Many home improvement projects produce large amounts of waste.
Few homeowners are equipped with the proper tools and knowledge to haul the waste off to the proper facilities on their own. It requires a large, weight-bearing vehicle that in many cases they’ll need to fill and empty several times, the fuel for multiple trips to the correct disposal facilities, and, in some cases, the permits to drop off waste at those facilities.
It can be a lot of backbreaking work that costs more than you save by hiring a company to dispose of everything properly.
Depending on how hands-on you want to be, there are two main choices when it comes to disposing of large amounts of waste: junk removal services or dumpster rental.
Junk removal pros and cons
Junk removal services typically advertise that they’ll do all the work for you — including getting that freezer out of the basement and hauling it away.
Keep in mind that you’ll most likely pay for additional trips, if necessary. It could add up if you have to call them back because you found more waste after they left or if they need to return after filling up their vehicle one or more times.
Dumpster rental pros and cons
Dumpster rental businesses require the renters to fill the container on their own instead of hauling items out for them.
Because dumpsters are generally rented by the week, they’re best for projects the last several days or longer.
You can take your time filling the dumpster as you go, and the larger rental window also allows room for projects that take longer than originally expected as you are in charge of the pickup day.
For smaller jobs, another option is purchasing a Bagster from a home improvement store like Lowe’s, Home Depot, Menards or even Walmart. Bagsters are heavy-duty bags with a 3,300-pound capacity designed for jobs that are too big for trash bags, but too small to require a dumpster.
There are a couple other specifics to consider when making the choice between a junk hauler or a dumpster rental.
Your location may affect pricing, as costs vary depending on the municipality and available disposal facilities. Every municipality is different and you should check in with them first, but your location and dumpster placement may require a permit. A local dumpster rental company should be able to guide you to the correct channels and authorities to secure any necessary permits.
Renting a dumpster for three to four days can cost anywhere from $90 to $850, including dump fees, according to CostHelper.com. Angie’s List members reported paying anywhere between $385 and $500 for a dumpster rental and pickup. Be sure to ask about the weight limit, since you can get hit with additional fees if you overfill your dumpster.
Depending on where you live, for around $170, you can purchase a Bagster, fill it up and have Waste Management haul it away.
Junk removal services are fast and, as long as they are parked legally and not for longer than local street laws allow, they typically don’t require permits and the fees that go with them.
Junk removal fees depend on the job, and most hauling companies charge a minimum of $50 to $150 for pickup on a smaller job, according to CostHelper. For larger jobs, such as hauling away yard or construction debris, fees can range from $100 to $650. Angie’s list members reported paying around $85 for small junk pickups and between $250 and $500 for bigger jobs.
Material, size matters
Finally, the size, type and amount of waste you are disposing of are the most important factors to consider when it comes to comparing prices between the two services.
If you have only a couple of large items and they’re too dangerous to move on your own, junk removal services may be your best bet.
However, if you’re dealing with a large amount of waste that includes a mixture of items, such as concrete and construction waste, storm and yard debris or multiple pieces of furniture and appliances, a dumpster rental is probably more cost efficient.
You can put almost anything other than hazardous materials, such as oil, paint, and toxic chemicals. Junk removal companies sometimes have a longer list of “do not take” items, depending on their size and abilities.