Everything you Need to Know about Waste Consultants, Waste Brokers and Waste Haulers

“Consultants and brokers are really the same, right?”

“Are haulers responsible for pick-up, or are consultants?”

“Do brokers work with haulers, too?”

These are some of the questions we get on a regular basis about our industry, and we can’t say we blame people! There are so many roles in the waste industry and it can be really overwhelming. But the more you know about consultants, brokers, and haulers, the better decision you can make about your waste management needs.

Here’s a simple breakdown of the differences and similarities between waste consultants, waste brokers, and waste haulers.

Comparison of Waste Consultants, Brokers, and Haulers

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Waste Services Comparison Chart

The waste industry can seem complicated, but having the right information will really help you make ideal decisions for your business.

Let’s look at how consultants, brokers and haulers compare in these categories:

  1. Waste Payments and Billing Practices

  2. Initial and Ongoing Waste Audits

  3. Waste Hauler Selection, Accountability, and Payment

And after you’ve been informed about each of these categories, you’ll have a much clearer picture about what your business or organization needs in relation to waste disposal. We’ve also included one last section at the end about how to know what waste service is right for you.

Ready? let’s dive in!

Waste Payment and Billing Practices

Are you overspending on waste services? Don’t let this be you!

Are you overspending on waste services? Don’t let this be you!

The next time you pay your electric or gas bill, take a quick look at the services listed. You’ll likely see a list of dates and your usage over that period of time. This is called an itemized bill. Consumers tend to appreciate these because they show exactly what they’re paying for - which makes it easier to spot sudden price hikes or mistakes.

Here at WCI, we think this kind of transparency is invaluable and we make sure our invoices reflect this. After we check hauler invoices (more on this below), we address any mistakes then send an itemized invoice to our clients. They can see exactly what they are paying for at each location and which haulers or vendors are being used. This transparency gives you the whole picture of your expenses.

Brokers, on the other hand, will send you a consolidated waste bill that likely will not show their fees, price spikes, or itemized expenses. Consolidated bills have a simplicity that some property managers really like, especially those who have multiple locations. But the convenience can come at a cost. It can be difficult to discern price spikes, or if your hauler has suddenly changed.

But brokers and consultants also differ in how they are typically paid.

As consultants, we are compensated by sharing in the savings we find for our clients. Typically, we share 50-50 in the savings.

A broker, however, will collect his monthly fee regardless of whether you are overspending. Overpaying by 20% for his hauler’s services? That’s unfortunate, and you may not ever find out about it. Spending $2000 more a year on a dumpster you don’t really need? You’ll likely never know.

This tendency to overspend on waste expenses is rampant in every industry we’ve ever serviced: food services, medical waste, retail, multi-family, you name it!

How do we combat it? By conducting extensive audits.

Initial and Ongoing Waste Audits

Due to these opposing profit objectives, consultants and brokers tend to have different approaches to initial audits.

When first setting up a contract, both consultant and brokers will conduct an initial audit. Consultants, however, tend to be much more thorough at this stage; brokers aren’t often as careful. We see this time and time again when people use brokers and as best we can figure, it happens because of the different profit objectives.

We also complete on-going site audits to make sure you aren’t being overcharged. We go over each bill to make sure it’s accurate, and fight price spikes on your behalf. WCI also looks for other ways you’re overspending in your waste and update you as needed. After all, the more savings we find for you, the better off we both are!

But since a waste broker is compensated regardless of how much expense he saves you, they often do not have the financial incentive to conduct exhaustive reviews or perform hauler audits.  

Waste Hauler Selection, Accountability, and Payment

Unless you’re planning on taking out the garbage yourself, you need a waste hauler! There a couple of different ways to partner with one.

You can create a hauler agreement between you and the hauler. But for those with many properties or properties in different states, this can create an administrative nightmare.

So a lot of companies chose to partner with a waste consultant or a waste broker. Both do the same thing: they negotiate with and manage the haulers on your behalf.

But the consultant operates from a partnership model; when we finish our review, we present our clients with a Waste Savings Summary (WSS) that shows our recommendations. We then discuss the best options with our client and implement them on his or her behalf.

The broker, on the other hand, will make this decision without consulting with the client. Occasionally, their selection of waste haulers is the ideal choice for the client - but a lot of times, it’s not. Some of our clients have overspent on their broker-selected hauler by 20-30% a month; something we quickly put a stop to.

Another major difference between consultants and brokers is whether they pay the hauler. A waste consultant will review their invoices, but we don’t pay haulers on your behalf. Brokers do. This can be great for convenience but ultimately leaves you in the dark about what exactly you are paying for.  

Is a waste consultant or a waste broker right for me?

It can seem like there are too many options for waste management!

It can seem like there are too many options for waste management!

If you want a thorough understanding of your refuse needs and on-going auditing services, consider learning more about the recurring savings opportunities offered by a waste consultant.

But if you find yourself in a position where you don’t want as much say in the haulers you work with, or want the simplicity of a consolidated bill, a broker might be best for you.

It’s really a question of how involved and informed you want to be in the management of your haulers and your waste and recycling streams.

What kinds of issues do you have with your current waste management process? Do you have any recurring frustrations with your hauler? We would love to answer any questions you have. You can always get in touch with us at info@wasteconsultantsinc.net.