Choosing a waste management provider for your company might not seem like a big deal, but in fact, it’s a decision that can significantly impact a number of different aspects of your business. It’s therefore important that you take your time and do your homework when selecting a provider, so you can be sure your choice is the right fit for your business. Read on for an overview of what you need to know about researching and choosing a commercial waste management company.
Why your choice of waste services provider matters
“It doesn’t matter who handles my waste.” Unfortunately, plenty of business owners are laboring under this misapprehension. But the truth is that commercial waste management is about more than just a truck coming by to empty your company’s garbage cans once a week. A good waste services provider is actually a valuable business partner: one that can help your company anticipate waste removal needs, design and implement a company waste management plan, plan for peak seasons and special events, ensure compliance with local legislation and regulations, identify waste cost solutions that can save you money, streamline administrative processes like invoicing, and protect your company and your partners by having appropriate insurance in place.
In addition, the implications of your choice of waste management provider go beyond your company. Your waste services provider is one of your business’ best assets when it comes to environmental sustainability: reputable waste companies can help you protect the environment by ensuring that waste is handled responsibly, and by maximizing recycling and recovery initiatives at your company.
Factors to consider when choosing a provider
All waste services providers are not created equal. Here are some key factors you’ll want to consider when deciding on a waste company.
Have they worked with businesses like mine before?
It’s important to work with a waste company that can really understand your business. Of course, this is a more pressing issue if your company generates any kind of specialized waste, like medical waste, or large volumes of organics or other waste that is not necessarily bound for the regular landfill, but whatever your industry, your company will benefit if your waste provider has experience working with similar businesses. They will be better able to anticipate your particular needs and challenges. Ask the waste management companies you are considering if any of their clients include similar businesses, and obtain current references if possible.
What are their environmental credentials?
Now that environmental sustainability is an important priority for most consumers, it’s a priority for businesses as well. This means that your company needs to be absolutely sure where all of its waste is going. It’s damaging for both your reputation and the environment if materials that you thought were being taken to a recycling facility, for example, were simply being dumped in the landfill by a sub-par waste services provider.
To avoid situations like this, ask your candidate companies whether they have any environmental credentials or certifications. Providers with the ISO 14001 accreditation, for example, have committed to internationally designated high standards for reducing environmental impact while maintaining cost-effectiveness and profitability. You can also ask your candidates if they provide any kind of environmental reporting as part of their services.
Have they had any regulatory compliance issues?
Legislation around waste management practices can vary depending on your state, your city or municipality, and sometimes even your community or neighborhood. It’s therefore useful to work with a provider that is thoroughly up-to-date with the current regulations that will impact your company—this is particularly important if your company operates in multiple locations. Check up on your candidate companies’ track records in terms of regulatory compliance, remembering that if regulatory mistakes are made, it’s usually your business that will be on the hook, and not your waste management company.
How do they handle waste removal price increases?
Naturally, cost is an important factor in choosing a waste services provider, and while it’s important to remember that you usually get what you pay for when it comes to waste management, that doesn’t mean that unexpected price increases are an acceptable practice. Ask your candidate companies what systems they have in place to resolve invoice issues, handle contested price increases and/or demonstrate the validity of those increases, and ensure that all billing is taken care of in an accurate and timely manner. Don’t forget that it’s much easier to have these conversations before you’ve committed to a provider, rather than after you’ve signed a contract.
What is their customer service reputation?
Waste management companies are providing a service just like any other business, and you should have the same expectations of their customer service as you would of any other supplier. Obtain references from your candidate companies and ask those references whether service was reliable, whether it was easy to reach the company when necessary, and how the company responded to issues or conflicts.