How To Rent A Dumpster

Unless you’re a contractor or property manager, chances are you’ve rarely, if ever, rented a dumpster. As with most things, inexperience leaves the door open for questions. How do I rent a dumpster? What size dumpster do I need? How much does it cost to rent a dumpster?

We’ll answer these questions and more to help iron out any kinks and make your dumpster rental experience as smooth as possible.

Introduction to Dumpster Rentals

If you’re reading this article, it's important to understand the ins and outs of the dumpster rental process. Understanding sizing, pricing, and other information detailed below can help you avoid overpaying for your dumpster, selecting the wrong size, and incurring additional fees.

Often, renting a dumpster may seem like a complicated process. However, it's actually a straightforward process if you know what questions to ask!

What Size Dumpster Do You Need?

While roll-off dumpsters come in various sizes, the most common sizes you’ll hear thrown around are 3-yard, 10-yard, 20-yard, 30-yard, and 40-yard. One common misconception is that “yards” refers to the length of the dumpster. In fact, dumpsters are referred to by the volume of cubic yards they can hold.

For example, a 40-yard dumpster can hold approximately 40 cubic yards of debris. This is calculated by multiplying the height * width * length and dividing by 27. Most 40-yard dumpsters measure 8’ in height, 7.5’ in width, and 22’ in length.

8 * 7.5 * 22 = 1,320 / 27 = 48.8 (48.8 cubic yards).

This same calculation can be applied to each dumpster size, but the key takeaway is that when a company is referring to “yards” they are simply referring to the total cubic yardage or volume that a dumpster can typically hold.

Cost To Rent A Dumpster

If you’re renting from local dumpster rental companies or brokers, you will typically be quoted for a base price plus additional weight and a rental period. Size, weight, debris type, and the rental period are the four primary factors that will determine the price of your dumpster. For example, you may hear a company quote you “$650 for 20-yards, 7-days, $125/ton, first-ton included”.

This simply means a 20-yard dumpster will cost $650 for up to a 7-days rental period with 1-ton of debris included. Most companies will include between 1-3 tons in their quote, so it's important to be clear on what’s included in their base pricing. While a 20-yard dumpster can certainly hold more than 1-ton, each ton thereafter in this example will bump your total cost up by $125.

Dumpster Delivery & Pickup

Depending on where you’re ordering your dumpster to be delivered, it's important to have more than enough room to accommodate both the dumpster and the truck.

No Obstructions. Make sure all alleys, driveways, and streets are cleared of vehicles and other obstructions. If you have narrow or tight corners, you’ll want to inform the driver/dumpster company beforehand to ensure there’s enough space.

Hard Flat Surfaces. Ensure there is a proper surface for the dumpster to be placed. Ideally, the dumpster will be placed on a flat, hard surface like
concrete. Avoid hills and surfaces affected by water and moisture like dirt or grass.
Permits. Some cities require permits for dumpsters to be placed on the street. You’ll want to confirm you have these permits prior to delivery to avoid additional fees and tickets for failing to secure proper permitting.

Gated Properties. If you live in a gated community or business facility that requires gate codes for entry, you’ll want to provide this to the dumpster rental company beforehand to avoid missed drop-offs and pickups which may result in additional fees.

Dumpster Rentals Checklist

You can use the following checklist to gather information when you're ready to rent your dumpster. This checklist should help get all the information you'll need to ensure you have the right dumpster size, have all the pricing information and costs upfront, and avoid any additional fees:

  • Determine which dumpster size you need, and ask about availability.
  • What is the base price for each dumpster size?
  • How many tons are included in the base price?
  • What is the cost per additional ton of debris?
  • What is the standard rental period (days, weeks)?
  • What is the cost per day/week thereafter?
  • Where will the dumpster be placed (driveway, curbside)?
  • What is the dumpster delivery window? Will you need to be on-site?