There are several steps when starting a dumpster rental business, and one that shouldn’t be overlooked is obtaining the proper licenses and permits. This overview on how to get a business license for a dumpster rental business and if your business will also offer debris and trash removal, additional licenses may be needed.
It may not be the most fun part of opening a business, but don’t let it get you in the dumps. There’s a lot to consider, so we’ll break down the different types of licenses and permits you may need to open, along with sharing some resources to help get you started.
To not miss any important licenses and permits, we recommend also checking with your local Chamber of Commerce, economic development agency, or use a business license service like Incfile or LegalZoom.
What Licenses Do You Need to Start a Dumpster Rental Business?
Be aware, the licenses we are referring to are for a dumpster rental business. If your business also hauls hazardous waste or scrap metals, additional licensing may be required.
The permit process is different by location and dumpster placement, so you will want to research the requirements for each city where your dumpsters will be placed.
In some cities, the property owner will need to submit the permit, and others require the rental company or contractor to submit it.
In other cities, the need for a permit depends on where the dumpster will be placed. In many cases, if the container is placed on a homeowner’s private property, a license isn’t needed, Dumpsters placed on public property like a sidewalk or parking lot, or commercial property, a license may be needed.
Permits are typically requested through the city building department, the city’s public works department, and/or possibly a homeowner’s association.
Commercial Driver’s License
In most cases, the truck being used to haul the dumpster will require a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL), which is a special driver’s license issued by your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to operate a large or heavy vehicle.
If that is the case, any driver’s operating the vehicle will be required to hold a CDL.
In addition to licenses specific to running a dumpster business, there are also a few common business licenses and permits to look out for. A few of these include:
One of the first registrations to do when starting a dumpster rental business is selecting a legal structure. A legal structure refers to how a business is organized to operate. The four main types include the sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and Limited Liability Company (LLC).
Business Name Registration
While not necessarily a business license, it’s worth noting that to use a name for a business, many states require the registration of that name. Making matters more complicated, the process of name registration is different by state and the type of business entity.
For instance, sole proprietorships and partnerships generally need to register a business name (also referred to as a Doing Business As, DBA, fictitious name, or assumed name).
Learn: How to register a DBA
Corporations and LLCs register the business name when the entity is formed with the state.
General Business License or Permit
Depending on where the business is located, a general business license or permit may be required. A few states require a business license; however, they are more commonly found at the city level.
Learn more: Business license requirements by state
Federal Employer Identification Number
The Federal Employer Identification Number (also referred to as a FEIN, Employer Identification Number, EIN, or Federal Tax ID Number) is a unique nine-digit number that identifies a business with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Any business with employees or those that form as a partnership, corporation, and in many cases an LLC, the business will need to get an EIN.
Sole proprietors and single-owner LLCs without employees can instead use the owner’s social security number.
Learn: How to get an EIN
Sales Tax Permit or Business Number
In order to offer certain services, some states require a sales tax permit (also referred to as a business tax number or tax ID number). This permit creates an account number with the state’s Department of Revenue (or similarly named state taxing agency) to collect and remit sales tax.
Certificate of Occupancy
In most communities, a dumpster rental business will likely need to secure a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) before operating in a commercial building. This certificate is typically obtained from the city and/or the county and allows a business to occupy and operate from a building. Before the certificate is issued, the building will need to comply with zoning regulations, building codes, and any other local requirements.
Before purchasing or leasing a location for your dumpster rental business, be sure to check with the local zoning department first to ensure the business can legally operate out of the chosen location.
While researching licenses and permits isn’t the most exciting thing when starting a dumpster rental business, spending time upfront to get it right the first time is critical. Be sure to take your time researching and talking with city officials to ensure the correct licenses have been obtained so your business can get started without any interruptions.