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How to Start a Junk Removal Business

Madhushree Kelkar
A junk removal business is one of the most lucrative and easy-to-start ventures. However, there are many things which you need to know in order to start such a business.


Strive harder to meet customer expectations by delivering quality and on-time service. This will impress the clients, and they will recommend you to many others, thus, helping you to increase your customer base.
There is a famous idiom that goes as―"one man's trash is another man's treasure." Trash removal is one business that requires minimum startup investment, but helps generate a lot of revenue.
Whether it is individuals, builders, companies, property managers, or real estate agents fixing the look of a house, they hire the services of a junk removal business to take away the debris, furniture, boxes, etc., from their premises. This is indeed a very lucrative business and can help you earn a comfortable living.
However, it is advisable that you take up a job with a junk removal business before you initiate a similar venture of your own.
Charge reasonable prices, and appear professional. Just because you deal in junk, it does not mean you don't have to dress up 'job like' for it. Wear clean and neat clothes, and have a uniform for your helping hands. Don't show up at their place looking like you just don't care about your appearance anymore.

Before Starting the Business

Market Research

Conduct a market research about the existing demand and supply for this business in your area. Prefer to work in an area which has a limited number of competitors. Conduct a competitor analysis. Understand what sets established companies apart from other players, what makes them a trusted name, and whether the prices are lower or higher.
This will help you to decide your own rates. In the beginning when you are new in the market, keep your rates lower than those of established companies to attract clients. Once you have a significant client base, you can increase your prices. Find out which advertising companies are good at their work and can be beneficial for your business.


Apart from the pickup truck, you will require a hand truck which will also double up as a dolly and help transfer heavy items. Carry your cleaning equipment, like mops, brooms, etc. Pick up all the remaining material, and put it in a trash bag. You can either buy your own large trash bin or hire it from the local dealer.
Don't forget to add some heavy-duty tarp, shovels, rakes, and strong ropes to the truck every time you go for your duty. And lastly, you will require strong workmen who will be able to carry all the junk to the truck.

Source Funds

If you plan to start this business from your home without renting a place, it is not going to cost you much. All you have to do is pay your employees and get a good junk disposal truck. For this, you can avail a bank loan, SBA loan, or even a credit union loan if you have a membership of the same.
You can also ask your friend or family member to invest in this business as a partner. Hence, this business is a low-investment business and can prove to be extremely profitable. Make a foolproof business plan which will help get the right finance.

Source Vehicle

You don't need a huge truck to start a business. Unless your profits pick up, do not buy a pickup vehicle; hire it as and when there is a junk removal call. Once you start getting consistent business, buy a full-size pickup truck on loan. You can always repay it slowly, but do not settle for a secondhand 'junk' truck which will fetch you huge repair bills.
It is important that you reach on time as per your commitment to a client. The last thing you would want is the truck to fail when you are in a hurry to reach a new client's place. The truck should also be strong enough to take the weight of all the junk that you will be loading on it.

Rules and Regulations

You will have to register your business as 'doing business as.' You will be required to acquire a business license and an Employer Identification Number (EIN). Unlike an electrician or plumber, you may not need a special license to carry the debris from a house. You may need to get an OSHA certification for transporting certain items.
However, check with your local, state, and federal authorities for the regulations regarding the disposal of hazardous or dangerous waste. See if you need a transportation certificate if you are carrying scrap metal. You must find out about all the rules and regulations before you start doing the business.
The last thing you would want is to not abide by rules and attract a heavy fine or lawsuit. You will then have to open a bank account. File all your paperwork meticulously, maintain all your receipts and business accounts, and pay your taxes on time to maintain your reputation as a clean business.

Pricing Policy

Many customers will request a price for the entire junk removal project. This will help earn a good amount of money. There is also an option of charging the money based on the volume and weight of junk. This may or may not help you to earn more. While fixing the pricing, beware that you will have to pay for the waste disposal fees.
The fees will vary depending on the weight and volume of your waste. You will also have to pay for labor and transportation cost. Hence, calculate an estimated cost including that of the junk disposal fees, cost of transport, labor, other overheads, profit, etc., to the invoice.
The last thing you would want is to pay for the fees out of your pocket, and end up making a lesser margin in the business.

After Initiating the Business


It is advisable that you consult an insurance professional to find the right type of insurance. Understand about insuring your business and availing worker's compensation insurance, which you will have to pay. If you have an office premises, you will have to take insurance for them.
Also, as you will be using the truck too often, you will have to take a vehicle insurance. Many companies allow adding a rider to their personal policy for the use of the vehicle for business purposes. However, it is advisable that you take a vehicle insurance for the truck.

Threat of Competition

Understand that this is one business that does not require any kind of educational qualifications or an investment in an office space. You can easily carry out this business from the confines of your home. People keep venturing into this market as it entails high profits and low barriers to entry. As a part of their survival tactics, they keep the rates low.
This may cause the other players to change their rates as well, resulting in diminished profits. Hence, ensure that you meet customer expectations and do not allow them to move on to other players. You will have to undertake aggressive marketing, savvy customer service, and come up with discounts and other schemes for your clients.

Marketing and Advertising

Marketing is a very important factor for the success and survival of this business. You can use your vehicle to display your advertising in big and bold letters. This is a free way of advertising as the message will reach more and more people.
Also, put up posters on various bulletin boards and send flyers, brochures, and direct mail coupons to people in your community. You can also put up your ad on a billboard if you are able to afford it. You can also advertise in the local magazine and newspapers. Send your brochure to all the real estate agents and property managers in your area.
Advertising is something that you will have to keep undertaking regularly to stay in competition. Come up with a website for your company, and try to display the services you offer. Don't forget to showcase the before and after photos.
Get testimonials of your clients and display them on the website. Register your business on various business websites offering service listing like Craigslist. Have pages for your business on all the social media websites and online banners on other websites.

Practice Caution

At times, you may be called in to move wastes that may be hazardous in nature or would come under the list of restricted materials. They may pose a threat to the life of your moving employees. Especially, handling and storing poisonous gases or liquids can cause many healthy issues.
Also, if the material is rusted or has sharp edges, there is a possibility that the people handling them may get affected due to it. Hence, always insist on using protective gear like gloves, dust masks, boots, and goggles while handling wastes. Also, leave a project if it comes with a health risk.

Disposing Waste

The junk which you will collect from a client's property will be either disposed at a landfill, recycled, sold in the scrap market, or donated to charities. It is advisable that you recycle whatever you can as it will help you fetch money. Not only this, but it will also lower your waste disposal fees.
You can also sell a few of the items you collect on online websites and in scrap markets. This will help you earn extra profits. Charities will come and pick up the material without you having to shell out extra for it.

Optimizing Business

While this business is most profitable in the spring and summer season, you will have to focus on advertising before they start. You will have to undertake intensive advertising and marketing such that people will take notice of your business. Optimize your website with the right keywords, so it will start ranking when people will search for junk removal.
Try to expand your business by getting more vehicles and hiring employees. You can also undertake ice removal during winter and car junk and hot tub removal during other seasons. Try to get better deals with the scrap dealer or the person whom you sell some of the junk. Competitive auctioning of junk on online websites will help earn better prices.
It is advisable that you make agreements with property managers who often require junk removal services. Try to contact your local government body and offer them your services.
Charge reasonable rates to keep your business afloat. From the customer's point of view, understand how to choose a junk removal company. This will definitely help you to cater to their expectations in a better way.