Flippers: Save on Trash Outs AND Help the Community With This Tip

by | BiggerPockets.com

If you’re doing fix & flips, 90% of the time you’ll need to do a trash out before you start any updating.

For those not familiar with the term, a trash out is simply the process of removing any junk, debris, possibly even appliances, vehicles, and other trash that needs to be taken out — hence, a “trash out.” (We investors are a clever bunch, eh?) Depending on the scope of the junk removal company, you may even have them remove old cabinetry, cabinets, flooring, lighting fixtures or landscaping debris.

Prices can range throughout the country, but for smaller jobs that don’t require much tear out or multiple trips to the dump, we can expect to pay $200-$300, especially if we use a smaller company. If it’s a more extensive process that requires a dumpster and much more labor, you can expect to see prices up around $1,000. But if you use this trick, you can expect to lower your costs and do good for your community.

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Giving Back

I wrote a blog post quite some time ago about the treasures (or at least useful/brand new items) in people’s homes. A pragmatist by nature, I can’t reason why those items can’t be put to good use for others who might need them. Sure, you could sell some of them, but for the time and effort you’re exerting, the return you’re possibly facing is infinitesimal compared to the profit you’ll be making on your fix & flip.

Related: A 3 Step Exercise in Gratitude to Refocus Your Mind for the Holidays

A better suggestion is to call local charities that need household items and ask them if they can pick them up. If you’re thinking it will delay your trash out, in our experience they can usually come within a day or so and will do all the labor to move/haul away the items. We’ve never had any of them charge for this service other than a cash donation we give for them picking up the leftover goods. In any case, you’ll be reducing the amount of items you would have had to pay to get removed.

If you’ve been around pre-foreclosures/foreclosures for any length of time, the next sentence won’t be a surprise. People in desperate situations don’t make the same decisions a person NOT in duress will choose. Meaning, most people moving out of a home under normal circumstances aren’t leaving behind decent furniture, decor, window treatments, glassware, plate sets, bicycles, tools — the list goes on and on. It simply takes 10 minutes to go through a house and choose what might be of value to someone in a less fortunate position before idly tossing them without a second thought.

Related: The Value of Real Estate Investors to a Community!

As an example, some of the charities we’ve utilized provide the goods to veterans, youths getting sober, and battered women’s shelters. None of the organizations sell the items; they simply provide them to their clientele to help them. Not that it’s ever bad to donate to places like Goodwill, but keep in mind that they will sell the items for profit, and the corporations are making quite a bit of money (after all, their inventory is FREE to them). So why not find local charities that will pass along the household goods for a greater cause?

If you care to, you can take a picture of the truck/logo when the charity arrives and share it across your social networks. It shows your followers you’re busy with investing and taking the time to do even more good in your community. It might even encourage someone else to do the same.


We’re so blessed to be in a field where we can succeed so long as we diligently pursue our endeavors; not many can say the same in this economy — or ever. But you can do a small thing to help others out simply by donating useful items from your trash outs back to your community, where they can be provided for free to those in need.

What do you think? Do you ever donate items in your investments?

Leave your best profitable (and charitable) tips in the comments below!


About Author

Tracy Royce

Tracy (G+) is an Arizona Short Sale Realtor, Investor, Rehabber, and Foreclosure Expert. She also is an avid blogger, vlogger and consultant on all things Arizona Foreclosures.


  1. karen rittenhouse

    You’re absolutely right to make connections with charities, churches, etc. where items will be passed along to those in need at no cost to them.

    Beyond that, another resource is flea markets. A lot of those people have permanent/semi permanent booths and are always looking for items to sell for pennies. We’ve had them pay us a small amount to take everything from larger properties (rather, properties with more stuff) or just save us the time and effort on properties with less stuff by hauling it off for free..

    Thanks for the post!

    • Tracy Royce

      You know Karen funny that you mention that. I’ve found a new show “Flea Market Flip” that I adore! I would love to see what someone creative and enterprising could do with some of our “junk.” Thanks for sharing!

  2. Mark Lenox

    Good tip, Tracy. My first flip had an extensive trash-out needed. However, I called several charities, and not a single one was willing to do the work for the items (and there was a good amount of decent stuff). They were more than happy to take them, but only if I delivered. Sad to say, but it all ended up in the dumpster. At least I tried, but unfortunately the charities were unwilling to do any work whatsoever for the items (at least the several I called).

    I briefly thought of calling a cheap moving company and paying them $300 or $400 to pack up and transport the stuff to a charity, but I simply ran out of time and had to have it done in 48 hours.

    • Tracy Royce

      Wow, that’s surprising to hear. I’ve never heard of a charity requiring you to pick it up. That’s typically the understood trade off: you donate us items of value and we’ll take it off your hands for free. You’ve got some lazy charities in your area! Another idea might be add it to the FREE section in your area’s craigslist, but I totally get sometimes it’s just not worth the extra hassle. At least you tried. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yolanda Harris

    I was just reading this intriguing blog post and this is so interesting and true. As a matter of fact foes anyone have any tips on who and where to contact with smaller business to do trash outs in the wayne county area….my husband and I would love to to get involved with the community in this way. Any tips would help. Thanks.

  4. Tracy, what an absolutely wonderful idea. I’ll have a trash out/turn over in the next couple of week’s and this is a fabulous idea that I can’t wait to put to use. Happy new year!!!

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