Reduce Your Skip Hire Costs

Reduce Waste Removal Costs

House building generates waste, learn how to reduce costs from the start of your project

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Hiring a skip and removing waste is costly

It's hard to imagine an effective construction site without the presence of the humble skip - an essential tool which serves as a collection point for all the waste coming off the site. But there's a problem: hiring a skip and removing waste is costly. 

Construction firms, DIY enthusiasts and contractors all have to hand over substantial sums of money to the skip suppliers for their services. It doesn't come cheap.

There's a need, therefore, for information and advice on how to get the cost of skip hire down. People engaging in a construction project want to be able to get the essential services that skip hire provides, but without the excessive overhead.

Why There's A Need For Skips

Many construction sites rotate skips, delivering a fresh one as soon as the existing one becomes full

Construction and building projects generate a lot of waste. All that waste has to go somewhere. It's often not practical or legal for waste to go in standard wheelie bins or in the back of a van to be taken to the refuse dump: workers and contractors need a larger container that meets their building waste removal needs.

Enter the humble skip. 

Skips are much larger and more durable than most refuse containers, such as standard wheelie bins. Skips are made of solid metal, allowing people working on building sites and other projects to carelessly discard most items, without worrying whether there will be enough space or if they will damage the container. Manufacturers design skips to withstand substantial abuse. 

Skips also make the process of removing large amounts of waste from a building site more practical. Not only do skips offer a large internal volume for junk of all shapes and sizes, but they can also be lifted and loaded onto the back of a truck efficiently and taken to a refuse dump. Many construction sites rotate skips, delivering a fresh one as soon as the existing one becomes full. 

When empty, a typical 8-yard skip weighs around 250 kg. The weight of a full skip depends on the type of waste it contains. You could theoretically fill an 8-yard skip with blocks of lead and have the weight hit 50,000 kg, but that would exceed the 8,000 kg weight limit of standard skip trucks. 

The crane that lifts the skip onto the back of the truck has an operational weight limit - something that you may need to consider if you remove lots of steel-reinforced rubble or scrap metal from a site.

People use skips for the following purposes:

  • Transferring and removing construction waste. New fit-outs, constructions and interiors all generate vast amounts of waste as workers remove old fittings, fixtures, building aggregates, and pieces of scrap material. The most common use of skips is on construction sites. 

  • Removing demolition waste. When demolition experts raze a building to the ground, they must remove all the of the waste material. The most common method for doing this is to use skips. Trucks carry skip-loads of material from the site to landfill or a recycling depot in rotation. 

  • Removing garden waste. Fallen trees, cuttings and landscaping waste are bulky. Many landscaping companies or people re-doing their gardens use skips as a convenient place to dispose of all their garden waste. 

  • Factories producing scrap metal. Metal arrives at factories in standard rolls. The factory then has to cut the metal into the shape required by the product specification. Most factories, therefore, churn out a lot of scrap metal - odd cuttings that they can't use elsewhere in the production process.

    Firms use skips to collect all the scrap metal and then dispose of it either at a recycling centre or in landfill. 

  • Home renovations. Fitting a new bathroom or kitchen, or converting a loft, generates a lot of waste. People must remove the old fittings before replacing them with new, creating substantial waste in the process.

    Home renovations generate more junk than regular household waste facilities can manage, necessitating skip hire. 

  • Handyman services. Handyman services make extensive use of skips for all kinds of odd jobs on residential and commercial premises. 

Skip Hire And Recycling

If you are interested in going green for your next project, then choose a skip hire company that focuses on recycling

Many skip-hire companies are now trying to reduce the impact of skip hire on landfill and recycle as much waste as possible. Hire companies take care of recycling for you, transporting your items to a recycling depot. 

If you are interested in going green for your next project, then choose a skip hire company that focuses on recycling. Many skip hire firms promise to recycle 100 per cent of waste that CAN be recycled. 

Skip hire companies can recycle hardcore, like soil and rubble, plastics, wood, and various scrap metals.

Close up of timber decking in red woodClose up of timber decking in red woodClose up of timber decking in red woodClose up of timber decking in red wood

Every building or renovation project needs to remove waste from site

Current Skip Hire Prices In The UK

The average price for 8-yard builders skips currently stands at £253 ex-VAT per week

The price of hiring a skip depends on several factors: the size of the skip, the length of time of the hire, and your location in the UK. And that's just for the skip hire cost itself: it doesn't include the cost of skip permits or the cost of hiring out a parking bay. 

The average price for 8-yard builders skips currently stands at £253 ex-VAT per week. The price for a 6-yard skip is £223, around 10 per cent lower than its 8-yard rival. 

But remember, a 6-yard skip has roughly two-thirds of the volume of an 8-yard skip, meaning that even though you pay less overall, you're paying more per metre-cubed of waste disposal space.

Six and eight-yard skips are the most common. However, you can also hire skips in other size formats, depending on your needs. Skips also come in 4, 14. 16, 20, 30 and 40-yard lengths. 

Professional construction and demolition companies often use the largest skips, many of which require highly specialist vehicles to transport to and from a site.

The Most Expensive Places To Hire A Skip In The UK

The most expensive places to hire a skip in the UK are mostly centred around London and the southeast. However, there are some regional markets which command a high skip hire price. The following prices are the average cost of a 6-yard skip in the city: 

  • Exeter - £288

  • Southhampton - £273

  • London - £265

  • Luton - £260

  • Portsmouth - £259

  • Brighton - £255

  • Gloucester - £253

  • Reading - £247

The Least Expensive Places To Hire A Skip In The UK

The least expensive places to hire a skip in the UK are in regions traditionally associated with manufacturing. The following prices are the average cost of a 6-yard skip in the city: 

  • Northhampton - £176

  • Sheffield - £182

  • Glasgow - £188

  • Middlesborough - £187

  • Birmingham - £190

  • Liverpool - £195

  • Leicester - £195

Skip hire is often more expensive than other forms of waste disposal, such as "man and van," but the latter may not offer the convenience that people want. 

The average price for 8-yard builders skips currently stands at £253 ex-VAT per week

How Does The Size Of The Skip Affect The Price?

Larger varieties of skip tend to offer better cost-per-unit-volume than smaller skips

How much it costs to hire varying sizes of skip depends on the supplier. But in general, there are reasonably standard cost increments as you go up through the scale. 

6-yard skips tend to be about 28 per cent more expensive than 4-yard skips. As discussed, 8-yard sips are often only around 10 per cent more costly than 6-yard skips, but rates vary from supplier to supplier. 

A 14-yard skip costs around 33 per cent more than an 8-yard. But it offers an internal capacity of 10.3 metres-cubed compared to 6.1 metres-cubed of a standard 8-yard. You get 69 per cent more volume for a 33 per cent jump in the price.

16-yard skips offer a capacity of 12.2 metres-cubed and cost around 12.5 per cent more than 14-yard options. 16-yard skips have an internal capacity of 12.2 metres-cubed, providing a 17 per cent increase in volume. 

20-yard skips have an internal capacity of 15.3 metres-cubed, boosting the volume over a 16-yard skip by over 25 per cent. The cost of a 20-yard skip, however, is around 33 per cent more than that of a 16-yard skip. 

Larger varieties of skip tend to offer better cost-per-unit-volume than smaller skips. So for instance, the price you pay for a metre-cube of capacity in a 40-yard skip is around £14.50 per metre cube while for a 6-yard skip, you pay approximately £19.50 per metre-cube. 

The actual prices you pay all depends on the cost structure of the supplier.

Exterior timber decking with a built in stepExterior timber decking with a built in stepExterior timber decking with a built in stepExterior timber decking with a built in step

The humble builders skip is a common sight on many streets

How Does Skip Type Affect The Price?

Closed skips are more expensive to produce, thanks to the lid section, and so suppliers charge more to make back their money

In general, there are three kinds of skips. 

  • Open skips are the most common. Open-top skips allow workers to dump waste into the skip without any impediment. 

  • Closed skips have a cover. The benefit of closed skips is that they prevent unauthorised use, but the cost is that you have to ensure that waste does not exceed the specified limit, or the cover will not close. 

  • RORO (roll-on-roll-off) skips are similar to open skips but loaded onto a truck with rollers rather than chains. Often larger 30- and 40-yard skips use this method for getting skips on and off vehicles. 

Open skips typically cost less to hire than closed skips. Closed skips are more expensive to produce, thanks to the lid section, and so suppliers charge more to make back their money.

Applying decking sealer varnish to exterior timber decking boardsApplying decking sealer varnish to exterior timber decking boardsApplying decking sealer varnish to exterior timber decking boardsApplying decking sealer varnish to exterior timber decking boards

Remove your building waste through licenced waste carriers

How To Reduce The Cost Of Skip Hire

If a company finds that you've disposed of restricted items, it may charge an additional fee

There are all kinds of ways of reducing skip hire costs. Let's take a look at some of your options. 

Investigate Alternatives

If you are working on a project that is producing a lot of waste, you may have other options besides skip hire. Often, "man and van" - where an operative with a van collects waste and disposes of it for you - is cheaper than hiring a skip for the week.

(Whether it's cheaper or not depends on local prices, so it's worth checking). 

Try Selling Your Construction Site "Waste"

You might think that your old kitchen or bathroom units are waste. But for somebody else, they might be the cut-price fittings they've been looking for. Instead of just putting all your construction waste in a skip, find out it any of it has any resale value.

Instead of paying for a skip, you could find that you can make money from the sale of your items. 

Choose A Suitably-Sized Skip

8-yard builders skips are the most common choice. But today's skip market offers many more options than that. If you only have a small amount of waste to remove, then you can save money overall by choosing a more modest 4- or 6-yard skip. 

If you have a lot of waste, you may want to consider choosing a larger skip to avoid making multiple journeys to the landfill or the recycling centre. Larger skips are more expensive to buy up front but, as discussed, are often cheaper per metre-cubed of internal space. 

Choose Skip Hire With Time Limits

Some companies offer "unlimited" skip hire, allowing you to be flexible with how long you have them in your possession. However, these kinds of flexible services tend to be much more expensive: after all, hiring out a skip to one customer carries an opportunity cost - the money that the skip hire company could make if they hired it out to somebody else. 

It's best, therefore, to choose companies that offer weekly or fortnightly hire options: you'll pay less per day.

Don't Dispose Of Restricted Items

When you hire a skip, the skip hire company will give you a list of items that you're not allowed to put in the skip.

These include things like asbestos, batteries, solvents, paints, oils and electronics. If a company finds that you've disposed of restricted items, it may charge an additional fee. In addition, recycling centres may hand out fines to people who fail to observe the rules. 

Don't Exceed The Weight Limit

Not only is overloading a skip dangerous, but it could also cost you extra money. Some skip hire companies charge an overfill fee. If you overfill a skip, then the skip hire company has to remove some of the excess weight before being able to load it onto a truck. 

Doing this work costs money, and so they will often pass the fees onto you.

Beware Permit Costs 

Councils will often charge you money if you place a skip on a public highway or street-side parking space. If you want to put a skip on the road, you'll need to obtain a council permit. Permit costs vary by council. 

Timber decking during the installation process with cordless drillTimber decking during the installation process with cordless drillTimber decking during the installation process with cordless drillTimber decking during the installation process with cordless drill

Many skip hire companies now recycle building materials