It’s amazing how fast our homes can get cluttered with all sorts of unwanted junk. Perhaps that garage that used to fit your car quite comfortably suddenly turned into a claustrophobic fire hazard or your basement has suddenly become too cluttered to safely navigate.
Maybe you’re asking yourself: “can’t somebody just haul this junk out of sight and out of mind?” You could do it yourself, but depending on the amount of clutter on your property, that might be an exercise in frustration. Junk removal businesses are the best way to de-clutter your property, but you’ll also have to pay them for their services.
This poses the big question: how much does junk removal cost in the United States? Ask anyone and you’ll likely get wildly different answers. HomeGuide and Bob Vila both give a national average of $233 for junk removal, ranging from $50 on the lower end up to $361 on the higher end. You could use this as a very loose rule of thumb, but it almost always pays to shop around and to consider prices in your city, county and state.
This post will outline the costs of junk removal services in the United States, the push and pull factors that affect junk removal prices, ways to get rid of junk for free and ways to save money on junk removal for your property.
Factors that contribute to the cost of junk removal services
The short answer to “how much does junk removal cost” is really a big “it depends;” there’s no other way to put it. To get a better idea of junk removal costs in the United States, it’s helpful to understand some of the key factors that get baked into the total cost.
Landfill dumping fees
Usually the first factor that a junk hauler will consider when giving you a quote for their services is the cost of dumping at a landfill. Everything else (e.g. labor, mileage, permits, insurance, overhead) is then added on top of this amount.
In the United States, the average cost of dumping waste in a landfill was around $53.72/ton in 2020. In the Pacific Northwest, landfills charged an average of $72.03/ton, ranking among the most expensive places to dump in the US. The cheapest places to dump in landfills were states in the South Central region, where dumping fees were on average $39.66/ton.
Type of junk
‘Junk’ is a really broad term, so it’s important to consider what type of junk you need removed from your property. Bags of grass clippings or leaves might cost much less than cleaning up an entire demolition project of rubble, for example.
Some items, like electronics and hazardous waste, cannot simply be dumped at the landfill and need to be recycled in dedicated facilities whereby the processing fees may be higher. These costs will be passed onto you, the customer.
Quantity of junk
How much junk do you need removed? Getting an old mattress hauled off will probably cost a lot less than having the junk hauler fully clear out an entire room or property.
Keep in mind that most junk haulers base their costs around quantity, usually measured in $/ft3 or by the truckload. Roughly, a full truckload’s worth of junk is equal to about four full pickup trucks’ worth. If the junk hauler needs to make multiple trips, you can expect to pay more. Conversely, if you just need one item (like a refrigerator, for example) removed, they’ll likely charge a flat fee.
Good work doesn’t come cheap and cheap work doesn’t come out good, so you’ll have to consider the labor expenses of a reputable junk hauler as part of the total quoted cost. If the junk removal business is employing staff, they need to be paid a reasonable hourly wage. Sole traders and family-run businesses can be a little more competitive in their costs, but they do need to get paid at the end of the day!
Labor costs are also multiplied by the amount of time you need the junk haulers, so if it’s a quick 30-minute job clearing out a few items, you can expect to pay a lot less than having a full team clear out an entire property over the course of a day, for example.
The cost of junk removal is not uniform across the United States at all, so what you’d end up paying in Manhattan or San Francisco will likely be a lot different than what you’d end up paying in Topeka, Kansas, for example.
A junk hauler in a dense urban city center might have easier access to your property but be further away from a landfill, for example, and he’ll likely command a higher wage simply to pay his own rent or mortgage. In rural parts of America, labor costs might be marginally lower but mileage charges might be higher.
Generally, the prices you see online for “junk removal near me” in your city or state will probably reflect what people are willing to pay.
Small businesses vs national waste carriers
Generally, small junk removal businesses have some big advantages for you, the customer, compared to the big national waste carriers (you know who they are). Firstly, in order to remain competitive, they often charge far lower rates for their services. These small local junk haulers can also offer much more convenient appointment times and be at your property quickly since they operate locally in your city or county.
The one big advantage that the national waste carriers have, however, is that they are much more visible. They pay big bucks to advertise on TV, online, and often own a large fleet of vehicles with their logo painted. The little guys just can’t compete, which is one reason why JunkGator is becoming so popular. JunkGator gives a platform to mostly small, independent junk haulers operating in towns and counties across the United States.
Additional costs to consider
In addition to the above factors, junk removal costs can fluctuate based on a few other cost drivers.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the start of 2022, you’re probably keenly aware of the rising inflation impacting everyday Americans. Consumer prices going up 8.6% in May 2022 and gas prices surpassing $5/gallon on average are sure to drive up the price of everything, including junk removal.
In more ‘normal’ times, a 2-3% inflation wouldn’t be much to worry about, but at the time of writing, nearly 10% inflation and soaring gas prices means that your junk hauler will simply need to charge more to make ends meet.
Specialized junk removal services
If you need hazardous waste hauled away, expect to pay a premium for specialized hazardous waste removal companies. Similarly, electronics waste (e-waste) usually commands a surcharge at recycling facilities, so expect to pay more (usually per item).
Recycling & donations
One factor that can greatly drive down the price of junk removal services is to choose a junk removal business that cares about the environment and chooses to recycle or donate junk instead of sending it all to the landfill.
Eco-friendly junk haulers that send junk to recycling centers or that donate to charities can pass those savings onto the customer.
DIY junk removal vs hiring a junk hauler
You might be thinking that in order to save a few bucks you can just haul the junk away from your property yourself. This might be true in some cases, but consider a few things first:
- Do you value your time? Clearing out an entire room or home of bulky junk can take a lot longer than expected.
- Do you need permits to dump at the landfill? Either way, you’ll need to pay the dumping fees.
- Do you have a vehicle suitable for hauling junk? Transporting junk can be hazardous and you might need to make multiple trips.
Considering all of the above, it’s just too much of a hassle for many property owners to DIY junk removal. Instead, it is often far more convenient (and often cheaper) to have a local junk hauler come by and get the job done right.
How to get rid of junk for free
If you’re looking for ways to get rid of junk for $0, free, easy-peasy, your best options are normally to gift it to friends or family (provided they’re willing to take it!). An old piece of furniture might be junk to you, but it might be a treasure to your son or daughter with just a little bit of refurbishment.
You can also donate many items to charities like the Salvation Army. Consult the website of nearby charitable organizations to make sure they accept the junk you’re looking to get rid of. In many cases, they’ll collect it from the curbside, no questions asked, as long as it’s an accepted item and in reasonably good condition.
How to get better prices for junk removal services
Shopping around for junk removal isn’t perhaps the most enjoyable way to spend your free time, but saving money and getting great quality services are certainly worth it. Instead of Googling all of the big junk removal companies near you, why not use JunkGator right now? Click on GET QUOTES and you’ll be able to contact genuine, local junk haulers in your ZIP code.
Find a junk hauler near you with JunkGator
Get started with JunkGator today and get all of the benefits of a clean and clutter-free property at affordable prices. At JunkGator, our junk removal partners are ready to haul just about any type of junk from any property, anywhere and at any time that suits you best.