Dump truck driving is an option for commercial drivers who want a change of pace. If you are a trucker with a current CDL, this might be an alternative to driving over-the-road (OTR). So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of dump-truck driving jobs.
Like all driving jobs, dump trucks might be great for some people and not for others. If you are tired of long weeks away from home and the hassles of time lost waiting to load or unload at congested depots, it is worth looking at driving a dump truck instead.
Driving a dump truck is a real commercial trucking career option. You might be looking for a first-time trucking job or an experienced trucker seeking an alternative to over-the-road (OTR) jobs that take you away from home.
Dump truck driving could be a way in for jobs with heavy equipment, a local construction company, or mineral extraction operation. It’s something you can do, either as a new driver or an experienced trucker. If you’re interested in becoming a dump truck driver, knowing about the facts, especially what happens on the job, is important. It helps to have a good sense of situational awareness, you keep your head on a swivel, as they say.
Dump truck driving can be extremely rewarding, but it’s not a job for everyone. If you’re looking into starting a career as a driver or owner operator, make sure you carefully consider the pros and cons of dump truck driving before making a decision. You can check out this guide here to find out more information about ELD Devices, by looking at the top electronic logging devices which may make your journey safer. Several things make dump truck driving a perfect match for some and a less-than-ideal career for others. If you’re considering entering this career, keep reading. We’ve compiled a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of being a dump truck driver. It’s a great place to start your research!
Dump truck drivers can look forward to the potential of having a decent career with advancement opportunities. However, before deciding to work towards this as a career, it’s important to know what to expect. For anyone interested in becoming a dump truck driver, the information below should help you decide.
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What Does a Dump Truck Driver Do?
The job description of a dump truck driver is to transport garbage or other materials using a truck with an open-bed. Most drivers will work in the construction field moving materials back and forth, although many other industries require dump truck hauling as well. Dump truck drivers may work at construction sites where they would move debris from natural disasters or transport materials at agricultural industries; there is a big range of job places where they are needed.
- As a dump truck driver, you spend your workday:
- Picking up bulk loads at one location.
- Hauling loads to other sites, and.
- Tipping or dumping out the contents of the truck bed.
Why Choose to Become a Dump Truck Driver?
A dump truck driving job can give you the best of trucking and construction equipment careers. In this job you have a lot of freedom because you do not have to share the cab of your truck with coworkers, and you don’t have a supervisor is standing over you. Another benefit for dump truck drivers is regular work hours where you clock in every moment and head back home every night, being able to see your family and friends every day, which is not the case of many other truck driver job positions. Here you usually get paid by an hour rather than per mile, where all the time truck drivers are waiting for the cargo to load or unload they are not getting paid. Truckers are in short supply so there will be demand for them in the future. Driving a dump truck can lead to other opportunities in construction, management, training, and business ownership.
What license do you Need to Drive a Dump Truck?
Class B Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) is required to drive a straight dump truck. Class B CDL allows you to drive heavy and tractor-trailer trucks and buses. Depending on the dump truck you drive, you need at least a Class-B CDL and any relevant endorsements. If you are an experienced truck driver with a Class-A CDL driver’s license and the appropriate endorsements, you are well qualified to drive a dump truck.
As with any type of certification, there is a process of operating a dump truck. For those who choose NSTS Truck Driving School to get their CDL, the process can take 4-6 weeks before participants are certified and given a chance to take the CDL skills test. It’s only after they pass the skills test that they obtain their CDL license.
Some endorsements that might be required for a dump truck driver:
- Combination vehicles
- Air brakes
- Tanker vehicles
- Hazardous materials
- Double and triple trailers
How Much Do Dump Truck Drivers Make a Year?
Just like any other career, the salary of a dump truck driver will vary based on many factors, including which industry the driver is working in. If there is any construction or resource extraction activity in your community, you will be able to work locally 40 hours a week. As you gain experience, you can earn more per hour. If you join a union, you can make even more, and receive as much as twice the average.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that most dump truck drivers earn a median salary of $34,000 per year. This means the hourly rate can vary greatly, from $11.79 to $20.69.
Taking a career path in the trucking industry is a good choice. With a high demand for truck drivers, projected growth in the industry for many years to come, as well as a decent salary, truck driving – whether it’s a dump truck or an 18 wheeler, is a great job to have.
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Advantages of Becoming a Dump Truck Driver
Did we get your attention? Dump truck companies pay drivers on average $15.57 per hour. Certain companies will pay their drivers double the average, hitting about $30 per hour. A dump truck driver’s salary depends on what company they are driving under, if any, their experience and what they are hauling. Drivers are also eligible for company bonuses and incentives due to the high demand for their service. In 2016, the median pay was $41,340. The median salary in the United States was $37,040, suggesting dump truck drivers make an above-average salary.
It’s more difficult to pinpoint the exact salary for being a dump truck owner-operator. Payscale estimates that a dump truck owner-operator can earn anywhere between $40,000 – $197,000. The longer one is a dump truck driver, and the more likely one is to make a higher salary. Behind career length, geography is the biggest factor affecting pay. If one owns several trucks, has them working relatively constant jobs and deducts the necessary expenses it takes to run them, the salary range can be easily much higher. However, they are responsible for the care of their trucks. Even if several trucks need maintenance or gas, dump truck factoring can help out by advancing invoices without putting owner/operators into debt.
Unlike other types of truck drivers, a dump truck driver’s routes are mostly local. A lot of jobs that dump truck drivers accept are hauling loads from one place to another within a 20-30 mile radius. Instead of travelling interstate to deliver goods, they’re more likely to travel within a specific county’s boundaries. Not having loads that require multi-day travel allow dump truck drivers to sleep in their beds and be at home with their families instead of out on the road. That may mean a driver is going to take multiple loads per day every day they work instead of taking one load across the country and back.
Opportunity often knocks for dump truck drivers. If you’re a new driver, don’t worry. Companies across the country are searching for potential drivers to train by hauling smaller, heavier loads back and forth to places like construction sites. When you accept the job, you’ll most likely be trained in a classroom and on the job. If you’re willing to learn the job, many different companies will still consider your application.
If you have a few years of experience, thereâ€™s even higher demand for drivers like you. Businesses are looking for people with experience that they can trust to haul what they need. Most dump truck jobs require the operator also to inspect certain equipment, clean and maintain the dump truck, or haul waste. If you have experience doing any or all of those things, you’re already ahead of the game.
Local Work Opportunities
Start a job and stay put. Activities like removing dirt, gravel, sand, or rock from construction sites need big trucks to do the work. So you are very likely to find employment as a dump truck driver in your local community with heavy equipment operators and construction contractors.
Of course, if you live in a remote rural area where jobs are scarce, you may have to relocate, but once you find a region that is developing, you will easily stay put. Alternatively, out in the country, there may be dump truck driving work in nearby mining operations.
Regular Work Hours
Working local means clocking in regularly each morning and going home every night at the same time. One of the drawbacks of the trucking business is the time spent out on the road, away from home, family, and friends. It’s a significant part of why there’s a driver shortage. As long as you have a CDL and the interest, there are regular hours available that keep you close to home.
A Stable Way to Get Paid
The way that employers pay dump truck drivers is more conventional than the long haul trucking business. The usual pay method for dump truck driver jobs is by the hour. OTR trucking is notorious for pay by the mile. The problem with this is that any time spent sitting at the depot, waiting to load or unload, is unpaid time, even when it counts against your allowed time behind the wheel.
Disadvantages of Becoming a Dump Truck Driver
If you get bored when you’re required to be repetitive, this job might not be for you. If a driver accepts a certain job that lasts three months, they’re most likely going to be driving the exact same route several times a day for those 90 days. Driving locally is a huge perk, but if you’re more concerned with the well-known sites than you are with sleeping close to home, this job is perfect for you. Drivers can avoid complete repetition by switching up their simple routes if at all possible. If not, dump truck drivers get to speak to those they’re hauling for several times a day. Make some friends in your field! If possible, it also helps to take a few breaks and walk around outside of your truck.
Work can be seasonal depending on what state you live in. A dump truck driver in Florida is going to experience different weather-related problems than a driver in Alaksa will. If your area has bad winters, you may be out of a job depending on your level of experience. Dump trucks are expensive pieces of equipment, so driving them in less-than-perfect conditions proves more of a risk than anything.
But, if you are a seasoned driver, or want to be eventually, you may be in luck. A dump truck chassis is the base of certain winter service vehicles, so knowing how to operate one in the winter means you have to use an entirely new skill set. A dump truck chassis is the base of many winter service vehicles, so the ability to operate the truck through all the variables of the job is valued indeed. Since there is a lot of load shifting and the truck is generally pretty heavy, it takes skill to do the precise maneuvers necessary in snow removal.
While being lonely is a much bigger problem for long-haul truckers, dump truck driving can still be a relatively isolated job. Working long hours and constantly being inside your truck can be difficult. To make it a bit easier on yourself, listen to an audiobook or podcast. If music is more your thing, tune into the radio or download your favourite streaming music app to keep you entertained for hours. You can always call a family member or friend if you want to as well. A familiar voice can cure the blues in minutes flat. Regardless of what you do to fight the lonely bug, make sure you’re not driving distracted.
Job Schedule Uncertainties
The jobs can dry up during different seasons of the year depending on your region. If you live in a northern state or a Canadian province, you can expect to lose time during the harshest winter months.
Also, the construction business has cycles that reflect the state of the economy. Sometimes, the work slows down because of a recession, and at other times contractors can’t finish projects fast enough to keep up with demand. As a driver, you depend on the construction market, and when the projects dry up, you’re likely to be out of a job until the economy picks up again.
Dealing with the Weather
If you want to drive dump trucks, it will help if you love the outdoors, because you will be out on worksites in all kinds of weather. Some dump trucks are very basic, designed to be rugged, and lacking in comfort features like A/C or heating. If you have to get out on site, you could find yourself in extreme heat, mud, or freezing rain, and this could go on for months at a time.
If you don’t like cold or hot weather, dust, and mud, then perhaps it’s not for you. If you enjoy being in the outdoors throughout the year, without a supervisor looking over your shoulder, then dump truck driving might be a great choice.
Another Choice for Truck Drivers
Like all professional truck driving jobs, this kind of driving is not for everyone. However, if you can deal with it by listening to audiobooks or music and be satisfied by a day’s work before you return home to your family every night, it can be a great way to spend your truck driving career.
The great thing about having your Class-A CDL is that, if dump truck driving jobs dry up, you can shift over to another type of trucking for a while. The transportation industry is still short of qualified drivers, and it means that, with a CDL in your wallet, you always have career options down the road.
Keep Looking Down the Road
It is up to you to decide what the perfect combination of work conditions will be. If you are ready for a change and want to to get off the OTR merry-go-round then keep an open mind about dump truck driving jobs.
You have to look ahead in the trucking business and keep your eyes on the horizon. Whether you decide to keep driving dump trucks or move on to other trucking jobs when they come up, it’s all good. If it is right for you, dump truck driving could be an excellent next step for your trucking career.
Like other trucking jobs, dump truck positions are going unfilled. If you already have a CDL, you can have your pick of jobs in most regions. Driving a big-rig OTR is a great lifestyle if it suits you. Dump truck driving is one of the best if you love trucks, but you want (or need) the nine-to-five, and staying close to home.