The lack of building projects, fewer home moves and better recycling are all contributing to difficult times for skip hire companies.

Everyone is familiar with the impact of the credit crunch on our economy and why the lack of available finance has meant fewer mortgages for first time buyers. The knock-on effect was clear for all to see - there would be a dramatic reduction in the requirement for new home building. Building firms have slashed projects and laid off staff, new building developments have been shelved and skip hire companies have seen some of their bread and butter business just disappear.

In addition to the downturn in new homes being built, there are also fewer home extension projects being started. That's bad news for small builders and bad news for skip companies who often rely on these small projects for significant parts of their business.

The downturn in the housing market means fewer home moves too, so less people having to throw away accumulated unwanted items.

Despite its obvious problems, local authority recycling procedures are slowly getting better, although some would argue there is a long way to go and with much more consistency required across regions. Another factor is that people are selling more unwanted goods on Ebay, meaning there is less to throw away and less accumulation of rubbish that ends up with people needing a large-scale clear out every so often.

Council-run amenity waste and recycling centres are certainly improving. They seem better organised, have more helpful staff, provided more flexible opening hours, better access for vehicles and are organised in the types of waste they can efficiently process.

All adds up to less of a need for skip hire services, who are also being hit by more stringent rules on recycling, which require the companies to charge more and pass that added cost onto their customers.

The end of the recession and a return to better times for the building industry is long awaited and will be welcomed by skip hire companies, but one does wonder if they could have acted more promptly and imaginatively when it comes to riding out the recession. Many people obviously have issues with garden waste disposal, yet there have been very few new services being announced to cater for this need. Perhaps skip hire business owners need to think carefully and more creatively about the services they are providing?

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