The Ultimate Guide to Full-Service Junk Removal

It’s official – we’re a trashy bunch.

In fact, the EPA reports that each American produces about 4.9 pounds of trash per day — adding up to nearly 1,800 pounds of trash per year. Thankfully, whether you’re renovating, downsizing, decluttering, or selling your home and moving, the best 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 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 items that can get reused through recycling or donation.

How does junk hauling work?

There’s no better way to start the move process than by taking stock of your situation and getting rid of anything you no longer want or need.

Though deciding what to keep or toss is ultimately up to you, in some instances the best junk removal companies provide experienced company consultants to assist with going through your unwanted items and making these decisions.

Junk removal services can be invaluable in cases of:

  • Trash removal due to hoarding
  • A home selling quickly or foreclosure requiring a quick move-out without time for old homeowners to remove waste themselves
  • Estate clean outs after the death of a loved one
  • Swapping old appliances for new ones after a kitchen renovation
  • A sudden incapacitating injury or illness that leaves you unable to remove junk
  • Debris removal after a major home improvement project
  • Cleanouts 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.


Check out our list of interstate movers to find out which professional moving companies offer junk removal services.

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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. You won’t have to do any lifting yourself, though you’ll see higher rates because of labor costs.

2. Dumpster delivery (rental)

Having a dumpster delivered to your residence is the DIY side of the junk removal business. If you decide to go this route, the company will drop off a dumpster at your location, after which you’ll load it at your own pace.

You’ll be charged based not only on the dumpster’s size, but also how long you use it, disposal fees, and in some instances the weight or volume of the contents you put inside it.

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?

The best junk removal service providers can typically handle most items found in the average home. Many of these companies also offer commercial junk removal.

Contents are usually divided into the following sub-groups:

  • Household goods (clothing, toys, books, boxes, etc)
  • Appliances (refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, and air conditioners)
  • Old furniture (sofas, office furniture, bookshelves, mattresses, and box springs, bookshelves)
  • Yard debris (such as tree limbs)
  • Construction materials (drywall, bricks, roofing materials, carpeting and other flooring, glass, lumber, etc)
  • E-waste (computers, televisions, stereo equipment)
  • Exercise and Recreation Equipment (including home gyms, treadmills, and stationary bikes)
  • Outdoor Gear (BBQ grills, hot tubs and spas, bicycles)
  • Tools (hand, garden, and power equipment, including lawnmowers)

What won’t junk removal companies take?

Though policies vary, most junk removal companies have similar lists of things they won’t transport. Junk removal companies are subject to a variety of local, state and national laws regarding the handling of potentially dangerous items. 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 so you’ll know if there is anything you need to take care of yourself.

Non-transportable items often include:

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

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 without getting quotes from multiple providers in your area.

However, these prices can give you a general idea of what to expect:

  • The average cost of junk removal is $240
  • Service for a full truckload typically costs between $400 to $800
  • To have one large item (like an old fridge or hot tub) hauled away usually costs between $60 and $200
  • Dumpster rentals cost between $300 and $600 per week

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 on-site estimate. 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.

Junk removal costs are based on factors like:

  • How much junk you have (weight and volume)
  • What kind of junk it is (yard waste, construction debris, couches, 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 the job (or dumpster rental)
  • Property accessibility
  • Time of year and day of the week (seasonal demand)
  • Whether you need add-ons like same day service

What do junk removal companies do with the junk?

Where your junk ultimately ends up depends on what it is and the type of junk removal services you use.

Common destinations for trash include landfills and recycling centers. Items that can be donated are often taken to charity thrift shops or to vocational schools and job training centers where items like electronics and lawnmowers can be used for instruction.

Many full-service junk removal companies pride themselves on being socially and environmentally friendly. Ensuring that reusable and recyclable items get separated from those headed to the trash heap is a priority for them.

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

Pros and cons of hiring a junk removal company

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 competition keeps junk removal pricing relatively low.

Additional benefits of junk removal include:

  • Efficiency — experienced crews and the right equipment save you time and hassle at an affordable price
  • Avoiding injury from heavy lifting (especially for heavy-dusty tasks like appliance removal)
  • Supporting worthwhile charities by donating usable items
  • Minimizing waste through recycling
  • If you’re moving, you’ll save time and money by having fewer items to pack

Of course, there are still a few potential cons you’ll need to be aware of:

  • Some junk removal companies charge by volume, which can cause your costs to add up quicker than expected
  • Junk removal services may not be able to take everything you want to get rid of
  • Depending on local requirements, you might not be allowed to place a large dumpster on your property for DIY junk removal

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. 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.

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 out each provider’s customer reviews on Google or their Better Business Bureau (BBB) profile. Be wary of companies that require upfront costs like deposits before providing an estimate.

And remember – using a junk removal company before moving is a great way to organize and declutter. If you have a lot of stuff, this is a great way to prep for your move.

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 as an add-on. However, they are often more expensive than a typical junk removal company.

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

Do junk removal companies charge by weight?

Sometimes. This is more common when dealing with heavy or bulky items like construction debris, because many landfills charge disposal fees based on the total weight of the waste.

Who will pick up my junk for free?

Like all businesses, junk removal companies must turn a profit to survive. But in some instances, nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity offer donation pick up of working appliances and other items of value for free. This may also be the case if you’re donating a car. Items that can be donated can usually be dropped off for free at Goodwill and local charities as well.

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, and not all junk removal companies are equipped to do that. It’s something you’ll need to ask about.

Do junk haulers 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 the best junk removal companies 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 a national provider like 1-800-Got-Junk, Junk King, or College Hunks Hauling Junk.

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