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Can You Really Have Your Junk Removed For "Free"?

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Whether you're renovating, tackling a construction project, or simply cleaning out a garage or workroom, you might be wondering about the best way to rid yourself of all the accumulated items that won't easily fit in a trash can or even the bed of a pickup truck. You may have seen local junk removal companies advertising "free" removal services -- but is there a catch? Read on to learn more about junk removal companies that advertise their services as free, as well as other low-cost junk removal options that may be available.

Are free junk removal services available?

The most common types of junk removal companies are those that provide you with a roll-top dumpster at your home. The dumpster is usually dropped off for a specified period of time while you fill it, then it's picked up for transport, weighed, and the trash inside sent to the nearest landfill or to a waste processing center for processing. You'll usually pay either a per-pound price for the removal service, or a flat fee that covers whatever you're able to safely fit into the dumpster.

However, if the items you're discarding contain valuable types of metal, such as brass, aluminum, or copper, or recyclable computer equipment and electronics, you may be able to bypass one of these payment arrangements and instead enter into a bartering arrangement. 

If the junk removal company is able to sell or recycle your items for more than they would usually charge just to remove items, it may be more economical for them to offer "free" junk removal -- this allows them to receive payment for your items that should cover the service costs they'd normally charge, while allowing them to experience the public goodwill that comes with providing a service for free.

Often, to determine whether your junk removal will be free, you'll have to provide the company with an estimate of the amount, type, and weight of the items you'd like to remove. In other cases, you may be asked to put down a small deposit on the service until your junk is processed or recycled and the junk removal company can determine how much of a credit you should receive.

If "free" is not an option, how else can you keep junk removal costs down? 

Even if you don't have valuable recyclable material, you may still be able to have your junk or construction debris removed for a low per-pound cost. Here are some steps that can help you along your way.

  • Determine what type of junk you'd like removed

There are junk removal companies that specialize in a variety of different areas. For example, some companies focus only on shredded paper, old furniture, and other discarded office supplies. Other companies work mostly with construction or renovation debris. By choosing a removal company that focuses on the type of trash you're planning to remove, you can ensure that you'll get the most reliable service for the lowest cost.

  • Shop around for disposal of large items

If you have some junk that is very large or unwieldy and don't want to pay a per-pound rate to dispose of it, you might consider listing it for free on a local garage sale page or buy/sell/trade app. Many "freecyclers" will scour these listings, looking for items they can repurpose or recycle for their own uses. Even if you don't feel like going to the trouble of listing your item(s), if you set them out near the curb or edge of your lawn with a sign that says "FREE," you may find that they're out of your hair by the end of the day.

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