Starting a Dump Truck Business

Discussion in 'Ask An Owner Operator' started by Strongheld, Dec 1, 2022.

  1. Strongheld

    Strongheld Bobtail Member

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    Dec 1, 2022
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    Okay, I’m green when it comes to operating a dump truck business. I currently operate a flatbed moffet truck delivering building materials to job sites. I’m located in Oregon, I’ve always wanted to be an owner operator tho. I found a truck for a fair price, it’s a 1974 Pete with a 10 yard box (I know it’s old but gotta start somewhere) Now, before I make the decision to purchase it, I have some questions. How do you find work to keep the wheels rolling? What’s the business like? Is it profitable? Where do I start? What do you charge? How do I expand(what other services should I offer) Any advice is appreciated. upload_2022-12-1_19-19-48.jpeg
     
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  3. motocross25

    motocross25 Road Train Member

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    I don’t own a dump truck but I’m in the dump side of trucking. And I can tell you from experience dump trucking ESPECIALLY on a local scale is the most bare minimum-profit making-cut throat-under cut bidding-back stabbing-every man for himself-fickle business I have ever seen. I wouldn’t know where to begin to tell you what to charge, how much to have in the bank or how to do it. I’m in Kansas and man things will be going good until it rains and everything shuts off. And when it’s sunny and good inevitably that’s when the truck will break down. There’s money in asphalt but nothing will wreck a truck faster. You can work direct for a quarry but it’s gonna be hard being a one man show. They like making 1 phone call. Like calling companies and and saying “we need 12 trucks”. You might want to look into construction companies hauling away tear out. Or even concrete companies and hauling out their washout sludge. Best of luck man someone with more entrepreneurial knowledge hopefully will come along soon and chime in. It’s gonna be tough tho dude to get started. You may want to check out established dump companies in your area and see if you can glom on to them, they’ll take a % but it’ll show you the ins and outs of the biz and you can start making connections while growing some capital. And then slash their rate and do it yourself. It sounds cold but that’s just how it is. I don’t mean to be over dramatic but anybody who has their own dump truck you meet is not your friend. If you think they’re being nice and making small talk, they aren’t. They’re trying to see what you’re doing, and if it’s better than what they got going, how they can take it from you. But with all that said; I love dump trucking I think it’s fun and I’d never do anything else.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2022
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  4. LoneRanger

    LoneRanger Road Train Member

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    With any business it seems you still have questions. Usually one learns the answers before looking at a truck.

    hope it works out.
     
  5. Strongheld

    Strongheld Bobtail Member

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    Dec 1, 2022
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    I wasn’t looking at trucks or anything. A guy mentioned he was selling it after I had said I wanted To be an owner operator at some point in my career. Just got me thinking harder about it, so I came here for answers. Figured this is a good place to start.
     
  6. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    California
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    Good post. You could have been describing dump trucking in our area there are so many things here exactly the same.
    I'd tell a new guy to drive a season or two to learn the ins and outs. Learn who's who in your area. Learn who makes the hiring decisions and who they listen. In dump work knowing people is key. Build up a reputation for being on time, doing good work, not running your mouth in the pit or on the job, and never piss off anybody you don't absolutely have to. Running a dump truck is like living in a small town.. Pretty soon you know everybody and they know you.
    Don't be in a hurry to buy a truck just 'cause it's the cheapest thing on the market. There are dump trucks for sale at good prices every winter. After you've been around a couple of years you'll know the good trucks from the bad and if a good one comes up for sale you can grab it.
    There's more, there's a whole lot more, and somebody else can pick up where I left off. My SIL just came in with a plate of venison sausage.
     
  7. Midwest Trucker

    Midwest Trucker Road Train Member

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    I have literally no dump truck knowledge until about a month ago. I shopped around and the hired a company to move 120 loads of dirt for me. Turns out the company I hired tried to stiff the largest contractor that they hired to help out. Then, they also tried to send a 2nd invoice where they “forgot” to add one of the contractor that had also helped out. Little did they say or mention that they also had padded their own hours to the tune of the left off contractor. Once confronted and proved they said ok just send another $500 and don’t worry about the rest of the invoice. I already know they’ll later claim I didn’t pay the full invoice. LOL my extremely limited experience has show me that the dump truck world is extremely dirty, underhanded, shady, etc. They also tried to direct contact my dirt contact and steal the special agreement I have with them.

    I thought general trucking was bad… if I hadn’t thrown some weight around and threatened to expose them in our small community I guarantee they never would have paid the contractors. It’s been a bad experience to say the least. Then, the big boys don’t have time for you as they have state contracts wrapped up and ongoing. I guess as an operator try and get on with them but your old truck better not break down or you’ll be bled dry.

    Seems rates around here are 110 to 135/hr but if your only getting 9 or 10 hrs when weather is good, that’s tough going. And as REO said that’s if you don’t break down.

    Edit: But hey! Maybe I just had a bad first experience. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
  8. LoneRanger

    LoneRanger Road Train Member

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    I guess I miss understood when you said “you found a truck.”

    your in the right spot to get some knowledge. Hope it works out and you find your niche.
     
  9. REO6205

    REO6205 Trucker Forum STAFF Staff Member

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    You're painting dump truck operators with a broad brush as far as being crooked goes. Are there shady operators out there? Absolutely. But if there are enough checks and balances in place you can keep their hand out of your pocket. Kinda like van operators. ;) There are a lot of good dump companies out there.
    The one you hired looked at you and saw a trusting soul who wasn't paying enough attention and figured he'd high-grade you a little. You're honest, you figure everybody else is honest. Too bad it doesn't work that way.
    The people in your area probably already know this guy. Like I said, dump trucking is like living in a small town and everybody knows everybody else. They probably knew he was going to try to screw you. They knew it before you did.
    Next time out you'll be ready for them. Hire the same guy again and I'll bet he won't cheat you this time. Find someplace where you can reason with him without a lot of other people around. Things still get settled this way and maybe just talking to him will be enough. Get the scale tickets or the load tickets at the end of every day. Figure them up before end of business each day. If they know you're watching they might straighten up.
     
  10. RGN

    RGN Heavy Load Member

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    Jun 13, 2014
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    I made a lot of $ this year running for the quarry down the road from me when they needed a gyppo truck- call at 0445 "can you haul today? we're short of trucks". Having said that quarrys and bulk material suppliers make their money on the product, not the trucking so you work for what they pay. Solo independent truck is a tough row to hoe. The fellows with little teaspoon trucks (5/7 yard) seem to do OK as the suppliers don't want them in the fleet- same cost for driver, fuel, maint, etc.& they make the money on the product so big net loads are better.
    My truck is a '67- makes the same $ as the newer ones per hour!
    [edit: you will also get called for the job 7 miles down the one-track through the mud then stuck and pushed out with the dozer, 4 times a day, for a week, because they don't want to f THEIR trucks up doing that!]
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2022
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