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Guide to starting a rubbish removal business

Rubbish removal is not a glamourous job, but it’s essential to keep our homes, businesses, public spaces and other locations clean and tidy. The amount of waste we generate is much greater than in previous years thanks to our throw away culture, and this means rubbish removal companies are more in demand than ever before. So, if you’re considering starting a rubbish removal business, now is the time to do so.

If you’re looking to get started in the rubbish removal industry, this is the guide for you. You’ll learn where to begin, how to put together a bulletproof business plan, and how to make your new company profitable.

Initial steps for starting a rubbish removal business

Renovation rubbishStarting a rubbish removal business can be a great experience if you begin with a solid foundation. You can build a company that you’re proud of while making a decent profit and developing personally.

If you aren’t sure where to begin, just use the following steps to start your rubbish removal business:

  • Pick a unique and catchy name that’s easy to remember. Once you’ve done this you can register your company with Companies House.
  • Decide whether to start small and expand over time or go all in. If you’re low on funds or inexperienced, starting small is a great way to build your business from the ground up while getting valuable experience in the process. Remember, you can always expand once you’ve found your feet.
  • Work out how you’ll remove the rubbish. Will you buy a lorry or a van to transport rubbish? In addition, waste removal companies need to register in order to transport, buy, sell and dispose of waste so make sure to do this at the website or you could face fines of up to £5,000.
  • Decide if you’ll work with hazardous waste or not. You can charge a premium for this service, but it can be risky if you aren’t confident you know what you’re doing.
  • Look at competitors’ websites and what they offer in order to know how to position your business. Offering different services or better-quality services can increase your company’s profit.
  • Research the market to find out what services are in demand and what customers’ requirements are.
  • Consider whether you’re fit enough for this physical job. Plus, you’ll need a strong stomach when dealing with certain types of waste and you may encounter pests who have made a home in rubbish collections.

How to start a rubbish removal business

commercial waste removalThe road to starting a rubbish removal business can be rocky at times, but by putting together a detailed business plan, you can avoid most potholes. In fact, building your business with care can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Make sure to include the following sections in your plan:

Getting your finances in order

One of the key things to consider when starting a rubbish removal business is how you’ll fund your new company. If you’re struggling to save any spare cash, you could always consider a bank loan or credit card but make sure you’re aware of interest rates. You’ll then need to decide how much you’ll charge for your services and how you’ll pay your overheads.

Remember to keep any invoices and receipts for tax purposes. If you’re unsure of anything when it comes to your company finances, you may prefer to hire an accountant. They can take care of any complicated issues and ensure you’re paying the right amount of tax.

Finding and attracting customers

In order for your business to be successful, you’ll need a steady stream of customers. Firstly, decide what customers you want to attract, be they residential or business customers. It can be difficult to find customers when you’re just starting out, but you can use marketing to overcome this challenge. Consider advertising your company name and phone number on your vehicle, making a website, advertising in local papers and online, or using social media.

Still struggling? The best way to reach a wide range of customers is to join Checkatrade. You’ll automatically be entitled to a share of the many customer leads we get every month and what’s more, we’ll even supply you with complimentary marketing materials.

Following the law

As a new business owner, you need to ensure your company is doing everything necessary to follow the law. You’ll need to pay the correct amount of tax, whilst National Insurance is essential otherwise your state pension may be at risk. Don’t forget to sign up for insurance (more on this coming up) and register with the HMRC.

You also need to choose a company structure and consider becoming a sole trader or limited company. In fact, our handy sole trader vs limited company guide covers everything you need to know.

Day-to-day running

There’s a range of different choices you need to make in order to shape your company. These are key to planning exactly how your business will be run. You need to decide where you’ll operate, how you’ll transport rubbish, what services you’ll offer, and many other important decisions.

Don’t forget, you’ll need a licence to process waste too, this can be obtained from Gov. uk here and costs £154.

Rubbish removal pricesCommercial rubbish removal business insurance

Getting insurance is so important for your commercial rubbish removal business. As well as covering any legal fees if a past client decides to sue you, public liability insurance also protects you financially. Other types of insurance include:

  • Personal accident insurance: If you have an accident, personal accident insurance covers you for loss of income and any expenses or bills.
  • Van insurance: To cover your van if there’s an accident or if it’s vandalised.
  • Employer’s liability insurance: If you plan to hire employees, this type of insurance is essential. If an employee gets injured or unwell at work, you and your business will be covered for compensation costs.

Commercial waste removal business start-up costs

Working with rubbish and waste will require a range of tools and equipment to allow you to do your job well and safely. Other commercial waste removal business start-up costs include a van, insurance and marketing. The most important tools and equipment you’ll need include:

  • Overalls
  • Gloves
  • Face mask
  • Rake
  • Strong bin bags
  • Shovel

If you’re worried about affording start-up costs you can save money by becoming a Checkatrade member and shopping for business essentials through our Buyers Club.

How do I start a waste management business and make money?

Now we’ve looked at how to start a waste management business, let’s look at how you can start to earn money. There are four main ways to do this, each a little different so you could choose to specialise in one area or cover multiple methods.

Below are four ways you can make a profit from rubbish removal:

  • Removing rubbish: Collecting and disposing of other people’s rubbish legally.
  • Reselling items: If you collect any items that are in good condition you can choose to resell these.
  • Taking rubbish to recycling centres that pay: Some recycling centres pay for certain types of waste, so this option is worth looking into.
  • Contracts with local authorities: Once your business is well established, it may be possible to sign a contract with your local authority to remove rubbish.


Is there good money in waste removal?

If you’re hoping to start a rubbish removal company, you may be wondering if there’s good money in waste removal. The truth is that you can make a good living working in this industry, although new businesses may take a few months to realise their potential.

  • How much you earn also depends on what services you offer. For example, you can charge more to remove hazardous waste.
  • Your company’s income also depends on its size. Larger businesses will earn more but also have higher overheads for you to manage.
  • Lastly, the start-up costs for a rubbish removal business are relatively low meaning you should see a profit in no time at all.

How profitable is the waste management business?

The waste management business sector can be very profitable but the amount you make will be affected by the following factors:

  • How quickly and efficiently you work: The faster you work, the more jobs you can fit into your day, but never be tempted to do a poor-quality job.
  • The type of rubbish: Different types of rubbish can be charged at a higher or lower rate.
  • The difficulty of the job: Some rubbish is harder to remove and dispose of, so ensure you charge more if this is the case.
  • How you are disposing of the rubbish: Reselling rubbish can be very profitable but also time-consuming.

Useful checklist for starting a rubbish removal business

  • Always take the time to draw up a thorough business plan to get started on the right foot.
  • Picking a good business name and branding can help to market your company and attract customers.
  • Never dispose of invoices or receipts, these will all be needed when you fill in your tax return.
  • Signing up for insurance will help to protect you and your business financially and legally.
  • You can make a good living through waste management but this all hinges on how you run and market your business.

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