Dumpster Rental vs Junk Removal

So, what is the best way to get rid of junk when moving?It’s a great question because homeowners are thinning out overstuffed garages, cleaning up after home projects, and downsizing before big moves need to get rid of lots of “stuff.”That said, spending an entire weekend hauling junk to the dump in the family pickup truck is a huge hassle.

Recycling, donating or discarding a few items can be relatively easy DIY projects, but it’s essential to consider every option for bigger jobs.

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Here we’re talking about renting a dumpster or hiring a junk removal company.

But before making a choice and signing a contract, we suggest carefully weighing the pros and cons of each.

When deciding which option is best, consider –

  • Time – do you need the job done in a day or is a week OK?
  • Price/overall value – are you willing to pay a little extra for a full-service experience?
  • Safety – are you and your helpers capable of lifting heavy items?
  • Convenience – would you instead sip a cappuccino and watch professionals work?
  • Service options – does each company offer the services you want?
  • Environmental impact – would you instead your items didn’t end up in a landfill?

To make the decision process simpler, we’ve compiled a few helpful insights.

But first, let’s get a few definitions out of the way.

What is junk removal?

These days junk removals are more common than ever.

Junk removal companies send a truck (or trucks) and a crew to your home, business, or apartment, load your unwanted items and haul them away to a landfill, charity thrift shop, or recycling center.

How does dumpster rental work?

Dumpsters are industrial trash bins that come in multiple sizes ranging from relatively small ten cubic yard units to 40 cubic yard behemoths.

A dumpster rental company will drop a dumpster off at your home, business, or construction site, then pick it up and haul it off once you’ve loaded it.

The pros and cons of hiring a junk removal company

For a truly “white glove” experience, nothing beats full-service junk removal.


  • Safety and convenience – junk removal companies do the heavy lifting
  • Speed – the right equipment and experienced crews mean quicker turnaround times
  • Affordability – many junk removal companies, have reasonably priced services
  • Options – they’ll help donate, discard or recycle your items
  • Flexibility – they’ll move and haul off as little or as much as you want them to


  • Price – the more you have and the longer your job takes, the more you’ll pay
  • Scheduling – you may need to book your removal weeks in advance during peak times.
  • Additional fees – you may pay extra for disposal fees and multiple drop-offs.

The pros and cons of renting a dumpster

Dumpsters have been around for ages and for a good reason.

Though they’re not as trendy as junk removal companies, they’re definitely worth considering when it comes to the overall value.


  • Flexibility – you can keep the dumpster as long as you need it
  • Convenience – you load it at your own pace
  • Price – since you’ll have to load and unload yourself, the cost is often cheaper.
  • Options – multiple size units for small, medium, and large jobs
  • Capacity – high weight limits mean you can put lots of junk into your dumpster


  • Labor – loading is up to you
  • Space – finding a suitable space for big dumpsters isn’t easy
  • Permits – you may need a permit to put your dumpster on a neighborhood street
  • Restrictions – you can’t load hazardous waste, chemicals, and paint into a dumpster

How much does it cost to remove junk from a house?

Junk Removal Companies

Junk removal services generally cost about $260 for homes and $525 for businesses.

This typically equates to between $1.25 and $2 per cubic foot for the total volume of items or refuse removed.

Just remember they’re only averages.

For large projects involving hoarding, tidying up after remodels, or emptying the contents of an abandoned home, costs can easily soar past $2,000.

On the flip side, having a few old bicycles, a worn-out hot tub, and six sheets of scrap plywood hauled away may cost less than $200.

When hiring a junk removal company, your costs will be based on –

  • A minimum charge for the crew and truck to come to you
  • How many trucks you’ll need (and what size)
  • The size of the crew
  • How long it takes them to load
  • The weight or volume of your items
  • How and where your items will be disposed of, donated, or recycled
  • Additional disposal fees


According to multiple sources, average nationwide rental costs are approximately –

  • $360 for a 10 cubic yard dumpster
  • $425 for a 20 cubic yard dumpster
  • $520 for a 30 cubic yard dumpster
  • $575 for a 40 cubic yard dumpster

Just remember that pricing varies by location, time of year, the type of refuse you’re getting rid of, dumpster size, and how long you’ll need to load it.

Did You Know?

Many companies now offer small dumpsters from 3 to 6 cubic yards that typically cost between $160 and $225 per week.

Hey, what about the environment?

Across the country, overflowing landfills are becoming a huge problem.

Seagulls love them, but consumers are more environmentally conscious than they used to be.

To address these issues, most junk removal and dumpster rental companies offer a host of environmentally friendly services, including –

  • Avoiding landfills when possible and focusing on donating, recycling, and upcycling
  • Using trucks powered by clean-burning biofuels

When getting dumpster and junk removal quotes, don’t hesitate to ask about each company’s policies.

And as always, don’t just take their word for it. Check out verified reviews from previous customers on social media and other websites.

The Verdict

There’s no one best option for each situation, but when it comes to value, safety, convenience and cost, hiring a junk removal company is usually the best choice.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What’s the cheapest way to get rid of junk?

If you’re only getting rid of a few items, hiring a junk removal company is usually the cheapest option. For large projects, however, dumpsters are often less expensive.

What does a junk removal company do?

Junk removal companies send a crew and a truck to your home, business, or construction site, load your unwanted junk, and haul it away to be donated, recycled, or discarded.

How to rent a dumpster?

Renting a dumpster is usually as easy as getting free estimates over the phone or online and paying with a credit card, which is almost always required up front. Consider reserving your dumpster early during peak cleanout season in the spring and early summer, and don’t forget to ask about flat-rate pricing and standard rental period.

What can I throw out in a dumpster?

Dumpsters are significant for household goods, appliances, yard waste, and construction debris like lumber, aluminum siding, tile, roofing, and shingles.

How big are waste removal trucks?

Most junk removal trucks have capacities between 10 and 20 cubic yards. The largest dumpsters are often much larger – sometimes up to 40 cubic yards.

Are junk removal companies good for estate cleanouts?

For estate cleanouts with valuable furniture, electronics, and other household items, you’re probably better off hiring a full-service moving company to decrease the likelihood of damage.

What’s a roll-off dumpster?

Roll-offs are open-top dumpsters delivered by heavy-duty commercial trucks with tiltable beds and powerful winches.

Is it best to use a local dumpster company or a national one?

Both local and national waste disposal companies offer similar services and prices, so it usually comes down to going with the company that friends and family members have used and those with good reviews.

Do junk hauling companies do trash removal?

Spring cleanouts are one thing, but many won’t move trash and garbage, so be sure to ask first.

Is dumpster rental service affordable?

Dumpster rental prices are usually reasonable for most removal projects. Most cost less than $500, though additional fees may apply.

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