A Complete Guide to Dirt Removal
Whether you’re a contractor or construction professional breaking ground on a new lot, or you’re simply removing dirt from your backyard, you’re probably wondering what’s the most efficient, cost-effective way to get rid of the excess soil. Here are some common dirt removal methods and their benefits and drawbacks!
Sell it or Give it Away Online
You can easily list your unwanted dirt online, either for free or at a price. DIYers and contractors browse online marketplaces frequently, looking for soil and dirt to use in their projects. DirtMatch is an entirely free option to connect homeowners, contractors, and other construction professionals who have extra dirt with those who need it. We prefer DirtMatch because it makes it simple to coordinate with the person buying or taking your dirt.
- Save on disposal fees and trucking costs.
- It’s free or profitable.
The only difficulty of selling your dirt online is finding a time that works for both parties to come pick up the soil. Depending on your area and the time of year, it could take some time to find someone who wants it, but that’s not usually too much of an issue.
Rent a Roll-Off Dumpster
Renting a roll-off dumpster is a simple way to get rid of leftover dirt from a landscaping or construction project. To rent one, it’s as easy as calling your local rental company and having them drop it off at a time that’s convenient for you.
Once they drop it off, you can load the dirt at your own pace and call them to come haul it away. It’s a good option if you don’t want the dirt on your driveway or grass for an extended period.
- A guarantee that someone will pick up the dirt.
- You don’t have to be home for the dumpster delivery.
- All-inclusive rates.
It’s best for large amounts of dirt, but you’ll have to load it yourself, and sizes and weight limits vary depending on your location.
Let Others Take it for Free
Leave a “Free Dirt” sign along with the pile, and someone is sure to pick it up (eventually). It’s probably the easiest, most hands-free approach on this list, but it also has some of the most significant drawbacks. Leaving a pile of dirt for someone to haul it away doesn’t take much effort, but it’s best to check local regulations and your HOA rules before doing so.
- It’s free.
- It allows for easy recycling.
- It involves very little extra work.
It’s not ideal for large amounts of dirt, and there are no guarantees that someone will pick it up; the soil might sit out indefinitely.
Hire a Removal Company
Many junk removal companies can help you with dirt disposal. Typically, they’ll schedule a delivery window, and when they show up, they’ll do all of the work. This option lets you sit back while the junk removal team loads the dirt and hauls it away. The trucks they use usually hold about 4,000 pounds, meaning that this option isn’t very efficient or affordable if you have a large amount that needs to be removed.
- No heavy lifting for you.
- It’s a scheduled, guaranteed disposal of your dirt.
Typically, they price the dirt removal on-site, meaning that you won’t know the final cost until the removal company arrives, and you must be present for the pickup.
Dump it Yourself
You can also haul off the dirt and dump it yourself. Most landfills will accept dirt at a set price per ton, and it’s typically a pretty cheap option. Some local home and garden companies might also take dirt and soil for a nominal fee. You can easily find a local transfer station or landfill online that’s open to the public and accepts dirt. Dumping it yourself works great for smaller projects, but it’s better to look for a bigger dirt removal solution for larger ones.
- Since you’re dumping it, you know it’ll get done.
- You can work on the removal at your own pace.
The downsides of dumping dirt yourself are that you’ll need access to a large truck, it might take more than one trip, and depending on your location, the nearest dump site might be far away.
Store & Recycle It for Another Project
If you’d rather recycle your dirt or store it and reuse it for another project, that’s another great option. To store it for future use, all you need is a few solid, sturdy storage bins (ideally waterproof and stored out of direct sunlight). There are various backyard projects you can reuse your dirt for, like:
- Making your own raised garden bed.
- Build a DIY fire pit.
- Create a backyard play area for the kids.
You can also recycle your unused dirt by giving it to a landscape supplier. Many times they’ll take it for free, but there’s a catch: you’ll have to deliver (and possibly unload) the dirt at their location. They’ll typically use that soil to bed their own plants or to sell it to other contractors and homeowners. While not the ideal option, it’s a relatively easy way to get rid of your dirt quickly.
The third option you have is to find and contact a C&D (construction and demolition) waste recycling company. You can find a local C&D recycler here. Depending on the company, they’ll either recycle your unused dirt for free or they may charge a small fee.
Related: A Simple Guide to Developing Land
The Cost of Dirt Disposal
Dirt disposal costs vary based on many different factors. High-weight soil can be quite expensive if you decide to pay someone to dispose of it for you.
- Renting a dumpster can cost anywhere from $200 to $800+.
- Hiring a junk removal company can run you anywhere from $200-$600 per load.
- Dumping unused dirt yourself typically costs around $40 per ton plus time spent, gas, and truck rentals.
Getting rid of large amounts of dirt quickly is not cheap; that’s why our favorite removal method is to give away or sell your dirt online—it’s free, and you might even make a profit!
What are you doing with all of that dirt? Don’t forget the site plans for your next project!
- Ryan Crownholm