Proper cubic yard count of debris for Preservation Properties (copy)


In this course:

  • Debris Removal as it is related to Preservation properties 
  • How to measure debris and how to pay vendors for its removal
  • Common errors made by coordinators when dealing with property debris

1 - Vendor 'Flat Rate' vs 'Bid'

Preservation Properties are either:

    1.  BID, with excessive services to be performed, or

    2.  FLAT RATE, with standard services to be performed

Once Cyprexx vendors are established (out of training) they are placed on a Flat Rate, standard of which is $445 per property.  This flat rate includes the completion of a basic set of services:

  • Sales clean--up to a 2,500 square foot house - $120
  • Initial Lawn--up to one acre - $75
  • Debris Removal--up to 20 cubic yards - $200
  • A set of simple Safety Hazards - $50

If a service item exceeds the vendor's Flat Rate, that item must be bid and approval received prior to vendor proceeding with service completion.

2 - How is Debris measured?

When paying for debris disposal, there are two options:  (1) Weight, and (2) Volume.  Cyprexx aligns with industry standards and counts debris as a volume measure: 


  • A cubic yard is:  3' x 3' x  3'
  • A cubic foot is:  12" x 12" x 12"
  • Which means, 1 cubic yard = 27 cubic feet




1.  27 is the number to remember because from this number many measurements can be obtained.

2.  In the graphic above, you will see a relatively accurate representation of a cubic yard comparative to a 6' tall man.  Slightly larger than a washing machine, a cubic yard is larger than you might expect

And remember... 20 cubic yards are included in the vendor's Flat Rate, so a BID is not considered until this amount is exceeded.

2a - Examples of a Cubic Yard


125 gallon paint cans are approximately one cubic yard.  This is 25 cans in a square, stacked five squares high  (this is simply a size comparative and does not include the paint, which is considered a hazardous material in some states)
5 automobile tires are approximately one cubic yard  (remember, hollow items like tires can have other items stacked in and around them)
4 to 5 very full standard waste bags are approximately one cubic yard - this refers to the large 55 gallon yard waste type bags 
42 cinder blocks are approximately one cubic yard (don't fall into the trap of trying to give more value to heavy items, Cyprexx does not measure by weight)
3 to 4 wooden pallets are approximately one cubic yard


2b - Cubic Yardage and Void Space

  • A 5-shelf bookcase has a footprint of approximately one cubic yard; but items like these aren't as simple.  First, we'll look at the footprint measurement, but then we'll address the correct way to deal with an item like this:
  • The bookcase is:  1' deep x 6' high x 4' wide = 24 cubic feet
  • At 24 cubic feet, this would almost be a cubic yard


But we aren't going to allow for a cubic yard for this item. Do you know why?


Void Space is the storage space found in any bulk item such as:

  • Open shelves
  • Empty drawers
  • Empty trunks/bins
  • Empty cabinets

When you look at this bookshelf, you realize there is a lot of void space here.  The vendor could lay this bookshelf flat in his truck, filling that space with other debris.  Or, this unit could be crushed and would not require a cubic yard.  Void space must always be considered in each cubic yardage count.

In the example above - Let's pretend we have already dealt with the possibility of the PB Issue, and we're ready to trash out the property. 

1. Note the blonde wood dresser in the center of this room.  The footprint of this dresser is about a cubic yard; but, your first question to your vendor should be "Is the dresser empty?"  If the dresser is empty, then approximately a cubic yard of the miscellaneous debris in the room could be compacted into the void space.

2. There is a bookshelf to the right.  Again, a footprint of a cubic yard - but the void space would require us to absorb another cubic yard of miscellaneous debris in the room to account for the void space

3. To the left of the dresser is a pink hamper.  Again, you will need to ask your vendor if that hamper is full or empty.  It would measure about 1/3 of a cubic yard as a footprint.  If this item is empty, we'd want to absorb about a third of a cubic yard of debris to account for the void space

Look for VOID SPACE items in any cubic yardage count you take.  Keeping cubic yardage counts low increases profitability for Cyprexx, and will ultimately increase your KPI.

2c - Examples of a Cubic Yard

A 5-Drawer Highboy Dresser has approximately a one cubic yard footprint.  Again, let's examine the physical measurements:

17" deep  x  54" high  x  42" wide = 38,556 Cubic Inches

1728 Cubic Inches = 1 Cubic Foot

38,556 Cubic Inches in the Dresser
÷ 1728 Cubic Inches in a Cubic Foot
= 22.3 Cubic Feet in the Dresser
÷ 27 Cubic Feet in a Cubic Yard
= .83 Cubic Yards

This item is a VOID SPACE item, requiring you to think in terms of the other miscellaneous debris in the house.  If this dresser is empty space inside, another cubic yard of miscellaneous debris should be absorbed and counted with this item to account for the Void Space.

2d - Other Examples of a Cubic Yard



A large mirror = 1/6 cubic yard (It would take 6 framed mirrors to equal a cubic yard)

Bedroom nightstand = 1/3 cubic yard Footprint



Is there void space in this item?  YES!  When counting this item, another 1/3 of a cubic yard of miscellaneous debris should be absorbed in the cubic yardage count.

18 sheets of ½’’ plywood = 1 cubic yard, one sheet being 1/18th of a cubic yard

double-sized bed mattress & box spring

= 3/4 cubic yard

8’’ thick  x  54’’ wide  x  78" long = 33696 cubic inches 

33696 ÷ 1728 = 19.5 cubic feet

19.5 ÷ 27 (Cu.Ft. in a CYD) = .72 cubic yards

This is nearly 3/4 CYD

With frame at 1/4 CYD

= 1 CYD

standard office desk FOOTPRINT measure...
= 1 1/6 cubic yard

60" long x 30’’ high x 30’’ wide = 54,000 cubic inches

54,000 ÷ 1728 = 31.25 cubic feet

31.5 ÷ 27 (Cu.Ft. in a CYD) = 1.16 cyds

Or a little over 1 1/6th

Larger Desks could be sized up to two cubic yards.



Is there void space in this item?  YES!  When counting this item, another 1 1/6 of a cubic yard of miscellaneous debris should be absorbed in the cubic yardage count for this desk.


3a - Counting Cyds - Context Clues

Most of the time, debris at our properties isn't stacked in neat stacks or boxed in boxes.  It's certainly not premeasured into cubic yard increments.  Often, you will deal with large areas of scattered trash

  • Using the scale of the photo you must make estimates of the trash you see in the space.  How?  Context clues can be very helpful in determining the amount of debris in a photo:

  • This photo shows a scattered pile of debris.  What are our context clues here? 

Which items in the photo can give a clue as to the size of the room?

Is this an Interior or an exterior door?  It looks like an interior door, so the measure is probably 2.5' wide.  The door height will be 6.5' high.

Now, compare the room to the door.  This gives us a scale for the size of the room.  Mentally turn the door on its side against the back wall.


That wall is a longer distance than the height of the door by at least 3-4 feet.


The box springs is also a clue.  A full-sized box springs is 80" from head to foot.  That is 6.5' long.  While this box springs is at an angle, you can make a comparison to the back wall.  This wall is almost double in length compared to this box springs.


With this information, we can estimate the back wall of this room to be approximately 10'-11' wide.

The door is 6.5' high, but there is a space between the door and ceiling of about 2'.  That would place the ceiling height at about 8'-8.5' high.

The tallest piece of debris in the room is the highboy dresser, and it stands approximately 2/3 of the height of the ceiling - perhaps 4'-5' tall.  The mattress and box springs are standing at about the halfway mark in the room. 


These are the largest pieces of debris in the room.

Now, let's do some calculations on the debris in the room based on these measurements we've been able to estimate:

Highboy Dresser - slightly taller than a standard highboy (but perhaps a little more narrow) 1 cubic yard
The box spring and mattress - which looks to be full size 2/3 cubic yard
Debris on the floor, from the center of the room to the left is a larger pile, measuring almost half the height of the door (3' pile) 1 cubic yard
Remaining debris to the right of the box springs, and behind 1/2 cubic yard (estimate, as we cannot see behind the mattress and box spring)
TOTAL Slightly over 3 Cubic Yards.  Giving the vendor 3.5 cubic yards for this room would be generous. This could probably be negotiated to 3 Cubic Yards without an issue.

3b - Counting Cyds - Photos are Important




Be very particular about the photos you receive from your vendor when it comes to cubic yards. 

  • Your vendor's photos are not to be close-ups
  • The best cubic yardage photos show the entire room, or large scope exterior photos 
  • Any piles of debris should be photographed from multiple angles to show you depth and perspective

Close up photos don't provide an accurate feel for the actual amount of trash or debris.  You won't be able to get an accurate count with close ups. These types of photos are required for PB Issues only, not for estimating cubic yards.

4 - Sample Property Review

The next few screens are a review of debris found at a single property.  Various spots in each photo are highlighted. 

  • Take time to carefully review each photo and keep a running tally of your Cubic Yards count

4a - SAMPLE 1

  • Take a few moments, look at what you see, try to count the debris using context clues

4b - SAMPLE 2 - Can you match the items to the photo?

  • Review the photo for other items you might see.  Are you keeping track of your Cubic Yard count so far?

  • Municipal Garbage Can
  • Wire Shelf
  • Recycling Bin
  • Record Albums

4c - SAMPLE 3

How is your count coming? 

  • Make sure you're not counting things twice
  • Many times a vendor will take photos of the same pile from different angles, look for clues in the debris that tell you "Hey, this is something I've counted before"

All of this?  We're still in the garage..

4d - SAMPLE 4

Good job, keep counting!  You'll have a place to tell us your total at the end of this section.

4e - SAMPLE 5 - Can you find the following items?

Keep on counting

In this photo, you're probably looking at a walk-in closet, about 8' deep, 5' wide.

  • Closet Shoe Rack
  • Cable
  • Cat Food or Cat Liter
  • Shredded Insulation
  • Mail

4f - SAMPLE 6

4g - SAMPLE 7

4h - SAMPLE 8

Are you still counting?  Keep it up.  We're almost finished with this property!

4i - SAMPLE 9 - Can you match the following items?

  • The window screen in this photo should be mentioned.  If there is an item which 'goes with' the house - screens, shutters, etc., these items should not be discarded but put in their proper place. 
  • Also, look for things many might overlook.  Did you notice the 'Plug-In' Air Freshener in the wall?  Items of this type must be removed as well.

Keep on counting!  You're doing very well.  Only two more photos for this property...

  • Television Stand
  • Computer Monitor
  • Window Screen
  • Card Table
  • Computer Keyboard

4j - SAMPLE 10 - Using context clues, how 'deep' is this room in feet?

  • 10' - 12'
  • 13' - 15'
  • 18' - 20'
  • It would be impossible to guess based upon the information in this photo

4k - SAMPLE 11

Okay, so finish up your count with this photo!

4l - The Final Count!  How many cubic yards?  No penalty, just give it a shot.

Counting cubic yards is a skill you learn. 

  • Review photos, and count the debris
  • Get a comparative count from another coordinator, or Senior Coordinator who has a little more experience:

1.  If his/her count is consistently higher than yours, perhaps you're not giving the debris enough cubic yardage value. 

2.  If his/her count is consistently lower than yours, you might be overshooting things. 

Q1 - How many cubic yards of tires are there in the photo above?

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

Q2 - How many cubic yards is the standard Office Desk shown above?

  • 1
  • 1 1/6th
  • 2
  • 2 1/6th

Q3 - How many cubic yards of pallets is shown in the photo above?

  • 3
  • 5
  • 7
  • 9

Q4 - How many cubic yards in the Mattress, Box Spring and Frame in the photo above?

  • 4 cubic yards
  • 2 cubic yards
  • Slightly more than 1 cubic yard
  • 3 cubic yards

Q5 - How many cubic yards of Trash Bags are shown above?

  • 2
  • 3.5
  • 5
  • 6.5

Q6 - How many cubic yards is the FOOTPRINT of the nightstand shown above?

**Please note - this is a VOID SPACE ITEM.  Additional debris should be absorbed when counting this in a standard debris count.

  • 1/2
  • 1/3
  • 2/3
  • 3/4

Q7 - How many cubic yards is the FOOTPRINT of the Highboy Dresser shown above?

**Please note - this is a VOID SPACE ITEM.  Additional debris should be absorbed when counting this in a standard debris count.

  • 1/2
  • 1
  • 1 1/2
  • 2

Q8 - How many cubic yards is the FOOTPRINT of the Bookshelf pictured above?

**Please note - this is a VOID SPACE ITEM.  Additional debris should be absorbed when counting this in a standard debris count.

  • 1/2
  • 1
  • Slightly more than 1
  • Slightly less than 1

5a - Flat vs Bid - Average house of 1,500 square feet

Now, imagine that home stacked 6" deep throughout with trash.  For a 1,500 square foot home, this would amount to 750 cubic feet of trash.  (That's a lot of trash!)

750 cubic feet ÷ 27 cubic feet (the number of cubic feet in a yard) =
28 Cubic Yards of Debris.

In a standard REO Property, 20 Cubic Yards are included in the flat rate.  This means the vendor can bid an additional 8 cubic yards of debris as overage:

28 Total Cubic Yards of debris
-20 Cubic Yards included in Flat Rate
=8 Cubic Yards left to bid

This is how the bid would be calculated:

$445 Vendor's Flat Rate

8 additional cubic yards @ $15 per cubic yard

=$565 Total Bid (including 8 additional Cubic Yards)

We would only pay extra for the additional cubic yardage. 

5b - Flat vs Bid - Avoiding Costly Errors

Most coordinators have made the error:  They've paid the vendor his/her flat rate, and then paid for the FULL cubic yardage count as well. 

Let's view a property side by side:



Vendor submits a bid including a total of 30 cubic yards of debris Vendor submits a bid including a total of 30 cubic yards of debris

$445 - Flat Rate
$450 - 30 cyds @$15/ea

$895 - Total Bid

$445 - Flat Rate

$150 - 10 add'l cyds @$15/ea

$595 - Total Bid


5c - Negotiation is CRUCIAL

It is very important that Coordinators understand negotiation and employ negotiation skills when dealing with their vendors in bids of this type.

  • If all services on a property are flat rate EXCEPT FOR debris, and the debris removal does not exceed 25 cubic yards, try to talk your vendor into completing the property for the flat rate. 
  • Don't be afraid to ask your vendor to do a job for less.  You are employed to get the work completed as cost effectively as possible.  The more money you keep in Cyprexx, the higher your profitability and KPI. 

Remember, 65-70% of our properties can be completed for the Vendor's Flat Rate.

5d - Correct Cubic Yardage Counts are SERIOUS BUSINESS!

Correct cubic yard counts are serious business here at Cyprexx:

  • Higher Profitability
  • Loss Prevention
  • Accountability for our vendors


1.  Review your photos for every property

2.  Search for areas of inconsistency. 

3.  Don't rush through photo review. 

4.  REALLY LOOK CLOSELY at every photo, every time! 

And remember, the calculations we've provided here are estimates.  They aren't to be provided to your vendors.  They are rough estimates of the volume of some items.  The goal is to help you properly count debris on a property. 

Be flexible, there are times measurements may vary.  Keep in mind that counting cubic yardage is a subjective action, and there are many things to consider when performing this function of your job

5e - Vendor Count Versus Coordinator/Manager Count

As you might imagine, the counts reviewed and received by vendors can be substantially different that those here at Cyprexx.  If a vendor's count is going to err, it will probably be higher than the actual count.

  • Count the cubic yardage as accurately as you can, based upon the photos you received.
  • Observe your own bid approval limits.  Do not attempt to approve a bid for an amount more than you are allowed to approve.
  • If you have questions on the count, get a second opinion from your Senior Coordinator or your Manager.
  • In instances where the bid exceeds your approval threshold, your Senior Coordinator/Manager will review the photos as well.

Once we have a CYPREXX final count on debris, this is the quantity we will record in REOTrak.

5f - Entering Quantities in REOTrak

Once you and your team have come to a consensus on the actual cubic yardage count for the property, you will enter these quantities in REOTrak.  Vendor's actual counts are NOT entered in the database unless they have been confirmed by you and your team. 

If the debris count is <= 20 Cubic Yards, this will be entered on the 'Debris Removal' line.  Enter ONLY the actual amount of Debris present. 

In the example below, the vendor's bid states 7 Cubic Yards of debris.  Even though 20 cyds is covered in the flat rate, we do not enter '20' in the Quantity on the service line.  We do enter 7, so long as our count agrees with that of the vendor.  Entering the quantity for Debris accurately is very important for tracking this service.

If the approved debris count is >20 Cubic Yards:

  • 20 would be entered on the Debris Removal Line
  • Additional cubic yardage over 20 will be entered on a new 'Added Debris Removal' line, to be dropped by you, as coordinator.

This is an example of 37 cyds - and the correct way quantity should be recorded:

For this property, the Coordinator entered '20' in the quantity for the Debris Removal line, and the overage '17' cubic yards has been placed in the quantity for the 'Added Debris Removal' line.

Dropping the overage onto a new line is very important for tracking this overage, and for submitting EFRs to the client. 

  • DO NOT put any Cubic Yardage quantity over 20 on a 'Debris Removal' Line
  • Record ONLY THE OVERAGE on an 'Added Debris Removal' line.




Okay, so now are you ready for the cubic yardage count on the Sample House we showed earlier in the presentation?


Approximately 12 cubic yards of debris

This property would have been completed by the Cyprexx vendor at his/her flat rate.

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