Are Dumpsters Charged By Weight?

February 1, 2023

The short answer to the question of "are dumpsters charged by weight" is YES. However, in some cases the weight is not an issue. We will explain why below. This is true for any type of disposal, whether you use a dumpster rental company (like Trash Daddy👍), or if you just take items to the landfill on your own. The cost you pay to dispose of the material is based on the weight of that material. In this article, we will explain exactly how that works in the dumpster rental business. We will also explain the pricing methods used by dumpster rental companies and why sometimes the weight is not a factor in the cost.

Are dumpsters charged by weight in the same way?

No. It certainly is true that ultimately the weight of a dumpster is what determines the cost. However, dumpster rental companies have two different ways of pricing dumpster rentals. For a more detailed explanation of dumpster rental prices, see our article titled "Dumpster Rental Prices - A Complete Guide". To answer this question for this article, we only need to talk about flat rate pricing vs haul plus ton pricing.

Haul Plus Ton Pricing

This is not as common anymore as flat rate pricing, but many dumpster rental companies still use it. This pricing method is not a fixed rate price. When you order the dumpster, there is an initial price for haul itself. The hauler charges this initial fee to cover the cost of the truck, fuel, the driver's salary, and more. Then when the driver empties the load at the landfill, there is a final bill based on the final weight. In other words, just as the question suggests, the majority of the cost is based on the total weight of the dumpster.

Now let's clarify how the landfill calculates the weight of the trash. How this works is each landfill and transfer station weighs each truck with an empty dumpster. They keep records of the empty weights. Then, they record the weight when the driver brings in the dumpster in for disposal. The final bill is determined by subtracting the empty weight from the full weight, which determines the "tonnage" and the final bill the customer receives.

Example: A local hauler charges customers using haul plus ton. Their rate is $325 for a 20 yard for the haul, plus $85 per ton. You pay $325 when you schedule the haul. You finish using the dumpster, and the company hauls it away. The landfill bills the hauler based on the "net weight", which is the total weight less the truck and dumpster. In this case let's say that weight is 4.5 tons. The hauler then bills you an additional $382.50 (4.5 x $85). Your total cost here is $707.50.

Flat Rate Pricing

flat rate dumpster rental pricing

When you ask are dumpsters charged by weight, the answer is yes. BUT, flat rate pricing can take the weight out of the equation. This method is the more popular pricing method for most dumpster rental companies today. A couple reasons it is more popular with customers for the simplicity and value. This method has a fixed rate, as long as the weight stays under a certain limit. This means that you will pay one rate at the time you schedule the haul. Hauls that do not exceed the weight limit will have no additional charges, making it convenient and easy to understand. Most hauls typically do not exceed the weight limit. Some do, and when they do, there is an extra cost, again because of the weight of the dumpster.

Normally only a small number of hauls using flat rate pricing will exceed the assigned weight limit. If this happens, then the hauler will send you a bill for the extra "tonnage", just like with the haul plus ton method. Because this doesn't happen often, this makes the flat rate pricing option much more common and more popular.

Example #1 (most common): A local hauler charges flat rate pricing. Their rate is $425 for a 20 yard which includes a 2 ton weight limit and $85 per ton over that. You book the haul, and you pay $425. You fill the dumpster, the driver picks it up, dumps it, and it weighs 1.95 tons. There are no additional charges!

Example #2 (less common): The same scenario described above. However this time, the dumpster weighs 3.25 tons. The hauler will bill you for the overage, or 1.25 tons, at $85 for $106.25. This makes your total cost $531.25.


The answer to the question "are dumpsters charged by weight" is YES. However, as we explained, there are a couple of different pricing methods that most haulers use. The method the hauler uses will affect the total cost. Flat rate pricing is by far easier and more popular. This is the method we use at Trash Daddy Dumpster Rentals, and our customers love it. It is important to remember though that the cost of any dumpster rental is determined by the weight in the end. The good news is that an experienced dumpster rental company can help you keep your costs as low as possible. No one has more experience than our team! If you need a dumpster rental, we would be happy to help you out.