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  1. #1
    Platinum Member Big Bri's Avatar
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    Jun 2009
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    915
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100

    Default Dump Trucks

    So i'm looking for a career change,(more like simi retirement) and have thought about hauling dirt and gravel for years. I think i'm ready to take the plunge but don't know a lot dump trucks.

    Thinking i want to start out small, 26k gvw or less (have my eye on a 99 ford with F650 w/10' 8yard bed and cummings engine)

    My questions are what should i be looking for while looking at used dump trucks. what features would be nice to have and what are a must.
    Also am i buying too small. I sure i could make more money with a larger truck but this is going to be part time work, i don't have a cdl, and i think i can fill a nitch with a smaller truck doing smaller loads for homeowners.

    Give me the good and the bad about this business
    Thanks
    Brian
    Brian

  2. #2
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    5,155
    Location
    Tucson AZ
    Tractor
    New Holland TC-45

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    I think you are on the right track and could fill part of the market. I say don't go too big. The 10' bed should be about 6 yards??.

    Before jumping in and getting a truck, find a source of sand, gravel and stone.

    On the truck itself, see if the ram leaks or is bent. Check the whole hydrolic system as well. Look inside the dump bed, they rust out at times, or if a lot of large rock has been hauled they get hammered out. Often the bed and dump system has been on several trucks, it could be 10 or more years older than the truck. Also make sure the tail gate latches are secure and in good shape.

    Tire size and condition is important, if it needs tires they could cost almost or even more than the truck its self.

    Most trucks will have a 2 speed rear axle, make sure it works correctly.

    Most of all have fun. You may not need a special license for personal use. But once you hire out that's a different story.
    ::"I STARTED out with nothing....I still have most of it."

    New Holland TC45 1,300+ hours - FEL - back hoe - post hole digger - Hydraulic Gannon - cement mixer - pressure washer - 1975 Dodge 500 flat bed - 1974 chevy C65 6 yard dump truck.
    All home made by me. loading forks - 2 drags - roller - Sheep's Foot - Pusher (to unload flat bed truck.) - pickle fork digger - Log splitter -

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Big Bri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    915
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    Thanks for the insight, hadn't thought about how much tires would cost.

    I've found a couple of places to get dirt/clay, still looking for a place to get gravel/limestone.
    Thanks again

    Quote Originally Posted by crash325 View Post
    I think you are on the right track and could fill part of the market. I say don't go too big. The 10' bed should be about 6 yards??.

    Before jumping in and getting a truck, find a source of sand, gravel and stone.

    On the truck itself, see if the ram leaks or is bent. Check the whole hydrolic system as well. Look inside the dump bed, they rust out at times, or if a lot of large rock has been hauled they get hammered out. Often the bed and dump system has been on several trucks, it could be 10 or more years older than the truck. Also make sure the tail gate latches are secure and in good shape.

    Tire size and condition is important, if it needs tires they could cost almost or even more than the truck its self.

    Most trucks will have a 2 speed rear axle, make sure it works correctly.

    Most of all have fun. You may not need a special license for personal use. But once you hire out that's a different story.
    Brian

  4. #4
    Silver Member gregsons's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    150
    Location
    new york
    Tractor
    ford 3500 / dultz allis/ IH 434

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    I just got out of the business last year. My father and i started doing just what you want to do about 8 years ago. We got out of it because i have a "real " job or full time job and he is getting older. I started selling alot of topsoil and mulch but in the last few years i sold alot of stone and gravel. I owned a frod f-350 and a ford -700.
    I know around me there were alot of large Dump truck operaters that did large constuction jobs that i could not compete with and there were alot of weekend or side job guys with F350's doing work. they under bid everyone so there is not much money there. The f-700 size truck was great. I hauled 8 yards or 10 tons with it.
    Suggestions: Crash was right on with what he said. A few more, get diesel, gas is low on power and you will regret it. Get air brakes, you may need to take a test to get a endorcment on your license but Hydro brakes are a pain in the butt to adjust and maintain. You need a 2 speed rearend. Where i am in really flat i can count the hills in my county on one hand. I used the 2 speed getting out of the stone quarry when loaded down and in yards. I dont know the correct name for it but the pivot point an the rear of the dump box " where it conects to the truck frame" has greese fittings on them they need to be greesed. when looking at a truck and they are dry be vary carefull.
    Price per tire about $100.00 for cheepo's
    It was a great business i loved it and will get back into it when i retire or even sooner. Hint be honest and fair. their are alot of scamers in this biz once you get a good name you will get the business. also get insurance and watch out for power lines and underground septic tanks, pipes homeowners forget to tell you where they are. ( i took out powerlines only heard about the septic tank). GOOD LUCK
    Collector of tired Iron

  5. #5
    Veteran Member flyingcow's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
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    1,062
    Location
    aroostook county maine

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    In the state of Maine, we have an outfit called Maine Motor Transport. Costs $125 a yr to join. They are a private group that represents the trucking industry for this state. They have been a great of source for the legal side of what you can and can't do, legally. Simple answers to simple questions. Anytime I have called my local government office....never heard of a simple answer to a simple question. So now i call MMTA, and if they don't know the answer, they will find it. See if your state has such a group, I am sure they do.

    Check mileage and hours on a motor. Then call the are rep for that motor. If it has a computer, should be able to give an accurate number. Diesels are the best option, but not cheap to rebuild.
    TN75D, w/cab, FEL, BH
    7 1/2 ft Lucknow Blower

  6. #6
    Super Member
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    Feb 2006
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    6,138
    Location
    East PA or 750 mi. east of a short man named Dar___
    Tractor
    Kubota, AGCO, New Holland LB

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    Bri, I like ya bud, always enjoy your posts. You strike me as a common sense hard working guy, not a weekend warrior, but you are getting into a "race to the bottom" business. I've owned tri-axles and single axles and after 20 + yrs of driving & hauling, I can safely tell you you'd make more money doing a lot of other things that require less capital investment, storage, maintenance, insurance.
    The reason I still have 2 trucks is because i use them to haul my equipment around, clean up construction debris from jobsites and haul aggregates, etc. for a few customers.
    If all I were doing is hauling dirt, stone, etc. it would lose me money.
    I know very few guys who just own one small truck and claim they make a living off of hauling with it. They usually have it for a multi-use purpose and maybe then it will break even.
    You'd be better off finding a niche that's more specific: septic systems, mini-excavator, backhoe, light farming, etc. Then once you get that business up and running, then buy a dumptruck. Until the time comes necessary to buy a dumptruck, let some poor sap move your equipment around for you. Guys around here will move equipment locally for ~$100. The yearly cost to own, insure, maintain a dumptruck could be $15,000/yr.
    Here's mine


  7. #7
    Veteran Member Bigfoot62's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
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    1,894
    Location
    W. Central Louisiana
    Tractor
    JD 5085M; NH TN70A; Ford 2600

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by Builder View Post
    Bri, I like ya bud, always enjoy your posts. You strike me as a common sense hard working guy, not a weekend warrior, but you are getting into a "race to the bottom" business. I've owned tri-axles and single axles and after 20 + yrs of driving & hauling, I can safely tell you you'd make more money doing a lot of other things that require less capital investment, storage, maintenance, insurance.
    The reason I still have 2 trucks is because i use them to haul my equipment around, clean up construction debris from jobsites and haul aggregates, etc. for a few customers.
    If all I were doing is hauling dirt, stone, etc. it would lose me money.
    I know very few guys who just own one small truck and claim they make a living off of hauling with it. They usually have it for a multi-use purpose and maybe then it will break even.
    You'd be better off finding a niche that's more specific: septic systems, mini-excavator, backhoe, light farming, etc. Then once you get that business up and running, then buy a dumptruck. Until the time comes necessary to buy a dumptruck, let some poor sap move your equipment around for you. Guys around here will move equipment locally for ~$100. The yearly cost to own, insure, maintain a dumptruck could be $15,000/yr.
    Here's mine

    GOOD LOOKING RIG!!!


    As much as I hate to "rain on your parade," Builder is correct. I sold my last dump truck about 16 years ago. The biggest reason was insurance cost. The last year that I had it on the road, just liability was about $1800. When it came time to renew, the price had jumped to nearly $4000! (now that was liability only, with me as the only driver) I wasn't making $4000 per year in profit with the truck, so I pulled the plates and parked it. Sold it to a guy that had a maintenance contract at a paper mill. He never put it on the road, just used it in the mill.

    You don't say where you are located, and that could make a difference. POSSIBLY, you might make it if you are filling a niche that nobody else is. Like, you would have the ONLY small dumptruck in your area, and you had several contractors just waiting to use your truck on thier job. Or, maybe there's a rock pit two miles down the road and the local people are wanting a small load of rock for their driveway and don't want to buy a semi- load. Around here, that's about all you will do with a single axle dump. All of the highway contractors want tandem axle trucks or larger.

    BTW, I did general dirt construction. (driveways, house pads, site prep, septic systems) I made very little money hauling dirt and rock. Like Builder, I had the truck because it went hand-in-hand with my other equipment. (bulldozer and backhoe) I had a 1985 International S-1500 diesel, 5 speed trans, 2 speed rear axle, Perfection 10' dump body. (6 yard water level load) Not as nice as Builder's, but it worked, and was a good truck.
    '10 JD 5085M Cab MFWD FEL
    '07 NH TN70A MFWD FEL
    '81 Ford 2600

    JD 457 round baler; JD 265 & Kuhn GMD 600 disc mowers; Sitrex V-10 rake; Hardee 10', Rhino 7', & Modern 5' rotary mowers; JD 13' & Ford 6' tandem discs; HayKing 10' rennovator plow (sub-soiler); etc, etc.
    My other tractor is a '95 Kenworth.

    Donít ever wrestle with a pig. Youíll both get dirty, but the pig will enjoy it.

  8. #8
    Platinum Member Big Bri's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    915
    Tractor
    Kubota MX5100

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    Thanks for all the advice guys, lots of good info here. I'm planning on leaving my current job in the next 6 months (selling my business) and need something to do. The main reason i was looking at getting a truck was the difficulty of getting dirt delivered in my area. Last time i needed dirt it took over a week to find someone who would deliver. It wasn't a lot just 140 yrds but most of the places i called told me they didn't like working past 2:00. Even the company that i've used for years, (last year i bought over 800 yards from him) wouldn't show up when he said he would. . . something always came up.
    I just thought that if it was that hard for me to get dirt maybe i could clean house.

    There are lots of trucks in the area, two pages in the phone book and the going rate for clay is $8 to $10 per yrd depending on how far they drive and how much you buy. The local pits charge between $2.5 to $3.5 per yrd. I don't know how much stone would cost as i haven't bought any in years.

    Was thinking i could use the dump along with my tractor (small 50 hp kubota) and do a couple driveways or fill in some low spots, or maybe a house pad or two.

    You guys are really making me think twice about this. I know it cost some money to get into this, heck the first quote for insurance i got was $3300 for a 300k liability on the truck and a 1 mil general liability for the company.
    Don't have any idea about maintenance on one of these trucks, but i'm sure its not cheep. and then there is the cost of diesel. . . it hurts when filling up my 3/4 ton can only guess what a dump would use. Just doing rough math (and i may be way off) but i figured that with just clay i'd have to dillever at least 12 loads a month just to break even, not including maintenance.

    Thanks again for all the advice, i'm still going to play with the numbers stop by a couple of the pits and see what they say about all of this as well.
    you guys are great
    Brian

  9. #9
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    144
    Location
    Huntsville AL
    Tractor
    BX200D w/FEL, B21 TLB, KX91-3SS. F700 Dump Truck

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bri View Post
    So i'm looking for a career change,(more like simi retirement) and have thought about hauling dirt and gravel for years. I think i'm ready to take the plunge but don't know a lot dump trucks.

    Thinking i want to start out small, 26k gvw or less (have my eye on a 99 ford with F650 w/10' 8yard bed and cummings engine)

    My questions are what should i be looking for while looking at used dump trucks. what features would be nice to have and what are a must.
    Also am i buying too small. I sure i could make more money with a larger truck but this is going to be part time work, i don't have a cdl, and i think i can fill a nitch with a smaller truck doing smaller loads for homeowners.

    Give me the good and the bad about this business
    Thanks
    Brian
    I'm pretty much doing the same thing, only part time on the weekends - not made a dime of profit yet.

    I would check the braking system on the Ford, if it has the Lucas Girling hyd brake system, be aware that is difficult to source parts. Ford only used that system for a few years. I have a 98 Ford F700 with this system, it works OK, but parts are expensive, if you can get them, I've only found one place online where I can obtain parts, Ford dealer has some, but at twice the price.

    I would check carfully any conversion trucks -- road tractors that have been converted into dumps -- some only have the single frame vice double which may tweak when you load it or overload it (You will overload it)

    Tarps -you'll need some kind of tarping system - manual tarps are inexpensive, but power tarps new are high - about $1-2K.

    Insurance, you may be able save money by purchasing an umbrella liability policy, and reducing the liability on the truck, plus you gain liability coverage for all your endeavors.

    Have fun.

    Tony

  10. #10
    Super Star Member Egon's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    Nova Scotia, Canada

    Default Re: Dump Trucks

    Just a note on the safety aspect: Always make sure the box is blocked if you get under it to do any kind of work or inspection. That means even if it only takes a second or so.

    The more knowledgeable should be adding to this.

    What about a trailer for the tractor?

    Does your tractor have enough bucket height so you can dump into the truck box?

    Is there any need for a Hotshot type operation in your area?
    Egon
    50 years behind the times
    Livin in a
    Worn out skin bag filled with rattlin bones

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