How to Start a Garbage Collection Business

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Opening a garbage collection business can appear to be a simple matter of buying a pick up truck and getting started. But there are other steps that must be taken to ensure your ability to operate and succeed. Business licenses, geographic plotting and advertising are steps that can help strengthen the business and keep you organized so you can grow the business.


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Choose a name for the business. Obtain proper business licenses and permits for owning and operating a garbage collection business. Check with the city and county zoning departments to be sure the you can operate a garbage collection business from the desired address. Purchase business liability insurance, commercial vehicle insurance and bonds for yourself and employees.

Locate area landfills and dumps and determine the cost and restrictions for bringing the loads you collect to those sites.
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Equip pick up trucks with tall wood sides so that you will be able to collect more garbage each run. Locate area landfills and dumps and determine the cost and restrictions for bringing the loads you collect to those sites. Equip trucks with magnetic door signs advertising your business and phone number.

Get a price list together.
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Call area private collection services and get a price list together. Use that price list to determine your pricing structure based on competition, fuel costs, dumping costs, truck maintenance, employee costs (if you have employees) and overhead costs for the office.

Place ads in local newspapers.
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Design brochures, websites and other advertising methods to attract new customers. Place ads in local newspapers. Offer discounts for new customers.

Determine which days you will be in each region.
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Establish geographic regions and determine which days you will be in each region to prevent having to cross travel everyday to pick up customer garbage. Inform new customers, based on their geographic area, what day you will pick up their garbage.


  • Offer a recycling program to your customers and you can pick up their already recycled items and make addition revenue turning them over to recycling collectors.


  • Do not attempt to operate a garbage collection business without business licenses, insurance and bonding. One accident, or one employee injury can be extremely costly to your personally if you are not covered legally.



About the Author

Candace Webb has been writing professionally since 1989. She has worked as a full-time journalist as well as contributed to metropolitan newspapers including the "Tennessean." She has also worked on staff as an associate editor at the "Nashville Parent" magazine. Webb holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism with a minor in business from San Jose State University.

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