Renting a dumpster is meant to make life easier when you are renovating, moving, building, roofing, or cleaning out your home or office. Among other things, having a dumpster right there on site will speed up your entire project.
Just because speed is one of the core benefits of renting a dumpster, though, that doesn’t mean you should be super speedy about picking the dumpster company you choose to use for your rental. Instead, you should start by doing your homework—starting by conducting a Google search for “dumpster companies near me” and going from there.
Remember: No Two Dumpster Companies Are the Same
The reason you need to take your time to research different dumpster rental businesses is that no two dumpster companies are the same. These businesses may offer comparable services, but they all have slightly different ways of pricing, different policies for what you can put in your bin, and different delivery and pickup processes. Being aware of these differences will help you choose the dumpster rental company that is best for your project, your wallet, and your sanity.
Tip #1: Stress the “near” in that “dumpster companies near me” search
The benefit of starting with a “dumpster companies near me” search is that you will be able to see where different companies in your area are located. Location matters with a dumpster rental, as it might impact how much you get billed for pickup or delivery. A long-distance delivery costs the dumpster company employee time and gas money, which means it will cost you as well. A difference of 5-10 miles isn’t going to matter much. However, if you’re looking at one company that is three miles from your location and one that is 30 miles away, you can safely assume that the 30-mile option is going to be considerably more expensive.
Tip #2: Research billing policies
Billing policy is something that varies from one dumpster rental company to the next. There also tends to be some disagreement about what kind of policy is best for the consumer. The two basic options are flat rate and weight or space-based. In a flat-rate billing system, the dumpster company will charge you a pre-set amount for the dumpster you rent. In a space-based billing system, how much you pay will be dependent on how much your trash weighed or how much space you used in the dumpster.
Some people will tell you that flat-rate billing is better because you know exactly how much you are going to spend up front. If you aren’t sure how much junk you need to get rid of, a weight-based or space-based model can be a little less predictable. However, this reasoning is flawed for two reasons. First, it isn’t necessarily true. Many companies that bill flat rates also ratchet up their bills with hidden fees and charges. Just because you are being billed on a flat-rate basis doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be surprised when you get your invoice.
Secondly, if you don’t know how much junk you are going to throw in your bin, it makes more sense to go for the weight or use-based model. With a flat-rate system, you need to choose a bin size and hope you can fill it. If you can’t, you still don’t get a discount, which means you end up wasting money on space you didn’t use. With an alternative billing structure, you’ll only pay for the amount of space you use or the weight of trash you have, which is usually a fairer and less expensive option.
For a compromise, look for a dumpster rental company that bills on a space-based model, but will still give you price ranges depending on your location. That way, you will know a general ballpark of what you should expect to spend but won’t need to choose a bin size or risk paying for space you don’t need.
Tip #3: Get a firm answer on what you can or cannot put in the dumpster
Different dumpster companies have different policies for what kinds of refuse they will or will not accept in their containers. Across the board, assume that you can’t put hazardous waste in a dumpster. However, there are some borderline items—electronics, mattresses, appliances, etc.—that are prohibited by some businesses but fine with others.
Before you book a dumpster rental, you want to make sure you have a firm answer on what items the dumpster company prohibits. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you need to get rid of a bunch of items that you aren’t allowed to deposit in the container you rented. If you can’t find an answer online, call the company’s customer service and try to get a straight answer. Calling and asking questions will also give you an idea of how helpful and knowledgeable a company’s customer service team is, which should definitely be a factor in the company you choose.
If you do find a company with limited prohibitions, consider asking follow-up questions about how that company handles more hazardous items. The reason that things such as electronics or appliances are often prohibited is that they have components that can leak dangerous chemicals into the soil and groundwater. It isn’t safe for these items to go to the landfill, and they are even banned from landfills in certain parts of the country. Rather than find an alternative way to deal with hazardous items, many dumpster companies simply opt to ban these items entirely.
To make sure what you put in a dumpster doesn’t end up having a harmful impact on the environment, look for a dumpster rental company that offers a green-friendly waste processing policy. Some dumpster companies will meticulously sort through anything that gets put in their containers. This sorting provides opportunities for the company to pull out items that can be reused, recycled, repurposed, or otherwise handled in a way that reduces carbon footprint and eliminates environmental harm.
Tip #4: Make sure you know what to expect with delivery and pickup
Before you commit to a dumpster rental company, make sure you understand their policies for dropping off and picking up the container. How long will the rental last? What time can you expect the delivery and pickup? Will you get a call from the driver beforehand, to let you know when the dumpster is coming? Knowing the answers to these questions will make it a lot easier to plan your project. If you are hiring workers or asking friends to help with the job, being able to give them firm details on timing will help the entire project moves forward smoothly and efficiently. It will also eliminate the risk of the dumpster company’s drive rolling up on the last day of your rental when you still thought you had three hours to fill the rest of the bin.
Bottom Line: Do Your Homework
Ultimately, the most research you do on a dumpster rental company, the better. You want to know their policies, their billing practices, their reputation with customers, and any special services or perks they have to offer. The more you know, the easier it will be to make that final call about which dumpster rental company to choose. Especially if you live in a big city or metropolitan area, a search for “dumpster companies near me” could yield dozens of results. Doing your homework, finding the most well-rated businesses, and then choosing the one whose services mesh best with your needs will give you much stronger odds at satisfaction than just picking a name out of a group.