Valet Trash Myths vs. Facts
During the last 10 years, valet trash services gained rapid popularity and market penetration. As a result, facts about the popularity of valet trash have permeated online. In many cases, service providers are citing facts to validate the service with little supporting evidence. Property Manager Insider explored the truthfulness of five popular claims:
#1. Valet trash is the #1 apartment/community amenity
#2. Valet trash increases NOI and property values
#3. Valet trash makes properties cleaner and safer
#4. All residents like and want valet trash service
#5. Valet trash offers sustainability and recycling
Valet trash is the #1 apartment amenity – MYTH
Valet trash service providers routinely market the service as the #1 apartment or community amenity. In fact, it is listed on the website of many top providers including:
While these companies market valet trash as the #1 apartment amenity, the claim is not supported by data or research. Select providers attribute the fact to Multifamily Executive Magazine, Rent.com, CEL & Associates or the National Apartment Association. A search for “valet trash” on any of these sites does not yield results about it being the #1 apartment/community amenity.
Additionally, the National Multifamily Housing Council’s 2020 report on apartment amenity trends does not include anything about valet trash. Over 372,000 apartment residents participated in the survey. As a result, Property Manager Insider says valet trash as the #1 apartment or community amenity is a myth.
Valet trash increases NOI and property values – FACT
The second well established claim by valet trash companies is the service’s impact on net operating income and property values. Property Manager Insider says this is a fact, valet trash services increase net operating income and property values. While it is a fact valet trash positively impacts property income, the extent of the impact varies on a property by property basis.
For example, WasteFree claims the service increases NOI by around $15 per month per unit. Meanwhile, National Doorstep Pickup says valet trash services increase a property’s value by $750,000 to $1,200,000 based on a cap rate of 6% to 8%. Since valet trash increases NOI, it also inherently increases property values. While this is true, the extent of these increases are impossible to substantiate until the service is in place.
Valet trash makes properties cleaner and safer – FACT
Two additional benefits marketed by valet trash contractors is making properties cleaner and safer. All the major service providers note the service keeps trash rooms, dumpster area, parking lots and common areas cleaner. Property Manager Insider confirmed this true, valet trash services make properties cleaner and safer.
By eliminating residents transporting and dumping garbage, there is less trash on the property. The service also keeps dumpster areas cleaner because they are used less frequently by residents. Management can also set up fines for residents who do not regularly place their trash out for collection. This helps keep units cleaner as well.
Valet trash makes a property safer by eliminating the need for residents to make trips to dumpster areas late at night. Tote-Away, a Louisiana based valet trash provider, also trains employees to detect and report unsafe situations.
All residents like and want valet trash service – MYTH
Valet trash companies heavily promote that residents, specifically Millennials, seniors and students, love the convenience of the service. Based on Property Manager Insider’s research, this is a myth. While many residents want and appreciate valet trash service, there are many who do not want or like doorstep trash collection service. Choosing a valet trash service with great customer service and professional valets will also impact how residents respond to the service.
The biggest issues with the service arise at properties introducing the service for the first time. This is because residents have to start paying an additional $25 to $35 per month for the service. The challenge is that valet trash is an all or nothing proposition, so once a property introduces the services, every resident must participate.
As a result, residents have used services like change.org to petition against valet trash services. There are also numerous news stories, articles and online reviews criticizing the service, specific providers and apartment communities. While the industries biggest provider, Valet Living, has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau, they have 45 active complaints.
Valet trash offers sustainability and recycling – FACT
Valet trash companies market the sustainability and environmentally friendly impact of the service. Many say it helps an apartment property “go green”. Property Manager Insider determined this claim to be a fact. This because most valet trash companies offer recycling and waste sorting.
By making it easy to recycle and offering to sort the trash into appropriate waste streams, valet trash companies are reducing dumpster/landfill waste from apartments. This absolutely helps the environment. It can also help reduce waste costs for the property. Proper sorting of waste usually increases recyclables and decreases dumpster/landfill waste. Since recycling is typically free, this reduces overall waste management costs. A waste management audit is another way property managers can see how recycling programs impact waste management costs.
Additionally, this benefit of valet trash service will appeal to residents. Over 79% of residents say recycling programs are important or extremely important in terms of leasing decisions. On top of that, 73% of residents say community based green initiatives are also important or extremely important in terms of leasing decisions.
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