As the saying goes, “One man’s trash, is another man’s treasure”. Some call it junk, while others call it a “find”. Whether we deny it or not, most Americans have stuff we’re trying to unload sitting in the garage, attic, the backyard, or a storage facility. In this case, you can turn one man’s trash into a profitable business opportunity.

The junk removal industry which includes junk moving, hauling, and packaging, is a $10 billion industry a year according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The 90’s and new milllenium saw exponential growth of the junk removal industry when junk haulers started popping up in different sites. Some of these growth can be attributed to the rise of the internet, where we find people looking for other people’s so called trash.

Let’s explore some of the eye-popping statistics and market trends moving the junk removal industry.

Junk Removal Industry By The Numbers

niche junk removal

Junk removal is a growing industry.

The U.S. waste industry is valued at $75 billion each year, with junk removal accounting to $10 billion each year. (Alliance Disposal)

There are more than 7,000 junk removal companies operating in about 14,000 locations, employing more than 120,000 people around the country. In 2018, the junk removal business industry grew by 1.7%, reaching $49 billion in revenue.

There are currently more than 2,000 active landfills across the U.S., with the number of closed, or inactive, landfill locations numbering in the thousands. (Junk King)

Most homeowners spend around $150 and $350, or $1.50 per foot with junk removal costs averaging $70 to $570. More often than not, it could take you less than 10 minutes to pick up unwanted items and load them onto a truck. With only 4 – 5 stops per day, you could make a fantastic income.

The Junk Removal Revenue

The average job cost in the industry is $350. (Junk Removal Authority)

The Total Gross Expense percentage of income is at 41%. The average expense per job is at $143.50.

Some Alarming Statistics On Electronic Waste

70% of toxic waste in America is a result of electronic waste and that is just 2% of the total waste in America.

Only less than 13% of electronic waste is recycled. Popular gadgets such as mobile phones, computers, and TVs compose around 10 million metric tons of e-waste.

People And Junk

dump trucks

You don’t need expensive commercial dump trucks to get started.

A typical American can generate 4.51 pounds of trash per day. The U.S. produces more than 350 million tons of trash each year. Of these, just over 85 million tons of the trash is considered compostable or recyclable. The U.S. recycling rate is currently just above 34%. (Alliance Disposal)

Increased recycling and composting has helped avert over 87 million tons of material from being disposed in 2013. This is an increase of 15 million tons over the amount recorded way back in 1980. (Junk King)

The number of households that have participated in recycling programs rose from 40 percent in 2013 to 46 percent in 2015. (Alliance Disposal)

A typical single-family home will reimburse around $210 for junk removal while a business typically spend about $500. (Home Guide)

The amount of garbage that Americans are now recycling each year is just over 34% of the whole amount that is put into the waste stream. (Junk King)

More Junk Removal Statistics

trash container

You could get paid to remove this.

The global waste management industry is valued at $1 trillion annually according to Global Markets Insights.

In 2010, the junk removal industry saw revenue of $3.8 billion according to the states journal.

The average American generates about 4 and a half pounds of waste every day, and that’s not even considering the things in your home that you’ve held onto for a while but no longer have a use for. (

A full-size truck with a maximum load of 450 ft3 will cost around $550 to haul away junk. (Home Guide) This could be an $80.7 billion market in the U.S. alone by 2023.

Related Reading: 101 Profitable Long Haul Trucking Company Name Ideas

The junk removal services which is a segment in the cleaning industry, is one that experienced bumps during the great recession as revenue fell by 5.3% back in 2008 and again by more than 6% in 2009.

Junk removal companies usually take the following: 

  • Computers, monitors, TVs, and other electronics
  • Large and small appliances
  • Construction debris (roofing materials, old carpeting, etc.)
  • Yard waste
  • Hot tubs and spas
  • Boxes
  • Books, toys, and other miscellaneous home items
  • Clothing
  • Musical instruments, including large items like pianos
  • Air conditioners
  • Furniture
  • Mattresses
  • Computers, monitors, TVs, and other electronics
  • Exercise equipment
  • Bicycles
  • Tools

What junk removal companies don’t take. You will need a special license to handle these.

  • Chemicals and solvents
  • Asbestos
  • Opened cans of paint
  • Gasoline
  • Oil drums and oil tanks
  • Any other kind of toxic or hazardous waste

Television shows such as American Pickers, Storage Wars, and Pawn Stars are all about finding treasures discarded by other people. Evidently there are millions of people who enjoy watching other people sift through and explore junk too. You can use this insight as a massive opportunity.

Related Reading: How to Write a Dump Truck Business Plan + Templates

We believe there’s a huge market in developing a YouTube channel documenting the process starting a junk removal service. This digital brand could be parlayed into t-shirts, educational programs, and even a franchise depending on how ambitious you are.

Here’s one related example already on YouTube about going to rummage sales to find deals you can sell for more online. People are wildly entertained by the subject of trash and we think it’s an opportunity that will only get bigger in the next 5 years.

Here are some other trends we see coming: 

The number of businesses in the waste collection services industry is at 11,806. (IBISWorld).  The average industry growth from 2015–2020 was at 1.4%. We predict this industry will continue to steadily grow for the next decade.

RFID brings benefits in a way that it can track when and where pickups are being done, the routes used, as well as who’s been recycling and how often.Monitoring such as this can single out problem areas early on and help create incentive programs to get everyone in line. (Socialnomics)

Plastic sorting has always been a huge misuse of both time and manpower. The near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy innovation manages to capture subtle differences in the polymer compositions, effectively providing a quick and easy method of material identification. (Socialnomics)

Bottom line, there’s going to be an incredible amount of advanced technology and automation coming to disrupt this industry. If you’re willing to embrace this technology and adopt new ways of doing things, you’ll be at an advantage over the competition.

Revenue has developed an annualized 1.4 percent to $51.6 billion over the five years to 2020, including a 6 percent decline in 2020.

Our final prediction. More environmentally friendly and charitable junk removal services will become a growing trend. By either recycling more waste or by refurbishing appliances and giving them away to other specific non-profits will be a popular marketing approach for these businesses. If there’s a social program you believe in then find a way for your company to support their work.

What Do Junk Removal Companies Do With the Stuff They Haul?


Junk removal companies can actually help reduce landfill waste.

Most junk removal companies have a “less waste” mentality and aim to reduce as much waste as possible that goes into our landfills. These junk removal companies sort out what they can recycle and give back to the commmunity instead of throwing it all away into thrash.

Things like toys, furniture, clothing, and linen among others which can still be used, are brought to relief groups and local shelters which could put the into good use.

Some smaller operators even attempt to refurbish more expensive appliances and sell them on websites like eBay or Craigslist. Sometimes all you need to do is replace a light bulb and give an appliance a good scrub to make a few hundred bucks. Large appliances like treadmills, refrigerators, freezers, exercise bikes, ovens, and kitchen tables that are worth your time to turn around and sell are the biggest opportunities.

Another service you should consider is cleaning up hoarding houses. It’s reported that hoarding disorder impacts between 2% – 6% of the population. Extreme cases of hoarders may have their entire houses filled with magazines, trinkets, clothes, newspapers, pizza boxes, and other stuff the average American would toss. The cleanup of a hoarder house can be an extremely lucrative project with cleanup companies charging $10,000 – $20,000 to remove waste from these sites. This is extremely common issue when a family member with the disorder passes away or is ready to sell the house. You could be the solution for families during difficult times like these.

Overall the outlook is bright for the junk removal industry. If you want to start building a plan for your junk removal business, download our complete dump truck business plan here. This resource guide will help you build a game plan for getting into the junk hauling game. Good luck!

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