Best Way to Become a Dump Truck Driver and Be Your Own Boss

Updated on: by Amy Kennedy

If you have an interest in getting a CDL and driving a dump truck for work, why not go into business for yourself? Here’s how to start a dump truck business.Does starting your own business intrigue you?

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You have a lot of options available that will help you quit the 9 to 5 and go into business for yourself.

If you’re not into the whole internet business thing, that’s okay.

There are plenty of other ways to make money.

Sometimes, you just need to get creative.

Like, owning a dump truck, for example!

This won’t be the obvious choice for most people when they plan out what business they want to create.

But, it’s a completely viable option for a business.

You can use a dump truck in various ways as the focus of your business.

If you already have one and aren’t sure what to do with it, this post can help you.

Or, if a dump truck business is something you can see yourself starting, I’ll even help you figure out how to purchase a dump truck.

Let’s find out how to make a dump truck work for you!

What Kind of Business Can I Start with a Dump Truck?

Dump truck contractors are people who own their own dump trucks and perform the duties they want with it.

They’re self-employed.

People and business contract them to perform work, like haul away trash or large items, like furniture.

Or, they could be dispatched to a construction site to move things like gravel, wood, or waste.

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Dump truck owners can use their trucks in any way that they see fit, so long as it meets the needs of their targeted clients.

Generally, you’ll target building or landscaping companies, or even homeowners who want a private trash or disposal services.

But, you’re in charge of your dump truck’s destiny when you own it and operate it as your main business tool.

Getting Started

Let’s get into the important information you’ll need to know if you’re interested in this type of business.

How Much Can I Make?

If you’re getting into this business, it’s natural to want to know the answer to, “How much does a dump truck driver make?”

After all, this is a business!

Your earnings all depends on how much you invest, how many clients you pick up, and how often you work.

You might start working part-time until you feel like you can pick up enough clients to quit your regular job.

According to, the average full-time dump truck driver earns about $40,000 per year.

This figure is based off dump truck drivers who drive for companies, though.

Owning one yourself and being self-employed could increase this number by a lot!

To start, figure out an hourly wage you’re comfortable with.

It should be more than what you make at your regular job.

That’s because you’ll need to figure in taxes and benefits you’ll have to pay for yourself, like health insurance.

It’s a good idea to at least shoot for making $5 more per hour when you’re in business for yourself.

This hourly rate is what should always be your focus once you get into business.

If you’re not making quite enough, you can adjust it by adding more clients, working more hours, or increasing your prices.

Getting a Dump Truck

If you don’t already have a dump truck, then you obviously need to find one to get started with your business.

It would be wise to start off with a used dump truck.

You can always work your way up to a new one once you’ve got a steady stream of clients coming in and can afford a loan.

Browse Commercial Truck Trailer or put an ad out in your local newspaper.

You might find one that’s being sold by a garbage or construction company that’s upgrading their trucks.

Once you’re ready for a new one, you’ll need to budget for a loan of $100,000 or more, depending on the features you want.

Licensing Fees

To operate a dump truck, you’ll need your Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).

There are courses you can take before you take the exam, but they’ll cost money.

You might expect to spend around $1,500 or more for the course.

Then, you’ll have to pay an additional fee for the license and exams.

The exam costs about $50 if you get it done at your local licensing agency.

Before you get your license, you’ll need a permit, which usually ranges from $20 to $30, depending on your state.

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The license is typically between $40 and $50.

Check with your state’s licensing bureau for exact costs.

Each state also has different regulations regarding the CDL and who can get one.

Generally, though, you need to:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Meet all requirements for a regular driver’s license
  • Have proof from a doctor that you’re in good physical health to operate a truck
  • Have proof that you live in the state from which you’re applying for a license

Insurance Costs

You’ll also need insurance on your truck, which will need to be commercial insurance.

It tends to be more expensive than regular car insurance because you need to insure more expensive equipment.

You can expect to pay somewhere around $5,000 to $6,000 per year for one truck, which will increase if you add more trucks to your fleet or increase your coverage amounts.

It’s a good idea to spend some time online obtaining quotes from different companies because the costs can vary greatly between them.

Maintenance Costs

Since your dump truck will be your main tool for your business, you need to be sure to keep it maintained and in good working condition, so it’s reliable and lasts as long as possible.

But, since dump trucks are so large, there can be a lot of costs involved if it needs repairs.

If you keep it well-maintained, you’ll reduce the need for repairs.

Still, there will be maintenance and repair costs along the way, and they’re important costs to consider that will eat away at some of your profits.

Tires can be one of the costliest items, ranging between $400 and $1,000 each, and most large dump trucks have 10 tires.

You’ll also need to get scheduled oil changes done according to your dump truck’s manual to preserve the engine life as much as possible.

And, of course, fuel.

Gas can be a significant expense with a dump truck, especially if you’re traveling long distances to your clients.

You might want to read over this helpful guide for calculating your truck’s cost per mile, which includes your fuel costs, salary, and more.

It’s a good idea to get into the habit of inspecting your dump truck daily.

Check the tires, fluids, headlights, blinkers, axles, hoses, and other vital parts to catch anything out of the ordinary.

The sooner you spot it, the easier it’ll be to fix – and it could save you some huge costs later.

Doing Your Taxes

The dreaded taxes!

They’re not fun, but they’re a must for any business owner.

Since you’re self-employed, you’re your own employer and are responsible for doing your taxes.

First, you need to get your business its own bank account and an EIN, or employer identification number.

This helps keep your business liability and finances separate, so that if your business was to get sued, your personal assets wouldn’t be liable to pay.

You’ll also need to figure out the best type of business to set up.

This guide from the IRS can help you decide the best business structure.

Be sure to check with your state and town or city to see if there are any additional business licenses you need to obtain.

Depending on the business structure you choose, you’ll need to pay taxes as you get paid, or quarterly estimated taxes.

You can find out more about business taxes here.

Getting Clients

You’re all set up and ready to go, but wait!

Where are all your customers?

Here’s what you need to know about finding clients and getting your business moving.

Advertising Your Business

Advertising seems expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.

There’s no need to spend big bucks on television and radio ads when there are plenty of low-cost and free ways to do it.

First, spend some money on professional business cards.

You can typically get a starter set for less than $50, or you can even design them yourself and print them on business card paper on your own printer.

Mail them out and place them on bulletin boards at local businesses.

You may also benefit from joining local Facebook groups where members share information for your town.

If it’s allowed in the rules, you can advertise your growing business here.

You might consider running a newspaper ad, which can be a fairly low-cost advertisement method, or creating flyers to send out with the newspaper.

And, of course, don’t forget about setting yourself up with a website.

This can be such an easy way to help people find out about your business and have easy access to your contact information.

You can use basic search engine optimization (SEO) techniques to draw in your targeted audience with keywords and helpful blog posts.

Don’t forget to claim your business on Google so it can get added to Google maps, search, and more.

Who Are the Best People to Target?

You can target whatever individuals and businesses you think would benefit from your business.

Here are some of the best types of businesses and individuals to consider:

Landscaping Companies

Landscapers need large trucks to haul the materials they use or need to dispose of to and from the work site.

You can find local companies using the Yellow Pages or with a Google search!

Construction Companies

Local construction companies can definitely be your biggest, best repeat clients.

There’s almost always a need for a dump truck at a construction site.

And, construction companies can even help get the word out about your business to the homeowners and businesses they work with for more referrals.

Weather-Related Companies

Pool companies might need dump trucks when laying inground pools in the summer.

Similarly, snow removal companies could find your services useful in the winter!

You might even want to target roofing companies toward the end of summer and fall, when they’re the busiest preparing new roofs for the winter.

In other words, use the weather and its patterns to your advantage to find new clients!

Trash Companies

Of course, local trash companies could be your best bet.

While most hire employees to do the job, you might get lucky and find one that’s willing to contract you as an extra for overflow work.

Perhaps they could use another truck and driver but don’t have the budget to hire a new one and purchase another truck right now.

That’s where you come in!

Your Neighbors

Those in your neighborhood might even be your ideal customer!

Check with those you know to see if they need a dump truck for an upcoming construction project or remodel, or even a basement cleanout.

If not, they still might know someone who does!

Or…Go a Completely Different Direction!

If you’re not having luck with the other types of clients, you could try something completely different with your truck.

You could lease your truck, for example.

Target the above types of clients and see if they’re in need of another truck on their fleet.

You might be able to lease it to them for a hefty fee each week or month.

Or, for some additional income when you’re in between clients, you might consider advertising on your truck.

You can see if any local businesses might want to pay for an advertisement block.

Or, check out these places that pay you to advertise on your vehicle!

Tips of Running a Successful Dump Truck Driver Business

Starting and running a successful dump truck business requires more than just driving skills. It involves knowledge of business operations, understanding the market, and providing top-notch service.

Here are five tips you can adopt:

1. Conduct Thorough Market Research

Understanding your industry, particularly the construction industry which is the primary market for dump trucks, is crucial.

Stay informed about new construction projects by attending industry networking events, subscribing to relevant publications, and joining local business groups.

2. Develop a Comprehensive Business Plan

A strong business plan will guide your business operations and provide a roadmap for success.

This should include information on your target market, your unique selling propositions, marketing and sales strategy, and financial projections.

A business plan can also be essential when seeking external financing.

3. Prioritize Excellent Customer Service

Quality customer service should be at the heart of your business.

Be reliable, punctual, and professional in all your engagements.

Building strong relationships with your clients can lead to repeat business and referrals, a key growth factor for any business.

4. Maintain Trucks and Uphold Safety Standards

Ensure that your dump trucks are well-maintained and meet all safety standards.

Equipment breakdowns can cost your business valuable time and money, and safety issues can result in accidents, harming your reputation and potentially leading to legal repercussions.

5. Leverage Technology for Efficiency

Invest in technology to improve efficiency and productivity.

For instance, GPS tracking can help with route optimization, scheduling software can prevent overbooking or missing jobs, and accounting software can simplify financial management.

Utilizing technology effectively can provide a significant competitive advantage.

No matter what types of clients you have, always be sure to figure out fair and competitive pricing for your services.

You can do this by getting price lists from local dump truck companies.

Try to cut down your prices about 5% below theirs to stay competitive and fair!

Conclusion: Start Your Own Dump Truck Business!

Hopefully, this article can help you get your dump truck business off the ground and moving.

There will be a lot of costs involved at first, but you can make a substantial profit if you find the right clients.

Good luck!

Would you ever consider this type of business?

What other pointers might you add if you have experience as a dump truck driver?

Let us know in a comment!

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Penelope Smith

October 23, 2018 at 7:43 pm

I liked that you explained that landscaping and construction companies can be a big place to sell dump trucks too. Personally, I would want to worry about having to find a landscaping company and a dump truck. So, it seems like a great idea to look for a company that already has their own sanitation equipment.

Dean Phillips

June 19, 2019 at 10:17 am

I thought it was interesting when you said that a dump truck can be dispatched to a construction site to move materials. My brother works for a construction company that performs renovations on houses. It might be a good idea for them to work with a dump truck company so that they can move more materials at once.