If you are undertaking any form of building or renovation work then one of the first things to organise before the work starts is a skip to deal with any and all waste.
However if you have never hired a skip before then are some points that you need to be aware of to ensure that you get the right skip in the right place and see your project through to completion.
How do You Hire a Skip?
If you have never hired a skip before the first job is to find a local, reputable and reliable skip hire company local to you. In pretty much all areas of the UK, most major towns and certainly cities have at least 1 skip hire company.
Today there are numerous ways to find the contact details for any company and the most common of these mediums include:
- Use a search engine e.g. Google, Bing etc.
- Social media
- Family and friends e.g. word of mouth
- local pages e.g. free local newspapers/magazines
- Notice board in local shop, cafe, town/village hall etc.
Using your chosen medium gather contact details for at least 3 different skip hire companies and contact them for a quote. As with all things including builders, you should always get 3 different quotes if you can. Obviously if there is only 2 skip hire companies local to you then that’s the way it is.
In order to give you an accurate quote any reputable company will ask a few questions including what your location is, what you need to get rid of, where the skip will be placed, how long you need it for, is access to your property easy etc.
If you are new to this and indeed large building projects you may not know exactly what you need to get rid of but if you tell them e.g. “We’re having an extension build”, through experience they will know pretty much exactly what you need to dispose of.
Once you have answered any questions they may have, most should be able to give you an accurate price over the phone or via email.
When you have your 3 quotes, compare them and then decide which one you’re going to go for and then all there is to do is to contact the company again and get booked in.
The more notice you can give the better as there will be more chance that the date you want the skip, the company will have available drivers to deliver it.
On the flip side to this don’t order it too early as you don’t want it hanging about as quite often there are time limits on the number of days you’ll have it for, more on this below.
What Can You Put in a Skip?
This is one of the most important points you need to be aware of – What can you actually put in your skip?
On the whole, and in some cases this will be dependent on the skip hire company in questions own rules but pretty much all of the following should be allowed in a skip:
- Rubble and hardcore (e.g. bricks, block, stone, concrete)
- Soil and garden waste
- Wood – Natural and laminated, chipboard, furniture etc.
- Clay and pottery items
- Paper and cardboard
The above is not a complete list but pretty much all skip hire and waste disposal companies will allow the above items to be discarded in their skips.
The only exceptions may be if you order a skip for a specific type of waste. For example if you hire a soil and rubble skip that’s specifically for soil and rubble then that’s all that can go in it.
Likewise if you have a timber skip then all you can put in there is timber, but if you have a mixed waste skip then this will often cover all types of waste, however be awre that skips of this type will cost a lot more than those for specific waste-types due to the sorting that has to be done.
There are now also many environmental issues that have to be looked at in terms of what can be disposed of in a skip.
As regulations have changed over the years, the types of waste to be taken away has also now become a major consideration and most skip hire, or waste removal companies will be able to advise you of the rules and regulations that need to be adhered to in terms of what you can actually put in your skip and also what they are allowed to take away and dispose of for you as this is also a legal consideration for them.
What Can You Not Put in a Skip?
In the majority of cases, items that are not allowed to be disposed of in a skip are those that are hazardous, either to the environment or to the health and wellbeing of humans.
In general, the types of waste that cannot be disposed of in a skip are as follows. All of these will need specialist disposal:
- Gas bottles and any form of compressed canister
- TV’s and any other electrical items
- Fluorescent Tubes
- Light Bulbs
- Batteries of all kinds
- Solvents – paint, glue etc.
- Chemicals – bleach, industrial fluids, cleaning fluids etc.
- Medical waste in any form
- Empty cans and tins that once contained paints, chemicals etc.
- Plaster – unless in mixed waste skip or agreed by hire company
All of the above items are considered to be hazardous waste and need to be disposed of in specific ways, at specific locations or by specialist companies.
If you are thinking; Why not just hide it at the bottom of the skip? This trick has been tried umpteen times and many skip hire companies see it on a regular basis. If you do try this then expect a heft fine and possible legal repercussions!
If you are in any doubt at all about what you can put in your skip, simply ask the company you hired it from, they will be able to advise you in full.
What Types and Sizes of Skip are There?
There are quite a few sizes of skip available to cover a huge range of potential waste disposal requirements (images reference approximate capacities):
- Mini skip 2 cubic yards – small size, this is often used for small house or garden waste removal
- Midi skip 4 cubic yards – intermediate size, this is the approximate size required for kitchen or bathroom refurbishments
- Small builders skip 6 cubic yards – this size is generally the cut-off point between the domestic skip for larger more industrial jobs and the smaller jobs for builders
As mentioned, anything over the sizes outlined above is considered a more industrial size and additional rules and regulations then become applicable.
Larger skip sizes are often categorised as follows:
- Large builders skip 8 cubic yards – This type is normally reserved for larger scale building jobs and renovation work where volumes of heavy waste is needing to be disposed of
- Maxi sized skip 10 cubic yards – This size of skip is usually suited to large house clearance such as complete renovation of numerous rooms
- Large maxi skip 12 cubic yards – This is about as large as you can get without going fully industrial. This skip type would be suited to the complete renovation of ever room in a large house
Note: It’s important to be aware that skips dosen’t stop at 12 cubic yards! The reason we’ve stopped here is the likelihood that you’d need anything larger on a domestic level is very slim. However it’s important to note that 14 yard, 20 yard, 30 yard and 40 yard skip sizes are also available from pretty much all skip hire companies.
When hiring a skip you may also be asked if you want an open or closed skip. Open essentially means that the top is open where as closed will closed in and feature doors to access the inside. If you live in a city or built up area, hiring a closed skip may be a good idea as it prevents others dumping their waste in your skip!
If you are having a good old clear out of your home or garden then in most cases a 6 or 8 yard skip is going to be more than suitable for you. You can obviously go bigger but in turn you will pay more and if you aren’t going to use the space then why pay for it.
Additionally most builders will also opt to go with a 6 or 8 yard skip as they provide a lot of space and also fit nicely on a driveway or other similar parking space.
NOTE: Most skips that can be hired feature a "load line". This line states how full you can actually fill the skip. It is well worth paying attention to this line as if you overfill then the hire company may refuse to pick the skip up until you have got the contents down to the load line or they give you a hefty fine.
How Much is it to Hire a Skip?
In answer to “how much does it cost to hire a skip” – this is a bit of a “how long is a piece of string” sort of question in that it really depends on your location.
Despite this, outside of London where there is always a premium regardless of the product or service, prices roughly tend to be as follows:
|Skip Size||Rough Price|
|Mini 2 cubic yards||Starting at £100|
|Midi 4 cubic yards||Starting at £140|
|Small builders 6 cubic yards||Starting at £180|
|Large builders 8 cubic yards||Starting at £230|
|Maxi builders 10 cubic yards||Starting at £270|
|Large maxi builders 12 cubic yards||Starting at £320|
As stated, the above prices are meant to be a very rough guide only and for an accurate price, contact your local skip hire company for a quote.
How Long do You Get a Skip For When You Hire it?
With pretty much all skip hire companies the initial hire period will be for 2 weeks. This time will start when the skip is dropped off to you and the hire time will end 2 weeks from that date.
However if you know that you are going to need a skip for longer than the initial 2 weeks then you can normally arrange and extended or even unlimited hire period to cover the time it’s needed for, but bear in mind this can cost, especially with an open ended hire.
On the flip side to this if you find that you don’t need the full 2 weeks or you fill the skip and need it emptied and returned this can also be arranged with your hire company, again for a fee.
Aside from the cost of hire, the only other real time constraint that you need to be aware of is if you have your skip on a public highway. As part of the permit agreement it will state how long it can be placed there for and beware if you run over it’ll certainly cost you so if this applies to you, keep this date in your head!
Where Can You Put a Skip?
This point should certainly be thought about in detail as once the skip is placed that’s it until it’s moved. It’s extremely hard work to move even an empty skip let alone if’s got anything in it unless you have a tractor or the similar.
If you don’t have space on your own land then you can in some cases arrange for it to be placed on highway, but there are costs and rules to follow.
On Your Property/Private Land
Ideally if you have space for your skip on your own private land this is the best place for it as it won’t be in anyone else’s way, it won’t be fouling any highways and it will be protected to a degree from fly tipping.
When on your own private land it can be placed anywhere, as long as the lorry can drop it that is.
In general the most common locations are either on a driveway, from lawn or garden but one ting to be aware of is that due to it’s weight a skip can easily damage lawns and the similar and even tarmac/asphalt so be aware of this.
Public Land and Roadsides
If you don’t have any available space on your own property to place a skip then you will need to arrange to get a skip permit from your local council or authority so that you can place it on the road outside your home.
The permit will allow for the skip to be placed outside of your property for a set period of time of which it will then have to be removed. Depending on your location and the types of roads and other features around you the local authority may even state where you can place the skip and in some cases this may even be down the road if it’s likely to cause an obstruction.
The permit will also state any safety measure that will need to be included such as road cones, lights and other markings. As with all things there will be a charge for this!
If you are tempted to forego the permit and get a skip anyway, don’t! Even if it’s for a very short space of time, if it gets noticed a sizable fine will be issued and even legal proceedings if it’s presence results in any form of accident or injury.
,p>If you need to obtain a skip permit from your local council you can apply for a skip permit here on the gov.uk website.
In some cases this may take a little time to be processed so bear this in mind and leave plenty of time. Don’t leave it until the last minute.
For further information on this you may wish to look at the Highways Act 1980, sections 139 – 140. Click here for the full highways act. and then scroll down to section 139 "Control of a builders skip"
If you are hiring a builder or contractor to carry out home improvement or renovation work for you then they should take care of any permits that are needed but it might be worth confirming this as you don’t want to be fined for any lack of consideration on your builder or contractors part.
Alternatives to Skip Hire
Although skips are the traditional method of removing large amounts of bulky and heavy waste, in some cases they may not be the most suitable way to go from a financial point of view.
Over the years with the increase in cost of waste disposal coupled with the ever rising cost of diesel, road tax, insurance and all the other associated costs you would get running a skip hire company, the cost of hiring a skip (as with all other things) has risen a lot in price.
With this in mind it’s also important to look at some alternatives for skip hire as, depending on what you want to shift, it may be more cost effective to use one of these other methods.
Local Authority Recycling Centre
Most major towns and cities will have a household recycling centre somewhere close to them. At these centre’s you can recycle pretty much any and every item from TV’s and fridges to old mattresses, garden waste and hardcore, although depending on where you are there may be a charge for certain items.
Despite this if you only have a small amount of rubbish to dispose of then it may be easier to get it to such as place to dsipose of it even if you have to pay and also possibly hire a van, it may work out cheaper so certainly check.
The Hippo Bag
The Hippo Bag and indeed Hippo as a company are a fairly recent outfit having only been formed in 2002. Their main goal was to provide an alternative to the traditional skip in the form of what’s effectively a dumpy bag available in a range of sizes.
The idea was that you could purchase the bag itself and fill it and then leave it near a roadside and then book a collection with Hippo who would duly come round and dispose of it for you for an additional fee.
Although this is technically a skip and is subject to all the afore mentioned costs it may for some items work out cheaper than a skip so is certainly worth a look – Find out more on the Hippo website here.
Local Man With a Van
If you live in or near a reasonable sized town or large city changes are that there will be at least 1 “man with a van” that covers all sorts of removal and clearance work including waste disposal.
The majority of the time they offer very competitive rates and can in many cases, better skip hire costs, however before employing any such individual or group to undertake any work ensure they have a validwaste carriers license!
Hiring a skip for the first time can be a daunting task but as long as you are aware of all the potential pitfalls and any regulations that need to be followed there’s no reason why your first skip hire experience won’t be a good one.