How to Save Money When Renting a Dumpster

Save money by calling a local number on the side of the bin, and you'll save hundreds on your next rental
Save money by calling a local number on the side of the bin, and you'll save hundreds on your next rental | Source

First Time Dumpster Rental Customers

Most people that rent a dumpster are first-time, last-time Dumpster Renters. After all, unless you're a construction or mold remediation company, you probably don't need to rent a dumpster more than once a lifetime.

Below are numerous tips on how to get the most out of your dumpster rental experience with a qualified, responsible, safe, efficient and honest dumpster rental service provider.

Anatomy of a Dumpster Rental

The dumpster rental business is about as easy as it gets, and the following steps are a basic breakdown of what you can expect.

1. You contact the dumpster rental company and specify the desired delivery date, the location of where to put it, and the type of debris that you plan to put in it.

2. The dumpster rental company takes your payment information, charges you, and informs you about their basic dumpster rental terms and conditions. You read and understand them, and then begin to prepare your loading party.

3. On the delivery date, the dumpster rental company loads the dumpster on the delivery rig, and drops the dumpster in the desired location that you stated.

4. You load the bin based on the rules and terms & conditions provided earlier.

5. At the end of the rental, the dumpster rental company picks up the bin, covers the load, and discards of the debris in a proper manner.

6. If there are tonnage fees, then your payment method is charged the appropriate amount once the final tonnage is known.

It's that easy.

Behind the scenes of a Dumpster Rental Company facade

So, it would seem that there's nothing much more to a dumpster rental than what was just described. Unfortunately, if you don't know what is behind the curtain, then you may find that you've paid too much for your dumpster rental.

1-800-NotADumpster, aka Not-A-Dumpster-Rental-Company.com

When renting a dumpster, the first thing that can increase your total cost is by calling an 800 number, or using a website that brokers the actual work to a local contractor. You may save time by using one of these services, and that's what they are, a broker or service, but you WILL pay for the priviledge.

There are multiple business models that these brokers use to attract your business, but then they just hire a local contractor to pick up the pieces. The first is "just a website". With this model, you either call the 800 number or you visit the website and provide desired dumpster rental information. Once obtained (or stolen, as there may be phishing sites posing as Dumpster Rental services.), if they are real, then they contact the contractors they have on file, and hope that one of them can service your needs. For this brokering effort, the website company will either tack on a fee, over and above what the local contractor normally charges, OR the local contractor will INCREASE their price to make up for the cut that the website company takes. Either way, you the consumer pays more money then you really needed.

Beware of Search Engine Ads

Every search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) will return ads for your search of "Dumpster Rental [Your City], [YourState]". Look on this page at the Ads that appear. Feel free to click on them, but familiarize yourself with the results that you're given. Identify exactly who the companies are before you try to book with them. The companies that can afford these "Ad Words" are making significant profits from over-charging the customer. I'm not saying that every ad is bad, but know what your'e clicking, and that again goes for multiple industries.

Another model that is used is a website that represents a local company, but they have a different name. This one is confusing, in that you think that you're hiring company X, but then everything from that point becomes Company Y. The reason they do this, as far as I can tell, is that they're trying to expand their online presence to ensure that they maximize Search Engine Optimization, or SEO. When they go to these great lengths, it means that more money has been expended on marketing, and that means it is passed onto you the consumer. So, when you find yourself in this situation, make sure you know what the name of the real company is, where they are located, and what's the phone number of the human that is going to help you with any issues that you have.

Don't let the local phone number fool you

Another technique is a pay-per-call model, whereas the website company will display multiple local companies in your area, but the phone number is really a tracking number used for charging the local company a per-call fee. This is usually a very nominal fee, in comparison to the cost of the bin rental, but it still increase the costs to the local company, which is ultimately passed on to the consumer. If you find multiple companies on one website, verify that the number your're calling is really the company's phone number. A simple search will reveal the real phone number. Also, using Yelp, Manta, Merchant Circle, or other such websites will put you in direct contact with an appropriate vendor. (This goes for moving companies, plumbers, or any other service where you want someone local.)

Customer Support

It's fairly safe to assume that your rental will be seamless, but every once in a while something goes wrong. Perhaps you need the bin moved, there was damage to a yard or driveway, or something else beyond anyone's control.

If you've used a broker, then you have to contact the website company and submit your issue. This can cause delays, and may not get the situation resolved in a timely fashion. Further, there is always the possibility of the broker blaming the contractor, and vice versa, which can end up in a nightmare merry-go-round that is a no-win situation for all parties.

But, If you start with the local contractor, then they can guarantee the level of service will be higher, and issue will be resolved as immediately as possible.

Overloaded Bins means unloaded wallet

An overloaded bin will cost you time, money, or both.  Avoid this situation by understanding the rules.
An overloaded bin will cost you time, money, or both. Avoid this situation by understanding the rules. | Source

Understanding the Rules, and the Penalty Fees for breaking them.

Rules and Terms & Conditions

Every dumpster rental comes with a set of rules and terms & conditions in which the renter must abide by, or expect to pay to remediate. When booking a dumpster, be sure to ask what the company policies are, and where you can go to read them. Below are some examples of what you can expect to find.

Overloaded Containers

When a dumpster is transported, the contents of the dumpster obviously cannot be distributed on the nation's roads and highways. They need to be taken to the appropriate location and disposed. This means that the dumpster has a maximum height limit, and it needs to be respected. The service provider needs to cover the load, and if your debris is too high, or full of nails or other objects that will rip the tarp, then the company may refuse to take your load, and charge you for the time and gas needed to get there. If the driver has to manually remediate the situation, you may be charged for their time as well.

Mixing the Load

Dumpster Rental Pricing is based on what you promise to put in it. If you only state that you'll put yard waste in it, and then you add concrete, boards with nails, and your weekly garbage, than you can expect to receive an additional charge. You the client need to hold up your end of the deal, too.

Time Limits

Each Dumpster Rental comes with a limited time period, and after that time, an additional daily or weekly fee may be added to your final bill.

Rush Jobs

Every company hopes to service your needs as soon as possible, but lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on their part. They have schedules to keep, so when you call demanding immediate service, expect to pay an additional fee to scramble the squadron for you.

Weight Limits

Some rentals will have a weight allowance, and anything further will be an additional cost. Be sure to add this to your comparison spreadsheet.

Fuel Surcharges

This is the most egregious of all fees, as it allows the company to charge your for the fuel they use. Ensure that you understand the terms and conditions, as this could be significant over their low-ball advertised price.

Multiple Bin Discounts

Some companies will offer a discount on multiple bins. One of the biggest costs is moving the truck, so if it's headed your way to pick up an existing bin, then bringing you another saves the company money, which can be passed along to you. But, if they take away your bin, and you call a few days later asking for a discount, they may not offer it to you. If you think you'll need multiple bins, discuss it with the provider BEFORE engaging with them.

Other Dumpster Rental Money Savers

Share a dumpster

When ordering a dumpster, expect that your neighbors will be green with jealousy as they see how happy you are when you're able to get rid of that old mattress, broken electronics, and old swingset. For the sake of politics, let your neighbors know that you're planning to rent a dumpster, and see if they'd like to split the cost. Even if you just buy the first round, they'll thank you for years to come for thinking about them.

Are you retaining water?

Throwing away dirt, rocks, air, and/or water is one of the biggest mistakes made by a dumpster rental customers. Flower pots with soil, containers filled with water, computer boxes full of foam, and ornamental rocks are just the start of things that find their way into the landfill that are usually very heavy, which means more dump fees. (In the case of computer boxes, when you have a fixed price, these take up much space, but don't weigh anything.)

Ensure the items you place into the dumpster aren't already filled with such materials, or won't catch them when they fall from the sky. If you know it's going to rain, don't let a box of stuffed animals, carpet, or drywall become water-logged, wallet drainers.

Donate, then terminate

Many customers will hold a yard sale, then dispose of the remaining items. Take an opportunity to visit the local thrift store to donate your items for a tax break or just to feel good about it.

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