How to start a skip hire business

HOW TO OPEN A SKIP HIRE BUSINESSIf you’re looking to start a skip hire business in the UK, there are a few things you need to know. First, you’ll need to obtain a waste carriers license from the Environment Agency.

This will allow you to transport waste safely and legally. Next, you’ll need to find a supplier of skips. There are a number of companies that rent out skips, so shop around to find the best deal.

Finally, you’ll need to promote your business. You can do this by placing ads in local newspapers and online classifieds sites. You can also hand out flyers in high-traffic areas. If you follow these steps, you’ll be well on your way to starting a successful skip hire business in the UK.

Discover everything else you need to know to start and run your skip hire business with our useful guide.

Research your target market

The most important thing you need to think about when planning your skip hire business is who your potential customers are, how much demand there is likely to be, and how well other businesses can meet that demand.

Skip hire is a booming business in the United Kingdom. Not only are more people hiring skips for their home renovations and construction projects, but businesses are also using skips to dispose of their waste. However, with so many skip hire companies to choose from, it can be difficult to know which one is right for you. The first step is to research the different companies in your area. Read online reviews and compare prices before making a decision.

Once you’ve found a reputable skip hire company, be sure to ask about their environmental policies. Many companies are now striving to reduce their carbon footprint, and some even offer discounts for recycling waste. By taking the time to research your options, you can be sure to find a skip hire company that meets your needs and budget.


Your services will likely be used by many individuals and businesses. A skip hire business is a company that provides containers, usually large metal bins, for customers to use for disposing of waste material. The containers are typically rented on a weekly basis, and the customer is responsible for filling it with approved items and returning it to the skip hire company.

Skip hire businesses are typically used by construction companies and homeowners who are undertaking major renovation projects. However, they can also be used by businesses and individuals who simply need to dispose of a large amount of waste. In order to ensure that the skip hire process goes smoothly, it is important to choose a reputable and reliable company.

Furthermore, it is important to carefully consider what items will be placed in the skip in order to avoid any fines or penalties.

Private customers and one-off commercial jobs

Homeowners will be your key private customers. The types of jobs that may require a skip are more likely to be taken on by young adults in particular. You should consider the different housing areas in your area. In particular, pay attention to areas where owner-occupied housing is prevalent, ideally by young couples and families. If you’re looking for a house to buy, look for one that has a large garden and may need building work or maintenance in the near future.

Consider your business clients who may need your services occasionally. Skips are often needed by shops to dispose of old stock, unwanted fixtures, or accumulated trash.

Make sure your services meet the needs and wants of local customers. It is common for private clients to rent mini and midi skips, for instance. If you plan to deposit and collect skips, consider how far you are willing to travel.

Regular users

Determine what types of businesses require skips frequently. A good example is the construction industry – building work produces a lot of waste and spoil that needs to be disposed of. Skips may also be needed by landscape gardeners on a regular basis. In addition to shopfitters and driveway specialists, you may also want to look into carpet installers.

Make your advertisements relevant to regular users. Try approaching the proprietors of some of these businesses and asking if they would be interested in putting their business in your hands.

Contract work

A skip may be required for a long period of time or permanently by some types of businesses. A skip is always needed on site by manufacturing and industrial businesses, for example, since they produce large amounts of waste. In some cases, businesses will need skips with very large capacities or containers that can be rolled on and off.

In large factories and industrial units, it may be worthwhile to find out who is responsible for waste management. Learn about the waste disposal contract’s requirements and what it takes to tender for it.

Establishing the level of competition

It is important to find out how well your customers are being served once you have determined who they might be.

Where else can you hire a skip in the area? A look at (categories ‘Skip hire’ and ‘Waste disposal services’, and possibly ‘Recycling‘) will assist in identifying this. Other online search engines can also be used to find skip hire services in your area. Find national skip hire companies in your area, such as Topskips and Skippy (which work with local skip hire companies), AMA Waste Services, HSS Skips (part of HSS Hire) and Brandon Hire. Skip hire is also available from Jewson and Travis Perkins, both national builders’ merchant chains.

See what your competitors are advertising:

  • What are the sizes of skips they offer?
  • Are there any special features they advertise, such as a freephone number or a seven-day service?
  • Do they come across as small and friendly, large and efficient, or good value in their advertisement?

Keep an eye out for competition from Hippo Bag as well. Private householders and traders benefit from this nationwide program, which uses large ‘dumpy bags’ instead of rigid skips.

Other waste disposal services, including tipper van services that load and remove general waste, may offer competition. Additionally, illegal flytippers may compete with you.

Decide which services to offer

You could provide a variety of skips and waste disposal containers for hire.

Basic skip hire services

There are a number of basic skip hire and waste removal services available, including:

  • Skips in the ‘mini’ and ‘midi’ formats
  • For full-size and ‘maxi’ skips (sometimes called ‘builders’ skips’, they are usually 6-8 cubic yards or larger – up to 10 or 12 yards for a maxi skip)
  • ‘Roll-on-off’ skips (up to 55 cubic yards) and extra-large industrial skips
  • Grab loaders are used to quickly move large amounts of excavated spoil or rubble
  • Tipper trucks

While most of your skip hires will be short-term – usually for a few days – you might also provide long-term, ‘permanent’ (regularly replaced) skip hire to factories that continually dispose of large quantities of waste.

Special features and services

In addition to waste management services, you might decide to offer special features as well. Here are a few examples:

  • Services related to dismantling and demolition
  • Loading services
  • Clearance services, such as builders’ site clearance and property/house clearance
  • Wood chipping and tree removal
  • Mobile crushing services
  • Recycling services
  • The removal of asbestos and special/hazardous waste
  • Refrigerant disposal
  • Vehicles with long reach and skip rotators to improve accessibility
  • Skips with covers (‘sheeting’)
  • Drop-side skips
  • Security fencing around skips

Other services

You may decide to offer additional services, depending on your facilities, equipment, and in some cases, licensing:

  • Gully emptying and septic tank clearing
  • Other tanker services for liquid wastes and slurries
  • Unblocking drains and high-pressure jetting
  • Emptying wheelie bins
  • Other specialist hires, such as portable toilets and containers
  • Depending on your facilities and licenses, you may be able to accept waste people bring to your premises for disposal
  • Hire of general plant and machinery
  • General haulage services

Waste minimisation and management consultancy may be in demand from major waste producers, such as factories. If you have the knowledge and expertise, you might be able to offer this as part of an integrated solution.

Price your services

You will usually get a quote for a specific skip size from private and one-off customers. Some may ask about your extended period fees and how long they can keep the skip. Drop-side access and covered skips are among the special requirements some customers may have.

You may need to quote a price based on several factors, such as:

  • Skip size
  • The type of waste that will go in the skip
  • Where the drop-off site is located in relation to your depot and/or licensed waste disposal facilities
  • Site accessibility
  • If the skip can be collected within a reasonable period of time, many skip hire companies do not charge on a time basis)
  • Whether the skip will be sited on a public highway (including pavements) or on private land
  • If any special arrangements will have to be made, for example the suspension of a restricted parking bay
  • You may want to include skip lights and access ramps in your basic prices if they are charged for.

The local authority will charge for highway permits and controlled parking permits. You can find out what the charges are in your area from your local authority. When arranging a permit on behalf of a customer, decide whether to pass these charges on at cost.

Whether you quote a price for a private householder, or a business customer may affect the price. If your clients use your services regularly, you might decide to offer special rates to them. For businesses such as factories that need a skip permanently, your lowest hire charges may apply.

To find the lowest price, many customers will contact several skip hire specialists locally or search online. Therefore, you should set competitive rates. Compare the prices of similar services offered by other businesses in your area. Make a decision between undercutting them (and being able to do so) and attracting customers in other ways. A first-class service may require you to charge a premium to some clients.

Also consider how you’ll price other services, such as portable toilets and general plant hire.

Ensure that your charges, assuming you get enough work, cover all of your operating costs, including fuel and landfill charges.

Promote your business

A skip hire business’ name and contact details will not be readily available to many of your one-off customers. To reach your potential customers efficiently, you need to let them know your business’s location, what you do, and who you are.

Focus your marketing and advertising efforts on the areas that you cover. Consider targeting the areas that you’ll frequently travel through when travelling to and from the landfill site if the site is a considerable distance from your premises.

Additionally, if your landfill site is near a town or city that is quite a distance away, it might be worth advertising in towns and cities that are nearby.

Online advertising

In an age when so many people search online for services like skip hire, a good website can be a great way to reach a broader audience. Take advantage of your trade association’s free online advertising and get listed in online directories.

Offer your services through websites such as Skip Hire Direct, which offers an online booking service in your area, partnering with local skip operators.

You can network and market your business using social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter.

Other ways of advertising

You can advertise your business effectively with an advertisement in your local newspaper or a listing in a local print directory. If you want your business to stand out, make it stand out from your competitors’.

Advertising on large, eye-catching displays can cost a lot of money for some firms. If you want to compete with these companies, you’ll have to determine whether you want to compete head-on or find an alternative method of attracting customers.

Your advertisements should highlight your business’s best features, especially those that set it apart from the competition.

‘Contact the experts’ advertisements may run regularly in your local paper. The prominent paint job on your skips and skip wagons will allow you to advertise your business everywhere.

Local planning applications are monitored by some businesses, and they send flyers to applicants so that they can engage anyone managing the project themselves.

Targeting contract clients

You should consider how you will reach manufacturers with your advertising if you decide to try and win long-term contracts. If you want to reach your target market, you might consider placing advertisements in specialist trade journals. Networking with local business leaders may be worthwhile. You can meet other businesspeople in your local area by joining a chamber of commerce.

Your advertisements should emphasise your business’s strengths, especially those that set it apart from your competitors.


Starting a skip hire business in the UK is an exciting opportunity that can benefit local businesses and individuals alike. Taking the necessary steps to establish such a business should include gaining any appropriate certifications and licenses as required by law. Above all, it’s important to do thorough research on local competition and customer demographics in order to find the most effective way to approach potential customers.

Potential risks such as legal liability and associated insurance coverage should also be taken into consideration before investing in the business. With adequate resources in place, setting up a successful skip hire business could be a great venture for those looking for a profitable venture or new challenge.

Business Finance specialist at Invoice funding | + posts

Seasoned professional with a strong passion for the world of business finance. With over twenty years of dedicated experience in the field, my journey into the world of business finance began with a relentless curiosity for understanding the intricate workings of financial systems.

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