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Starting A Rubbish Removal Business | Where To Begin

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As a large company who offer numerous transport services, we get asked now and again how best to go about starting a rubbish removal business?

Rubbish Removal is actually a really easy business to get started in. It can be done cheaply with the minimum of tools or skills and is a hugely profitable enterprise. To operate a junk clearance and recycling service you’ll need a van, relevant waste carriers licence and some PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Very little else is required.

Getting Started In The Rubbish Removal Business

Clearing and transporting rubbish and other general waste for a living can be done with either a van if you own one, or a car with a large trailer if you don’t. Other than applying for the relevant waste carriers licence from your local authority, all you’ll really need beyond that is some good quality PPE.

You might be working with scrap metals, wood, broken glass and in some cases powdery material such as drywall, plaster board or concrete from a home renovation so personal protective equipment is an absolute requirement.

In This Article You’ll Learn

  1. How To Register As A Rubbish Removal Business With The HMRC
  2. How And Where To Get A FREE Website For Your New Business
  3. How And Where To Apply For A Waste Carriers Licence
  4. How To Deal With Hazardous Waste
  5. Tools & PPE You’ll Need To Operate A Recycling/Junk Removal Service
  6. How To Obtain Van Insurance For Hire & Reward
  7. Where And How To Dump The Junk You Collect
  8. The Types Of Junk You Should Be Transporting
  9. Why A Junk Clearance Business Is A Great Business To Start
  10. How Much You Can Make Offering Junk Removal Services
  11. The Pros And Cons Of The Rubbish Removal Business

1. Register Your Rubbish Removal Business With The HMRC

Registering a new business with the HMRC is simple. They’ve streamlined the whole process and it can be done online here:

Simply visit the HMRC page listed above and walk through some questions to get registered. It usually only takes around 10 mins to set up.

2. A Free Website For Your New Junk Clearance Business

Let’s face it, you’re starting a new rubbish removal business so you will need a website. All your competitors will certainly have one so unless you want to hand all your customers over then there’s no getting round it. You’ll need one too.

Luckily, you can download a free website template from us. Consider it our gift to you to help you get started and we’ve also included a complete “how to” guide on YouTube to show you how to edit it and upload it to start bringing in paying customers.

You can download the template here: Free Website Template For Van Business

If you already know how to edit website templates then just download and use it. If not, then we recommend watching the tutorial. It’s explains step by step how to get the most out of it.

3. Applying For A Waste Carriers Licence

To legally carry waste of any type for hire or reward you’ll need a waste carriers licence which you can apply for and obtain from your local authority.

This is another legal obligation to make sure waste is properly transported, recovered, recycled and disposed of. If you’re not prepared to apply for a licence, please don’t get into the recycling business.

Applying For A Waste Carriers Licence In Scotland

If your operating a recycling or rubbish removal business in Scotland, you’ll need to apply to SEPA for a waste carriers licence.

At time of writing, in Scotland, the cost of a waste carriers licence is £222 which lasts 3 years. Cost of renewal is £141.

You can apply by clicking the link below…

Applying For A Waste Carriers Licence In England

If your operating a recycling or rubbish removal business in England, you’ll need to apply for a waste carriers licence online at the website for England.

At time of writing, in England, the cost of a waste carriers licence is £154 which lasts 3 years. Cost of renewal is £105.

You can apply by clicking the link below…

Applying For A Waste Carriers Licence In Wales

If your operating a recycling or rubbish removal business in Wales, you’ll need to apply for a waste carriers licence online at the NaturalResources.Wales website.

At time of writing, in Wales, the cost of a waste carriers licence is £154 which lasts 3 years. Cost of renewal is £105.

You can apply by clicking the link below…

Applying For A Waste Carriers Licence In Northern Ireland

If your operating a recycling or rubbish removal business in Northern Ireland, you’ll need to apply for a waste carriers licence online at the website for Northern Ireland.

At time of writing, in Northern Ireland, the cost of a waste carriers licence is £152 which lasts 3 years. Cost of renewal is £76.

You can apply by clicking the link below…

4. Transporting Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste isn’t worth the risk so we can’t recommend against it strongly enough. It includes toxic chemicals, asbestos, corrosive substances and basically a whole list of other nasty gunk that can harm you, people around you and the environment.

There is more than enough work to be had in the non-hazardous sector such as house clearances, shop clearances and general waste from landlords having a clear out so really, there’s no real need to be lifting something that can cause you harm.

Our recommendation is just to refuse any request to lift, move or dump anything deemed hazardous. Leave it to the professionals who specialise in moving hazardous waste.

5. Tools You’ll Need To Operate As A Rubbish Removal Service

A Large Van Capable Of Transporting Rubbish And Other General Junk

Starting a rubbish removal business you’ll need a van of course. If you don’t have a van to transport rubbish and other general junk to a recycling centre then a car with a large trailer would do the job. At least to get started.

Recycling centres charge a set fee which is payable on each metric tonne. If you’re only dumping 500KG of junk, the fee is still the same as if you were delivering an exact metric tonne so you can see the value of starting off with a van. You can hold off delivering to your local tip until you’re close to a tonne of weight.

With a car and trailer, you’re restricted to the capacity of the trailer. It’ll cost you much more to deliver less more often.

A Waste Carriers Licence

We covered this above. Starting a rubbish removal business means you’re legally obliged to have one. It is to ensure that waste is collected, transported, recycled and disposed of properly. Again, if you’re not prepared to apply for this licence, please don’t get into the waste management business. It’s illegal to operate as a waste carrier without a licence and the consequences are really quite severe.

PPE | Personal Protective Equipment For Rubbish Removal

Your health is everything and some of the waste out there, without a gentler way to express it, can kill you.

Even if you refuse to lift rubbish or other waste you know to be hazardous, which we wholly recommend, you may still encounter junk and other contaminants that can harm you or others around you.

This is particularly true for home renovations, shop refitting or house clearances which may involve broken glass, dust, broken wood or scrap metals.

At the very minimum you should have…

  • Heavy Duty Protective Gloves
  • Heavy Duty Dust Mask
  • Hard Hat
  • Construction Quality Footwear
  • Contraction Quality Eye Protection

All of the above can be bought from any reputable hardware store such as the B&Q for little cost and is well worth the investment.

Tools For Removing Heavier Items

If you’re working alone, you’ll require a good quality trolley dolly or sack barrow to shift and remove heavier items such as washing machines, filing cabinets or anything else you can’t physically lift.

You’ll also require some nylon ratchet straps. They’re cheap and cheerful and make sure anything you’re moving with a sack barrow doesn’t topple.

6. Van Insurance For Hire & Reward

To legally drive a vehicle on the road you require insurance. To drive a vehicle for hire or reward, which is what you’ll be doing, you’ll need insurance for hire & reward.

This is the same insurance as required by a man and van service and we wrote a great article on finding the cheapest available. To read that article and save yourself the trouble of shopping around, click the following link.

Top Insurance For Hire & Reward

The comparison in the article is based on a man and van service but the policy requirements are identical.

7. Dumping Junk At Your Local Recycling Centre

Your local recycling centre is where you’ll be disposing of any junk you uplift. You can find your local recycling centre by Googling “Recycling Centre (Your Area)“.

Your local authority will charge a fee, per tonne, for every load you deliver. How much of a fee differs from council to council so you’ll have to give them a bell and ask.

Also, you can’t just appear at the gates with a load expecting to dump it. You’ll need to buy a prepaid ticket from your local council office which you present to the gate before entry is permitted.

Be sure you’re under a metric tonne before you arrive at the gates of any recycling centre though. If you’re even 10KG over an exact metric tonne, they’ll be looking for a second ticket to cover the extra weight.

8. Types Of Junk You Want To Transport

Household rubbish for removal, shop fittings, house renovations or general garden rubble are all acceptable non-hazardous forms of junk ready for uplift.

Household Rubbish

This can be anything from old furniture, broken white goods or clothing to garden rubble, broken down sheds or overflowing wheelie bins. None of this is considered hazardous and has allocated bins to be disposed of at your local recycling centre.

Shop Fitting And Renovations

This is when a new owner takes over a shop and decides to rip everything out to replace it with fittings and fixtures that better suit the business he’ll be operating.

From this type of rubbish removal work you can normally expect metal or wood shelving, laminate or vinyl flooring, carpets, metal filing cabinets as well as other fixtures that were useful to the previous tenant.

Removing Junk From House Renovations

If you’re seriously considering starting a rubbish removal business then this is where it gets dirty.

If you can imagine everything from a general house clearance with the added bonus of timber, plaster board, bricks, slabs, doors, PVC, metals, glass, roofing tiles, plumbing materials and garden rubble then you’ve got a good idea of what rubbish removal from a house renovation is like.

That said, getting friendly with other companies who specialise in home & building renovations means regular, consistent work.

It’s worth noting that asbestos, for instance, has been banned in the UK since 1999 so you’re unlikely to encounter it when working with newer materials. Homes built prior to 1999 though do have the possibility of containing asbestos so due diligence and quality PPE is always recommended. More info on asbestos and rubbish removal can be found here:

9. Is Rubbish Removal A Good Business To Start?

Absolutely. The low start up costs and high returns make it a very attractive opportunity and it can be worked full time for a healthy salary or can be operated as a weekend business for extra income.

How you choose to operate your rubbish removal business is up to you. With such a lucrative income stream and laid back nature of the work, once you’re in the junk business you’ll have a hard time giving it up.

10. How Much Can You Earn Recycling & Disposing Of Rubbish?

How much you make in the trash clearance business depends on how much you put into it. It’s like a plant, if you nurture it it’ll bloom but if you neglect it, you’ll at least get leaves but very little else.

You’ll make money uplifting rubbish in 2 ways.

  • By Charging Customers To Transport Their Junk To The Recycling Centre
  • By Selling On Junk Too Good For The Dump From Property Clearances

Delivering Directly To The Recycling Centre

Charging customers to deliver their rubbish to the recycling centre will most likely be your primary source of income. It’s up to you how much you want to charge for clearing waste, but to get an idea of what you’re able to reasonably ask, give your local competition a call to see how much they’re charging.

Selling Junk For 100% Profit

When businesses go bust, office space becomes suddenly available and landlords are just looking to get rid of the contents immediately. A lot of house, shop or office clearances contain “trash” in very, very good condition which, instead of going to the local tip is able to be sold on for 100% profit.

As well as charging for the actual clearance, this “everything must go, now” attitude toward clearing space quickly is an absolute bonanza for those in the rubbish removal industry.

You can expect to acquire things like…

  • PC’s & Laptops
  • Printers
  • Copiers
  • Slideshow Projectors
  • White Goods
  • Office Furniture
  • Household Furniture
  • Electrical Appliances
  • Ornaments & Antiques
  • Sheds & Garden Furniture

In fact, you can pretty much encounter anything you’d find in a typical home or work space.

A Realistic Opportunity To Earning A Living In Junk Clearance

Running any business requires you to network, get friendly with other companies, be innovative, upload photos to your social media to promote your website and get known locally as the junk to dump guy. You can make anything from £50 per week to £1500 per week and anything in between but again, you can only get out what you put in.

If you’re able to commit to building your rubbish removal business, you’ll reap high rewards. The same can be said for any business though and locally you’ll most certainly have competitors. You just have to take whatever they’re doing but do it better.

11. Pros & Cons Of Starting A Rubbish Removal Business

Let’s Start With The Pros

There’s a beauty to self employment and in particular, within the rubbish removal business. A laid back workflow that doesn’t require any serious responsibility and all you’re really doing is taking junk to the dump.

There’s no deadline, there’s no stress about transporting fragile items, no worry about breaking anything and no reason why you can’t work a junk clearance business solo – so no pressure about van mates being suddenly unavailable for work at the last critical minute.

Rubbish Removal Salary

The salary is also handsome with little overheads. If you build your business to the point where you’re consistently busy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the jump years ago.

*Like any business, a rubbish removal business takes time to build. We don’t recommend ditching your day job to pursue a career in waste management and junk disposal.

If you really want a career change, consider starting off as a weekend service and building from there – only giving up a regular income when you’re absolutely sure your new venture in junk clearance and disposal can support you.

Moving On To The Cons

There isn’t many cons to this type of work but what there is is for serious consideration.

You Might Be Lifting Hazardous Material

You might not even know it and the person on who’s behalf you’re moving it might not even know either. This is the problem with not only starting a rubbish removal business, but working one on a daily basis. Just be wary of powders, liquids or anything that you’re not 100% sure of what they consist of.

You should also make customers very aware that you’re not prepared to lift anything you consider suspicious. Always wear proper high quality PPE regardless.

There Is A Fair Amount Of Competition In The Trash Business

As you can imagine, for low start up cost, high return work, lot’s of people are looking to starting their own rubbish removal business. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad idea to get involved, it just means the business is best suited to someone who can look at their local competition and either just do a better job, offer a better service or simply market themselves in a more attractive way.

So, What Are You Waiting For?

Now that you have all the information you need to get started in the junk clearance business, you can build yourself a lucrative income from other peoples junk.

You know what they say, one mans rubbish is another mans riches.

All the best and good luck.

Falkirk Van Hire & Removals

Handy Links…

Download Free Website Template: Here

You can view our YouTube tutorial here: Website Template Tutorial

The tutorial is themed for a new man and van website but can be edited to suit any new business type. Feel free to use at as you wish

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