Renting a Dumpster: A Step by Step Guide

Dumpster rental cartoon - funny

The process of renting a dumpster is an easy process, but if you’ve never done it before you may find yourself lost when the time arises.

There are many different scenarios where a dumpster rental comes in handy, such as a spring cleaning project, moving, remodeling, inherited a messy house that needs a cleanout and so on… We decided to put together an easy to follow guide you can reference the next time you find yourself overloaded with junk, such as the situations above. Let’s get started.

Step 1: Assess the Project

Prepare in advance by planning it all out – make a checklist if you’re good at forgetting things. Start at least a week ahead of the actual cleanout.

Begin by assessing the project as a whole. Determine the type(s) and amount of junk you have to get rid, and figure out a date to start the cleanout. Write everything down; this is essential information your dumpster rental provider will need when you call.

dumpster rental checklist

You can get a rough estimate of the container size you’ll need by jotting down all the junk you plan to toss.

As a reference, a garage or small basement cleanout typically calls for a 10 to 20 yard dumpster. An average-sized home getting its roof removed and replaced would need a 40-yard container. A bathroom or kitchen remodel would need at least a 10-yard dumpster in most cases. Your rental company will give you a more accurate estimate based upon your actual needs.

This is also a good time to plan out a budget for the cleanout. Dumpster rental prices can vary significantly depending upon your location and size of the dumpster. Rentals can run as little as $100 for a 10-yard dumpster to more than $700 for a large 40-yard dumpster. Read on to learn how to get the best possible pricing on a container rental.

Step 2: Go to

At Hometown we make it quick and easy to find a reputable local dumpster rental provider. Simply go to, and search for a rental company one of three ways right from the homepage:

  1. Use the search feature to search by keyword, company name, city and/or state.
  2. Search by state
  3. Browse the “Popular Cities” section on the homepage to find your city quickly.

Once you find a list of dumpster rental companies in your area, read the short description of each one to determine which would work best for your needs.

Call at least two different companies to compare pricing and availability – it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best pricing. Make sure to get a firm price quote from the company (including landfill fees if applicable), ask if there are any prohibited items that can’t go in the dumpster, and ask about any drop-off requirements (i.e., permits for dropping off on a public street).

The vast majority of the dumpster rental companies we work with are very knowledgeable and helpful, so they’ll answer all of your questions and help get you setup with the right container.

Step 3: Prepare for the Drop-Off

The container will need to be set on hard, level ground. If you plan to have dropped in your driveway, make sure the driveway is clear and easily accessible for the drop off.

If the only option is to park the container on a city street, you’ll have to make sure you have the proper city permit for doing so. Your dumpster rental provider can help you with any necessary permitting.

roll off dumpster truck drop off

In addition to clearing a spot for the container, it’s important to make sure you’re ready to start loading it once it arrives. If you have the rental for seven days – the standard timeframe – you have to be sure that’s enough time to get the job done. If it’s not, you may incur additional fees for keeping the container beyond the agreed upon timeframe.

Step 4: Fill ‘er UP and Call ‘em Back

Now the fun part! Load up the dumpster with your junk. Give the rental company a call if you finish the job ahead of schedule; they may be able to come pick up the container early.

dumpster rental by house

Make sure you don’t overload the dumpster. Most rental companies prefer you fill the dumpster about 75 percent full, or at least below the top of the container, so there’s enough clearance to cover the load during transport. You may incur additional charges if you overfill the container.

Tips: Call to schedule your roll off container rental at least a week in advance to ensure the size you need is available. This is especially important during busy times of the year (i.e., spring cleaning season and summertime). Get slightly more container than you think you’ll need. If you initially get too small of a container, you may have to fork over the price of a second container to finish the job. A bigger container is cheaper than renting two smaller ones.

Consider a junk removal service for the job if:

  1. You’re physically unable to load the dumpster yourself.
  2. The load consists of a few large items, such as large furniture or appliances. In this case, a junk removal service may actually be cheaper than renting a dumpster.
  3. You don’t have time to do the cleanout yourself, or you don’t want a dumpster sitting on your property for a week or longer.