Where's a good place to get dump truck experience?

Discussion in 'Tanker, Bulk and Dump Trucking Forum' started by Switcher, Jan 7, 2022.

  1. Switcher

    Switcher Light Load Member

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    Seems most, if not all, companies want drivers with several years of dump truck experience. Should I just apply anyway?
     
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  3. Slowpoke KW

    Slowpoke KW Road Train Member

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    The worst they can say is no, then ask who they suggest talk to.
     
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  4. Arctic_fox

    Arctic_fox Road Train Member

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    If you have 2-3 years OTR most will happily train you. If you dont its a lot more tricky especially with insurance being a bear but ask around. Many class B and even some class A have driver training programs
     
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  5. Badmon

    Badmon Heavy Load Member

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    Craigslist. Beat your feet pound the pavement.. Find the smallest mom and pop you can. 2, 3, maybe 4 trucks. Look at small construction/grading outfits.. show your face and sell yourself. Someone will give you a shot
     
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  6. Does It Matter

    Does It Matter Bobtail Member

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    Probably the best experience and easiest to get into, is either excavating companies, asphalt companies, dig out crews (bigger companies that do gas/sewer/waterlines all year), etc.. Many are hiring but seem to be lazy running adds. Can always call them, watch CL, look for dump trucks on the road that you always see, and call the company and ask if they are hiring. Most NEED drivers.

    I drove otr and ran reefer, flatbed, etc. for my 20's and part of my 30's. Around 40, I applied for a guy that ran a few asphalt trucks on the side (they did chipseal and fabric, etc. mainly) and picked it up pretty quick. Applied last year to an excavating company much closer to home with 20+ trucks that also runs ashalt trucks, dirt, stone, millings, etc., and they didn't even road test nor require job app lmao. I knew the lingo during interview and they had me follow a guy for a day. They kept me on a short leash first couple weeks and observed me on some of their dump/load sites, etc., instead. Pre-screen drug and FMSCA clearinghouse obviously. Clean record and driving, though some of these guys in dumps have lots of points.

    In other words, very easy to get into. Biggest things are do NOT back up with drop axles down, ever, or you'll snap them. Do NOT dump on uneven ground. Reposition to be more level, tell the guy directing that your bed is tilting too much, etc.. Don't drive with the boom up over uneven terrain. If load is sticking in the nose and it rocks too much, it can tip the truck over. Do NOT drive with PTO engaged. On older trucks, it'll creep the bed up at highway speeds, even with the raise/lower handle in the middle. Those guys that hit bridges or overpass signs in the middle of the highway with the bed fully extended w/o realizing it went up? That's how. Also burns the pump out leaving it on, though that's the lesser worry. When raising the dump, hitting the accelerator (truck in neutral, foot on brake) will raise the bed faster. This is a MUST for asphalt crews that need to move quickly. If bed slams down when lowering, there's still something in it. When empty, they lower slower.

    Asphalt typically pays more per hour, but you HAVE to be good or catch on quickly or the crews running the paver will lose patience (if it's 95 degrees out with 80% humidity, it's even worse for them on/near the paver and many get irritable). It needs tarped (most are automatic/electric) to keep heat in. If you own the truck and it breaks down loaded, you'll probably have to eat the load. Also, need to be good at watching them constantly and understanding the hand signals. If/when doing asphalt, I NEVER look at my phone. Eyes are glued to the mirror and watching paver operator or one which ever crew member is guiding.

    Dirt, stone, dig outs, millings (road milling machine that grates top surface of old road and uses a conveyor belt to load dump; hard at first as you have to match their speed going down the road and keep belt near middle of bed) broken concrete, etc., typically pay less (pays the truck less so pays you less unless you have a generous boss) and are easier to learn.

    Whatever you do, be sure to let the more seasoned guys runs ahead of you so you can get a feel for what's going on, especially on job sites which are often "off road" or graded dirt, etc.. So try not to be first at the site. ALWAYS watch out for hand signals and construction guys walking. Only time I ever do something like look at my phone or are otherwise distracted, is when equipment breaks down or there are trucks in front of me, otherwise I try and watch mirrors and keep head on a swivel. If these guys have to honk at you more than once to move, or get out of their loader to get your attention, etc., they'll be less likely to have you return to the site. Also, always be mindful of where your truck is. Often times, a loader with 304's (type of stone used as a base) might need to get around you and if you are on your phone playing a stupid game, they'll start to get irritated. And most of these guys are running heavy equipment, spotting trenches for the excavator i.e. if a gas line isn't where it's supposed to be, they'll see it before excavator hits it, doing calculations, etc.. They do NOT want you out of the truck standing next to them and talking their ear off. Some guys do this and it pisses guys off.

    Most everything off top of my head I can think of. Very easy work, but have to be alert and think of the guy running the loader, excavator, etc., as god for a day. If they see you respecting them and being mindful, always ready to go and quick with returning, etc., they'll be more likely to request you for follow up days, bigger or new jobs, etc.. If you act like a dick and are on the phone, not caring what's going on, you'll slowly find yourself doing the runs others don't want.
     
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  7. Caterpillar Cowboy

    Caterpillar Cowboy Heavy Load Member

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    @Switcher do you have any experience on construction jobs, or strictly highway trucking?

    I've always said dirt trucking is a lot like cow trucking in this sense.

    It's easier to teach a construction worker how to drive a truck, than teach a truck driver how to be a construction worker.

    That being said I am a little more curious about your situation, might have some more ideas for you depending.
     
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  8. Switcher

    Switcher Light Load Member

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    Thanks for all the replies, I got a new job driving a vacuum truck.
     
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  9. abyliks

    abyliks Road Train Member

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    Not really , OTR trucking has almost zero in common with dirt, would rather train someone new before they pick up any bad habits on the road,

    always loved the otr guys coming in blah blah blah I have 60 years of experience and 10 million miles backing up and went everywhere, then they snap something off road or lay a trailer over in the first week
     
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  10. Don379

    Don379 Heavy Load Member

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    im in the dump truck bussiness and you just said exactly the same stuff i have seen.
     
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  11. Arctic_fox

    Arctic_fox Road Train Member

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    I never said they would be GOOD at it, just that a lot would happily TRAIN you. Insurance has always been and will be the hurdle there. Im an end dump driver so trust me i know.
     
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