What's in this Cost Guide?
- Type of junk
- Hourly rate
- Type of truck
- Paint removal
- Set rates
- Minimum load
- Hazardous waste
- Additional services
- Cost-saving strategies
- Hiring a junk removal pro
- Pro tip
Do you feel like you are drowning in junk? If so, hiring a junk removal service can be a life-changing move. Junk removal services are available for almost any circumstance. Call for pro help after you have cleaned out your garage or shed, when you have moved in with your significant other and need to get rid of extra furniture, after you have emptied out the house of a relative who has passed away, or even just after an especially vigorous spring cleaning. Junk removal pros are equipped to handle any situation — big or small, hazardous or not — and do so without passing judgment, because accumulating a lot of junk can cause major stress. Junk removal is available for more than just hauling away concrete blocks from construction sites or removing trash. Apartment dwellers, homeowners, property investors, small-business owners, general contractors and many more types of customers call for help from junk removal services — whether you have a truckload of waste to remove or just a few boxes or bags.
When you call a junk removal service, they may ask for photos of the items you want removed, or may do a site visit to provide you with a quote for services. Once they have determined the type and size of the junk you need taken away, they can quote you cost and time frame. On the designated day of the cleanup, the junk removal pros will arrive wearing any necessary protective gear, such as gloves and eye protection, and will bring any heavy equipment required to move the junk out. Sometimes they will need a mini excavator or skid-steer loader like a Bobcat to remove debris from your property. Other times junk can be hand-tossed into the back of their truck or trailer. Depending on how much junk you have, they may arrive with a pickup truck, a trailer, a dump truck or a flatbed trailer to get your junk out of the way. What you are disposing of will affect your junk removal costs, because after the pros take it off your hands, they will properly dispose of it in the appropriate landfill or government regulated depository. There is often a disposal fee for dumping materials, so the weight and bulk of your junk and the cost the pro must pay to dump it will be factored into the junk removal pricing.
What you can have a junk removal specialist help you with? The sky's the limit. You can dispose of furniture, refrigerators, TVs, scrap metal, computers, air conditioners, construction debris, mattresses, yard debris, decrepit car parts, miscellaneous trash removal, boxes full of old belongings, and often even hazardous waste. Junk can be hauled away from homes, multiunit properties, offices, undeveloped property, commercial sites, construction sites and almost anywhere else. Many companies charge per cubic yard; the price generally varies depending on what is being removed.
If you are ready to free up space in your home, yard, or business, here are the factors that affect average junk removal prices.
Type of junk
Not all junk is created equal. Danger, weight and size will all contribute to your junk removal bill. The amount of physical labor and the time to remove the junk will also affect cost. In general, the lighter the items to be disposed of, the lower the cost per cubic yard. It generally costs less per cubic yard to haul away tree branches, shrubs and other yard refuse than other types of junk. Items that you'd toss from your garage (broken lamps, moldy boxes of books, etc.) will cost more than yard waste but less than construction debris. Construction junk or other unusually heavy material will have the highest cost per cubic yard, which accounts for the added cost of loading and transporting it, as well as higher dump fees. Here's an example of J.N.J Homeworks' average pricing scale for hauling away junk using a dump trailer:
- Yard debris and tree waste: $18 per cubic yard
- Home goods, trash and debris: $22 per cubic yard
- Concrete, rock and other heavy material: $95 per cubic yard
Another company, McNeely's Demolition and Clean-up Service, charges approximately $325 for a standard 14-foot dump trailer loaded full of debris.
For the actual task of hauling, the pros charge by cubic yard, but if you need them to round up all the junk first or declutter a space and then haul that junk away, they generally charge on an hourly basis for cleaning and clearing, in addition to the cost for hauling away all the things they gather or clear. For example, two separate backyards may have the exact same amount of broken bicycles and busted furniture, but if the first customer has everything in one pile close to the edge of the property where the trailer can pull up, the cost will likely be lower than for the second yard where the pros have to collect things from all over the yard and carry them to the truck, because of the additional labor. For cleaning, decluttering or de-junking, a company may charge anywhere from $15 to $50 or more per hour. Prices will vary depending on the conditions as well as the geographic location.
Type of truck
Companies may offer different truck options for junk removal and offer a per-load pricing structure based on the type of truck. The larger the truck, the more gas it will require and the higher the maintenance costs can be. Compared with its dump trailer pricing scale, J.N.J Homeworks charges higher rates per cubic yard for an enclosed trailer because it requires more work to load and unload than the open-air dump trailer. The benefit of the enclosed trailer is its increased capacity (42 cubic yards) over the dump trailer (10 cubic yards), requiring fewer loads and costing less overall when removing large amounts of waste. Talk with your junk removal specialist about their fleet of vehicles and hauling options to find out what will be the most cost-effective way for them to transport your items. Here are some examples from J.N.J Homeworks of hauling prices when using an enclosed trailer:
- Yard and tree waste: $24 per cubic yard
- Home goods, trash and debris: $26 per cubic yard
- Concrete, rock and other heavy material: enclosed trailer not available for heavy waste
The average cost to dispose of latex paint ranges from $10 to $15 per gallon. Some waste removal companies charge an additional fee if the paint is not dried prior to pickup. You can easily dry latex paint yourself by mixing in sawdust or kitty litter and exposing it to the air to allow it to harden. Some companies can dry paint for you; J.N.J Homeworks will dry paint for customers at $5 per 10 gallons of paint, or $15 per 30 gallons of paint.
Oil-based paint is considered a hazardous household waste and should never be disposed of in your garbage or recycling can. Many junk haulers do not remove oil-based paint, so if you have oil-based paint to dispose of, contact your local government or local big-box store and ask about drop-off dates when you can safely dispose of hazardous material.
Items such as mattresses typically have a flat fee for dumping at the local landfill. Based on set rates such as these, junk removal specialists can offer their customers flat fees that account for the cost to dump as well as the cost of their time and labor. In addition to mattresses, junk pros may offer flat rates for standard goods such as electronics and furniture. For example, J.N.J Homeworks charges the following average rates:
- Mattresses: $25
- Box springs: $5
- Refrigerator: $30
- Oven: $25
Like any organization, a junk removal company has to meet its overhead to successfully stay in business. Costs for running a junk removal company can include insurance, vehicle maintenance, fuel, business licenses, employee wages, workers' compensation, heavy equipment costs (such as purchase of a Bobcat), equipment costs (like a dolly, moving straps, etc.), and more. To make sure their business costs are met, companies generally have a minimum load requirement that accounts for employee wages, fuel, and more. These minimum load requirements may range anywhere from $50 to $100 on average, or more. The size of the truck required for the job can also affect minimum load requirements.
Stairs and other obstacles add physical labor, requiring more time and effort, and thus are likely to increase the total cost of junk removal. If your junk is collected in the attic of your house and the pros have to navigate two flights of stairs to haul it away, your prices will go up to account for the added time and labor.
Ask upfront about hazardous waste removal; not all junk removers will handle this type of waste. Most landfills do not accept hazardous waste, which must be taken to special facilities and handled properly. Not all junk specialists work with these facilities on a regular basis. For example, J.N.J Homeworks will not take oil-based paints, leads, asbestos, thinners, fuel, or hazardous chemicals.
Sometimes your junk is too big for human hands to break down or easily deal with. In these cases, you can hire a junk removal company that has a mini excavator or skid-steer loader, such as a Bobcat. These small but mighty machines can be used to tear down a building or shed, clear large brush quickly, and handle other demolition services. They can also be used to load up a dump truck with heavy items such as rock or concrete from construction sites. These demolition services are available at an additional charge. For example, McNeely's Demolition and Clean-up Service offers bobcat work at $70 per hour with an initial fee of $130. Other services might include heavy lifting or moving of large items, one-time yard cleanup, or more general cleaning services.
Junk removal can save you time, stress and hard labor. There is a fee for the convenience, but there are some strategies to keep your costs down. You can save on your overall hauling fees by having the junk you want removed organized and in one place, which saves the workers the additional time and effort required to move things from different locations and organize it. You can also save money by consolidating junk hauling visits if you know you'll have multiple loads over a few months. It pays to wait and have it all done on one day, instead of having the pros make several trips.
Hiring a junk removal pro
When you're ready to lighten your junk load, it pays to hire a qualified service provider. Be sure to read reviews and learn about past customer experience. Check to make sure the company is fully insured and has the proper business operating licenses as required by your region. Don't pay the full price quoted upfront, recommends McNeely. Paying a deposit is standard but don't pay the full amount until the job is completed. This will protect you against fraud or "fly by night" companies that don't complete the work as agreed. Always look for a company that treats you and your situation respectfully. In addition, J.N.J Homeworks recommends you prep before reaching out to pros to be sure to get the most accurate quote possible. Questions to ask yourself include:
- How big is my project exactly?
- What are the measurements, and what type of materials do I need hauled?
- What's my budget to complete this project?
- Am I ready to have this project completed now or should I wait?
- How quickly would I like my project completed? Immediately? In a few days? Can I be flexible?
- Read client reviews and follow up with references to make sure you're choosing the right junk removal pro for your project. For more, check out our tips for smart hiring.