The Insider Cost Guide to Cheaper Roll Off Dumpster Rental Prices

Dumpster rental prices can be difficult to pin down for the first-time renter.  Your cost ultimately depends on multiple factors, and that complicates things a bit.  With a few basics and a few insider secrets, you can recognize a good deal and pay a fair price when you rent a dumpster.

“The cost of renting a dumpster depends on the size of the container, type of debris, weight of the debris, delivery location, and landfill/recycling disposal fees in your region.”

A few pricing basics

Get the container size right to minimize cost

The cost of renting a dumpster increases with the size of the container, so get the smallest size container you need. However, beware of skimping on the size to save a buck. It may backfire.  If you end up needing to order a 2nd dumpster, the cost to deliver and pick-up two 10 yard dumpsters will be a lot higher than the cost of a single 20 yard container.

So estimating your volume of waste and figuring out what container size to rent is important.  Too big and you're paying for capacity you don't need.  Too small may require you to pay double for another dumpster. The best place to start is our how-to guide for dumpster sizes.  

Landfill fees are expensive and non-negotiable

The fees to dump at the landfill are the single largest factor impacting the cost to rent a dumpster.  Your debris will get weighed at the landfill and the dumpster service will pay the landfill directly for the weight of your debris. It's an unavoidable cost that gets passed on to you.

The cost to process waste varies wildly by region of the country and local dumpster rental rates tend to follow. Disposal companies pay anywhere from $35 to $100 per ton (1 ton = 2000 lbs) in landfill fees to dispose of general debris.  Cheap dumpster rental prices are not possible if you live in a region that has high costs for processing waste (think East Coast, West Coast, most big cities).  

Weight of your debris is important

"Household junk typically stays fairly light... 1 to 2 tons.  Mix in heavier debris like roof shingles, concrete, dirt, or construction debris, and the dumpster can get heavy quick."

When you rent a dumpster, the price quoted generally includes a certain amount of weight included in the price (i.e. “up to 3 tons”).  If your debris weighs more than the amount of weight included in your quote, you will receive an additional charge for the extra weight. 

dumpster Rental Cost Example:

  • $300
  • Includes 2 tons (4000 lbs), $50 per ton over
  • Up to 7 days, $5 per additional day

Pay attention to the amount of included weight, which can change the amount you end up paying.  Any additional weight charges are calculated after the debris is weighed at the landfill.  In this example, if your debris weighed in at 4 tons, you would end up paying an additional $100 (2 tons overweight X $50), for a total cost of $400. 

Remote delivery locations cost more

Location of your delivery address can affect dumpster rental rates, too.  The driver of the truck needs to earn an honest living and heavy roll-off trucks get lousy gas mileage. The further out you are, the more it costs in gas and driver time to deliver and pick up from your address. 

Save money by recycling “clean” debris

Depending on the type of waste processing facilities available near you, some debris may be able to be hauled to a recycling facility and disposed of at a much lower cost than the landfill. Lower disposal fees for the hauler means you’ll save money, too. 

If clean load recycling is available in your area, your hauler will almost always take that into account in your quoted price.  The dumpster company should discuss with you the need to keep the load clean (no other debris types mixed in) in order to receive the discounted recycling price. 

Clean-load recycling possibilities:

  • Concrete recycling - available in most areas of the country
  • Roof shingle recycling - available in some areas, growing rapidly
  • Construction debris recycling (wood, drywall, etc..) - available in only a handful of states and metro areas

READ MORE: 3 Ways to Get a Lower Price on Single-Day Dumpster Rental

Know the different service providers

Before you call or request a quote, it’s first important to understand a few differences among companies that offer dumpster rental.  Different types of providers have different cost structures and pass those onto their customers. Learn more.

Locally-owned haulers are often the best value

Locally-owned dumpster services typically have the lowest overhead and very competitive prices. Many of these are small, family-run operations.  For temporary dumpsters, these companies tend to offer the best combination of service and price.

Some companies listed on Hometown Dumpster Rental publish their general rental prices (if so, you can find a link to prices on their company profile).  Others don't publish prices as a way to avoid confusion; because the price you pay changes based on your debris and your location. To see price ranges by city and state, visit our Big List of Dumpster Rental Costs.

A sampling of pricing from different companies around the country is below. Keep in mind, a phone call may be necessary to check availability and confirm pricing based on your location.

National companies may cost more for temporary dumpsters

Big companies like Republic Services and Waste Management are geared toward regularly scheduled curbside trash collection.  For scheduled trash pickup, their scale and logistics lead to highly efficient operations that often provide the lowest prices. 

It’s the opposite, however, for renting temporary dumpsters.  Size and logistics weigh big companies down.  Compared to smaller haulers, the big guys usually cost more and can be more challenging to work with (phone trees, time on hold, talking to national staff rather than local, etc…).

Waste Management’s prices for temporary dumpsters are a good example.  From their website, you can enter in your zip code and get a dumpster quote anywhere they offer service, which is nice.  The actual prices, however, are not as nice.  

"Waste Management tends to run $50, $100, even $150 more per dumpster when compared to renting from the smaller, local haulers."

READ MORE: Bagster vs Dumpster: Buy a Dumpster Bag or Rent a Small Dumpster?Waste Management Dumpster Prices Compared to Locally Owned Haulers

Dumpster brokers typically add 10%

Brokers are middlemen that take orders for dumpsters anywhere in the country and then pass that order to local haulers with whom they have established a relationship. Expect to pay about 10% more booking your dumpster through a broker rather than directly with a local hauler.  

There are many brokers nationally.  Some are reputable and others should be avoided.  A couple examples of brokers are Zters Waste Value and Budget Dumpster.

It’s usually better to communicate directly with the local company delivering your dumpster.  But in some cases, a local hauler just isn’t very accessible.  They may be a smaller company that doesn’t have dedicated staff to answer the phone.  The owner is out delivering dumpsters.  A reputable broker can be a good bridge to these companies. 

Zters Waste Value is the only broker we've chosen to list on this website. They have good customer service and have built their reputation honestly. Zters answers their phone, they’re pleasant to work with, and they’ll make sure you get your dumpster delivered on the proper day.

READ MORE: 7 Easy Ways to Get a Discount on Dumpster Rental, How much does it cost to rent a dumpster for a day?

Call for availability and a specific quote

Because of the number of factors that affect your actual price, it’s usually best to compare rates by calling haulers directly. Calling also allows you to directly confirm the company’s availability to deliver your size on your date. Talking directly to the company can also give some insight into the level of service you can expect to receive.

Questions the dumpster company will ask you

  • Do you know what size you need?
  • What will you be putting in the dumpster?
  • Where are you located?
  • When do you need delivery?
  • How long do you need the dumpster?

Questions you should ask the dumpster company

  • How much weight is included in the price?
  • What happens if I go over the included weight? How much does it cost per ton?
  • How many days are included in my rental period?
  • What happens if I need to rent the dumpster for longer?

The cheapest dumpster is not always the best.  Look for a reliable company that provides the best value… the combination of excellent service and a fair price.