Dump truck net profit

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by armydirt, Jan 24, 2022.

  1. armydirt

    armydirt Bobtail Member

    Jan 19, 2022
    Hey folks, is there anyone running their own dirt truck that wouldn't mind sharing some expense numbers? I drive for a small contractor now, but I'm considering buying my own truck. I have the cash to buy a decent truck, but I want to make sure I get plenty of reasons why I'm an idiot.

    Hit me with all the hard stuff, I'm truly trying to be convinced not to pull the trigger.

    For what it's worth, everyone is working hourly, not by the ton here locally. Typically between $85 and $100 an hour. But that's neither here nor there, I imagine costs are pretty typical (insurance excluded) across the country.
    n4ane Thanks this.
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  3. abyliks

    abyliks Road Train Member

    May 2, 2010
    ludlow MA
    Do you also own multiplie machines and a big pile of dirt? Do you have another business doing very well that you would like to piss some money away to lessen the burden with Uncle Sam come April?

    40 hours x 100 hours is $4000…. And if you are in the snow belt the only thing you can do is haul salt which will save you more money by staying home and leaving the truck in the yard.

    i would look at a small bunk tractor to put a bucket behind, thar way when it slows down you can hop markets, unless you fall under # 1 or 2…
  4. Dino soar

    Dino soar Road Train Member

    Dec 8, 2017
    Well I'm not really negative about dump trucks some markets are really good.

    Generally speaking those trucks work on seniority. So as a new truck you'll be the last truck to be called and the first one to be let go. So figure your expenses such that the first year maybe you'll only work 6 months or 8 months. But the dump trucks tend to kind of be feast or famine so if you really work hard through the summer you can do well for yourself I'm sure.

    But you have to make sure that you have a really good truck that doesn't have frame problems or double rails separating and the beds wear out the pins wear out the Hoist need to be rebuilt there's a lot more maintenance on a dump truck than a tractor. There's a lot more suspension work and problems with the rears and that type of thing. Off-road heavy-duty hauling like that is really hard on a truck.

    So it is not that you can't it's that you need to be ready especially if you're going to have however many start-up years of long Winters. But pretty much every company you see with 10 and 20 tri-axles started with one guy. Everybody has to start from somewhere.

    And I really couldn't tell you as far as the winters go some guys may work all year just about. In Pennsylvania anyway there's road construction everywhere.

    Maybe @Don379 could give you some advice. I think he has a tri-axle.
  5. ProfessionalNoticer

    ProfessionalNoticer Road Train Member

    Apr 25, 2021
    The only way you’ll know for sure is if you get out there and do it. Most dump trucks are paid hourly and the get the work through the larger companies that have the big contracts. You have to understand you'll be a hired gun so to speak. Only a single truck doesn't really offer much in the grand scheme of things. Btw, it's usually the employee/driver that gets paid by the load and the carrier/truck owner gets the hourly rate from the GC.
  6. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

    Feb 15, 2014

    What state are you in?
  7. n4ane

    n4ane Light Load Member

    Aug 28, 2020
    Well I can help you some depending on your area you need to know what trucks are getting paid in IE axles tandem tri and quad. Also what you cam haul and what's common in the area. In my area I am on the high side for a tandem I charge $90 per hour. But also I am a experienced driver I can also operate equipment (sometimes I load myself) but I also move equipment and other things. My insurance (truck general liability and workman's comp) is 12k a year (full coverage on the truck) I haul almost every but dirt (I will do some dirt in the winter but not the summer unless it's for someone I know). During the summer I haul equipment, asphalt, stone, brush, and all kinds if demo work (I have a demo bed with high lift) I would also highly recommend a demo bed if you can find one. And get a truck with a high lift or barn door if it doesn't have a barn door make sure you can add on the more you can do the better you cam get and keep work
  8. Idaho MTN Driver

    Idaho MTN Driver Bobtail Member

    Jan 22, 2020
    What is your budget for a truck? To get a decent dump truck right now you will be looking at some money. You might find a decent converted tractor for $30-$40K, but a real built dump truck with the right gearing and suspension will be quite a bit more.

    If you have a good truck your biggest expenses will be fuel and tires. And dump trucks do take a beating, so there will always be something that needs attention. For me the rule of thumb is that half the gross goes to the truck. This will vary depending on if you own your truck or are making payments, setting aside money for future repairs, insurance rate, etc.

    But, it can be done. Attitude is everything, and if you have a good attitude and do what you say you are going to do and show up when you say you're going to you will more than likely do fine.

    Also, everyone thinks you need to talk to the big gravel pits in your area and pick up work from them. But if you live in the right area, just putting your name out as the guy who is willing to haul loads to homeowners or maybe for landscape companies that need a couple boxes of topsoil could keep you really busy and be more fun than driving the same route all day between the gravel pit and construction site.

    If you can afford the truck, have money set aside for repairs that will come up and have a good attitude, I think it would be worth the risk. I think you'll find (if you're not way overstretched financially and have some breathing room) that you'll take a lot of pride in having your own business.

    Finally, you quoted rates in the $85-$100 hour range. $100/hour would be OK, but I think you'll find that running a dump truck for $85/hour is not worth it. I think you'll find that it will be hard to maintain the truck like it needs to be maintained at that rate.
    n4ane Thanks this.
  9. cgilliland

    cgilliland Medium Load Member

    Mar 13, 2017
    he asked for cost data. most of ya'll are giving him billing rates (revenue).
  10. abyliks

    abyliks Road Train Member

    May 2, 2010
    ludlow MA
    that’s because there’s a million different things that goes into cost
  11. cgilliland

    cgilliland Medium Load Member

    Mar 13, 2017
    yea not really, just maybe less than a dozen main ones that hopefully drives everyones cost tracking

    routine pms
    major minor repair account
    labor (driver pay)

    put an average number by all of those for the guy woudl be helpful. revenue minus all that is margin. if hes an O/O he makes the wage and the margin. not very mysterious
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