How to Rent a Dumpster or Rolloff Container

Construction dumpster in the driveway of a home
clubfoto/Getty Images 

When demolishing or tearing out rooms during home remodeling, you will generate a significant amount of debris. Even if you had enough space in your municipal garbage bins, most communities do not allow construction materials like lumber, drywall, metal, and glass with the weekly service.

You can also haul the debris out to your local landfill or transfer station by yourself. But you need a large truck, and likely you'll still need to make multiple trips. A better option is to rent a dumpster (or roll-off container). The dumpster comes directly to you. When you're done, it's carried away and dumped for you.

What a Dumpster or Rolloff Is

A rolloff dumpster is a large, open-topped metal container that is used for collecting debris prior to being hauled to a municipal or private dump.

Homeowners can rent roll-off containers the same as contractors do for big projects. The dumpster can be parked on the property or on the street. Parking the container on the street involves city permits and extra costs.

The optimal size for home remodeling debris is about 10 to 20 yards. An average cost for a 20-yard container is about $380 for 7 days plus up to $100 per ton.

    Cost

    According to Home Advisor, in large metropolitan areas, a 20-yard container would be about $380 for the rental which includes drop off, pick up, and a week-long rental. Any additional days would be around $10 a day. In addition is a dump fee per ton of up to $100.

    Permits

    Your local parking enforcement office or building permit office can give you information about permits needed if you are parking the container on the street.

    If you have room to place it on your own property, do this so you will have no worries about tickets, fines, or permits.

    If you live on a street with a neighborhood association, it is almost certain that the provisions of the homeowner's association contract do not allow for a roll-off without permission. Exemptions may be available by appearing before the association's board.

    Tips For Renting and Using a Rolloff Dumpster

    Know the Lingo

    "Container" and "roll-off" are both acceptable terms for these large metal boxes. "Dumpster" at one time was a trademarked name but it has become genericized and can apply to any kind of large metal debris bin.

    Learn Container Yard Sizing

    Containers are rented in standard cubic yard sizes. Instead of saying "cubic yards," though, you can also say "yard" or "yarder." For example, if you were renting a 40 cubic yard container, you would say that you want to rent a "forty yarder."

    Keep Area Around the Container Clear

    Whether the container is going on the street or your property, the truck dropping off and picking up the container needs room to maneuver. Keep the front of the container clear by using traffic cones.

    If the dumpster is blocked, the driver will usually try to find the appropriate person who can remove the obstacle. If the driver cannot find move the obstacle in a reasonable amount of time, they will not pick up the container.

    Dumpster Drive-by Charges

    When a driver comes by to pick up the container but cannot access it, you may still be charged. A "drive-by" charge, less than an actual pickup charge, reflects the cost of sending out a truck to your home.

    Keep Height in Mind

    Containers of similar volume may come in different dimensions. One dimension that you want to ask the rental company about is height. It is hard to heft weighty materials over the side of a high container, so ask if you can get a lower container.

    Dumpster and Rolloff Container Sizes

    Carpeting, scrap wood, drywall―all of these waste products take up significant volume. Concrete, rock, and dirt are more weight than volume and usually, you can only fill the container quarter full (verify this with your rental company).

    10 Cubic Yard Container

    A 10 cubic yard roll-off is a metal box at least 14 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 4 feet high.

    A 10-yarder is appropriate if you are cleaning out bedrooms or a garage. For home remodeling, it can accommodate debris from a small bathroom.

    20 Cubic Yard Container

    A 20 cubic yard container is a box that is typically 22 feet long, 8 feet wide, and 4-1/2 feet high.

    A 20 cubic yard container will accommodate the waste from a small kitchen or full bathroom without cramming and crushing.

    30 Cubic Yard Container

    A 30 cubic yard container is usually 22 feet long, 8 feet wide, 5 feet high and fits in the driveway of most homes. A container of this size can fit carpeting, drywall, and wood without too much trouble.

    If you are disposing of concrete or rock, you will need a larger container since you cannot fill the container very high.

    40 Cubic Yard Container

    A 40 cubic yard container is a metal box with the same length and width as the other containers, but a full 8 feet high.

    The 40 yarder is the largest roll-off for residential use and it is meant for major, whole-house renovation work.