How to Start a Small Roll-Off Dumpster Business

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You don't have to be H. Wayne Huizenga, who built Waste Management, Inc. from a one truck operation into a Fortune 500 company, to appreciate that “there's cash in trash”. Waste disposal provides several niche opportunities in roll-off dumpster rental business for small operators to start profitable companies. Research your market to uncover holes of unfulfilled demand. Then, plug those holes within reach of your resource capabilities.

Find Your Niche

Residential construction/renovations, yard waste, junk removal and bulk disposal are particularly well-suited for a small roll-off dumpster rental business. Larger firms tend to focus on the low-hanging fruit of garbage and trash removal. Moreover, some industry commentators claim that small local operators have a competitive pricing advantage in certain niches because they are not saddled with high-corporate overhead as national firms.

Niche opportunities include real estate agents who often need roll-off disposal service to get foreclosed properties ready for sale. Landlords often need the service when preparing rental units for new tenants. Contractors and do-it-yourselfers require disposal services for construction cleanups and yard rubbish removal.

Purchase Required Equipment

Roll-off trucks and dumpsters are your main equipment needs. You can start with one truck if that fits your budget and comfort level. While you can spend a minimum $40,000 for a used truck, most previously owned models average around $60,000 and can cost as much as $140,000 depending on the year, model and features. Ritchie Brothers Auctioneers, one of many sources, is a good place to start your search for trucks and dumpsters.

Dumpsters range in size from 10 yard dumpsters up to 40 yard dumpsters. Small, 10-yarders generally work well for the kinds of disposal services where small operators compete effectively. They have a small footprint that allows parking them in small spaces, such as driveways and residential backyards. Used dumpsters start at around $2,000. Check a variety of auction sites online and do your research to be sure you find a good deal since prices can vary widely.

Manage Your Dumpster Rental Business

This is not the kind of business that you operate out of your home. You need a secure location to park your equipment other than your backyard to avoid neighbor complaints. Your roll off dumpster business will profit from making marketing a priority rather than an afterthought. Get a website and explore using search engine marketing techniques such as localized “pay per click” advertising and writing a blog.

Play nice with neighborhood associations, realtors and contractors. They can become steady and reliable sources of business. One well-placed outdoor billboard could do wonders for your business. Avoid competing on price. Any determined competitor can undercut your prices if desired. Compete on intangible factors, which distinguish quality companies from all others, such as superior service. Research what your local competitors charge and set your prices to make a profit after covering your costs for doing business.

Learn the Waste Management Industry

Another good idea is to rub shoulders with those already in the waste management industry. Join a few online roll off container business forums or general waste management sites to learn tips about the industry. This is also a great place to get leads on used equipment purchases and ideas for running your business from others with more experience.

Negotiate With Landfills

Great partnerships with landfill operators will go a long way toward contributing to your bottom line. Operators commonly charge per-ton rates, which are negotiable in many instances. Moreover, there are different kinds of landfills. Most handle rubbish classified under subtitle D as “non-hazardous” material by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

However, hazardous materials fall under stringent and costly federal and state regulations that are much different from non-hazardous rubbish. To avoid costly mistakes, become informed of EPA regulations and those of your state environmental agency regarding the disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous rubbish.