Dump trucks carry loads of bulk material that drivers can easily unload through the back tailgate at delivery sites. They truck usually has a hydraulic lifter that raises the front of the bed. Commonly hauled materials include sand, gravel, salt, mulch and rock.
Dump trucks are essential for building. Construction aggregates like crushed stone, sand and gravel are used as a base material underneath highways and parking lots, to control soil erosion, and as part of asphalt and cement mixtures. For large scale projects, aggregates usually arrive at the job site on a dump truck. Truck drivers may work for the construction company at an hourly rate, or they could be independent contractors who are paid by the load.
Dump trucks also deliver pea gravel, sand and mulch for landscaping. Some landscaping companies have their own trucks and drivers, but many contract with independent owner-operators. If your area has a large number of office parks with manicured lawns, or of managed communities with landscaping contracts, there may be opportunities for dump truck drivers or owner-operators.
During severe weather, state departments of transportation spread chemicals on road surfaces to keep travel safe. Dump trucks carry this product in bulk to distribution centers.
If you choose to buy your own dump truck and operate your own truck driving business, you should first sit down and write out a business plan. Have a firm idea of different customers you would want to service. Call around to existing dump truck companies to find out how much they charge for delivery of certain items, and then run a cost analysis. How much will it cost to buy or lease a truck? What will you have to pay for commercial insurance, fuel, maintenance, health insurance – and most importantly, make sure you pay yourself.
In economic downturns, construction tends to slow down, which can make it harder to find work hauling aggregates. Some residents and community managers also scale back landscaping, which can cause that segment of the dump truck demand to slow down, too. Get a realistic idea of what the hauling business is like in your area before you commit to buying a truck.
It’s essential to understand the weight restrictions in your state. This will affect how much load you can carry, which will determine how much money you can earn. Many states break down the weight based on the number of axles your truck has, so if you have a four-axle truck, you can carry more weight.
A lighter truck body weighs less empty, which means you’ll be able to put more product on it before you meet the weight restrictions. In general, the lighter the truck, the more easily it dents and deforms – although it is possible to spend more money for a truck made out of materials that are both lightweight and durable. Denting up your truck will decrease its lifespan, and it also makes the vehicle look shabby and unappealing. Although this may seem like a purely superficial issue, if you are driving a beat-up looking vehicle with your company name and logo on the side, your potential customers who share the road with you are perceiving your company image as beat up and shabby.
Although you may not be able to afford the top of the line truck with a lightweight but durable body, do take unloaded weight and durability into account, especially in relation to your state’s road weight limits.