Blog - Construction Waste Removal

Construction Waste Removal: Questions to Ask when Renting a Dumpster

Construction Waste Removal: Questions to Ask when Renting a Dumpster


Whether you’re doing a home renovation, outdoor construction project, or re-shingling a roof, renting a dumpster is a convenient way to dispose of all your construction waste. On-site dumpsters represent a significant return on investment for subcontractors and their clients. You’ll save yourself many trips to the dump, and simultaneously save on disposal costs of waste materials, fuel costs, time and hassle.


At the same time, effectively coordinating a dumpster rental in order to maximize your return while mitigating any risks is something of an art. Renters can face obstacles like run-away pricing when the dumpster gets overfilled and the costs of the added waste removal far exceed expectations. To avoid damage to yourself, your property, and your profits, remember to ask these key questions when scheduling your next dumpster rental.


What Equipment Maintenance Procedures Are Followed?

Equipment maintenance is probably the most important type of inquiry you should make of any dumpster rental company. Imagine you’re doing a construction project at a house with a freshly paved driveway – even one that was re-done in the last five years. If the dumpster rental company delivers a unit that’s rusting, a bit of rain could leave that driveway with nasty iron stains and a trail of run-off that leads right down to the sewer grate.


Whether that type of pollution is lawful (it isn’t where I live) could be a secondary concern once the client asks you to foot the bill for the damage caused here. Rusty equipment also poses personal risks – it’s easier to catch your clothing or cut yourself on a rusty bin, and injuries that require medical treatment could leave you financially liable.


To avoid this, ensure that your dumpster rental company conducts proper equipment maintenance. The dumpster you rent should look like new and show minimal signs of rust. Renters can paint their dumpsters annually to help mitigate rust – if your rental company doesn’t, you should probably look elsewhere.


What Are the Rental Fees?

There are three types of fees commonly associated with dumpster rentals. The rental fee is a daily fee that typically includes the initial delivery and the time that the dumpster spends in your possession. Many renters charge a hauling fee when they pick up the dumpster to transport your waste to the dump. Finally, your rental likely includes a weight allotment for the dumpster – excess weight means additional charges for you.


Make sure you understand what the daily fees are for the dumpster, what it will cost to have it removed when you’re done, and what the initial weight allowance is along with the fee schedule for overages.


Beware of overage estimates! Many renters make big profits by deliberately underestimating what a job costs. For example, they may tell you that you are allowed 1 ton of waste and that you’ll be subjected to overages for additional weight. The renters will be the first to suggest that the job you’re doing will generate just a little over 1 ton of waste, but when it generates 3 ton, they’ll be the ones cashing the check! Do your best to estimate how much waste removal you need and budget accordingly, but don’t rely on a dumpster rental company to guess for you.


What Size is the Dumpster?

Many rental companies offer various sizes of dumpsters at different price points, and it can be difficult to assess exactly what size you need. If you rent a smaller unit, you’ll save money up-front but have waste left over at the end. It’ll cost you more to rent a larger unit, but you’re likely to benefit from a greater weight allotment for renting the larger unit, and you’re sure to get rid of all your construction waste.


It’s often more costly to rent a larger dumpster, but you’ll deal with a lot of frustration by choosing a rental that’s smaller than you really need, so choose wisely. If the dumpster rental company can provide a reference, you may be able to ask what size of dumpster that person rented, what they used it for, and whether there was sufficient space.


How Should the Dumpster be Loaded?

Some dumpsters are loaded through the top, and others via rear-loading doors. This may seem like an insignificant detail, but it makes a huge difference.


Top-loading dumpsters are great for roofing jobs – the waste materials are small and many, and they pack together easily so you can simply throw them right in.


If you’re unsure of how much space you need, and your waste materials are heavy or irregular in shape, you’ll want a dumpster with rear-loading doors to ease the loading process and facilitate better packing, especially if you’re concerned about having enough space. Think carefully about your project workflow when deciding what kind of dumpster to rent.


Where and When Exactly Will the Dumpster be Delivered?

Minimizing rental costs can be achieved through careful project planning, and it’s helpful if the rental company can guarantee a timely delivery to a specified location, but this can still lead to disaster!


Imagine you are renting a dumpster for a residential construction project. The client leaves for work at 8:00 am daily, and the rental company promises to deliver the dumpster to the driveway between 6:00 am and 12:00 pm on the specified date. When the date arrives, the rental company arrives at 6:15 and drops the dumpster in the driveway as planned – except the client hasn’t left yet, and now they’re blocked in!


Understanding your exact project requirements will allow you to communicate your needs effectively and ensure that you avoid any counter-productive mishaps.


Are Empty and Return Services Offered?

One thing we’re all guilty of is under-estimating the amount of junk we have. Whether you’re ripping out an old kitchen, building a backyard gazebo, or re-shingling, you’ll probably always end up with more waste than you imagined. Dumpster rental companies that offer an empty-and-return service are especially valuable in situations like these – they keep your project on track and help to reduce overage charges.


Do I Need to Schedule a Pick-up Time?

Sometimes, pick-up times are automatically scheduled when you make a reservation. Alternatively, you may have to place a call with 12 or 24-hour notice to get your dumpster picked up. Whatever the case, make sure you know the deal before-hand so you can plan ahead and minimize your costs.


**Bonus Tip**

Smart subcontractors know how to manage their resources to extract the most value, so here’s a little tip to help you do just that. If it’s your last day of dumpster rental and you’ve got plenty of space/weight left, knock on a few doors and ask neighbors if they have any waste they want to get rid of. Everyone has some junk sitting around that they don’t need, and you can recoup your rental costs significantly by charging $10 or $20 for someone to drop in a few bags of trash or some unwanted materials.


Conversely, if you’re renting a dumpster overnight, make sure that you cover and lock it. The same neighbors that will pay you $10 to dump their trash might just as easily take advantage of your dumpster if you leave it unlocked overnight.



Construction waste removal doesn’t have to be a hassle, and dumpster rentals make it easy to get rid of all your trash at once with minimal inconvenience and some expense. Remember to ask the right questions and follow these tips to make sure you get the most value out of your next dumpster rental.


Learn More