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How to Start a Junk Removal Business in (2024) in 7 Easy Steps

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Free Junk Removal Business Plan Template [Updated 2024] Template

January 22, 2024

10 Min Read

how to start a junk removal business
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The junk removal industry is thriving with Americans discarding up to 1,100 kilograms of waste yearly. This rapid growth, averaging nearly 5% annually, signals a lucrative opportunity for new businesses.

In 2021, junk removal companies averaged revenues of $8.3 million, largely because most people find disposing of heavy items challenging.

If you’re thinking about how to start a junk removal business then you’re at the right place. This guide will help you understand the necessary skills and market demands that can position you for success in this expanding sector. So, without further ado let’s get started!

Factors to Consider Before You Get into the Market

Starting a junk removal business is an exciting venture, but there are essential steps to consider first.

Research Your Target Market

The type of junk removal job you offer—targeting homeowners or commercial businesses—will shape your market. Investigate what competitors charge and the specific needs of your potential customers. This research helps you set competitive rates and understand operational costs.

Understand Regulations

As a junk removal business owner, you should familiarize yourself with local, state, and federal junk disposal and recycling laws. Ignoring these can result in hefty fines. Also, remember that handling hazardous waste often requires special licenses.

Know Your Competition

Beyond market research, delve deeper into the local junk removal businesses. Study their business models, pricing, and customer base. Understanding what makes them successful is crucial. If needed, hire a competitive analyst for more nuanced insights.

Gain Hands-on Experience

Consider working in the industry first. This experience offers insights into the business, from operational challenges to discovering potential value in discarded items. It’s also a chance to understand the dynamics of working with different customer bases, like households versus companies.

Find Hidden Opportunities

While working, you’ll learn to spot items that can be recycled for cash or have resale value. This knowledge can be financially beneficial and help with tax considerations.

Identify Your Strengths and Networking Opportunities

Working in this field shows you what you’re good at in the business, helps you meet others in the industry, and introduces you to potential customers.

Starting your own business requires knowing the market, following the rules, studying competitors, getting experience, and spotting chances. With the correct method, you can make valuable things out of trash.

Now that you’ve learned about the important factors involved in this business, let’s explore how you can start a junk removal business in seven easy steps.

1. Prepare a Business Plan

Starting a business is exciting, but securing funding can be tricky. That’s where a strong business plan comes in. It’s like a detailed roadmap, guiding you and potential investors through your vision and financial projections.

To help you get ready like a pro, you can download your junk removal plan here. This plan covers it all: your big ideas for the business, how you’ll get more customers, and, super important, how you’ll manage the money.

Here’s what a business plan includes:

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Overview
  • Product and Services
  • Market Analysis
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Management Team
  • Operations Plan
  • Financial Plan

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2. Junk Removal Business Registration

First, you need to select a unique name for your junk removal business. Next, ensure you have the green light to operate that name in your area.

Regulations vary across locations, so research the specific permits and licenses required. For example, to open your junk business in Denver you require a waste hauler license.

Here’s what you need to do next:

Decide on  Your Business Structure

You need to decide the legal structure for your junk removal business before registering it. This decision will influence your tax payments, liability in lawsuits, paperwork, and various other regulations. The common types of structures include:

  • Sole proprietorship
  • General partnership
  • Ownership with limited personal liability (Limited liability company, LLC)
  • Limited partnership
  • Corporation

Forbes recommends using a Limited Liability Company (LLC) for your junk removal business.

Find a Registered Agent

Every LLC and corporation needs a registered agent. This person or company will take care of all the legal stuff and official letters for your business. They have to be in the same state as your business and need a real address for getting papers.

Register Your Business and Get an EIN

You’ll need to register your business with your state. How you do this can vary, so it’s a good idea to talk to your state’s Secretary’s office. You must also get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS. Think of it like a social security number for your business.

Register for Taxes

And don’t forget taxes! You need to be ready for both state and federal taxes. This means setting up sales tax, income tax, and if you have employees, taxes for them too. Make sure you’re all set in this area.

3. Get Your Finances in Order

After completing all the necessary paperwork, your focus should be on managing your finances. It’s crucial to determine the amount of money you will need to start and run your business smoothly.

Typically, the initial junk removal startup costs range from $7,500 to $28,000, and most of it goes into purchasing a truck. The cost of the truck varies depending on its size and whether it’s new or used.

To save money, you can start with a smaller or older truck and upgrade to a larger one as your business grows.

Creating a detailed budget is equally important as understanding the initial investment.

When planning a budget, consider the following expenses:

  • Wages to be paid
  •  Insurance expenses
  • Cost of tools and equipment
  •  Required licenses

Overestimating your income and spending on unnecessary things can quickly make your small business a financial mess.

After creating a budget, the next step is to figure out where to get the necessary funds. There are a few primary methods to consider:

  • Use your savings: A classic self-funded approach, ideal for smaller needs.
  • Bank loan: Reliable, but requires a convincing business plan.
  • Credit cards: Quick access, but high interest rates can bite.
  • Angel investor: Rare, but potentially a big boost.

For most, savings and bank loans are the most common paths. Choose the one that best fits your financial needs and repayment ability.

4. Get Business Licence, Permits, and Insurance

Starting a junk removal business involves understanding many legal rules, which might seem complex. To make things easier, you can look up the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) website. It has all the necessary list of the permits and licenses you may need for your business and others too. Consider it a guide to begin with, but remember you might also need to follow extra rules in your local area.

Why do you need junk removal business Insurance?

Imagine this: you’re on your way to a job, and there’s a car accident. That’s a real headache, right? Not just the damage but the lost time and money too.

Business insurance is your safety net for these kinds of surprises. If you’re in the junk removal game, focus on these three:

  • General Liability Insurance: Quickly covers work-related accidents or damage.
  • Commercial Auto Insurance: Handles costs from any work vehicle accidents.
  • Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Pays for employee injuries, covering medical bills and lost wages.

These insurances act fast to protect your business from unexpected costs and keep operations smooth.

5. Get Tools, Equipment, and Vehicles

Once the legal hurdles are cleared, building your arsenal of tools and equipment becomes your next priority. This is the bedrock of your junk removal operations.


Garbage bins, shovels, bags, rakes, and tarps are your frontline equipment. They help efficiently collect and manage discarded items.


A reliable pickup truck is your workhorse. It facilitates hauling junk from client sites to disposal facilities. Choose a size based on your business scale and anticipated load volumes.

Safety First

Remember, some materials can pose risks. Invest in proper safety equipment like gloves and masks to protect your crew from potential hazards.

Scaling Your Operation

As your junk removal business grows, adjust your equipment and workforce accordingly. Bigger jobs might require additional bins, a larger truck, or more team members.

6. Determine Your Pricing Strategy

It’s awesome to earn money from junk removal jobs but to make a profit; you must ensure your prices cover your labor, materials, and other costs. Here’s how you can create a pricing strategy for your waste removal business:

Choose How You’ll Charge

You can charge based on:

  • How long does it take to clean up their junk?
  • How much does their junk weigh?
  • How much room does it take in your truck (measured in cubic yards)?

It’s smart to have prices for all three options, and then pick the best one for each job. Here’s how to make sure you’re charging fairly:

Look at What Other Successful Junk Removal Business Owners Are Charging

Check out what other junk removal companies charge in your area. Don’t just copy them, but use their prices as a ballpark for what customers are willing to pay.

Think about your overhead costs

Fuel, labor, and truck wear and tear can add up to your costs. Make sure your prices cover these.

Include Other Costs

Don’t forget to add in the cost of materials, the time it takes to travel for waste disposal, and taxes, and aim for at least a 15% net profit margin on top of all this.

7. Market Your Business to Bring in Clients

Your junk removal services are all set to go—now it’s time to get your first customer. Try these marketing ideas for junk removal to draw in customers and start getting jobs:

Building a Website

84% of customers think a business looks more trustworthy if it has a website than just using social media. You can easily create one operating platform like Wix or WordPress.

Start with a simple template and tell the story of your company. People love hearing about how you started; adding high-quality pictures will make your site more engaging. Make sure your contact info is easy to spot!


This part is super important. You’ve got to be where your competitors are, but try to do it better. Top spots for advertising your junk removal business include Google Ads, Yelp, Home Advisor, Craigslist, Facebook, Instagram, yard signs, and graphics on your trucks.

Also, hand out professional business cards whenever you can – you never know when you might meet a potential customer. Get your business listed in local directories and encourage your customers to leave reviews on sites like Yelp and Angie’s List.

Sales Strategy

Think about what makes your service unique. You can guarantee to be there within 24 hours after someone calls, or offer discounts to returning customers. Find something that sets you apart and make sure people know about it. This will help you stand out in the junk removal business.

Next Steps to Starting a Junk Removal Business

Junk removal companies will always be around, but making them grow isn’t always easy. Success is possible, but you need a good junk removal business plan, hard work, and the ability to adjust to new trends and changes.

Remember to stick to your core values, keep your eyes on the market, and implement the tips we’ve shared throughout this article. By doing so, you’ll increase your chances of building a successful and lasting junk removal business.

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About the Author


Shyam Dua

Shyam Dua is a seasoned tax professional with 40+ years of experience & a mentor at SCORE. He stands out due to his exceptional business planning skills. With a keen eye for detail and a strong financial acumen, Shyam crafts compelling business plans that pave the way to success. A CPA with a philanthropic heart, Shyam's strategic expertise, and dedication make him an invaluable asset in shaping thriving business ventures. Read more


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