How much should I pay to have my fence hauled away?
December 19, 2006 9:21 AM   Subscribe

Hauling away debris: in a recent windstorm, my old rotten fence blew down. How much should I pay to have it hauled away...?

I'm in Seattle. We just had the grandaddy of all wind storms, and though we were mostly very lucky, a fence running the length of our property blew down. It's old and rotten, not worth trying to fix. I've called a hauling company to come out and take it away, but they say they can't quote me a price until they see the fence in person. If I don't know how much is reasonable, they'll have me over a barrel when they give me a quote; so I appeal to the collective MeFi expertise!

-the wood is untreated
-the fence is 6' tall for most of its length (less in parts); it's a total of 56' long.
-my wife and I will break it down into 8' sections that will be lying on the ground, ready to go
-we will, however, leave all the nails and stuff in place
-I'm estimating about 700 pounds of wood, total
-there's easy access to the full length of the fence, via the neighbor's driveway which runs right next to it

I have no idea whatsoever how much this should cost. Anybody out there have an idea?
posted by gurple to Home & Garden (11 answers total)
In southern California I've paid:

$75 for a one person, pick-up-truck sized load.

$300 for a two-person, trailer-sized mega load (at least 500 pounds of wood).

YMMV, natch.
posted by shino-boy at 9:48 AM on December 19, 2006

I can't speak to the actual cost in Seattle, but if you don't like the quote, here's about how much it would cost to do it yourself if you feel capable:

- Truck rental from home depot = $20 / hour, say 2 hours = $40
- Dump fees for 1 ton (or fraction of) = $60 (that's in Chicago city limits, so I would expect it being comparable. Just call the dump and ask what their 1-ton fee is and if they accept pickup trucks of wood. Almost all will.)

That adds up to about $100 assuming the fees are mostly the same where you are. I'd think anything over $150 was a little steep, given that they already have the truck and can get a full ton's worth for their dump fees.
posted by true at 10:15 AM on December 19, 2006

I paid around $250 a few year ago for more fence than that to be hauled away, plus a fridge and an old kids' swingset. (this was in FL)
posted by aceyprime at 10:24 AM on December 19, 2006

The hauling company may be too proper to give you a quote without seeing it but I am willing to bet plenty of people on craigslist aren't so finicky.....
posted by phearlez at 10:33 AM on December 19, 2006

You may save a few bucks by waiting until early January to get the fence taken away.

Damage is widespread throughout Washington State. I suspect that many hauling companies are being contracted by the utility companies to remove debris from utility areas. Once the utility demand is over, private individuals like yourself will be trying to get their trees and fences taken away. Christmas and the New Year are coming soon, that leaves early January as the soonest that prices may become reasonable once again.

Another option is to post a "free wood" ad to Craigslist. You might not get any takers, but it won't cost you anything other than 10 minutes of your time.
posted by b1tr0t at 10:40 AM on December 19, 2006

I worked for 1-800-Got-Junk? (the biggest chain junk removal chain) during the summer last year. Don't hire them! Their prices are outrageous, and mostly they target people who have no idea how much junk removal should cost. If you want someone to haul it away for you, call up a few junk removal companies and get their price ranges (most charge by what proportion your junk fills up their truck, plus a possible extra fee for heavy, dense stuff like wood).

If your chosen junk removal service shows up and the price has suddenly gone up, send them away. That's the best way to make them come down in price to something reasonable. Agree on a definite price range before they start working (it's hard to tell how much it will be until it's all in, but they should give you a maximum price estimate, which they will not go over). If you're using a large service and feel a bit devious, offer the workers a "tip" (maybe $50 to get the price down $100-200, for example). If you seem discreet enough, they may be up for it.

Since you seem to have a fair amount of wood, it would almost certainly be cheaper for you to haul it to a local dump yourself, if you have a day to spare. Call around to the local private dumps. See if any of them have a lower rate for wood (this is rare but happens). Find the one with the cheapest rates, they tend to vary quite a bit. Inquire about safety regulations (do you need workboots/hardhats?).
posted by pcameron at 10:43 AM on December 19, 2006

I was quoted about 225.00 for the smallest size demolition waste container. Look under Waste Hauling in the yellow pages. They deliver the box, you fill it up, and they pick it up. If your neighbors have debris, too, you could split the cost of a large size box. But, there's probably a backlog to get one delivered, since there was so much wind damage in your area.

I ended up finding two moonlighting guys and a pickup truck that loaded and hauled my small demolition lumber pile for less than that. They took 3 or 4 pickup loads.
posted by jjj606 at 10:51 AM on December 19, 2006

If it is untreated and (presumably) cedar, someone should want all or part of it for kindling, if they have a wood stove, and plenty of people there do.

Ask around, put a notice up at the grocery store bulletin board, craigslist, etc.
posted by Danf at 11:07 AM on December 19, 2006

I am going to second doing it yourself, the hard part is breaking it into manageable pieces. I, a fairly girly girl, have learned to love loading up a truck and dumping it in the landfill. Its cheap here in Atlanta, about $20 a load.
posted by stormygrey at 11:29 AM on December 19, 2006

Thanks for all the answers, folks! One thing I should clarify is that, although I don't want to get robbed, here, I've got more available money than available time. I have family in for the holidays, and I just don't see myself taking a whole day away from both them and work to chop up a fence.

So I'm definitely looking at a someone-else-takes-it-away solution. I've got a better feel, now, for what that ought to cost.
posted by gurple at 11:34 AM on December 19, 2006

Freecycle it. I build birdhouses/feeders out of old/wrecked wood, and what your describing is just the kind of thing I look for.
posted by ducktape at 11:40 AM on December 20, 2006

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