relevant. This can sometimes require extra dump fees if the dumpster companies are dealing with more debris than they expected. Either way, the junk removal service or dumpster rental company will empty out the container and return it to their stock of rent-ready dumpsters.
In most situations, renting a dumpster will cost more as the dumpsters get larger. This doesn’t work on an exact scale, and each company has its own price list for dumpsters (as well as different dumpster sizes in stock), but you can expect a higher cost with larger dumpsters. For example, in 2018, the average cost of renting a 10-yard dumpster in the US was around $340 per week. Compare this to $375 for a 20-yard dumpster, $388 for a 30-yard dumpster, and almost $400 for a 40-yard dumpster, and you can see how companies might slowly push the prices up.
Keep in mind that these numbers were just averages. There are companies on both ends of the extreme, some dipping far lower and others going much higher. However, it is clear that a larger dumpster size leads to equally increase rent cost averages, especially in areas where larger dumpsters are in high demand. Since larger dumpster designs have a higher overall weight limit and capacity, large construction projects are likely to pay much more in general.
Another factor is time. How much does it cost to rent a dumpster for a week? What if you need one for two weeks? A month? The cost of renting a dumpster can shoot up as you add more time to the rental and accrue overage fees, and there isn’t always a way to predict how long you will need one for. A good example might be with large renovation projects: it is easy to underestimate the size and scope of the work involved, as well as how many scrap items or pieces of debris need to be thrown out.
Not only do your dumpster rental prices vary based on the number of days you keep it for, but also the amount you pay per day. Some dumpster rental companies simply have higher rental costs per day for dumpsters, either because the companies charge more for certain features or increase their prices due to their high status, among other rental company options. An extra dollar per day adds up to seven dollars per week, so even a small difference can be significant.
Sometimes a local dumpster rental company will add an extra cost to the rental price, although not always for reasons you might initially expect. For example, there may be added charges for putting items in the dumpster that the company had forbidden, such as hazardous waste – these restrictions are generally outlined in a contract or agreement that you accept when you start the rental process. Damage to dumpsters can also land you an additional fee, meaning that corrosive materials need to be properly contained.
One of the most well-known yet often-ignored costs is the pick-up charge. Sometimes a dumpster rental company will charge money for a pick-up that is outside of their normal working hours or beyond the regular range that they operate in, and others might charge you more if you arrange a pick-up before the rental period has ended. The same can be done if they can’t physically reach a dumpster to pick it up, thereby meaning that they have to try the following day.
Remember that weight limits are also somewhat common additions to dumpster rental prices. If you exceed the limit, then you might have to pay more due to the excessive weight. Most dumpster rental companies will specify the weight limit you have to work under and might offer some slight forgiveness if you just barely poke beyond that weight.
Weight limits are different for every company, so don’t rely on information about one to help you decide on another. There might not even be an explanation for the limit: they could simply have a restriction on the amount of weight that can be added per dumpster, and you will have to either accept it or find another option.
Finally, there is a charge for additional days beyond the dumpster rental period. If you choose to continue the dumpster rental beyond the rental period that the company have already set out, they may start charging you extra until you finish. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing: it helps if the rental period is over, but the project still needs work since you can keep the dumpster longer. However, the price can also quickly add up since this fee can be applied on top of the normal rental cost.
What to Consider when Renting a Dumpster
When you are ready to take out a rental dumpster for your project, it helps to plan ahead. Not only can this make it much easier to reduce the cost of your project as a whole, but it might even allow you to avoid extra costs further down the line that you didn’t anticipate. Choosing to rent something always carries risks of you paying more than you expected, especially when you rent something that can’t be returned easily – given that the average dumpster size and weight make it impossible to move, you want to be sure that you are doing everything right.
Choosing a dumpster rental company that is reasonably close to the construction site or the to-be-renovated home can reduce costs significantly. When the company has to send a truck driver all the way across a large city, they might scale up their costs slightly to cover the extra fuel usage, as well as the delay that it can cause in their workflow. Dumpster rental prices will always increase if you go for companies that operate further away from you, so a small dumpster company in a local part of your area can help you avoid additional fees.
Of course, you also need space for the dumpster too. A 40-yard dumpster can’t fit into a 20-yard gap, and neither can a 30-yard dumpster: you want space to actually place the dumpster down. If a company can’t put down their dumpster, then the whole trip might have been for nothing, but you will still have to pay at least some of the rental costs to make up for it. Alternatively, you might be able to get a smaller dumpster size and reduce your overall rental costs, but the failed delivery can still be pricey.
Even more important is the pick-up process. A 40-yard dumpster can take up a lot of space, but this can just as easily apply to a 30-yard dumpster, a 20-yard dumpster, and even a 10-yard dumpster rental option. If the company can’t pick the dumpster up, then you will be stuck with it beyond the normal rental period. In some cases, this can even lead to increased dumpster rental prices, the longer you refuse to make the dumpster accessible.
This can be caused by a variety of issues. One of the most common is parking your vehicle in the way of the dumpster or surrounding it with other scrap and debris that you want to be removed. The dumpster rental company needs proper access to take the container away, so be sure to leave it exposed when they come to pick it up.
Accessibility can help you, too. If your dumpster isn’t blocked, it is easier to put more items in, which can help when dealing with a lot of junk furniture or large, hard-to-move objects. There is no reason to block your dumpster off, but many people do it by accident without thinking.
As mentioned earlier, dumpster rental rates can have extra costs if the company finds that you have added restricted materials when they come to pick up the dumpster. Remember that every company has a different all-rights-reserved-style way of operating, and that might mean that they don’t allow materials that others do. For example, one rental company might ban anything that has contained oil or fuel in the past, while another might only allow materials taken from a specific action (such as allowing construction debris but not landscaping debris).
In certain cases, dumpster rental prices might even be slightly reduced if you don’t fill the dumpster up with that much weight or that many items. It isn’t all that common, but the average cost can sometimes dip down if you are working with a company that rewards customers who avoid reaching the weight limit.
Reducing Dumpster Rental Prices
Cutting down your dumpster rental prices without reducing the size of the dumpster itself can seem tricky, but it is mostly a case of being careful with the way that you manage the cost over each week. First of all, take a look at more than one rental company and compare what they offer: you can easily narrow down the best cost option for your particular situation, especially if you are looking in a local area. If you can’t find exact prices, check with customer service teams to make sure that you are getting the right information.
Second, get a handle on the items you will be working with. If you aren’t allowed to put yard waste or another specific debris type in a dumpster, don’t. This increases the cost of your rental for no good reason, and it can be cheaper to simply rent a second dumpster for a different stage of the work that you are doing. In a similar vein, keep the size of the items you add to a minimum: if a piece of household junk is going to stick out over the top, break it down to make it fit, even if you have to smash it in half.
Keep in mind that the weight allowance can be the biggest surprise. It can be difficult to judge the size and weight of every item you put in a dumpster, but the size is still easier to measure. Don’t be afraid to hold back on some smaller items if they will push you over the weight limitations: you can smash an object down to a smaller size, but you can’t make it weigh less if you are still putting it all in the same dumpster.
Try to find a good cost per week as a baseline. It doesn’t matter if you are renting for a week, a month, or half a year: it is easiest to digest the cost on a per-week basis, and it can make it easier to compare the cost of each rental option without having to constantly calculate different rates.