The Ultimate Guide to Full-Service Junk Removal

It’s official – we’re a trashy bunch.

In fact, a recent study found that each American produces about 1,700 pounds of trash per year – three times the world average.

Thankfully, whether you’re renovating, downsizing, decluttering, or selling your home and moving, junk removal companies can provide a number of helpful, cost effective, and eco-friendly services.

They’re like movers, but instead of picking up and delivering your items from one home, apartment, or business to another, they permanently haul away things you no longer want or need.

In some instances, they’ll even help separate unwanted junk for disposal from those that can get reused through recycling or donation.

Quick Links: 

How Does Junk Hauling Work?

Bar none, there’s no better way to start the move process than by taking stock of your situation and getting rid of as much as you can.

Though it’s ultimately up to you, in some instances experienced company consultants may even be able to assist with going through your unwanted items and deciding which to keep, and which to donate or toss.

This service may be invaluable, especially in cases of –

  • Trash removal due to hoarding
  • A home selling quickly
  • The death of a loved one
  • Swapping old appliances for new ones after a kitchen renovation
  • A sudden incapacitating injury or illness
  • Debris removal after a major home improvement project
  • Cleanout after natural disasters like floods, tornadoes and hurricanes
  • Furniture removal when relocating elderly family members who’ve been in their home for decades

Junk removal companies generally offer two distinct services to meet these needs.

1. Hauling Items Away by Truck

At the full-service end of the spectrum, companies will send a crew and junk removal trucks to your residence or business.

Their workers will move your items into the truck, and they may even separate your items based on whether they’ll be discarded, recycled, or donated.

2. Dumpster Delivery (Rental)

Having a dumpster delivered to your residence is the inexpensive DIY side of the junk removal business.

If you decide to go this route, the company will deliver a dumpster to your location, after which you’ll load it at your own pace.

Dumpsters come in a variety of sizes, just remember that you’ll be charged based not only on its size, but how long you use it, disposal fees, and in some instances the weight or volume of the contents you put inside it.

Insider’s Tip: Junk hauling services are often available on-demand, but like movers, they experience spikes in demand during the peak summer months, so book in advance if possible.

What Will Junk Haulers Take?

Junk removal companies can typically handle items found in most homes.

Contents are usually divided into the following sub-groups –

  • Household goods
  • Appliances (refrigerators, washers, dryers, and air conditioners)
  • Old furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Clothing
  • Toys
  • Books
  • Boxes
  • Yard debris and construction materials
  • Tree limbs
  • Drywall
  • Bricks and concrete block
  • Carpeting
  • Roofing material
  • Flooring like Linoleum and tile
  • Glass
  • Lumber
  • Aluminum
  • Electronics
  • Computers
  • Televisions
  • Stereo equipment
  • Exercise, Recreation, and Outdoor Gear
  • Home gyms
  • Treadmills and stationary bikes
  • Bicycles
  • BBQ grills
  • Hot tubs and spas
  • Tools (hand, garden, and power)
  • Lawnmowers

What Won’t Junk Removal Companies Take?

Though policies vary, most junk removal companies have similar lists of things they won’t transport.

But unlike traditional full-service movers, they often haul items to landfills and recycling centers, so they may have fewer restrictions.

During the screening process, you’ll want to ask each company what they can and can’t take – better yet, get it in writing.

Non-transportable items often include:

  • Gas
  • Open paint cans
  • Oils
  • Hazardous waste and materials like chemicals, and solvents
  • Explosives
  • Flammables and combustibles
  • Corrosives
  • Marine pollutants
  • Asbestos
  • Medical waste

Insider’s Tip: Junk removal companies are subject to a variety of local, state and national laws regarding the handling of potentially dangerous items, so careful vetting is important to ensure responsible disposal.

How Much Do Junk Removal Services Cost?

Due to the wide range of services they provide and huge variations in customer needs and job size, junk removal prices vary. There’s really no way to get an accurate idea of how much your junk removal job will cost just by poking around on a website.

However, according to

  • The average cost of junk removal is $235
  • Service for a full truckload is typically between $400 to $800
  • To have one item (like an old fridge or hot tub) hauled away is usually between $60 and $200
  • Dumpster rental costs between $300 and $600 per week

Especially if you’re getting rid of more than just a few items, it’s wise to work with companies that provide a free quote and in-home consultation.

This will allow the representative to see exactly what you need to be hauled away, after which they’ll be able to determine the right equipment and crew size for the job.

The cost for individual junk removal needs is based on factors like:

  • How much junk you have (weight and volume)
  • What kind of junk it is (yard waste, construction debris, restricted items like paint and chemicals)
  • Where you live
  • Distance to the nearest landfill, donation facility, or recycling center
  • What size dumpster or truck are needed
  • Number of workers needed
  • Length of job
  • Accessibility
  • Time of year and day of the week

What Do Junk Removal Companies Do With the Junk?

Where your junk ultimately ends up depends on what type of junk it is.

Common destinations include landfills and recycling centers, and if donating, to charity thrift shops and vocational schools and job training centers where items like electronics and lawnmowers can be used for instruction.

Many junk removal companies pride themselves on being socially and environmentally friendly, so ensuring that reusable and recyclable items get separated from those headed to the trash heap should be a priority.

Though companies that take everything to the dump may charge less, the additional costs for recycling and reclaiming salvageable items may be negligible, and you may sleep better knowing you’ve helped families in need and reduced your environmental footprint.

Benefits of Hiring a Junk Removal Company

In some areas competition in the junk removal business is stiff.

Thankfully for customers looking to downsize, declutter, or clean up after a flood or home improvement project, that keeps junk removal pricing relatively low.

Benefits include:

  • Affordability
  • Efficiency – experienced crews and the right equipment save you time
  • Avoiding injury from heavy lifting
  • Supporting worthwhile charities
  • Recycling
  • Minimizing waste

Junk Removal FAQs

Will my moving company remove junk?

Traditional moving companies aren’t generally in the junk removal business, though in recent years some have started offering these services.

Check out our list of interstate movers to find out which of them offer junk removal services.

Do junk removal companies charge by weight?

Yes, often when dealing with heavy or bulky items like construction debris they do, because disposal fees at many landfills are charged by the ton.

Who will pick up my junk for free?

Like all businesses, junk removal companies must turn a profit to survive. But in some instances, charities and recyclers may pick up items of value for free. This may be the case if you’re donating a car too.

However, by doing a quick search, you can likely find some places where you can drop off your junk for free or a low fee.

Do junk removal companies take paint?

They may, but it largely depends on local and state laws. In some areas paint and toxic chemicals must be taken to special processing facilities prior to disposal, so it’s something you’ll want to ask about.

Do junk removal companies recycle?

Most do, and they may even sell your recyclable items like scrap metal. Make it a point to ask before scheduling your junk pick up.

How can I find junk haulers near me?

Finding the best service provider near you is usually as easy as typing your city or town and “junk haulers” into your favorite search engine, or you could try 1-800-got-junk.

Who are the best full service junk removal companies?

Check out our review of College Hunks Hauling Junk for a full list of their services.

The Verdict

Junk removal companies are great options for customers who need to have junk items hauled away permanently, and their services usually end up saving time, money, and hassle in the long run.

Like with traditional movers, it’s always a good idea to get quotes from multiple companies before deciding which is best for you.

Consider asking friends, coworkers, and family members for referrals, and check each provider out with Better Business Bureau (BBB) as well.

And remember –
Using a junk removal company before moving is a great way to organize and declutter.

Before scheduling in-home estimates, ask if upfront costs like deposits are required and if the Covid-19 pandemic is temporarily limiting services.

In addition, pickup services can often be scheduled in just a day or two, and you’ll probably be able to book online and pay with a credit card.

Not what you were looking for?

Check out other categories that can help you find the information you need!

See All
Hide All