Top 6 Ways to Avoid Dumpster Overage Fees

Avoid over-filling the dumpster

The out-the-door dumpster rental quote is generally what you’ll actually pay in the end. However, overage fees can occur in situations where the container is over-filled and/or exceeds the weight allowance.

These extra fees are completely avoidable if the proper care is taken before even calling the dumpster rental company for a quote.

It starts by knowing the type and amount of junk or debris in need of disposal.

With that information, it’s time to call 2-3 rental providers (minimum) for dumpster quotes.

The tips below will help ensure you’re not paying more than the quoted out-the-door price when the final bill shows up.

1. Choose the right container size.

This is the most important tip.

It can be especially costly to rent a dumpster that is too small.

The best rule of thumb is to rent a dumpster size slightly bigger than what you think will accommodate the cleanup.

In most cases, this will only cost an additional $20 to $50 vs. the smaller option, but it will accommodate a much greater loading capacity and more leeway once the dumpster starts filling up.

Renting a dumpster that's too small can lead to needing a second dumpster to finish the cleanup. In cases like this, it's much cheaper to rent a larger container size (and much less of a hassle).

Learn more about roll-off dumpster sizes below:

2. Understand the rental company’s policies.

Every company has different policies regarding overage fees and what constitutes an overage.

You can be charged extra fees for an overflowing or overweight dumpster, as well as for loading prohibited items.

Avoid hidden fees and “surprises” later by understanding the fine print up front.

The basics you should know before signing a contract:

  • Cost of each dumpster size
  • The weight allowance of each dumpster
  • Cost per ton for exceeding each dumpster's weight allowance
  • Types of debris/junk allowed in the dumpsters (Learn more)

3. Keep the dumpster covered when it’s raining.

Debris weighs far more when wet, especially construction debris and other wastes that soak the water right in.

Type of Debris/Waste

Weight per Yard (Dry)

Weight per Yard (Wet)


600 lbs.

1,240 lbs.


150 lbs.

550 lbs.


2,565 lbs.

3,375 lbs.

Data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and NTEA

If significant amounts of precipitation are in the forecast, plan to have a large tarp on hand to cover the dumpster when not in use. Some dumpster rental companies can supply this upon request.

A dumpster placed in a covered area of your property, such as a large garage, pole barn, or shelter would also keep the contents dry.

4. Avoid filling the container with extra junk or debris.

While it may be tempting to utilize the dumpster to dispose of things beyond what it was originally intended for, this could potentially lead to an overweight dumpster.

For example, when renting a dumpster for a shed demolition, avoid also filling it with household trash, yard waste, and old junk stashed away in the garage unless you planned ahead for it.

Use the dumpster for only the waste or debris it was originally rented for. If there is additional junk or debris you want to get rid of, rent a larger dumpster in the first place or be prepared to rent a second dumpster.

As a side note: Most dumpster rental companies do not allow mixing construction debris with household wastes.

5. Avoid long-term rentals if possible.

In many cases, the longer you have the dumpster on-site, the heavier the load will become.

Similar to tip #4, it’s natural to toss extra junk or trash in a dumpster that is easily accessible, but it's also a welcoming place for other people to illegally dispose of their trash.

Plus, the longer it sits, the more rain or other precipitation can play a factor in upping the weight of the load (as stated in tip #3).

6. Donate, give away, or recycle.

Dumpsters are the ideal solution for getting rid of bulk amounts of waste, junk, or debris in a timely fashion. However, reusable items can be donated or recycled rather than landfilled.

Consider donating furniture, gently used clothing, reusable building materials, and housewares.

Drop off at a local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or charitable organization of your choice. Offering items for free via Craigslist, Offer Up or similar apps can also provide a convenient way to get rid of junk or debris, as long as it holds some value to someone else.

By doing a little planning upfront, it’s easy to avoid paying extra fees on your dumpster rental bill.

It’s also very helpful to work with an experienced, reputable dumpster rental company, especially if it’s your first time renting.

Check out Hometown’s Blog for more useful tips.