How much to charge for junk removal?

Let’s be honest: junk removal is an underrated service. There’s nothing worse than having a pile of junk on your property as it takes a lot of time and effort to move it. Thankfully, junk removal companies exist and offer services to make this process easier.

However, it’s difficult for businesses to decide how much to charge for junk removal because there are so many variables involved, and always a little guesswork.

This guide will give you a thorough understanding of how to figure out how much your business should charge for junk removal.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

Table of contents

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How to calculate debris removal costs

Whether you’re dealing with a customer who’s moving and trying to get rid of old furniture, or a construction company that’s just cleaned up the debris from their new build, you need to be able to price your junk removal jobs right.

On average, junk removal businesses charge $70 – 570, with most jobs costing between $150 and $350. If you measure by square footage, the average cost comes out to about $1.50 per square foot.

However, these are just averages, and you may find that your need to charge more or less than another junk business in your area.

There are several ways that you can charge for junk removal services, including by:

  • Type of junk.
  • Volume.
  • Truckload.
  • Weight.

Charging by the truckload is the most popular pricing method, but charging by weight is also a common option.

If you do choose to charge per truckload, it is important to establish a minimum load for your business to ensure that every job is worthwhile. Depending on the size of the truck, most junk removal companies set this minimum of 60 cubic feet.

The national average for junk hauling services is $234 per load.

Think about whether a job where your customer only wants one item removed, such as an old carpet, is worth the cost. Your business may stand to lose revenue if you are continuously doing one item jobs.

Let’s take a look at other factors that will influence the way you price your junk removal services.

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Factor #1: Size of the load

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The size of the load will be your first indicator of how much to charge for junk removal.

Understanding the size of the load will help you estimate the total weight and how many loads will be required to haul away all of the junk.

The volume and weight will both affect the load size and help you determine how much to charge, but you should prioritize exact weight when you calculate your estimate.

Factor #2: Weight of the debris

Recycling container trash dumpsters being full with garbage container trash on ecology and environment
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Unfortunately, there’s no exact science when it comes to judging how many loads it takes to clear a pile of junk, and unless you have a scale in your truck, predicting the weight of a load is also difficult.

You may end up having to eyeball jobs as best as you can, based on past jobs and the estimated weight of certain items.

Many junk removal professionals develop these estimating skills early on in their careers and eventually get it right every time.

However, it takes time and experience to develop these skills, and you may end up over or underestimating the weight of a pile on your first few jobs.

The good news is that an estimate template can help you rely less on guesswork and more on calculation for your final estimate.

If you choose to charge by weight, multiply the estimated weight of a load by your rate per pound.

If you choose to charge by truckload, multiply the estimated number of truckloads by your rate per load.

Factor #3: Location of the junk

When deciding how much to charge for junk removal, ask yourself: Will everything be in a pile on the front lawn waiting for you, or will you have to go inside your customer’s house and gather items from different floors?

Both of these scenarios require different amounts of labor and time commitments, resulting in a different price.

The easiest jobs are the ones where the items for removal are already laid out on the lawn, ready for you to pick up. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible for your customer to do.

The less accessible the items are, the more work required to transport them to your truck, and the more you should charge for your services.

You can mention to your customer the benefits of having junk already outside, such as a lower price or saving their new carpet from boot marks. Still, as a junk removal business, you should always be prepared with proper labor and equipment to complete the job.

Factor #4: Mileage and travel

When figuring out how much to charge for junk removal, you need to take into account the distance you have to transport the junk to the disposal location.

This distance will affect:

  • The time needed to transport items.
  • Mileage on your truck.
  • Gas.
  • Employee hours.

Naturally, the further the distance between the pickup location and the disposal facility, the more you need to charge.

Factor #5: Gather your team

Once you have a good idea of how much work is needed to complete a junk hauling job, you can plan your biggest expense: labor.

Generally, the number of workers you need for a job depends on how many items need to be hauled.

For most jobs, you’ll need a minimum of two workers, but this number can go up if it’s a job with several truckloads or with heavy items that need to be transported. You can factor labor into your final price or you can display it as a line item in your estimate.

Calculate your labor hours by multiplying the number of hours it will take to complete a job by the number of employees required.

Number of hours x number of employees = labor hours

Then, calculate your total labor rate by adding the hourly rate of each employee. From there, add a 20% markup to cover expenses such as taxes and insurance.

Finally, multiply your labor hours by your labor rate for your total labor costs.

Labor hours x labor rate = total labor cost

Factor #6: Don’t forget taxes

Never forget to add taxes when calculating the cost of your junk removal services. If your workers are employees, make sure to factor in payroll taxes.

Factor #7: Figure out your profit

To figure out your profit margin, calculate your net sales revenue and subtract all of your expenses, including:

  • Labor.
  • Material (if applicable).
  • Overhead.

Remember, the higher the profit, the more revenue for your business.

If you aren’t happy with the profit after you do your calculations, make a few adjustments and do the math again. You may be able to raise your prices, but be sure that your rates remain competitive and fair.

Adjusting your junk removal pricing

The prices you set now will not be the prices you keep forever. It’s important to keep up with industry trends so that your business never falls behind.

There are several factors to look out for to ensure that you’re always pricing your junk removal jobs right. Some of these changes include:

  • The economy: As inflation rises, you should also be raising your prices.
  • Wages: Whether your state makes these changes or you decide to promote one of your employees, make sure that it isn’t impacting your profit too much if you have an increase in labor costs.
  • Market rate: There may be a higher or lower demand for junk removal services at any point. Look at your competitions’ prices to make sure you’re keeping up.
  • New fees: At any point, the city can raise its disposal fees, which ends up costing you more. If these fees increase, you should increase your prices as well.

Reassess your prices every once in a while to ensure that you are not underpricing yourself and missing out on revenue.

Best practices for junk removal pricing

Determining the right price is not your only concern when it comes to junk removal costs. As a small business owner, you also have the responsibility of keeping up with the standards in your industry.

Following these best practices will shape your pricing strategy.

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Understand your competition

As with any business, you want to research your competitors. Not only will this give you an idea of who you will be competing with, but you should also look to your competitors to understand evolving industry trends.

If you’re first getting started, it might even be a good idea to contact other local junk removal companies for a quote. This way, you understand current prices and know where to begin pricing your services.

Calculate your margins

Your success lies in understanding how profit margins impact your business.

You can determine how profitable you are by calculating your net profit, which is how much money a sale brings you after subtracting all expenses.

Don’t forget to account for your overhead (ongoing expenses not tied to any specific job).

Here are some examples of overhead expenses you need to consider:

  • Insurance.
  • Truck maintenance.
  • Rent and utilities.
  • Administrative expenses.
  • Marketing and accounting.

Once you calculate how much a junk removal job will cost to complete, make sure that you add a markup to cover overhead and other unexpected costs to ensure that you make a profit.

Consider unexpected costs

Let’s be honest, you can try and plan everything to the last detail, but unexpected expenses often sneak up on you. The secret to the most accurate estimate is to account for unexpected costs.

Unexpected junk removal costs may include:

  • Issues during transit.
  • More workers needed on the job.
  • Slow loading time.

When you don’t account for these costs beforehand, you end up having to slam these additional charges onto your customer, who may not be happy about it.

The good news is that if you plan for these costs and account for them early on, they no longer become unexpected.

It bears repeating: when you apply your markup, be sure that it will cover unexpected costs that may come up.

Junk removal estimate FAQ

How do you calculate junk removal jobs?

To figure out how much to charge for junk removal services, you must first understand the current market rate for your services and understand your expenses.

The cost of junk removal is influenced by:

  • The weight of the load.
  • The labor hours required.
  • Disposal costs.

The type of waste will also affect the cost of removal. For example, removing hazardous material will cost more than yard waste.

Other common materials you may be asked to remove include:

  • Construction debris.
  • Electronic waste.
  • Recycling waste.


Where can I find free junk removal estimate templates?

If you’re ready to make accurate junk removal estimates but don’t know where to start, we’ve got you covered.

Check out this free junk removal estimate template to get you started on your journey of pricing every job right. You can customize it to suit your business, then all you have to do is plug in the numbers.

Recap: How much does junk removal cost?

Waste management is a lot of work, which is why it’s important that you know how much to charge for junk removal.

Although estimating junk hauling costs can be difficult to predict, creating a thorough estimate will give both you and your customer a clear understanding of the cost of disposing of their unwanted items.

As your business grows, remember these key points:

  • Keep an eye on your competitors’ prices.
  • Review your business processes.
  • Use a template to create your estimates.

In the end, every business is unique, so only you can answer the question of how much you should charge for junk removal.

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