If you’re looking to diversify your home remodeling services or seeking a low-cost business to enter, performing home trash-outs might be a good option for you. A trash-out consists of literally taking the trash out of abandoned or foreclosed homes to prepare them for resale. Depending on what services you want to offer, a trash-out can include some cleaning and interior prep services as well.

Evaluation and Estimating

The first service a trash-out business performs is to evaluate the job and price it for a potential client. Some jobs require little equipment other than a pickup truck to haul away trash, while others might require the use of a dumpster and cleaning materials and supplies. If the house is filled with mold, hazardous waste or contains items that can’t be tossed in the garbage and must be disposed of following specific environmental regulations, the job will be more complicated and cost more.


A simple trash-out consists of removing and disposing of the contents of a house, condominium, apartment or other structure. In these cases the trash-out company simply empties the house so a cleaning, remodeling or construction crew can enter and begin work. Even this basic work should be insured due to the potential of damaging a building while removing objects or injuries to workers. Contact your auto or homeowner’s insurance company and ask them if they provide small business insurance. If you will be performing the work under your existing business, contact your insurer to determine if the work you’ll be doing is covered.


To expand your revenue potential, offer cleaning services and touch-up services to help prepare homes that don’t need significant drywall, electrical, plumbing or other construction work to prepare the house for sale. You might get more work if you offer cleaning services after you remove trash, because you will be more careful removing trash if you know you will be required to continue cleaning when you’re done. Companies that hire trash-out businesses know that a refuse hauler might not be as concerned about keeping carpets clean or avoiding dents to walls if they won’t be dealing with that damage later. Cleaning and touch-up services might include carpet cleaning, window washing, cleaning bathrooms and kitchens, light painting, making sure all electrical outlets work and replacing bulbs and performing light landscaping.


In addition to the fees you’ll get when you perform a trash-out, you might make additional money selling items you find in homes. This can include clothing, books, fitness and sporting equipment, kitchen items and electronic equipment. In some instances, the bank will need to make a good-faith effort to return valuables to owners who have lost their homes. Negotiate into your contract what you can keep and what you must dispose of. In some instances, you can get free labor to help with your trash-out if you contact a charity and tell them they can keep what they find for helping you.