What to consider when hiring a skip

So, you’re embarking on a serious project and need to dispose of some waste. You think “I’ll hire a skip” – and then are suddenly faced with lots of questions! This blog sets out everything you need to consider in advance to make your skip hire easy, streamlined, and the best value it can be.

How big a skip do I need?

First things first, you’ll need to work this out! You don’t want a half-empty skip, but equally, if you overfill your skip the skip driver is likely to ask you to take out everything above the level load (that’s the top of the skip) before they can remove the skip for you – resulting in time and money wasted on removing this excess waste. 

The larger the skip, the cheaper it works out by the cubic yard. What does a cubic yard equate to? Well, a good basic rule of thumb is that a cubic yard equates to about 10 bin bags. 14 cubic yards, then, would take about 140 black bin bags worth of waste.

It’s worth bearing in mind, too, that most councils will not allow you to have a skip larger than 8 yards if it’s to be sited on a public highway – more on that later. 

The size of the skip can sometimes be estimated by the type of job you’re carrying out. From our experience, skip sizes generally fall around these categories:

  • 4 yards – for small home DIY projects.
  • 6 yards – these work for small home extensions. (Called “Builder’s skips”).
  • 8 yards – these are great for garden landscaping projects. (Also called “Builder’s skips”).

Builder’s skips have the capacity to house about 50-60 bin bags, and can be used to get rid of up to 8 tonnes of rubble, soil, or heavy builder’s waste. You cannot use a skip bigger than 8 yards for these heavy wastes.

  • 12 yards – at this scale they often become commercial, or are useful for house clearances. (Called “Maxi-skips”).
  • 14 yards – big jobs such as completely redoing your driveway. (Also called “Maxi-skips”).

Maxi-skips have the capacity for about 100-140 bin bags.

  • 16 yards – big-scale building projects.
  • 20-30 yards – useful for professionals, demolition, and builder’s waste. (Called “Roll on, roll off skips”).

Roll on, roll off skips have a capacity to dispose of around 220-360 bin bags.

Where should I put my skip?

Sounds obvious but, once it’s down you won’t be moving it! Choose a location where it’ll be easy for the driver to deliver and collect it, and make sure it’s on hard, flat land. Make sure you maintain easy access to areas you need to get to, too!

Skips are usually delivered by a 7.5-tonne HGV. These are significantly wider than most cars – check in with your skip hire company prior to hiring if you have a particular gateway or narrow road that is required for access.

Both soft tarmac and block paving have the capacity to be harmed by skips. Avoid this by laying scaffolding planks first. Bear in mind that the HGV will use metal leg ‘stabilisers’ to load up your filled, heavy skip – these legs exert a lot of pressure on the ground which can break paving stones and dent soft tarmac. Ask your skip hire provider for advice if you think this could be a problem onsite.

What can I put in a skip?

Skips are for waste, but not ALL waste! Whilst they’re perfect for items like bricks, wood, rubble, furniture, packaging and soil, you may not include any restricted items in your skip load.

Check with your provider to make sure you know of all items that are restricted, as careless or even just ignorant disposal of restricted items can result in a large fine – not to mention potentially putting people’s health in danger. 

A list of some restricted items you cannot include in your skip load:

  • Asbestos
  • Batteries
  • Medical or clinical waste, including syringes
  • Electrical appliances and equipment
  • Fluorescent tubes
  • Fridges, freezers and Air Con units
  • Gas cannisters and gas bottles
  • Hazardous & toxic materials
  • Liquids
  • Oil, petrol, or diesel
  • Explosives
  • Paint (including cans of paint unless completely empty)
  • Plasterboard
  • Tyres
  • TV screens and computer monitors

How do I dispose of any restricted items?

Most items which you cannot dispose of in a skip will have advice on how they should be disposed of on their packaging. Contact the manufacturer of, say, your fridge, to get guidance should it not be clear in the manual or packaging.

Whilst items like mattresses can often be donated and recycled, items like asbestos are hazardous and harmful to human health, so need to be disposed of properly – for asbestos removal you should contact an asbestos removal specialist.

Do I need a skip-hire permit?

You don’t need a permit if you have private land – a driveway or front garden, for example – which is available (and large enough) to site the skip. You only need a permit if the skip is to go on a pavement, or grass verge. 

For a permit, contact your local council before contacting your skip hire provider, as the council will determine how much notice you need to give for them to pass your permit before the skip is allowed to arrive. This could be around 14 working days.

The price of a skip permit varies from council to council, but the UK average price is around £30.

If your skip is to go on pavement, or somewhere with frequent pedestrian thoroughfare, it’s worth considering a tarpaulin to go on top. Passers-by are very often tempted to chuck their waste in your skip – and any malicious fly-tipping of restricted items will still be considered your responsibility, so you would have to arrange appropriate disposal.

A Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) is a road where you can only park under certain conditions, for example before 10 am and after 5 pm, or with a residents’ parking permit. CPZs apply to skips too, so if you need to locate your skip in a CPZ you’ll need to apply for a CPZ suspension in addition to a skip permit, which will come in addition to the cost of the skip hire and permit. Your skip-hire provider will usually sort this out for you.

Work out how to get the most from your skip

Choose the right size skip – if in doubt, ask your provider. Two small skips are unlikely to make as much financial skip as one larger one!

The national average price for an 8-yard skip-sited off-road is about £300, including VAT.

How long will you need the skip?

The length of time you can hire a skip depends on the company, permit conditions (if applicable) and how quickly the skip is filled. The collection of the container is usually arranged with the initial hiring of a skip to ensure availability.

The hire period on a skip is usually two weeks.  The collection date is usually pretty flexible. You can request a little more time, usually for free – as, unless the company is out of skips and your hire means they can’t hire to someone new, having a skip out at hire doesn’t really cost them anything. Just make sure to ask the company when you book whether you could have a slightly longer hire period. Bear in mind that your permit will need to be in place for the whole period of hire if your skip is not on private land, so bear that in mind.  If it’s important that the skip is gone by a certain date, make this clear.

If you need to organise skip hire, get in touch with Hazel & Jefferies today. As a family-owned business formed in 1971, we pride ourselves on our service, and the quality of work. Put yourself in trusted hands.

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