Business Overview

Whenever unwanted belongings cannot be thrown out in the normal trash, a junk removal service can help. People and businesses need help hauling away broken furniture, clearing out an attic full of trash, or even emptying an estate or foreclosure. The junk removal industry is competitive but growing, and you can start from scratch or buy into a franchise. If you’re up for the challenge, owning a junk removal business can be a profitable and rewarding adventure that involves not only hauling heavy garbage but also scouting local donation and recycling solutions.

Who is this business right for?

Problem solvers, people persons, and those who like working with their hands can succeed and find joy in running a junk removal business. Running the show involves managing plenty of people and resources while sticking to a tight schedule.

Junk removal businesses operate by appointment, so taking days off can be up to the owner. Night and weekend appointments are not necessary but are often in demand and profitable.

What happens during a typical day at a junk removal business?

Scheduling pickups and finding the right drop-off points are the two major challenges for a junk removal business owner. Customers don’t want to be kept waiting for appointments, so punctuality is crucial. People also expect you to dispose of everything in relatively eco-friendly ways. The actual junk removal simply requires appropriate strength and a fleet of trucks.

What is the target market?

Individuals and businesses are both frequent junk removal customers. Real estate and storage facilities are two industries with a particular need. Residential customers often include empty nesters and retirees looking to declutter.

How does a junk removal business make money?

Pricing typically centers around the volume of garbage removed, measured in cubic feet inside the truck. Other fees might apply to especially heavy items, certain dangerous materials, cleanup, and rush appointments.

What is the growth potential for a junk removal business?

Junk removal businesses can easily scale up with more trucks and employees. Franchise owners are generally limited to service areas, so you may need to purchase additional areas. On that note, you could potentially franchise your own junk removal startup in the long run.

Getting Started

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful junk removal business?

Successful junk removal business owners typically exemplify these traits:

  • Knowledge of business planning and management, including the ability to assess overhead costs and weigh liability issues while determining a realistic pricing model that can compete in the local market.
  • The communication skills to work with a team of junk haulers who will be doing the bulk of the labor, which is sometimes extremely strenuous; the owner-manager needs to train and motivate these employees to provide excellent service and always be reliable.
  • Customer service skills are always necessary, as a junk removal business needs to build a strong reputation in the community, earn positive online reviews, and stand out from the crowd.

What are the costs involved in opening a junk removal business?

At a minimum, you can start up a junk removal business with these resources:

  • A truck or large van
  • Basic tools and cleaning supplies
  • Location for sorting

The first vehicle represents the biggest hurdle. You can use your own truck, a new or used vehicle, or a full commercial tractor-trailer. Other options include vehicle decals and logowear to brand your business and project professionalism to customers.

What are the steps to start a junk removal business?

Once you're ready to start your junk removal business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows:

  1. Plan your business. A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even.
  2. Form a legal entity. Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your junk removal business is sued.
  3. Register for taxes. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
  4. Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your junk removal business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers.
  5. Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
  6. Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
  7. Get business insurance. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state.
  8. Define your brand. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
  9. Establish a web presence. A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. Save 15% when you create a business website with Weebly.
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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Where can I find a business mentor?

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Growing Your Business

How to promote & market a junk removal business

Customers need to know your name and trust you; therfore, quality branding and referrals are both key to marketing a junk removal business. Funny names and bright colors are popular and effective for direct advertising campaigns. A strong online presence also helps capture more local customers.

Recommended: Get started with local advertising for your business with a $300 credit from Yelp.

Legal Considerations

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a junk removal business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For more information about local licenses and permits:

Maintain Personal Asset Protection

Don’t think that just forming an LLC, or any other type of business, will save your personal assets in case of a lawsuit or other matter by itself.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your LLC is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Two of the simplest steps that will protect your business, and yourself, are to:

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.

  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
A smiling man sits at a computer and learns about corporate veils


To learn more about maintaining your LLC's corporate veil, read our guide and protect your personal assets.

Service Agreement

Junk removal businesses should consider requiring clients to sign a service agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, service level expectations, and intellectual property ownership. Here is an example service agreement.

Recommended: Rocket Lawyer makes it easy to create a professional service agreement for your junk removal business when you sign up for their premium membership. For $39.95 per month, members receive access to hundreds of legal agreements and on call attorneys to get complimentary legal advice.

Earning Potential

How much can you charge customers?

For a single junk removal visit, homeowners most often spend between $139 to $373, according to HomeAdvisor. This often covers a load of junk consisting of a few pieces of furniture or appliances, or a small room full of garbage. With pricing based on junk volume, it can be more or less depending on the customer’s needs.

Junk removal business owners need accurate knowledge and data of all overhead, including:

  • Employee wages
  • Insurance (injury, liability, business auto, and more)
  • Landfill fees and other disposal costs
  • Fuel costs and auto payments
  • Office, marketing, and other expenses

In some cases, the junk removal business can benefit financially during the disposal process, such as by selling scrap metal or receiving tax deductions for donations.

The largest national franchisors offer “no hidden fees” pricing. The crew gives an estimate upon arriving at the site, and the customer decides whether to proceed.

More information about pricing models for junk removal businesses:

What are the ongoing expenses for a junk removal business?

At a minimum, you can start up a junk removal business with these resources:

  • A truck or large van
  • Basic tools and cleaning supplies
  • Location for sorting

The first vehicle represents the biggest hurdle. You can use your own truck, a new or used vehicle, or a full commercial tractor-trailer. Other options include vehicle decals and logowear to brand your business and project professionalism to customers.

How much profit can a junk removal business make?

Each vehicle can average about one typical residential job per hour. Some jobs will take a long time, but those jobs will also bring in more revenue. Many junk removal businesses have a minimum charge of around $125 to make sure that expenses are covered for one hour of work. The size and density of your service area greatly affect driving time, which in turn affects your efficiency.

With enough demand and fast workers, a junk truck can bring in $500 to $1,500 per day, or about $500 for each truckload of junk. Many businesses start with one truck. Investing in a larger fleet greatly affects profitability.

How can you make your business more profitable?

Junk removal businesses can scale easily thanks to branding and fleet size increases. Add trucks with the company logo and employees to drive them, and the owner can scale as much as the market demands.

Completing more jobs in less time is the best and simplest way to maximize profits for your junk removal business. Strategizing your drivers’ routes, training employees to work quickly, and growing the fleet all help with booking more customers each day.

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Next Steps

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