Five Ways Your Waste Hauler is Ripping You Off

Most people don’t give much thought to their waste management. But if they did, they would likely realize how much they’re overspending on waste - and how much it’s costing them in lost time. 

The waste industry is designed to trap you into paying way too much for terrible services.

They don’t want you to know the ins and outs of your contract. They don’t want you to start asking uncomfortable questions about how exactly they get away with charging what they charge. 

Because if you did, you might see their tactics for what they are - indifferent at best and outright dishonest at worst. 

The waste industry is unfair to you, their clients, in five ways. Most haulers would love for you to believe that you have to accept:

  1. Price hikes

  2. Ancillary fees

  3. Awful Contract Terms

  4. Automatic Renewal of Your Contract

  5. Terrible Service

And its just not true! There are options when it comes to your waste management. You rarely have to accept your contract as written. In fact, there’s specific language you can put in your contract to prevent or limit all of the examples above. 

Unfair Price Hikes Happen with No Warning

Frustration happens when waste haulers raise prices without warning.

It isn’t fair to be on the receiving end of surprise price hikes. You should be notified ahead of time - and what you’re charged shouldn’t be exorbitant. 

Most waste haulers don’t warn you prior to an increase in fees. There are some exceptions - if disposal sites mandate an increase in fees, a hauler may let you know. Unfortunately, this isn’t typical industry practice

This in itself is a pretty shady business practice. What would happen if your Hulu or Netflix subscription increased by $50 a month overnight? This is exactly what haulers do on a regular basis.

A hauler can increase their rates as much as four times a year and up to ten percent each time. 

This means if you’re paying a $1000 a month for waste disposal, you could be paying up to $1400 a month by the end of the year. 

Price hikes can make it nearly impossible to budget for waste expenses. By proactively limiting them in your contract, you’ll be able to plan for future costs with accuracy - while saving capital.

Haulers Let You Think You Have to Pay All Ancillary Waste Fees


The waste industry is designed to pass on as much of their operating cost to you as possible. Most haulers, unfortunately, are going to charge you and any other companies on their route as much as they can. Ancillary fees are one of the main ways haulers do this.

There are dozens of waste fees, but you’re most likely to be charged for fuel or environmental fees. They’ll be listed on your invoice and will look like this: 

WM Sample Hauler Fee Invoice.png

Most people don’t realize they can limit these waste fees. Before you sign a contract, make sure it has a clause that caps these fees to a certain percentage. You aren’t going to have a lot of luck changing your contract mid-term - haulers just don’t have the incentive to do something they know will cost them. 

It’s not fair for haulers to use what you don’t know against you. You shouldn’t have to pay a fee if you don’t have to. 

Most haulers know that their clients aren’t going to question what they’re paying and why they’re paying it - they’re just going to do it. 

But there’s no reason for you to be part of the 95% of companies out there who are overpaying. 

Don’t patently accept your ancillary fees. Prevent or cap them in your contract and you’ll could save hundreds or even thousands over the long run. 

Contract Terms Are Designed to Trap You

Waste contract terms can make you feel trapped.

How difficult it is for you to get out of your contract? It’s probably more difficult than you think.

Most haulers require that you send a certified letter within a very specific time frame prior to the end of your contract. Most contracts require that you give 90-180 days notice if the standard clause is intact.

If you send it too early, it’s null. If you send it too late, you’re out of luck. And heaven forbid you email them - you have to take the time to take it to the post office. 

On top of that, you’ll have an termination fee. Most of the time this termination fee is the average of the most recent 6 invoices X 6. So if you pay $1000 a month, you’ll owe your hauler $6000. This may sound like a lot but for many companies, this is actually the less expensive option in the long run. 

You need to make sure your contract is relatively simple to terminate. (If you already have signed a contract, make a note of when your contract ends and what you’ll have to do to end it - and read the next section carefully!)

Bad Waste Hauler Contracts Automatically Renew

Bad Waste Hauler Contracts automatically renew.

Most contracts will automatically renew. If you don’t give notice within a narrow window of time, you will be stuck a new contract you didn’t want! 

Suppose your hauler keeps missing pick-ups, and you’ve realized you’re nearing the end of your contract and you want to terminate. You give your hauler rep a call to let them know, but they tell you - surprise!  - your contract has already been renewed. There was no notice, no email, no phone call. You now have a new three year contract with a hauler you can’t stand. 

No one should have to go through that!

It’s not fair for you to be trapped in a contract if you want to terminate it. If you’re going to cancel yours, you need to make sure that you send notification of not renewing in plenty of time. (Look at your contract for specifics - and mark your calendar accordingly!)

Haulers Aren’t Going to Protect You Against Their Terrible Services

Haulers don’t often make service provisions a standard part of their contracts. This means that if you want to have recourse when trash keeps getting strewn across your location, you need to shore up your contract.

Make sure that there are clear consequences for missed services, or service that is poorly performed. For example, you may want to add a provision about how quickly they will come if you call for an extra pick-up or a provision for cancelling without penalty if they consisently do not perform. 

If there isn’t a consequence; it’s more likely that haulers will be less careful about the way they service your locations. 

You Don’t Have to Be Ripped Off By Your Hauler


Now that you know the ways your waste management process may be vulnerable, you can absolutely start addressing them.

First, make it a point to review the finer points of your contract. Then look into your options: should you try to renegotiate your contract? Get a completely new one? 

With some insider knowledge about your contract and your hauler, you can take control of your waste disposal - and eradicate overspending!