Skip Hire Advice
The skip hire industry seems to be geared to servicing those who not only know what they want but who also know how the whole ‘skip hiring thing’ works. Jargon abounds – and this can be daunting to the ‘occasional amateur’ who needs to hire a skip.
Nonetheless, on occasions, you’ll need to hire a skip. So here are ten things you should know – along with some hints and tips.
1. How can I hire a skip?
There are lots of fairly small operators who will supply skips. They’re all ‘local’ in the sense that there’s no ‘national skip hire company’ in the UK. Those purporting to be ‘national’ are waste management companies or skip brokers which will sub-contract to local skip hire companies. So you should be able to get a cheaper deal by going direct to these local companies.
A look in any local business directory or on the internet should provide plenty of skip hire companies from which to choose. Search for ‘skip hire’ – and, if you’re using the internet, add the region of the country or county in which you want to hire the skip.
You can search on your local council’s website. Many councils provide a list of waste contractors in their area.
Another approach is to look at skips on drives and roads near you. By law, the skip operators must put their name and contact details on the skip. Choose some or all of these operators – and give them a call.
2. Avoid making mistakes
It’s a good idea to check with the Environment Agency that the skip operator you want to contact is properly qualified and licensed to carry waste. Ask the skip operator for its waste carrier license number. Then enter this number of the Environment Agency’s website – to check if it’s a valid license.
You should also ask to see a copy of the operator’s pubic liability insurance – just in case the operator damages your property while delivering or collecting the skip and you need to pursue an insurance claim against the operator.
3. What size skip do I need?
It doesn’t help the novice, but skips come in all sorts of sizes – and skips adhere to the ‘imperial’ measures of cubic yards, not metres.
A cubic yard is a space measuring one yard (three feet or 0.92 metres) by one yard by one yard. This equates – very roughly – to two standard washing machines or dishwashers, or to one upright fridge-freezer.
The most common size of skip – in a residential area - is one which hold either six or eight cubic yards of materials. Both of these sizes of skip are known as ‘builders’ skips’. So, when you contact skip operators, you need to be sure that you understand which size of builder’s skip everyone is talking about.
The optimum size of skip for your need is the one which enables you to use all of its space to contain all of the waste you need to dispose of.
The complication in all this is that the larger the skip, the cheaper it is per cubic yard. However, if you can’t fill the skip with waste, you’re paying money to merely move air.
In addition, many councils don’t allow skips with a capacity larger than eight cubic yards to be placed on a pubic highway.
4. Loading the skip
If you can’t load the skip yourself – or get some of your friends and family to do it for you – you probably need to look at alternatives to disposing of your waste materials. This is likely to mean contacting a specialist waste clearance company, such as Waste King, which provides both the labour to load the waste materials and the vehicle with which to remove it.
5. Access issues
Skip lorries tend to be between eight and half feet and nine and half feet wide. They tend to weigh at least 7.5 tonnes.
So, if you want to have a skip on your property, you must have an access route (such as a driveway) that’s wide and strong enough to accommodate these lorries.
If this isn’t the case, the skip will have to be placed on the road adjacent to your property. That means that you’ll need a skip permit.
In addition, if the skip is being placed in a controlled parking zone – such as in a residents’ parking area, pay & display parking bay or even where there’s a single yellow line painted near the kerb – you’ll need to obtain a parking suspension.
Both the skip permit and the parking suspension not only cost money but will take a few days to arrange.
6. How long can I keep a skip?
Operators will want to collect the (full) skip within a week, or two weeks at the most. If you need the skip to be removed sooner – or later – you need to discuss this with the skip hire company.
Of course, if the skip is being placed on the road, you need to take account of the terms of your skip permit and any parking suspension that needs to be in place. Both of these things cost money. This means that the longer that the skip is there, the more money it costs you.
7. What can I put in a skip?
You can put more or less anything in a skip that isn’t:
- Oil, petrol or diesel
- Paint and cans of paint
- Fluorescent tubes
- Gas canisters and gas bottles
- Electrical appliances and equipment
- Televisions and computer screens
- Fridges, freezers and air conditioning units
- Hazardous and toxic materials
- Clinical or medical waste, including syringes
The other important rule regarding filling skips is that – contrary to popular opinion – you mustn’t over-fill a skip. The skip should ‘level filled’ – that is, the waste should be level with but not above the edges of the skip. If the waste is above these edges, the skip operator could – legitimately – charge you extra money for the hire of the skip or ask you to remove the excess waste before the skip can be removed.
8. What happens to the things in the skip?
It’s not a bad idea to ask this question of the company that supplies the skip. The skip operator should be able to tell you the landfill site to which your waste is going – and how much of it, if any, will avoid going to landfill.
The answer will depend on the type of waste you put in the skip, where the operator is based and the skip operator’s preferences. Some skip operators have their own waste processing facilities. Others use third party waste processing facilities.
9. How much should I expect to pay?
The cost of a skip depends on its size, the waste material you’re putting in it and where – in the UK – you’re based. As a rough guide, an average price for an eight yard builder’s skip is around £220, plus the cost of any parking bay suspension and skip permit.
10. Is there an alternative to a skip?
Yes, there is.
You may find that using a specialist waste clearance, collections and recycling firm – such as Waste King – rather than a skip will save you time, energy, effort and money. A truck with Environment Agency licensed staff is a lot less unsightly, less disruptive, cleaner, quicker and more efficient than using a skip to dispose of your waste materials. Moreover, Waste King’s staff will segregate the waste in order to ensure that the maximum amount is recycled and the minimum amount of the waste goes to landfill – thus helping the environment too.
A company such as Waste King will:
- Save you time in clearing the waste, compared with the time taken to fill a skip and then get it removed
- Save you money because it only charges for the amount of waste removed (not by the skip load)
- Take away a wider range of waste materials than are allowed to be put into a skip
- Be able to clear waste materials from any part of your property – so, unlike skips, there are never any ‘access issues’
Moreover, since no skip is left overnight, your neighbours can’t fill up the skip with their waste materials when no one’s looking – so you only pay for your waste to be removed.