As a professional roofer who deals with lots of waste of varying types, you can image I have handled a lot of rubbish removal over the last 30+ years. This page deals with not only the average cost of hiring a skip but some viable alternatives as well. I use all sorts of methods of rubbish removal, and because I’m not selling you a rubbish removal service, I’ll give you a 100% no spin, honest, evaluation of the many alternatives, and tips on how you could save money along the way.
Skip hire prices
What size of skip do I need? Well skips are still hired by the cubic Yard (a 91cm x91cm x 91cm cube), so you can either get a tape measure out, or imagine two washing machines butted up tight side by side. Now imagine the amount of your waste you can fit inside this area. Another good method is to visualize your rubbish in bin bag terms, and below you will find the number of bags in capacity terms described alongside the skip sizes, and skip costs. All prices include VAT and are from a large city in the East Midlands, if you live in London it may cost more.
2 Yard Mini skip £110 – The smallest skip available holds approximately 20 to 30 bin bags, or a weight capacity of around 2 tonnes (2000kg). This is for very small jobs only, and the average skip size is 70cm High : 147cm Wide and 216cm Long.
4 Yard Midi skip £150 – The most common “small” skip, and probably what you have in mind when you think of a small skip. This holds around 30-40 bin bags and will commonly hold a weight of approximately 3.5 tonnes (3,500kg). With a Height of 90cm : 147cm in Width and 246cm in Length.
6 Yard Skip £180 – This is the slightly smaller version of the standard builders skip that everyone is familiar with. With a 50 to 60 bin bag capacity and a weight capacity of 6 tonnes (6,000kg) it’s a big step up from the Midi above. 120cm High : 175cm Wide and 303cm Long.
8 Yard Builders Skip £220 – The most common skip for landscaping, garden waste, building projects, and can be requested with a slide bolt drop down door for wheel barrow loads. This is the standard builders skip that us builders like to leave on the road or blocking your drive, and holds 60 to 80 bin bags or 8 tonnes (8,000kg). Height 126cm : Width 175cm : Length 375cm.
- 12 Yard Maxi skip £300 – The same design as the builders skip above and also available with a drop down loading door. You can fit in roughly 100 to 120 bin bags or a load of 12 tonnes (1200kg). Height 168cm : Length 370cm : Width 178cm.
Skip hire costs
Let’s deal with unforeseen snags. In addition to the actual cost of skip hire, you may also require a permit if you need to place the skip on a public road or footpath. These are acquired from your local council or can often be arranged by the skip company. The permit lasts up to 4 weeks but costs do vary from council to council, anywhere between £10 to £80 is common, with London generally costing more.
If you require a skip for prolonged periods of time i.e. more than the usual 1 – 2 weeks, some companies will charge per week or per day after the allotted time (they cannot re-hire a skip you are using for months on end). So if this is a concern make sure the terms are clear first.
Top skip hire tips
Everyone wants a cheap price or low cost for taking away waste, the trouble is the basic cost for recycling or landfill at the waste management companies, through to the skip hire companies locally, are virtually the same. Here are my top tips on reducing cost, and avoiding pitfalls…
- Lowering costs – Obviously, do not hire a skip too small or too large. Too small and you will end up paying for two skips, too large and you are paying to tip fresh air.
- If you are clearing a house use a house clearance firm for any ornaments, furniture, fireplaces, fittings or fixtures first.
- If you are tipping “hardcore” (slabs, concrete, stones, bricks, rubble, plaster) or soil, you may well get a discount over “mixed” which is all types of mixed waste together (except banned items). Sometimes for multiple skips or repeat custom you can negotiate placing the hardcore at the bottom of the skip and timber stacked neatly on the top. This is something I do that saves me about £20 per load, as the skip firm can scrape the wood off the top, then tip the hardcore beneath netting a saving.
- Maximise your load by intelligently stacking the waste. i.e. Stack wood in a manner where you will leave no gaps, just throwing stuff in with confidence in the beginning can leave expensive gaps that will not be filled later on. Sawing, or breaking up irregularly shaped items can save lots of room later on. Pack it like a RyanAir suitcase, and yes this is a phrase we use.
- Do not overfill – No really. If they say a level load, they mean it. Yes you can get away with a bit extra on the top, but never put more on than you are willing to take back off if the driver thinks you have gone too far.
- Balance the skip where you can. I know this is obvious but heavy things go at the bottom. If the skip is unstable or top heavy you will be unloading it again.
- Do not pay to tip anything you can get the council to remove, or that you could take to a council run tip for free. Think Fridges, Freezers, Batteries, Paint, Mattresses or Carpet etc. Some councils like mine will even collect large items if you phone them up.
- Do not place hazardous goods in the skip. If in doubt phone and ask before loading anything dubious into the skip. And no you can’t hide it in the middle, the recycling men at the depot will spot it, then you’ll get a nasty phone call or a fine if you do not go to the yard and retrieve your dodgy items. This could be some of the items listed above or Asbestos, Flammable liquids, Chemicals, Acids or Pressurised containers etc. I once had to go and retrieve some fibre cement boards because they looked like asbestos, and another time some idiot hid tubs of chemicals underneath my loaded skip overnight.
- Unforeseen costs – If you are putting a skip on your driveway to save permit costs, think about the weight of the skip. If you plan on loading lots of soil or harcore, the weight may damage your drive when the skip lorry uses its rear stabilizers, even with timber packed underneath them.
Alternatives to a skip
There are of course viable alternatives to a skip, some of which I use regularly. The first is the ‘man and van’, not as unprofessional as it may first sound, there are some very good professional small businesses in the rubbish removal and waste market. Another viable option is the ‘Hippo Bag’ where you purchase a set sized bag to fill, and then have it removed at a later date.
Skip alternatives – This is a prime example of when I would say you will gain much better results using a professional refuse service like a ‘man and van’ setup. These large bulky items, some recyclable, will quickly and expensively fill a Skip or Hippo Bag. Pictures kindly donated by The Junk People and House Clearance both of Leicester.
Man and van rubbish removal
This is a service I use regularly, particularly for large bulky items like timber, plastics, bags of general waste etc. It’s very handy for me when the waste isn’t just a lot of hardcore like bricks or roof tiles. Often when stripping corrugated sheeting or fascias and soffits, I can stack the waste at the front or rear of the property out of the way, phone them up and they remove the waste for me at a set day or time. That means I have no potential damage caused by a skip, no skips left on site to annoy my valued customers, and you only pay for the materials you tip. I know several kitchen fitters that use this service. If however you are loading as you go with lots of heavy items like soil or hardcore a skip may still be best.
- Flexible rubbish removal times with no Skip left on site, no damage to driveways
- Staff load the waste for you, even if the refuse is awkward to get to (down an entry, through the house…)
- Can be cheaper, especially for recyclable items, bulky waste or regular custom
- No council permits required
- Often a strong recycling policy with good companies
- Can be more expensive for very heavy loads, especially if staff are loading for you
- Waste has to be ready for collection, no prolonged loading over days
The Hippo Bag
This is a method I dont use, but I understand why some people do. The Hippo Bag sits somewhere between a skip or a man and van service. It has the convenience factor of a man and van, you simply order the bag online or pick them up in DIY stores, then load at your convenience. Keep the rubbish within the confines of the bag, and like a skip there is no rush for collection. But unlike a skip it can be removed over fences or walls by the crane lorry that removes them (as long as that’s within 4 metres of the road or have good wide access down a drive).
- Loading times can be as slow as you need for prolonged projects
- Bags fit over walls and take up little room as long as it’s within 4m of the road or lorry access
- Buy and use convenience
- Small bag size compared a skips volume
- Costly method for large or bulky items