Trash Talk 

What is a Franchised Collection System?

What is a Franchised Collection System?

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When we were ready to tackle our bathroom remodel, we knew that renting a small dumpster was the way to go. The rental process was quick and smooth.

We called, picked the size, scheduled a date, and had the dumpster ready right when we needed it.

Imagine my surprise when my friend living in Los Angeles told me I was lucky to have it so easy! I was curious as to what he meant.

Turns out, he lives in what is called a franchised collection area. He was frustrated through the whole waste management collection process. The process included finding a dumpster rental company, navigating the permitting process, and then waiting before he could schedule delivery to his home.

Franchised trash collection is sold to the public as a convenient and affordable way to manage trash pickups in a community. But the lack of competition, limited options, and long waits for services can sometimes outweigh the benefits.

What is a Franchised Area?

The franchise collection system is a relatively new development in trash hauling by cities and counties. Franchised programs arose in the 1990s, but have since grown in popularity across the United States.

Franchise Agreements and What They Mean

So, just what is a franchised waste zone? A franchised trash collection zone is a geographical area where one company has the exclusive right to provide services to the community.

In some locales, this includes just commercial waste collection zones, while others may focus solely on residential franchise collection zones.

The franchise agreement exists between a city or county and the waste hauler. If the government contracts directly with the waste management company, it is the city that pays the franchise fees.

Franchise Fees and How They Work

These fees would either be provided by the government or collected from residents and then paid by the municipality.

If you live in a franchised area, is there a way to opt out of the scheme? That depends on where you live and how the agreement was set up.

There usually is no easy way to opt out of these trash services. Though, some agreements allow residents to forgo extra services such as bulky waste collection or yard waste pickup. Some municipalities assess a fee if the contracted company is not used for trash collection.

And in many places, homeowners’ associations (HOAs) are exempted from using the designed trash collector if they contract as a group for their own services.

Pro-Franchise System

Supporters of these plans claim that long-term contracts incentivize haulers to upgrade equipment and consider more efficient waste stream use and reduce landfill disposal.

They point to the reduction of road wear and the environmental benefit of fewer trash hauling trucks on the road. The need to reduce truck traffic also helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

It can also increase participation in recycling services.

“Some of the key benefits of this for municipalities are that it can standardize and improve the operating standards for haulers and increase recycling through stipulating diversion mandates for businesses,” explains Jennifer Porter, senior project manager at Gershman, Brickner & Bratton Inc.

Anti-Franchise System

Critics of these contracts argue that the elimination of free competition drives up the cost of trash collection for consumers, makes it harder to resolve service issues, and inhibits innovation in recycling efforts and clean fuel fleet upgrades.

Waste haulers are also less inclined to respond to specific customer needs.

Kerry Getter of Balcones Resources says, “One size does not fit all, and people are in different businesses, they generate different waste streams, different velocities and volumes, and you need to have something that’s very specific to accommodate these variables. When you start franchising, you’re somewhat limiting those opportunities for special handling needs and thereby limiting competition and creativity.”

How Will Franchised Collection Systems Affect My Projects?

If you live in a franchised waste collection area, the restrictions may extend beyond residential trash service. There may also be a stipulation that only one dumpster rental provider is allowed to work in the area. This limits your choices for a rental dumpster and can affect your project and timeline.

An infographic on a how a franchised collection system affects your projects
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1. The Cost of Your Dumpster Rental

Being limited to only one rental dumpster provider can be more costly. Higher dumpster rental prices commonly result from a lack of competition.

More trash haulers in an open market means consumers can shop around and compare prices.

However, a franchised system, especially if there is only one provider, can drive up the cost of a dumpster rental.

2. Issues with Collection Services

Being the only game in town doesn’t give much incentive to a dumpster company to improve its services. After all, where do you go if you aren’t satisfied?

If there is a problem, you can’t simply go to a competitor for a lower price, better service, or faster delivery.

3. Wait Times for Dumpster Rentals

You may encounter delays to your project timeline when you live or work in a franchised collection area.

With fewer companies serving the area, you may have a longer wait for a dumpster during peak seasonal demand.

You also aren’t able to go out of your service area to find more convenient dumpster availability. Therefore, this could leave your project with a delayed start.

4. Inflexible to Your Needs

With a limited set of companies to rent from, you may not always be able to get exactly what you need.

There may be inventory limits on certain sizes. You also may not have access to specialized containers, such as inert dumpsters.

You may also find that you can’t extend your rental when your project takes longer than expected.

5. Recourse When Things Don’t Go as Planned

Many consumers in franchise areas don’t know who to turn to if they receive poor service or can’t get what they need in a timely manner. This is especially true if the franchise area only has a single dumpster rental company.

The process of complaining and getting resolution can take a long time when it has to also involve the city personnel. By then, your work project is likely over and you’re ready to move on.

Examples of Franchised Markets: Los Angeles and Houston

There are now many franchised collection areas in the United States. Let’s look at a couple to see how this affects trash hauling services and dumpster rentals in those communities.

Los Angeles

Franchised collection areas in Los Angeles and in other cities in the West Coast were set up in an effort to solve several problems. Landfill space in Los Angeles County is not increasing.

Stricter state recycling laws were passed, and the community expressed a desire for more environmentally responsible policies surrounding trash collection.

The city and county-wide collection systems started with limiting collection options for commercial customers and multi-unit apartment buildings. It has since grown to include residential areas.

The large region is divided into smaller franchise areas. Each of these waste collection zones is served by a set of designated private waste management companies. This governs the rental of roll off dumpsters as well.

A homeowner can only obtain a rental dumpster from the company assigned to their neighborhood.

Los Angeles Permits

Permitting requirements are notoriously challenging in Los Angeles. The whole process can be frustrating and time-consuming. There are limits on the type of dumpsters allowed and the length of the rental period.

In fact, when you rent a dumpster in Los Angeles, you may have to obtain more than one permit. Depending on where you want your dumpster delivered, you may need to visit one of the following:

Each permit has its own fee and fulfillment timeline. You may also be subject to inspections of the dumpster at delivery and during the duration of your project.

Since there are sometimes complex permitting issues in LA, be sure to give yourself enough time to get everything in order before the start of your cleanup project. Plan ahead and give your dumpster provider a call early in that planning.


Houston also has a franchised waste collection system in place. However, the logistics of renting a dumpster are not anywhere near as complicated as in Los Angeles.

While Houston’s waste management system is also divided into multiple franchise areas, there are more companies serving these areas. Customers have more options when renting a dumpster in the Houston area than they do in Los Angeles.

Houston Permits

Permitting is easier in Houston than Los Angeles. In fact, in some communities, there is no requirement at all for a dumpster that is placed on private property.

Permits are typically required if the dumpster will be placed on a street or other public right-of-way. Permits can be obtained from the city’s Public Works and Engineering Department.

The process is fairly straightforward and can be completed online. Wait times for permit processing are less than in Los Angeles.

Call Discount Dumpster to Take Care of All Your Dumpster Rental Needs

Are you feeling stressed trying to figure out how to get an affordable dumpster delivered to your home or job site? Discount Dumpster is your solution to the challenge of renting a dumpster in a controlled waste management area.

Our team has lots of experience working in franchise areas. We make the whole process easy, flexible, and affordable.

Don’t delay! Call Discount Dumpster today to get priority service and quick delivery of a dumpster rental right to you.

Call to Reserve Your Dumpster Rental Today! - (888) 316-7010

About Monica Mayhak

I am an expert content writer with a depth of experience in the waste management and dumpster industry, with over 25 years of experience writing about construction, home improvement, property management, and education topics. As lead research writer for Discount Dumpster, I have expanded my knowledge and understanding of waste management, construction, and environmental issues over the past several years.

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