Confronting a garage full of unwanted, unusable items can make you want to throw up your hands and say, “Can’t someone just haul this away?” Actually, someone can—junk removal costs range between $50 and $361.
- Typical Range: $50 to $361
- National Average: $233
Most people have a spot in their home that they’d prefer to keep the door closed on: a basement, “junk room,” or attic. Unless that junk is addressed, it will only grow. Often people will begin with a goal of throwing out or donating a certain number of unused items each week or borrowing a truck to haul a piece of broken furniture to a transfer station. But sometimes the pile has grown too high, and the task seems insurmountable. In those cases, hiring a professional junk remover is a great idea—and with the national average for junk removal cost at $233 and typically ranging between $50 and $361, it’s not as big an expense as you may think. If the alternative is purchasing a dump permit and making 15 trips to the dump or paying for bulk pickup at your home, it may even be a bargain to have someone else haul away junk from your home.
Factors in Calculating Junk Removal Cost
“Junk” can describe many things: defunct appliances, old furniture, unwanted clothes, or even a buildup of shipping boxes that haven’t made it into the recycling. The cost of removing the debris, whether it’s a task taken on by a resident or a professional, will vary based on a number of elements—how much, what kind, and where the junk is located.
Amount of Junk
The factor that most directly affects the cost of junk removal is the amount of junk. Professionals may charge by the piece for larger bulk removal, like a flat charge for the removal of a mattress or an old water heater. Or they may charge by volume: Some services will measure the volume by weight or cubic feet, while others use a simpler method of charging by the truckload. If the municipality requires permits for dumping, those costs may also be related to volume. The more junk there is to be removed, the higher the costs will be, although professional haulers may have a minimum charge that must be met. For example, debris amounting to a quarter of a truckload, or about 1 cubic yard, will cost an average of $150 to $275 to remove. A larger pile taking up a full truckload, or 3.5 cubic yards, can cost as much as $400 to $600 to remove.
Type of Junk
The type of junk will affect the cost because of the different methods of disposal required for different materials. For example, yard waste can be hauled away and disposed of at the local dump or transfer station, requiring only a permit or residential sticker, which is a small fee. Trash or garbage is priced similarly. On the other hand, disposing of a mattress or furniture may cost more. Mattresses and furniture are non-compostable and must be disassembled before they can be partially recycled, so the disposal fee is higher—sometimes as high as $600. The weight and number of people required for the transportation can also vary by type; wrestling an old concrete-lined water heater out of a basement with no outdoor hatch or egress is not a one-person task, and a large and heavy appliance can’t be taken away in the back of a sedan. The combination of additional manpower and the need for a suitable vehicle can bump up the cost of hauling large and heavy junk.
Labor and Permits
The labor costs for removing junk from a home or business will largely depend on what’s being moved—the more people and the more time needed to complete the job, the higher the cost will be. Some junk-hauling companies incorporate the labor into the flat fees per job rather than itemizing the costs for the customer to contest.
Junk has to be dumped or disposed of somewhere, and each municipality will have different policies on the cost and procedures of that disposal. In some towns, the permit to use the town dump is free with residency, while in others there’s a one-time or annual fee for a permit. Still other areas charge by individual permit, and the costs depend on the type of junk. If renting a dumpster, a homeowner or contractor may need a permit from the town or city to place the dumpster, in which case the fee will be dependent on the length of time the dumpster will remain in place. Searching for “hauling services near me” or “junk pickup near me” will help you find local companies who will be well informed on local ordinances and permit costs, which means you’ll likely get a more accurate quote for services than you might with an out-of-town crew.
The state and town in which the junk will be removed also plays into the overall cost. Permit fees differ based on the local government policies, and labor costs will also vary based on the local market rates. In addition, removing junk requires a vehicle—sometimes a large one—or multiple trips to and from the disposal site. Especially if the disposal site isn’t close to the location of the home, gas prices can play a large role in the total cost of the project. Depending on location, the gas prices may differ significantly, as can the distance between residential areas and disposal sites.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Removing the resulting pile of debris can incur a different set of costs depending on the labor and disposal method it entails.
DIY junk removers will want to spend some time checking out their local advertisements for free disposal events. Often, especially after tax season, local office supply stores will offer free shredding and recycling events. Paper is easy to recycle—many areas have free recycling pickups alongside trash pickups. Other kinds of recycling can be more expensive, though. Electronic waste can be a significant cost, especially for commercial junk removal. Old monitors, printers, and computer parts have to be recycled carefully to avoid putting into a landfill plastics and batteries that will damage water runoff. Similar to free shredding events, some towns offer periodic e-waste drop-off events for free. Otherwise, e-waste disposal can be charged by the pound or by volume. Some areas also require tires, mattresses, and appliances to be recycled, which will cost significantly more than just dropping these unwanted items at a dump or landfill.
Home Clean-out Services
Clearing out a home before downsizing or after the residents have passed away can generate a stunning amount of material to be trashed or recycled. Some companies provide home clean-out services exclusively; the company will sort the contents of the home into appropriate categories (donate, sell, trash) and handle the disposal of all the materials. Some of the best cleaning services also offer clean-out packages, but they may still require hiring a separate disposal or haul-away service. Depending on the size of the home and the amount of material that needs to be removed, the cost of a whole home clean-out can cost between $500 and $1,500, and for larger estates, the cost can rise to $2,000.