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Questions regarding starting a dump truck business?

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by redcheetah, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. redcheetah

    redcheetah New Member

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    I have a friend who is considering starting a dump truck business but he doesn’t have much of an idea of what it would take to start one or the elements of the business. Accordingly, I told him I would post here for a few opinions/info. He drove semi trucks for a bit so he has a CDL and is familiar with the trucks. However, he was wondering:

    What the hourly wage is for a truck (I know this differs on the truck/area, etc)?

    Being located in Southern California, what type of dump truck (single/double/tri axle?) is in the greatest demand and what type of wage he could expect driving the different trucks?

    Should he look new or used for his first truck? Brands that are preferred and/or economical besides of course Mack and Pete. He is not ruling out those two brands, but he was just curious if he should research other brands.

    Where would he look to increase his business/ask for business?

    He would be the owner/operator so there would be no employee expenses.

    He is currently doing remodeling and has been rather successful (read: makes good money) at it but is interested in the dump business as it is easier on his body and would still let him stay close so he can spend time with his family.

    Can he still expect to make a good living running a one man dump business?

    Any help or insight would be much appreciated.

    thanks

    PS - I searched and read the posts but did not find the exact info I was trying to find for him.
     
  2. tylermckee

    tylermckee New Member

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    Most people say there isnt much money in dump truckin. I'm sure some guys do it and do it well and make a decent amount. But for the most part dump trucks seem to just be a necessary evil. with the initial investment, insurance, maintaining a dump truck (not cheap), fuel, etc there isnt a whole lot of $ left over.
     
  3. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. New Member

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    Here,a local co.is paying O/O's $68/hr tandem,$78/hr tri axle,$84/hr quad.

    I've some more info,but gotta head out the door right now.

    Later tonight I'll post.
     
  4. redcheetah

    redcheetah New Member

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    Thanks for the replies - I will check for your post later Jeff.
     
  5. atgreene

    atgreene New Member

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    Your friend must have a lot of money to burn. LOL

    Last I checked around here wheelers were about $45 and tri-axles are approx. $52. Pathetic if you ask me. Between fuel, maint, tires, DOT regs etc.... it's a hard way to make a living. A self employed guy might be able to make a go of it if he works 12 hours a day, but to hire someone (legally, workers comp, taxes etc...) and expect to run the truck profitably is impossible around here. Not only that, but with spring road postings, snow and frost, you can't work around here year-round.

    When I drove truck for an excavation company 15 years ago they hired me and the truck to a large company to work on some huge road projects. We got paid $32.00? per hour at the time for a 14 yard wheeler. I worked from 6 am to 7 or 8 pm 5 days a week for 20 weeks or so before they did the math and realized they wern't really making anything hiring out the truck. The truck was always freighted and they always had me back-haul so we burned 2 x as much fuel as we should have.

    The only time we really began to feel like we were gaining was hauling pavement. Never overloaded, no back hauls, lots of sitting with engine off waiting for mix, rain or crew to move etc... Really wasn't a bad deal as far as getting screwed goes.

    As far as trucks, International still has a good parts network and seems to have their act together.

    Good luck.
     
  6. DKinWA

    DKinWA Charter Member

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    Unfortunately, there's too many dump truck owners out there that will work for peanuts and ultimately drive the price down for everyone. I think a lot of these same owners don't understand business and what it takes to operate a successful business. I know the successful trucking companies are pricing on the high end and they are the ones that will be around for a long time.

    I don't do much dump truck work since I only have a single axle truck, but it still needs to make enough to keep it profitable. I've had customers want to negotiate price and my hourly charge is not negotiable. Right now if I can't get $60/hour, I'll let the truck sit in the driveway. I recall one story where a customer tried to beat a friend down on price and said so and so is almost $20/hour cheaper. He held firm and later found out the other guys truck was broke down and he didn't have the money to fix it. Maybe if he charged enough he could afford to repair his truck.

    If I was looking to start a dump truck business where I'm at, I'd probably buy a tandem truck with drop axle and 4 axle trailer. This would allow me to run 105,000 pounds which is about as big as you want to go around here. I'd probably be looking to spend around $80-100,000 for a good used truck and trailer. I'd probably lean towards Kenworth or Pete since we have a dealership and shop 30 minutes away. There's nothing wrong with the other brands, but the dealerships are a couple of hours away from me. Right now, my rates would need to be around $80-85/hr for the truck and $100-105/hr for the truck and trailer. I'd then start looking for someone who's willing to pay what I need on a long term basis and then I'd bust my tail to be the most dependable truck they've ever hired:D My first year would be spent trying to build up a large savings account for those more expensive breakdowns and other unknowns that we all know happen.

    In addition to the truck, I'd also have to build a large shop with concrete floor that I could drive the truck and trailer into for maintenance. Maintenance is key to longevity and fewer costly repairs. It could also lead to a reputation at the weigh scales that you take good care of your equipment and their time is better spent inspecting the next truck in line :) Equipment violations can be very expense both in terms of fines and time wasted sitting at the scales.
     
  7. tylermckee

    tylermckee New Member

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    I forgot to mention, the company i work for we bill out our truck at i believe $85/hour.
     
  8. murray83

    murray83 New Member

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    most times you'll see excavation firms hire out their trucks when its slow so they keep their guys busy and their trucks moving,as tyler said dumps are a necessary evil and are HUGE money pits.

    we rent private drivers when its busy they charge $50/hr for a tandem and i believe a 6 or 7 yard single axle goes for about $40 or $45 i can't remember what a dump trailer is rite now,they go up and down all the time.

    a driver joked one time he basically puts 3/4 of that back into his truck through fuel,insurance,tires and such.
     
  9. Ford LT-9000

    Ford LT-9000 Banned

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    The price of fuel has pretty well killed trucking. I thought about becoming a o/op and when I crunched the numbers it was borderline profit if you have to put a driver on the truck then you have no profit.

    Now I'am going to a F-450 or F-550 truck and stay with landscaping its cheaper.
     
  10. T Red

    T Red New Member

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    I agree with everthing above. It has become a neccessary evil for me. When I need to hire a truck it seems everyone is covered up with work and I can't get one without 2 to 3 days notice. Sometimes that much notice is though not knowing what the weather will be like. (The weatherman dosn't always know ethier)

    We've just about made the decision to buy a used one. But I'm fighting it.


    Tim
     
  11. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. New Member

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    I had read a study once for O/O's of class 8 trucks.It stated that 6 out of 10 O/O's would go out of business in the first 3 years.If a operator made it past 5-6 years they considered them too have figured out how to operate in the business.

    That wasn't just for dumptrucks,or semi's,but for all class 8 O/O's.

    I wouldn't recommend anyone quit a good job too chase after being an O/O of a dumptruck.But if they decided too do it,I think it's possible too do,if they have good business sense,and can live on a meager amount of money.

    A guy that I know had two dumptrucks,and hauled with them exclusively.He ended up trading in one of them,and bought a semi.He now has a route he runs with the semi,but supplements his income with the other dumptruck by hauling wood chips to farms(?)(I think for bedding).

    We've talked many times about this subject,and his opinion is very similar to thosse already posted.By itself a dumptruck is not a good business decision,but it can be used as PART of a whole business.

    I can't imagine it would be worth even starting a truck for $50/hr or less.But if a person could keep a truck rolling consistantly(who can though?)I'd think,here at least,a guy could make it at $70/hr or above rates,depending on many variables.(Truck payment,cost of insurance,expected personal earnings from the business,etc.)

    If you need a vehicle anyways too tow other equipment around,a dumptruck seems like a natural choice.You then get the benifit of it's towing capacity,and can haul dirt with it too when needed.I think that is why there are so many around already,and why alot of us have them.
     
  12. jmac

    jmac New Member

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    We have two very large dump truck companys that have more than six trucks. Both of them have large excavating companys also and that is what keeps the trucks rolling. They will haul for others but need them for there own buisness. I do not know of any that just do trucking for the trucking in my city. In Syracuse Riccilli is very large trucking firm and hauls all over New York with about 50 trucks to include freight, dump, lowboys, tankers, tag dumps etc.
    Everyone here is getting about $75 per hour and still don't feel it is a real money maker unless you have 10 or more trucks and can keep them busy with your own trucking most of the time.
    I just purchased a truck and did this to haul my own equipment and material.
    The conveinnce of not waiting for trucks to arrive and if I have to haul material away from site I save the $75 per hour. If I haul my own material in I save about $75 per hour but take the cost of opperating that truck and I am sure that profit of using my own drops alot. When I had a single axle it made complete sense to have all my material hauled in but I have a tamdem know and I can make more money using my own but to run that truck for just the purpose of trucking for others I don't think I could make any money at it. My truck was a lot less than a 125k new truck. Why would someone hire me to do trucking for them with my truck when they can hire a company that uses tri axles and can haul 22 ton.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2006
  13. Jeff D.

    Jeff D. New Member

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    One area I have noticed that some are able to make it,with this type of work,is end dump.We've alot of end dump owner operators in this area,and many of them are hauling coal to the mines,hauling demo,and get in on the road construction too.In the winter they're hauling road salt to the county,and state road maintanance facilities.

    Then you've still the tractor that could pull a flatbed,lowboy,stepdeck,whatever.

    One downer is the fact those end-dumps seem to flop over on their sides on occasion,if they're not careful.
     
  14. tuney443

    tuney443 Active Member

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    Redcheetah--Tell your friend to think small--what I mean is a good size 6 wheeler.My good friend has supplied mostly sand for masons,builders and pool companies for more than 35 years. He is always busy and makes a good buck.Also, your overhead is much less than a bigger rig.I can't believe in some parts,guys are only charging $50 an hr. I figure my 6 wheeler on a delivery based on $75 an hr.Also,instead of just charging and driving hourly,have him check out some deals on say topsoil and get as much as he can for it.Wish him luck--trucking can be real cruel
     
  15. DKinWA

    DKinWA Charter Member

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    I just got a bill from the rock pit and they did some hauling for me this month. They billed me $110/hr for truck and trailer which is probably the going rate around here right now.
     
  16. Ford LT-9000

    Ford LT-9000 Banned

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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.
     
  17. digger242j

    digger242j Administrator

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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.


    and...


    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...
     
  18. Ford LT-9000

    Ford LT-9000 Banned

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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.
     
  19. Orchard Ex

    Orchard Ex Super Moderator

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    So by "doing your own repairs" you mean keeping it "in house" or having a mechanic on staff. Not necessarily doing it yourself.
     
  20. Ford LT-9000

    Ford LT-9000 Banned

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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.
     

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