Dumpster vs. Dump Trailer: The Ultimate Showdown

Dumpster vs. Dump Trailer: The Ultimate Showdown

When you’re on the job, you’re going to generate some trash. Scrap, tear off and damaged materials all have to be removed from the site for disposal, and that means you’ll need something to put them in. There are two primary options that you’ll see contractors use: dumpsters and dump trailers. Figuring out which one is the better option depends on who you ask, though.

While part of the issue comes down to personal preference, there are other things that can affect the choice as well. If you’re undecided about which is a better option at your job sites, here are a few things to think about that might help you decide.

Dumpster vs. Dump Trailer

First of all, let’s make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding what’s being talked about here. A dumpster is a four-walled trash receptacle that’s typically stationary and is simply placed and used; these are similar to the big containers you see at restaurants and retail stores, though for construction use, a longer dumpster (such as 15 to 20 feet or longer) is more practical. To empty one, the entire unit is picked up and dumped out. Conversely, a dump trailer is a walled trailer that’s designed to hold scrap and trash. Hydraulics beneath the trailer lift the bed to dump its contents out of the end similar to a dump truck.

Rent or Own?

One consideration when trying to choose between a dumpster and a dump trailer is whether you prefer to rent the unit or own it. Dumpsters are more likely to be rented than dump trailers, as there are services that will deliver dumpsters to your job site and then pick them up when the job is done. Dump trailers are more likely to be the property of the contractor, owned like any other trailer that’s used on the job. Not only does this factor into cost considerations, but if your equipment is rented, then you can also avoid dump fees when it comes time to empty.

Emptying the Load

The ease of emptying a load of trash or scrap is also a consideration. If you have a dumpster, it will likely need to be emptied manually if you don’t have the equipment to lift it and dump it. This is one of the reasons that many contractors prefer to rent dumpsters instead of owning them, because the service that provides them does the work. With a dump trailer, emptying a load is much simpler as you only need to push a button to activate the hydraulics.

What Does It Cost?

The cost can be a major factor in your decision, though it depends heavily on both the state and county that you live in. Dump fees will likely have to be paid when emptying either a dumpster or a dump trailer and depending on the work that you do, you may need special permits or have to pay additional fees to dump some materials. Rented units avoid this, of course, as the service that rents them includes disposal in their costs. In some areas, it is cheaper to pay the dump fees than rental fees. In other areas, dumping is so expensive and requires costly enough permits that many contractors try to avoid it.

Other Considerations

There are a number of other factors that can affect your decision including the ease with which you can relocate a receptacle and how much work is required to secure a load for transport once the receptacle is full. All of these factors can go into your decision, though in the end, it comes down to the option that you feel is most beneficial for your business.

Which do you prefer on the job, a dumpster or a dump trailer?