When you’re renting a dumpster, you want to make the right call the first time. Returns are kind of a pain with something this big. Once you’ve been around the block a couple times, you’ll have a pretty intuitive sense of what you need. But if this is your first time, let’s talk about how to figure out what dumpster you need. And when you’re ready to rent, just let us know!

Factors to Consider

The basic questions you need to answer to choose a dumpster are fairly simple. What’s the total expected volume of garbage (how much stuff is it?). What type of debris are you getting rid of? And of course, location. We rent big dumpsters, sure, but they might not fit on your one-car driveway. So let’s address all of these, in some sort of order.

How To Estimate How Much Garbage You Have

First off, I want to be clear on one point – when in doubt, you want to lean towards the bigger dumpster. That’s because most of the cost is not in the dumpster itself, but the delivery, pickup, and dumping. We send the same driver, in the same truck, no matter what size dumpster you rent. So on our end, it’s fairly easy to just bring you a bigger tub. But if you mis-calculate and need a second dumpster later on down the road, that means we have to make a whole second trip to bring it to you, another again for the pick up, and we have to make another trip to the dump. So for everyone’s sake, round up instead of down.

Trash Bag Estimates

Image by Pere Serrat from Pixabay

There are a few different ways to visualize the amount of garbage you are getting rid of. Trash bags are usually the simplest – everybody has seen one before. So in your mind’s eye, imagine your pile of garbage next to a stack of trash bags. Then check the table below to see what size dumpster that shakes out to.

SizeEstimated Capacity
10 cubic yards50-70 trash bags
20 cubic yards110-130 trash bags
30 cubic yards170-190 trash bags
40 cubic yards230-250 trash bags

Pickup Truck Estimates

Image via Pioneer Press

If you’ve got a pickup truck, you can use that as a visualization tool, too! Obviously every truck is different, but this can be a good starting point.

SizeEstimated Capacity
10 cubic yards3 pickup trucks
20 cubic yards6 pickup
30 cubic yards9 pickup trucks
40 cubic yards12 pickup trucks

The Cabinet Method

This graphic is shamelessly borrowed from budgetdumpster.com. Picture a small dresser, about 4-5 feet long. That’s one square yard. Have you got that size in your head? Great, now apply it to whatever you’re throwing away. How many small dressers is it equal to?

dumpster size cabinet example
Image via budgetdumpster.com

Common Applications

You can also just cheat off of other people’s homework. You’re not the first to rent a dumpster, so if your planned use lines up with what everyone else is doing, you can be reasonably safe in following the herd. So here’s a few examples.

SizeEstimated Capacity
10 cubic yardsRoofing, small home renovations, garage cleaning, landscaping
20 cubic yardsconcrete, medium home renovation, siding, window replacement
30 cubic yardsConstruction projects, partial demolition
40 cubic yardsIf you need it, you will know

Consider The Materials

We figured out how much you are getting rid of. But /what/ are you throwing away? Metal, concrete, dirt, and other dense materials get heavy very quickly. For this reason, we limit the size of the dumpster that you can put them in to 20 yards. We don’t want to end up with a gigantic, un-towable load. You gotta break that up a bit.

Consider The Location (And Purpose)

A machine can lift scrap much higher than your brother-in-law can

Is this dumpster being loaded by a person? Is this dumpster going to your house, or to your construction site? A smaller dumpster is easier to load by hand. It is fits more easily on your driveway. Take that into account when renting, and maybe think twice before renting a 30-yarder for residential use.

Consider Renting Your Dumpster With US

AAA Service Company is all geared up and ready to bring our dumpsters to you! We proudly serve the greater Tampa Bay area, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Sarasota, Manatee, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, and Pinellas County. Visit our sister site to order today. Your next project is waiting!