Top 10 Questions & Answers About the Trash Removal BusinessTop 10 FAQ about the trash removal business

1. What kind of money can I make?

You can make an above average income, because people are willing to pay to have others do what they can’t or don’t want to do. If you start a junk removal business in a city, your hourly charges will be higher than those in small towns. After deducting dump fees, vehicle maintenance and fuel, the national average is $53 an hour. Work an eight-hour day, and you’ve just made $424!

2. Do I need any formal training?

You don’t need any formal training at all. There are no tests to pass or certifications required. If you want to gain experience before you start your own business, consider just taking on a few jobs or work for an already established haul-away business. It helps to have people skills and be well-organized so you can schedule your jobs efficiently.

 3. What is the best vehicle for a trash removal business or foreclosure cleanup business?

A reliable truck or van is necessary. If you don’t have one, you might find it hard to be a successful junk hauler. It’s not a must, but a fuel-efficient diesel truck is the best vehicle to have. Many successful haul-away services use the Isuzu NRP or Mitsubishi Fuso cab-forward diesel truck. That said, most one-man junk hauling businesses use a pickup with removable side panels, as that will easily handle the weight of an average haul-away.

 4. Can you resell items?

You sure can, and you definitely should. Reselling items is a way to make even more money on the items you haul away. You can sell them through garage sales, or online through web sites, such as Craigslist.org, eBay and Backpage.com. Most haulers would estimate that about half of the material they clean out is either recyclable or resalable. It’s just amazing what some people throw out without thinking about what it’s worth!

 5. Should you haul away toxic materials?

Most states require a license to haul away chemicals, paint or other toxic materials. In general, you should avoid these. Don’t get yourself mixed up in something you’re not prepared to haul away.

6. How do most trash removal businesses charge for jobs?

Most junk haulers charge by the size of the load (many charge by the cubic yard) or weight. Also, if a lot of cleanup was required, you had to get the items or debris from a difficult location (such as a basement or attic), it was a rush job, or you were asked to complete the job after regular business hours‚ or on a weekend or holiday, you should add an additional charge. Be up front with your customers about this.

7. Can I clean out foreclosures for extra income?

Yes, as there is an abundance of them now, and likely for many years to come.  You’ll need to work with realtors in your area who specialize in foreclosures to find the cleanup jobs, but once you’re “in the loop” there is plenty of work. It helps if you have some handyman skills too, as there are often small repairs that can be done while you’re cleaning out the house.

8. What tools and supplies do I need?

In addition to a reliable vehicle, you’ll need a cell phone. There are also some recommended items, such as a GPS unit, a hand truck, moving blankets, and additional tools, including a shovel, rake, broom, saw and more. And don’t forget some safety materials, such as a first-aid kit, disposable dust masks, gloves and heavy-duty work boots.

9. What are free ways to advertise my junk-hauling service?

Craigslist.org and Backpage.com are two great ways. Also, send a press release to your local newspaper, and they might want to write an article about you and your haul-away business. And don’tforget about other online ways, such as starting your own web site or blog. You can get a free web site at wordpress.com or blogspot.com.

10. Can I recycle items?

Yes, and please do. Not only can it get you more money, but it’t good for the environment. Customers will be happy to know their items aren’t simply being dumped in a landfill, but are actually being recycled.


Hopefully the answers to these questions helped you out. Starting your haul-away business shouldn’t be too difficult. Before you know it, you could be an all-star junk hauler. To learn more, read Haul It Away.