How to Start a Garbage Collection Business

Did you know that the US waste collection industry grew to $68 billion in 2022? Waste collection businesses are compensated well for collecting and disposing of America’s unwanted bottles, old food, and medical waste. Do you wonder how to start a garbage collection business of your own? Keep reading about the necessary steps to start a garbage collection business and the waste hauling insurance requirements to boost your income.

How to Start a Garbage Collection Business

So you want to know how to start a garbage company? You must follow steps that include finding customers, registering your business, and hiring employees.


Come Up With a Name

To begin discovering how to start a trash company, you must first come up with a name for your business. Your business name should communicate to potential customers what benefits your garbage collection business offers. A name like “Waste Disposal King” can tell customers you aim to be at the top of your industry. You must choose a memorable name so people can more easily look you up. Ensure your name will work once your business expands. You want to choose a name you can be proud of, which makes sense no matter what stage your business is at. Changing the name of your business once it is registered can be a costly and time-consuming process.


Decide Your Brand

Another important step of how to start a trash pick up business is choosing the angle you want for your business. You can’t appeal to everyone, so your brand should highlight your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. For example, you could use a name like “Clean Disposal” to emphasize that your company cares about the environment. To appeal to local customers, you might want to choose a brand themed around your city. You could name your business after the street you operate from. To emphasize the speed and reliability of your garbage collection services, you might emphasize your brand with a name like “Speedy Junk Removal.”


Find Customers

Finding customers is crucial when learning how to start a garbage pickup business. Without a reliable stream of clients, you will have difficulty stabilizing and turning a profit. Contact local businesses to see if they need garbage collection and waste removal services. You will want to let customers know your commitment to essential issues like customer service and that you can fulfill their waste disposal needs.


Create a Website

Do you want to learn how to set up a waste management company? By creating a website, you become instantly more credible in the eyes of your customers. In the internet age, people will look up a business and find reviews before committing to a purchase. Garbage collection businesses are the same.

On your website, you will want to curate reviews and have content your audience can engage with, like frequently asked questions. You want customers to learn about your company in a way you can control. A solid online presence is the first step to generating leads and organic customer traffic online. The steps for creating a website include:

  • Buy a domain name: You can buy a domain name from services like Google Domains and GoDaddy. Choose a name that matches your brand identity but is not already taken.

  • Use a web host: Webhosting services like BlueHost manage traffic that accesses your site. They will also store the data that your website uses on physical servers. Without a web host, your website will not be accessible unless you want to host the website yourself.

  • Design your site: Using a website template from a service like Squarespace lets you design a website that looks great quickly. Alternatively, you can pay a web designer to build a custom website with desired features.

  • Upload relevant content: You want to fill your page with information about the costs of your services and topics related to garbage collection.

Register Your Business

Don’t forget to register your business when learning how to start a garbage business. Once you start doing business under a different name than your own, you must create a legal entity. Some business structures to consider include:

  • Sole proprietorship: Under a sole proprietorship, you remain the owner. You keep all your business profits but must also shoulder the burden of business debts. A sole proprietorship is less expensive to startup.

  • Partnership: A partnership is similar to a sole proprietorship but is owned by two or more people. The partners share the profits but also pay for business expenses, liabilities, and debts.

  • Corporation: A corporation is owned by shareholders and insulates those shareholders from business liability. A corporation can create stocks to raise money for business ventures. Corporations have to follow stricter rules and cost more to start. Corporations must deal with double taxation, once on their income and again on dividends paid to shareholders.

  • Limited liability company (LLC): An LLC protects you from liability like a corporation but also avoids taxes on dividends as a sole proprietorship or partnership does. Compared to a sole proprietorship, an LLC costs more to start and maintain.

Get an EIN

The next step on your journey to learn how to start a trash collection business is to apply for an EIN. An employer identification number is a tax number you get from the IRS. The IRS requires most businesses to have an EIN once they hire employees or deal with certain products. With an EIN, you can open a business bank account and deposit profits to earn interest. With a business bank account, you can apply for loans to invest in equipment and other costs.


Offer Services for Different Types of Waste

An important consideration when deciding how to start a waste removal company is to pick what services to offer. Common garbage collection and waste removal businesses offer services like:

  • Medical waste: Certain types of waste from hospitals must have extra care taken when disposing of them. Things like syringes and needles may need to be processed at a specialized medical waste facility.

  • Trash pickup: Your garage collection business can offer to pick up trash from residents and businesses. You can send collection vehicles on a schedule to pick up trash from designated containers.

  • Organic waste disposal: Organic trash comes from old plants and animals. This waste can be turned into compost and fertilize the soil and help grow food.

  • Recycling: Certain types of waste, like plastic, metal, and paper, can be recycled at a specialized facility.

  • Liquid waste: Waste products like dirty water and oil must be properly disposed of according to government regulations. Your professional services can dispose of these products safely so the environment is not harmed. People attempting to dispose of liquid waste improperly risk fines and other consequences.

Find Employees to Hire

Hiring employees is a crucial part when researching how to start garbage collection business. Waste disposal is a challenging job, and you will need help once your operations start to expand. You could hire a recycling specialist with industry knowledge of proper recycling techniques. A garbageman can help make trash pickups and drive them to the proper disposal facility. You want to hire a business assistant for the business side of things. They are responsible for answering phones, talking to clients, and supporting your business by filing paperwork and ordering supplies.




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How Much Does It Cost to Start a Garbage Truck Business

When learning how to start a garbage truck business, figuring out your initial costs is important. Typically it costs between $30,000 and $80,000 to start your business, depending on your disposal vehicles and equipment costs.


Vehicle Costs

When learning how to start a trash removal company, you must find out which vehicles you need to perform adequate services. The cost of a garbage collection truck can start at $30,000 for a used model and run all the way up to $400,000 for brand-new models. If you cannot afford these costs up-front, you can always decide to lease or finance a vehicle.


Insurance Coverage

Garbage trucks need commercial auto insurance to cover potential accidents and vehicle damage. Garbage truck premiums will cost between $4,000 and $15,000 per truck every year. Other insurance policies will vary in price and may run you $600 per year or more per policy.


Employee Training

Your waste disposal employees will need specialized training to learn the proper safety procedures in their work. This training will help your employees comply with industry regulations. Your garbage truck drivers will need a commercial driver’s license, which requires them to pass a test. If your employees handle hazardous materials as part of waste disposal, you can apply for training programs that teach them about environmental regulations and proper disposal techniques.


Registration Fees

Registering your business as a distinct legal entity can cost you money. The Small Business Administration estimates that many businesses will only pay $300 or less. However, incorporating your business can cost $500 or more in some states. 


Employee Wages

The average garbage truck driver makes $44,121 per year. As you start hiring employees, you must account for the amount you must pay for their wages. Below is a comparison of the average salary of garbage truck drivers in different states. The highest-paying state is New York, with an average annual salary for garbage truck drivers of $51,006.

State Average Annual Salary Hourly Wage
Alabama $36,350 $17.47
Alaska $42,450 $20.41
Arizona $43,001 $20.67
Arkansas $33,534 $16.12
California $41,218 $19.82
Colorado $38,416 $18.47
Connecticut $41,087 $19.75
Delaware $38,568 $18.54
Florida $36,301 $17.47
Georgia $42,271 $20.32
Hawaii $43,259 $20.80
Idaho $35,458 $17.05
Illinois $39,885 $19.18
Indiana $43,015 $20.68
Iowa $41,497 $19.95
Kansas $36,704 $17.65
Kentucky $34,095 $16.39
Louisiana $35,905 $17.26
Maine $45,914 $22.07
Maryland $38,141 $18.82
Massachusetts $44,936 $21.60
Michigan $36,753 $17.67
Minnesota $43,062 $20.70
Mississippi $38,181 $18.36
Missouri $36,528 $17.56
Montana $41,255 $19.83
Nebraska $35,511 $17.07
Nevada $44,881 $21.58
New Hampshire $42,714 $20.54
New Jersey $44,620 $21.45
New Mexico $40,287 $19.37
New York $51,006 $24.52
North Carolina $33,852 $16.28
North Dakota $41,273 $19.84
Ohio $40,065 $19.26
Oklahoma $37,232 $17.90
Oregon $43,799 $21.06
Pennsylvania $42,666 $20.51
Rhode Island $41,370 $19.89
South Carolina $37,076 $17.83
South Dakota $41,304 $19.89
Tennessee $39,215 $18.85
Texas $36,519 $17.56
Utah $39,173 $18.83
Vermont $46,040 $22.14
Virginia $39,189 $18.84
Washington $44,080 $21.19
West Virginia $36,762 $17.67
Wisconsin $44,487 $21.39
Wyoming $43,486 $20.91

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Insurance Requirements for Boosting Income

Insurance is one of the most important investments for your garbage collection business. Events like lawsuits and car accidents can cost your business thousands in costs and fees. Below are some essential policies to pick up to protect your business against these kinds of devastating financial losses.


General Liability Insurance for Garbage Collection Businesses

Your general liability insurance protects you from bodily injury and property damage claims from third parties like customers and members of the public. For your general liability policy, we recommend Thimble. The company has a digital app that makes the insurance buying process simple. You can buy short-term general liability insurance if you need to. The policy periods can be set down to the month, day, or hour. Thimble has sold over 125,000 policies since launching in 2016.


Professional Liability Insurance for Garbage Collection Businesses

Professional liability covers events related to errors or oversights you make in your business. A customer may accuse you of negligence in your services or sue you for failing to pick up their trash in a timely manner. Hiscox is our pick for professional liability insurance. They have a trusted award from the review site Feefo. You can save money when bundling multiple policies. The company has a 14-day refund policy, so you never feel pressured to buy. Hiscox has an A rating from AM Best.


Commercial Property Insurance for Garbage Collection Businesses

Your commercial property insurance can save your business in the case of a damaging event like a fire or theft. You can get reimbursed for damaged or destroyed equipment and damage to your business building. CoverWallet can be your digital wallet for commercial property coverage. You can select policies from over ten highly-rated insurers. You can get quotes online through their website or app without being committed to making a purchase. CoverWallet has an A+ from the Better Business Bureau.


Commercial Auto Insurance for Garbage Collection Businesses

Commercial auto insurance is necessary for protecting your vehicles when you use them for work. Personal auto insurance only covers personal uses of your vehicle and activities like a work commute. Activities like picking up trash and meeting clients need commercial auto protection. The policy protects your business from accident liability and can help repair vehicle damage. Tivly is our top pick for commercial auto insurance. You get a selection of over 200 insurance partners with policy options like gap insurance and uninsured motorist coverage. Tivly boasts a 4-second answer rate on phone calls, so help is always close. Tivly has an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.


Workers’ Compensation Insurance for Garbage Collection Businesses

When you start employing workers, most states will require that you have this coverage. Workers’ compensation insurance pays medical costs for injured workers. It will also supplement income for workers who miss work due to an injury. A workers comp policy often includes employer’s liability insurance. Employer’s liability insurance helps you pay costs related to claims made by employees who sue you for their injuries. 

If you need workers’ compensation insurance, choose The Hartford for your coverage. With The Hartford, your employees can fill prescriptions from over 65,000 pharmacies across the US. You can purchase policies and manage claims with the modern convenience of a mobile app. The Hartford has a 100% rating on the corporate equality index. Ethisphere has rated The Hartford as one of the most ethical companies.


Business Owner’s Policy for Garbage Collection Businesses

If you want to save money by combining policies, you want the comprehensive option of a business owner’s policy (BOP). This policy combines general liability and commercial property insurance. NEXT is an excellent choice for your BOP. Their business owner’s policy includes business interruption insurance. 

This policy option helps you with expenses and lost income when an event like a fire causes your business to close temporarily. They promise to respond to claims on your policy within 48 hours. Once your policy is purchased, you can access your live insurance certificate instantly. You can get quotes from NEXT within 10 minutes through a streamlined online process. They have apps for both Android and Apple phones, increasing your buying and tracking convenience. NEXT has an A- rating from AM Best and a B+ from the Better Business Bureau.

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