November 6, 2018

Roll-Off Best Practices- An Introduction

Own a roll-off business? Roll-off has traditionally been considered the back water of the waste industry. But I completely disagree.
Green drump truck parked in a parking lot

Own a roll-off business? Roll-off has traditionally been considered the back water of the waste industry. But I completely disagree. I think roll-off is a fantastic business, and I’m going to tell you how to grow your roll-off business and make more money.

In the hauling segment, commercial and residential work is commonly considered the pathway to higher business value. Commercial and residential income can be contracted into the future, the customer volumes are considered “recession proof”, the metrics are straightforward, operations are repetitive and predictable, and business value based on some multiple of income or profit by a bigger player is the end game that gets repeated over and over.

On the other hand, roll-off is often categorized despairingly as “temporary” work, not worthy of a contract, subject to swings in the overall economy, unsophisticated and random - not suitable for serious investment or worthy of value creation. Unfortunately, it is true that many roll-off haulers are not well-run companies. For example, how many roll-off businesses even know where all their container equipment is? Despite the challenges, there are well-run roll-off haulers who make premium profits.

If you own a roll-off business, you fall into one of two groups of business owners.

The first is the largest group. You’ve got a reasonable business that is hard to manage but predictably earns nice profit margins. And with some effort to maintain customer relationships and friendships, you can have a nice lifestyle and income that affords some time off and stays simple and repetitive year after year. Perhaps you’ve had to stay small, but you’re able to stay out of the fray of the rest of the waste industry, and people leave you alone because you don’t fit with or carry enough respect from the rest of the industry to warrant attention.

But maybe you fall into the second category, the situation that I see myself in. Maybe you are that guy or that gal that doesn’t see your business as backward, random, or hard to manage. Maybe you see it as a gem of an opportunity because of the acknowledged shortcomings in efficiency, predictability, variability, and resource control, which others cannot but you CAN turn into competitive advantage.

I have grown my roll-off company ( from 8 trucks to 32 trucks in 6 years, and we are now the largest private roll-off hauler in the Rocky Mountain region . In a series of posts I’ll be sharing how I did it. I’m calling it “best practices” but I invite your feedback if you have other ideas.

Here’s what we’ll be covering.

Best Practices Summary:

  1. Always be selling
  2. Deliver high service level to retain most profitable commercial customers
  3. Minimize use of brokers through effective digital marketing (Check out
  4. Align employee behavior with company goals
  5. Compete for drivers…and win
  6. Minimize disposal costs while maximizing # of hauls per day
  7. 100% accurate container tracking
  8. Never miss a call
  9. Pull it all together with the right roll-off software

About Bill Bradley: Combining 6 years of experience running roll-off with 20 years in software and technology. Bill Bradley founded Starlight. Prior experience includes CEO of Enlighten Software, a NASDAQ listed systems software company in Silicon Valley. Bill believed that when he purchased 5280 Waste Solutions, that there was a better way to do roll-off. Starlight's software has helped him achieve that goal.



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