Demolition hacks...saving money on trash and debris removal

13 Replies

So I've been doing this for a while and before I start a demo project I call the scrappers (if there isn't anything I want to scrap) for metal and the Purple Hearts etc to grab furniture. I separate the concrete if it's significant because it's much cheaper to dispose of... what am I missing? Any other ways to save on debris and trash removal??

Originally posted by @James Edward :

So I've been doing this for a while and before I start a demo project I call the scrappers (if there isn't anything I want to scrap) for metal and the Purple Hearts etc to grab furniture. I separate the concrete if it's significant because it's much cheaper to dispose of... what am I missing? Any other ways to save on debris and trash removal??

 I have put just about everything on Facebook listed for free. People will take scrap wood, metal, broken appliances, extra tile, carpet, etc. Also consider your time. Although you can give many things away, sometimes it is easier to just throw it in a dumpster and have it gone for a couple hundred bucks. Hopefully you are not doing your own demolition. I know investors who are hauling garbage out of properties. You can hire a couple day laborers and save yourself the physical damage (body and lungs). An investors time is better spent doing high value tasks. Hauling trash is the lowest value task in construction.

We've only done a few projects but I really like figuring out ways to save on garbage removal.  I also keep scrap separate and my scrap guy takes it or we do a scrap run. Good idea with purple hearts to take furniture. Im in a city so I often put any useful items/furniture out to the curb (sometimes I even post it as free on craiglist of fb marketplace) and it's taken within a few hours.  If it's large items it really saves space in a dumpster. We always put out the maximum allowed trash on city garbage nights. Sometimes we separate out wood when doing demo- a pile for possible reuse, a pile get burned.  For plaster and lath demo we keep the lath separate and burn that as well.

Recycling and giving away are high on my list of worthwhile projects.  

We also refinish and re-surface a lot of things like cabinets and floors for our rentals so re-using and reducing is huge.

We have 4 community dumpsters, from 2-6yds so they all share the load.  I am in the garbage and recycling management business as a LL. Gives me something to do and is a feel good project weekly. 

2 major things I do:

1. Carefully remove anything that's salvageable and that may be usable in one of my other units, or in a future unit, and have it brought to my storage garage.

2. Offer anything to the demo guys that they want to take. But I do #1 before #2 because the best stuff gets gone fast.

Beyond that, I have found that a roll-off in the street will in short order have salvagers crawling through it to take anything that's recyclable. I once had someone go through the roll-off and haul 3 dead water heaters out that had been in the basement, and an ancient dead central heating unit. They emptied probably 40% of the roll-off volume and maybe 25% of the weight just doing that.

I never advertise anything anywhere because it draws attention to the house, and I generally like to keep it on the down-low that the place is being rehabbed. Empty houses are good targets for thieves and bums. 

Originally posted by @JD Martin :

2 major things I do:

1. Carefully remove anything that's salvageable and that may be usable in one of my other units, or in a future unit, and have it brought to my storage garage.

2. Offer anything to the demo guys that they want to take. But I do #1 before #2 because the best stuff gets gone fast.

Beyond that, I have found that a roll-off in the street will in short order have salvagers crawling through it to take anything that's recyclable. I once had someone go through the roll-off and haul 3 dead water heaters out that had been in the basement, and an ancient dead central heating unit. They emptied probably 40% of the roll-off volume and maybe 25% of the weight just doing that.

I never advertise anything anywhere because it draws attention to the house, and I generally like to keep it on the down-low that the place is being rehabbed. Empty houses are good targets for thieves and bums. 

 Carefully is the key word. I see people take a sledge hammer to cabinets and cut studs in half with a sawzaw. Such a shame when people destroy things of value. 

Originally posted by @Joe Splitrock :
Originally posted by @JD Martin:

2 major things I do:

1. Carefully remove anything that's salvageable and that may be usable in one of my other units, or in a future unit, and have it brought to my storage garage.

2. Offer anything to the demo guys that they want to take. But I do #1 before #2 because the best stuff gets gone fast.

Beyond that, I have found that a roll-off in the street will in short order have salvagers crawling through it to take anything that's recyclable. I once had someone go through the roll-off and haul 3 dead water heaters out that had been in the basement, and an ancient dead central heating unit. They emptied probably 40% of the roll-off volume and maybe 25% of the weight just doing that.

I never advertise anything anywhere because it draws attention to the house, and I generally like to keep it on the down-low that the place is being rehabbed. Empty houses are good targets for thieves and bums. 

 Carefully is the key word. I see people take a sledge hammer to cabinets and cut studs in half with a sawzaw. Such a shame when people destroy things of value. 

 No doubt; these HGTV shows where people are smashing good cabinets and fixtures drives me nuts!

@James Edward

You need a warehouse.

Cabinets, toilets, waterheaters, and functioning furnaces can be reconditioned. Same with excess construction supplies.

In Chicago, we have one that's 1500 sq feet, bare bones, at $500 a month in the Iron Street district.

Bins of smoke detectors, stoves, fridges, etc.

Makes a good summer job for a 18 year old, making a few bucks a day organizing and cleaning, and they become an intern to learn the life.

Originally posted by @Nick C. :

I've thought many times about opening up a thrift store for all the furniture and appliances we take out of houses. 

 One of my junk haulers actually did this. He also refinishes old dressers and uses some reclaimed wood for artsy projects. He makes all his money off the store. The junk hauling is just free inventory and it covers his dump costs.

@James Edward

My new hack is getting a mini Excavator and a 40yard dumpster. You can take down a 600sq foot building in a day.

I will go through stuff to a point. I am really picky and know that collectors really only want stuff in perfect condition.

Sometimes I will make “lots” of items like tools, bikes, furniture, ect. So that I can sell 20 items to one person

I just feel like I make money on houses. Not on the junk people leave behind. If I can make $500-1000 in a few hours, great! Otherwise, this stuff is just in my way.