Our research suggests that there are over 17 million skips hired in the UK every year for domestic use alone! That’s a lot of skips and if you’ve ever looked in Yellow Pages you’ll see that there are a lot of skip companies out there to choose from with no real way of knowing what kind of service you’re going to get before it turns up!
If, like us, you’ve ever hired a skip, chances are you will have had a good experience with a professional, licensed waste collector with no hassles or grief.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. If you called more than one company before you actually hired a skip you may have found that some of them:
– won’t quote prices over the phone
– won’t tell you what time it will be dropped off, or picked up
– will only accept cash payments to the driver
You might have even had a bad experience where the driver has refused to take away your skip without throwing some of the rubbish back in your garden, demanded more money before taking it away, damaged your property by bad handling of their wagon and the skip…
This guide is for you: It answers all the most common questions associated with skip hire so that you know exactly what you’re getting into when you hire a skip and understand the whys and wherefores involved in skip hire so you never have a bad experience…EVER!
1. How can I tell which skip companies in the Yellow Pages are the good ones?
Unless you personally know the company, you can’t. Any fool with a wagon and a skip can get an advert designed and printed to entice you to call them, but mainly it’s a lottery not just in terms of prices and service, but also in terms of what actually happens to your waste – something that depressingly few of us actually think, or even care about.
Skip companies are not actually regulated at the time of writing. The good ones operate their own licensed waste transfer stations (regulated by the Environment Agency) and are members of the Institute of Wastes Management (a professional body that promotes education and raising standards in waste management).
The bad ones are just cowboys that often fly-tip your waste and therefore add to your council tax bill – cos the council are the ones who have to clean it up! (Flytipping is now costing local councils over £2.5 million a year! That’s our tax money!)
Did you know? “Every 35 seconds, somebody, somewhere is fly-tipping in the UK”
2. Why do skips cost so much money?
No-one is pretending skip hire is cheap, but think about the overheads involved:
Skip Wagon £35,000+
Skips £500/each for standard builderskip
Vehicle Insurance £2000/year per vehicle
Public Liability £1250/year per vehicle
Employer’s Liability £1250/year per vehicle
Skip Wagon driver £25,000/year
Office staff £18,000/year per member of staff
Landfill taxes £18/ton increasing by £3 every year until 2010 where it will stand at £35/ton
Recycling costs Cost of buying shredders, trommels, weighbridges, picking stations etc – £millions
Soon adds up doesn’t it? Getting rid of waste is not a cheap business, but it has to go somewhere!
3. Why isn’t my skip dropped off and picked up when I ask for it?
This isn’t always the skip company’s fault – too many people don’t understand that hiring a skip is not like calling a taxi. Just think about what goes into the average skip lorry driver’s day – it’s heavy haulage we’re talking about here, and lots of things can go wrong on a pick-up or drop off that will slow down the whole day’s schedule, such as a customer putting toxic waste in a skip, overfilling it, or the driver being given incorrect drop off details by a customer.
We publish a national trade magazine for the industry called “The Skip” (www.theskip.net) and through this we are pushing for more skip companies to incorporate new technology like Vehicle Tracking to improve delivery schedules and take-up of this kind of improvement is increasing all the time.
In the meantime, you should be patient waiting for your skip because it’s rarely a case of deliberately bad customer service.
4. Why won’t they take the skip away if the rubbish is just over the fill line?
It’s not the skip driver being unreasonable – it’s the law! They are legally bound to not carry unsafe loads and unfortunately many people order smaller skips than they need in order to save a few quid. Our advice – order a larger skip than you think you need because you will always fill it – just don’t go over the line!
5. What actually happens to my rubbish when they take it away?
If you’re not asking this question, you should be. Landfill space in the UK is running out fast. It is estimated that by 2010 there will be virtually no landfill space left in Britain and the government is increasing the landfill taxes that waste management companies have to pay every year. The best skip companies are investing heavily into new plant and technology to the point that many of them are recycling over 90%! Using these companies will eventually reduce prices and massively increase recycling rates – something we should all be interested in.
The bottom line is – the cheaper the skip, the less likely it is that the waste is being responsibly managed.
6. Why won’t my local skip company take a credit card or even tell me prices over the phone?
This is mainly a historical thing. Most skip hire companies have evolved over the past 25 years from construction and demolition companies, and the traditional way they do business is either by issuing invoices or cash-in-hand! Also, a lot of companies still charge for waste disposal by the tonne and won’t always quote an exact price because they don’t know exactly how much it’s going to cost them to get rid of until it comes in.
7. Why do I get quoted so many different prices for the same service from different companies?
The answer’s in the question – you don’t get the same service from different companies! You get different levels of service from different companies. Most of the time, you get what you pay for. After you’ve had a bad experience, you’ll wonder whether it really was worth saving £20 by going with the cheapest you could find.
Plus there are other factors such as skip permit prices. All skip companies are supposed to tell you that you need a permit if the skip is to be on a public highway. These permits are provided by the local council – sometimes the company by law has to sort it out for you, sometimes you’ll have to go direct to the council yourself.
The variances in skip permit price across the UK are staggering – some council’s charge nothing and issue them the same day, some charge £70 and make you wait weeks before issuing.
In the end…
It’s up to you. You now know pretty much everything necessary to make an informed choice about which skip hire company to use.
If you want all the guesswork taken out of the job and a guarantee of:
– excellent customer service levels
– fully online secure payment system
– a free-phone number so it won?t cost you to enquire about anything
– responsible waste management and a commitment to recycle at least 70% of waste collected
– fixed, published prices
– full UK-wide service
Then you could always use http://www.topskips.com. We have over 400 agents throughout the UK that go the extra mile to please our customers because, most of the time, WE are their biggest customer!
Mark Attwood http://www.topskips.com
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