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Thread: Questions regarding starting a dump truck business?

  1. #16
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    You have to beable to do most of the maintenance on your truck so you don't have to pay a shop 90-100 dollars per hour for doing the repairs.

    Things you should be able to do

    Oil Changes
    Change tires you should beable to dismount and mount tires on rims
    Do Brake jobs
    Weld up the box if need be
    Fix the electrical problems

    If you buy a new truck then you don't have to worry about major repairs for atleast 3 years.

    The rate for a tandem axle dump truck with a 58,000lb gvw runs at 75-80 dollars per hour now from 65 dollars per hour a year ago because the price of fuel getting higher. The price of tires is getting higher and higher even recaps are getting really expensive.

    If you had a decent truck that was reliable and good on fuel you could try squeeze a living out of a dump truck. You also have to be the driver all the time soon as you put a driver on the truck there goes the profit.

    If you are a excavation contractor you pretty much need a tandem axle dump because you always need a wheelbarrow to cart material around. A truck is also needed to pull a trailer to carry a machine its why the excavation guys here run a 16 ton or smaller excavator because it can be moved on a trailer pulled by a dump truck no need for a lowbed. When you have a machine that can be moved easily more jobs you can do in a day.

    The way to get money with a dump is get hired on by the municipality as a contractor truck. When they are doing larger projects they may hire private contractors I know the local muni here does. Its pretty easy hauling with the muni work.

  2. #17
    Administrator digger242j's Avatar
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    First, I'm not disputing any of what's been said about how difficult it is to make money as a trucking business. It's something I've heard many times over, from many different people.


    You have to beable to do most of the maintenance on your truck so you don't have to pay a shop 90-100 dollars per hour for doing the repairs....
    and...


    You also have to be the driver all the time soon as you put a driver on the truck there goes the profit.
    To me, that is not a viable business model. It may be "being your own boss", which is always nice, but for something to be a "business", it has to return something over and above what your time and effort alone is worth. What you describe is essentially either a case of doing maintenance and driving for free, so that it seems like the truck is making money, or conversely, paying yourself to drive and maintain the truck, and making no profit--mechanic's and driver's wages, but no "profit".

    And, believe me, I represent the voice of experience in how not to make money...

  3. #18
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    A good saying for a dump truck is you make 5 dollars and spend 12 I heard that from a mechanic the other day.

    With dump trucks in this area they are making say 80 dollars per hour you have to pay a driver minimum 15 dollars usually is 18-20 per hour now the truck is down to 62 dollars per hour. The price of fuel here is 4.02 a gallon a truck will easily burn 50-100 dollars a day in fuel.

    Say the driver accidently gouges and ruins a super single steer tire there goes 750 dollars for the day thats what a tire costs. If a driver blows a drive tire and the other tire beside it goes theres another 700 dollars.

    Tires are the profit killer and its real easy to ruin a tire. A basic deep lug recap 22.5 is 350 dollars you ruin one now the truck is down to 290 for the day oh have to subtract fuel down 80 bucks down to 210 the wheel holder wants his wages so the truck made a whopping profit of 66 dollars.

    If you own a dump truck and you can't do your own repairs don't even bother owning a dump truck. The contractor I worked for we did almost all the repairs the only thing I didn't do was engine rebuilds otherwise I did it all.

    You can't charge anymore per hour for the truck or the cost of the job your hauling too increases. At 80 dollars per hour now the owner of the truck has to drive the truck himself if he wants it to be profitable.

    If you don't have any tire failures or break downs the truck will make enough money.

    If its got T*Ts or Tires your going to have troubles with it.

  4. #19
    Super Moderator Orchard Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ford LT-9000
    If you own a dump truck and you can't do your own repairs don't even bother owning a dump truck. The contractor I worked for we did almost all the repairs the only thing I didn't do was engine rebuilds otherwise I did it all.
    So by "doing your own repairs" you mean keeping it "in house" or having a mechanic on staff. Not necessarily doing it yourself.

  5. #20
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    You can have a mechanic on staff paying 25 dollars per hour is cheaper than 90 dollars per hour for shop time.

    What I mean about wrenching on the truck yourself the owner of the truck you as the owner should beable to do work on the truck. The basic stuff like changing the oil and able to do tires. If you can't mount and dismount the tires off the rim atleast have a shop where you can take the wheels off the truck and take them to a tire shop.

    Pretty much all the the excavation contractors do their own wrenching the owner and the employees of the company do the work. If you have a new truck you have to watch what you do it might void the warrenty.

  6. #21
    Senior Member PSDF350's Avatar
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    Ford not saying your wrong but I believe your tire analogy is. Becuase you aren't blowing punchering and killing tires daily. If you are it is time to find new driver becuase he dont know how to drive. Yes those thing happen just part of doing business. All businesses have expenses. Trick is to keep to a minimum. In house servicing is a good way of doing that. I think everyone that owns any kind od equipment should be able to do at least simple maintance things. But sometimes it is cheaper to hire that 100 an hour mechanic to come i and get you producing again than wasting time trying to fix something with wrong tools or not enough knowledge. Which can add up to more downtime=less money comming in.

    But like digger said

    And, believe me, I represent the voice of experience in how not to make money

  7. #22
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    Usually if a driver is doing damage to the truck on a regular basis he is gone no ands ifs or buts.

    As for tires we are carefull where you go watching out for sharp rock the one job I was on there was lots of sharp rock because it was used as road base. Had to be really carefull about wheel spin or getting a rock lodged between the duals.

    When ever I drove I always was carefull I never had a tire blow out. There is a difference if your working in sandy dirt for us its lots of surprises hiding under the surface. Rock broken up with a rock hammer or blasting is sharp as a razor blade.

    I beleive in getting a mechanic when it comes to doing the finicky work like major engine rebuilds or dealing with the fuel system. There was alot of things I did I learned as I go but I did start pulling wrenches at a early age. I have always been a grease money there was stuff the contractor made me do that I have never done before but you take it easy it goes right.

    Yes it can be frustrating some jobs I had to walk away for 1/2 a hour to regain my cool and get back to it.

    You need to have mechanical skills when you live and work in a rural area because mechanics are busy the one HD mechanic in the area is so busy he has customers waiting almost a month. The other mechanics down the road are the same.

    Time is money if you have to wait for a professional mechanic to fix your truck you will be waiting. All it takes is some tools and go at it.

    Its part of the job requirements if you want to be in the excavation business there is no such thing as a operator and thats all you do then your sitting at home your getting paid for running the machine and pitching in to repair it when it brakes. Its all non union no union BS we are all paid good wages and the owners of the companys treat you like familly.

  8. #23
    Senior Member PSDF350's Avatar
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    I know you need to be self reliant. I also live in a rual area. Also know very well about surprises hidding just out of sight. I do live in the granite state. Aint called that for nothing

  9. #24
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    The profit margin with dump trucks isn't that great so more money you save doing things on your own.

  10. #25
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    You can say that about these landscapers they think there excavators and are puting machines out for peanuts TOO!!!

  11. #26
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    agreed with the landscapers....

    they should stick to their trade,city awarded a equipment rental contract heh $40/hr fer a 200 size hoe,$35 fer a tandem what a joke.

    i think the only way in my mind to profit off a dump is to be doing short hauls with very little travel distance or idle time.

  12. #27
    Member bobcatuser's Avatar
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    Most of the city equipment rental contracts are a scam. The city thinks they’re saving money by hiring the low bidders. What happens is one contractor will have multiple machines sitting at a jobsite all being billed out at $40 Hr with one operator to run all of them. You get paid for 8 hrs a day (even if you only worked 2) If you have 4 or 5 old machines and an operator you’re making money. The city Forman won’t hire contractors that work efficiently because it makes their crews look bad.

  13. #28
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    When you work for the dept of highways not the private contractor but the gov't doing road improvements like straigtening its pretty easy you get a good rate for the equipment. The only problem is you have to pay the operator and drivers union rate.

    One thing about here all the contractors play fair no under cutting there is no need for it.

  14. #29
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    I really believe that what's more important than the desicions over running new/used equipment,or having dealer/in house support for repairs,is first having good business skills,and an understanding of business expenses.

    Successful businesses operate with very different philosophies for success,and decide differently on what types/age equipment to run,etc.But they all have a good grasp of their money coming in,and their money going out,and what they need to make on a job.

    A small,one guy operation running old equipment(or brand new) can be just as successful as a big company,with a fleet of drivers and new trucks.Or,go bankrupt just as easily as them too!!

    If you're a really smart business person,and can manage your operating expenses,your much farther ahead than the guy who simply owns a truck,and knows how to drive it(even if he's work coming out of his ears),but has no idea what it cost him to operate his business,or where his monies going out.

    Doing your own maintenance,or having brand new reliable equipment(or paid for equipment),are all things that may help you contain cost,but are not more impotant than having good business skills.

    Being an independent dumptruck O/O,or Landscaper,or Excavator,or anything,means you need to be a business person,first and foremost.The other desicions only compliment your approach to that business,IMO.

  15. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff D.
    Being an independent dumptruck O/O,or Landscaper,or Excavator,or anything,means you need to be a business person,first and foremost.The other desicions only compliment your approach to that business,IMO.
    Amen, brother Jeff...

    I've always told anyone who's asked that sitting in the seat and running the equipment is the easiest part of the whole operation.

    And like digger, I've got my fair share of experiences on how not to make money...

    Joe

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