Lower Your Cost to Rent a Dumpster in 2020

Cheapest dumpster rental

The national average cost of dumpster rental is $404. The price paid in your area may vary significantly from the national average, however. Dumpster size, local dump fees, and which service you rent from have the largest impact on cost.

Average Cost to Rent a Dumpster
Container Size Average Cost
10 yard dumpster $304
20 yard dumpster $383
30 yard dumpster $441
40 yard dumpster $488

Small 10 yard dumpsters rent for an average cost of $304; a medium-size 20 yard dumpster is $383; and the cost of a large, 30 yard dumpster is $441. The overall average cost to rent a dumpster in the US is $404. 

National averages, however, may have little to do with your local price. Read our "7 insider tips" below to learn how to get the best price near you.

#1: For Lower Prices, Rent Local... NOT National

First, it's important to understand that there are three different types of service providers that rent dumpsters. 

  1. Independent, locally-owned dumpster services
  2. Large, national trash companies like Waste Management or Republic Services
  3. Out-of-state brokers that book the dumpster and pass the order onto a local service provider

National Dumpster Service = Expensive + Frustrating

Big, national companies like Republic Services and Waste Management are excellent for regular weekly collection of residential trash. For curbside trash pickup, they run highly efficient operations with very competitive prices.  But it's a different story for temporary dumpster rental. Compared to small and local disposal services, renting from the big guys costs a lot more.

Recently, we surveyed 48 US metro areas and compared Waste Management's dumpster prices to local dumpster services.  We used 20 yard dumpsters because that's the smallest size roll off dumpster that WM offers.  On average, the cost of renting a 20 yard dumpster from Waste Management was $524 compared to $367 from a local hauler.  Local haulers are over $150 cheaper!

Waste Management dumpster rental costs versus other dumpster rentals companies

Along with better prices, local dumpster services also generally offer less hassle when you need customer service.  Many are family operated businesses. Call in and you're generally talking to an owner or someone with direct access to the owner.  National companies can be more challenging. Think phone trees, time on hold, talking to out of state staff rather than local... you get the idea.

Find local dumpster services in your area

#2: Avoid High-Priced Brokers

Dumpster brokers often appear to be local haulers, but they are actually are out-of-state middlemen that do not own any dumpsters. They take orders for dumpsters at high prices (generally 10% - 20% higher than local prices) and then pass that order on to local haulers, skimming the extra cost off the top.

The unsuspecting homeowner or contractor is often unaware that they booked their dumpster with a high-priced middleman, not the actual service provider. 

It can very difficult for most renters to know which companies are brokers and which companies are legitimately local.  One hint... many brokers have toll-free phone numbers like 888, 877, 866 (this is not always the case). Brokers also tend to falsely present themselves as "budget" or "discount" haulers. Below are just a few of the many brokers nationwide.

Dumpster Brokers - Not Local, Not Cheap

  • Bargain Dumpster
  • BudgetDumpster.com
  • Budget Dumpster Rental
  • Big Red Box
  • Discount Dumpster Shop
  • Dumpster Rental Guys
  • Same Day Dumpsters
  • Same Day Dumpster Rental
  • Top Dog Dumpster Rentals

There is a legitimate reason to use honest dumpster brokers. In some areas, local haulers just aren't very accessible.  Some smaller companies don't have dedicated staff to answer the phone.  The owner is often out delivering the 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.

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#3: Call for Quotes and Be Prepared

Because so many factors affect your actual price, it’s usually necessary 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 (availability is not a given, many companies have full schedules). 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?

Why Aren't More Dumpster Prices Published Online?

Many local dumpster services need your location and the type of debris your putting in the dumpster to quote the right price. Why?

  • Travel time and gas to your location twice (delivery and pickup) are a significant expense
  • Some cities and towns charge for permits and others don't
  • The cost to dump can change by the type and weight of your debris

A Sampling of Local Dumpster Prices

Find local dumpster services in your area

#4: Compare Apples to Apples on Quotes

Get a lower price on dumpster rentalWe advise getting a quote from 2 or 3 local companies to make sure you get a fair deal. We do NOT recommend automatically booking with the cheapest company.  Consider total cost, reputation, customer service, and make sure you are comparing apples to apples on the quotes. 

Weight of Your Debris May Affect Your Final Price

When you rent a roll off dumpster, a specific amount of weight is generally included in your price.  This is the weight of your debris only... don't worry about the weight of the container itself.  If you go over the included weight, you will generally pay a fee for that extra weight. Overweight charges are assessed only after your debris is weighed at the landfill, and some renters are surprised to receive an additional charge after the fact.

How much does your debris weigh? 

The fees to dump at landfills in your area are the single largest factor impacting the cost to rent a dumpster.  The dumpster service pays the landfill for the weight of your debris. If landfill fees are $50 per ton in your area and your debris weighs 4 tons, the dumpster service will pay the landfill $200 ($50 X 4) for your debris.  It's an unavoidable cost that gets passed on directly to you.

The cost to dump and process waste varies wildly by region of the country. In the US, landfill disposal fees range from $30 to $100 per ton (1 ton = 2000 lbs).  If you live in a region with high landfill fees (Northeast, West Coast, and many places in between), your cost to rent a dumpster will be higher regardless of which disposal service you use. 

Comparing Price Quotes

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

Company A - 10 yard dumpster

  • $250 with 1 ton of weight included (2000lbs)
  • $50 per ton over included weight

Company B - 10 yard dumpster

  • $275 with 2 tons of weight included (4000lbs)
  • $50 per ton over included weight

Which is the best price? That depends on the weight of your debris.  If your disposing of relatively light household junk and it weighs in at the landfill at 1 ton... Company A would be the cheapest. If your disposing of heavier construction debris and it weighs in at 3 tons, your final cost with Company A would be $350 ($250 + ($50 X 2 tons overweight)).  Final price for Company B would be $325 ($275 + $50 X 1 ton overweight)).  

"Household junk typically weighs in fairly light... 1 to 2 tons.  Roof shingles, concrete, dirt, and construction debris are much heavier."

#5 Avoid Renting a Dumpster that is too Small

The cost of renting a dumpster increases with the size of the container, so it's smart to get the smallest dumpster you need. However, estimating the volume of your junk or construction debris is notoriously difficult and many underestimate. To help you select the right size for your cleanup, check out Hometown's how-to guide for dumpster sizes.

What happens if you rent a dumpster that is too small? You pay double to rent the dumpster twice. So beware of skimping on the size to save a buck. It may backfire.

Should you rent the 10 yard or the 20 yard?

A homeowner is deciding between a 10 yard dumpster that rents for $300 and a 20 yard dumpster that rents for $380. To save money, he rents the 10 yard.  

Problem: the 10 yard fills up and there's still a lot of debris left. The only real solution now is to get this 10 yard dumpster hauled away and to rent another 10 yard... costing exactly double. 

Oops! A more cost-effective approach would have been to rent the 20 yard dumpster initially, which has the exact same capacity as two 10 yard containers.

  • Cost of one 20 yard dumpster: $380
  • Cost of two 10 yard dumpsters: $600

Lesson: Choose the smaller dumpster only if you are confident the smaller dumpster has enough capacity.  The cost per yard of capacity goes way down as dumpster size increases, so the larger dumpster is the safer choice if you're unsure. 

#6: Donate or Sell Before Loading the Dumpster

Garage sales can help reduce the cost of dumpster rentalsIf you can, consider having a yard sale or donating to your local charities to reduce the amount of stuff you're throwing in the dumpster.  Promoting reuse of usable items is not only the right thing to do, it can save you money. Eliminating bulk and weight that would otherwise be going into your dumpster means you may be able to rent a smaller dumpster or pay less for weight.

A few great places to consider selling, trading, or donating your gently used goods:

#7: Sharing with a neighbor can make a lot of 'cents'

how to get a better deal on a dumpster rentalLet's face it. We all have a bunch of junk we should get rid of.

Let your neighbors know you’re planning on renting a dumpster, and see if they’d be interested in sharing the dumpster and the cost. If they have just one or two items, like a couple pieces of furniture, they could pay $50 of your $250 rental; or if they've got a little bit more to get rid of, you could split it down the middle and pay $125 each. Either way, you save on cost and your neighbor benefits as well.

Find local dumpster services in your area