Skip hire guide

A helpful guide to hiring a skip

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Hiring a Skip

Hiring a skip if you haven’t done it before can be slightly intimidating.

The skip hire industry seems geared towards dealing with people who know exactly what they want and already know how the process works. References to cubic yards, builders skips and a whole mass of other jargon you have never heard of, ensures that the average skip hire newbie feels completely at sea.

So, hopefully, this skip hire guide will help make the whole process a lot less stressful and ensure you end up ordering the right sized skip for the best price available.

Where do I look to find a good skip company?

Well, obviously there is the web. Searching on Google for the expression ‘skip hire’ and the name of the region you are located (for example, skip hire London) will deliver plenty of results, some of which will doubtless be skip lead generators. Generally, we’d recommend ignoring the latter unless you are very cash rich and time poor, although is always worth a try! Another idea is to go your local councils’ website as they often provide a list of waste contractors that operate in the area, and some councils even go to the trouble of checking that are properly licensed to move waste.

Finally, you can just use your eyes! The law requires that all skips placed on a public highway must have the name and contact details of the skip operator clearly marked on their sides. So, have a look around for a skip in a neighbouring street, note down the name and number and call them up. Generally speaking the more skips you see marked with the same operator’s name, the better value they will be because it is likely that that skip company is based locally.

Who hires out skips?

The skip industry consists of lots of relatively small operators dotted all across the country. If you search on the web, you will come across websites like our sister skip hire brand that offer a nationwide skip hire service.  These are waste management companies and skip brokers.  They don’t actually operate skip lorries but subcontract the job to a local service provider, charging you a price that covers the skip hire cost plus a mark-up for their admin time (normally around £20-£40). The good brokers don’t tend to be more expensive than booking a skip hire company directly, because although they add a mark-up, they have already negotiated a discount from the skip company because they order so many skips from them.  There are also skip lead generators (online businesses that capture customer enquiries and essentially auction them out to local skip hire companies who bid against each for the work and pay a fee for the pleasure).  These lead gen companies include the skip price comparison site, where local skip companies publish their rates and coverage areas directly on to the site and customers click on the cheapest provider to order direct.

How do I avoid using a cowboy skip hire company?

The first thing to do is to check with the Environment Agency that the skip operator is properly licensed to carry waste. Ask for their waste carrier license number, enter it on the Environment Agency website (here is Scottish one too) to check if it’s valid. You should see the skip company’s name and license expiry date. If not, do not use them. It is also wise to ask for a copy of their public liability insurance in case they accidentally damage your property when delivering or collecting the skip.


What can I put in a skip?

The best answer to what can be put in a skip is to list what cannot be put in a skip. Here are the most common items that cannot be disposed of in a skip:

  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Clinical or medical waste, including syringes
  • Electrical appliances & equipment
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fridges, freezers and air conditioning units
  • Gas canisters and gas bottles
  • Hazardous & toxic materials
  • Liquids
  • Oil, petrol, diesel
  • Paint & Cans of paint
  • Plasterboard
  • Tyres
  • TVs & computer screens

The other rule on what goes into a skip, despite what you see out in the streets, is that a skip cannot be overfilled. It must be a ‘level load’. If you do order a skip and fill it so that material is poking out above the sides, you risk the skip company charging you a lot more at the point of collection, or being asked to remove the excess waste before they will take the skip away.

What skip size should I hire?

Skips come in lots of sizes – from the very small to the very large. Despite the country going metric years ago, the skip industry is still clinging to the cubic yard as the volume measure for a skip.

A cubic yard is 1 yard (3 foot or 0.92 metres) high x 1 yard wide x 1 yard deep and is roughly the size of two standard washing machines or dishwashers or one upright fridge freezer. 

The most common skip you see on a residential street is 6 or 8 cubic yards. Confusingly they are both referred to as a ‘builders skip’ so when comparing prices with different operators, make sure you and they are clear about exactly what sized builders skip you are talking about. 

The ideal skip size depends on not just the amount of waste you are creating but also how much space you have to put the skip. The larger the skip, the cheaper it works out per cubic yard of waste removed, but make sure you have enough waste to fill it, otherwise, you’ll end up paying for thin air. Also, bear in mind that most councils will refuse to have a skip larger than 8 yards placed on a public highway. 

More information can be found on our skip size page.

How long can I hire a skip for?

A skip will usually be collected within 1 or 2 weeks of delivery but if you need it to be removed sooner or later, ask the skip company. The other thing to bear in mind if the skip is being placed on a street is the duration of your skip permit and also any parking suspension in place. Both cost money, so the longer you have the skip for the greater the extra charges.

Click on our skip permits advice for more information.

Are there any access issues for skip lorries?

As a guide, skip lorries are normally at least 8.5 feet wide and some as wide as 9.5 feet. If the entrance to your property is not wide enough for that sort of vehicle (and bear in mind they can also weigh at least 7.5 tonnes, so the ground needs to be strong enough to withstand that sort of pressure), then the skip will need to be placed on the road and you will require a skip permit.

Alternatively, you may decide that a man and van clearance solution like AnyJunk is better suited to your requirements.

How much should I expect to pay for skip hire?

Skip hire prices vary substantially depending on size, waste material and which part of the country you are based in. 

The average price for an 8 yard builders skip is around £250 excluding VAT (£300 including VAT), before the cost of any skip permit or parking bay suspension.

For detailed information, visit our skip hire prices for London page.

What if I require labour to load the skip?

Skip hire companies hire out skips, they don’t provide labour. If you require help filling the skip then our advice is you are probably better off using a man & van rubbish clearance company like AnyJunk instead.

What is a skip permit or skip license?

Before putting a skip on a road, you need a skip hire permit and, if it’s in a controlled parking zone (ie. on a single yellow line or in a residents parking or pay & display bay), you will also need a parking suspension. Both cost money and take at least a few days to arrange.

Go to our skip permit cost look up tool for more details.

What happens to the stuff I put in a skip?

Ask your skip company because it depends on the type of stuff you put in the skip, where in the UK you are based, and the skip hire operator you use. Some skip hire firms operate their own waste processing facilities and some use third party facilities. There is nothing bad about a skip company taking your waste to another waste facility, indeed most skip companies operate in this way, but they should be able to tell you which tip it goes to and how much of you waste avoids landfill.

Customer Testimonials

We got a large amount of refurbishment waste cleared in no time. Quick, efficient & half the cost of a skip.

It was cheaper than we thought! I have given your name to various people as AnyJunk have always been very reliable, friendly and efficient

They are brilliant and very helpful. So much better than hiring a skip. Thanks very much.