This is a lesson for how to save money on trash. The first thing to do before, during and after you move to a new neighborhood is to ring some doorbells and say ”Hi”. Not only will you get a feel for the place but you will begin what could be long term relationships. It could also save you money. I wish I had followed that advice because it could have saved me some serous cash. I just cut my waste disposal bill by 40% but
it took me three and half years to realize I was getting ripped off.
When I moved in I only asked my neighbors what garbage company they used. There was AAA owned by Republic Services the nation’s second largest waste management company and American Disposal Services. AAA seemed to be the most prominently used company in the neighborhood and for whatever reason I chose them. It didn’t occur to me to ask how much my neighbors paid per month for waste removal. In the excitement of the move I let my guard down and got suckered into paying $27.50 a month for 2 non recyclable and recyclable pick up per week. I mistakenly assumed that this was reasonable because I moved from an apartment and there I paid about $25 a month. The increase didn’t seem like a big deal.
As the years went by the trash bill kept creeping up and I foolishly assumed it was inflation and so called “fuel cost increases” for which I had no control. After a few months I reduced the non disposable removal to once a week and that saved me about $3 a month. Over time though the trash bill crept all the way up to $38.55 per month by the end of September 2012. That’s a 40% percent increase in less than then four years. I thought I had to put a stop to making garbage or the bill was going to balloon to an unreasonable amount. But it was already unreasonable and I didn’t know what to do.
One of my neighbors has been talking trash about the trash company for at a couple of years and wanted to form a group to negotiate a trash deal for the neighborhood. For whatever reason I failed to see the meaning of my neighbor’s intent behind the rants he would go on. The rants turned me off and I always said he should organize such a group and I’ll get behind the idea. I figured a ranter doesn’t have much of a chance against a big company. I was wrong for thinking that way and in the months that ignored my neighbor’s please to form a group to confront the garbage company for better rates I wasted money.
One day near the end of September 2012 a new three year contract from Republic Services was waiting for me with the quoted cost of $38.55. Exactly what I was already paying. I thought I better sing this before the price goes up any further and I did. I left it with my wife in case the company man came back the next day. I figure locking in the current rate was one way to get a little hold on the future.
I came home the next day but the contract was still on the kitchen counter and my wife told me that no one came to pick it up. Hmmm maybe I better mail it in I foolishly thought and just as that thought was firming my neighbor came to the door with fire in his eyes saying “Don’t sign the contract it’s a scam!”
A scam I wondered? Really? “Yeah, go check your e-mail.” So that’s just what I did and waiting in my inbox was a message from the neighborhood news man who included a couple of documents from AAA stating how proud they were to offer our neighborhood another three year contract at the rate of $25 per month. I was flabbergasted.
My neighborhood does not have an HOA just a $15 per year association fee and we do a fair job of keeping touch with one another. We also have a fine neighborhood watch organization and there’s different activities we join in together at different times during the year. One of the nice things is our e-mail list and once in a while a newsletter comes out. However, this was the first that I learned of the garbage rate for our community.
Well the very next day I called AAA and told them I wanted the same fine $25 rate too and they said sure thing I didn’t get into how I was getting ripped off all this time I first wanted to see if I could get the contract for $25 not $38.55. The nice young lady on the phone said my rate would be $23 per month because of the single non-perishable pick up per week and that I should get the contract in another day or two and I did. Only it was for just 6 months! Come on man who in the hell signs a six month contract!
So the next day I called AAA again and explained the situation and that I desired a 3 year not 6 month contract. The gentleman on the other end said it didn’t matter and for me to just sign the contract and get in the mail. He said I lived in the neighborhood and it shouldn’t be a problem. But I was kind and patient and asked that he just put another contract in the mail. He said he would and a few days later the new contract at $23 per month for three years was in my hands.
My neighbor showed up again and said “Don’t sing that contract! I’m trying to get them to give me two years of free service for stealing form me for the past 7 years.” I wished him luck and told him I would hold off and follow his lead. Unfortunately though ti was not much a lead and he couldn’t negotiate the free service for two years. So we both signed our newly reduced contracts and I’m waiting for the first new bill to show up so I can see if they did the right thing or not. Stay tuned and in the meantime don’t be like me and hesitate to ask about what you’ll be paying for when you move again. Better neighbors lead to better bills.
6 Question Pre Purchase program
- Do I need it?
- Does anything I have fill the role now?
- How long will it last?
- What will it do for me and my family?
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