If you are looking into starting a dump truck business or into becoming a dump truck driver, try to understand the pros and cons of dump truck driving before deciding whether this option is for you or not.
Dump truck driving is an option for commercial drivers. In comparison with OTR drivers, it requires a different grade of knowledge, working time, and driving skills.
So, there are some advantages for you in following the path of a dump truck driver, but there are some disadvantages too.
I'll share below the pros and cons of a dump truck driver's career.
The pros of a dump truck career
1. Local work opportunities
Many local construction sites need help removing dirt, gravel, sand, or rock.
If you live in a developing area where a lot of construction is going on, you may find good working opportunities for dump truck drivers.
Because you're not traveling a long distance like OTR truckers, local loads allow dump truck drivers to have more time with their family and let them sleep in their own beds rather than being on the interstate doing multi-day distribution deliveries.
2. Low Mileage
Unlike other types of truck drivers, dump truck drivers’ routes are mostly short local runs.
Many jobs that dump truck drivers accept are hauling loads from one place to another within a 20-30 mile radius.
Instead of traveling interstate to deliver goods, they’re more likely to travel within a specific county’s boundaries.
3. Regular work hours
Working in your local area means starting and finishing your workday at regular hours. And at the end of your workday, you are going home.
As a dump truck driver, you have a more standardized workweek that includes typical hours like daytime shifts and a five-day workweek, as opposed to road truckers who live on the roads.
Depending on the company you work for or the job site specifications, you may need to work weekends, holidays, or overtime. Though, you still have more flexibility and free time for your personal life than OTR truckers.
4. A stable way to get paid
The dump truck driver's payments are more conventional than the pay for long-haul truckers.
Dump truck drivers are usually paid by the number of working hours, while the OTR truckers are usually paid by the number of driven miles.
The national average salary for a dump truck driver is $44,607 per year.
Wages and salary may vary based on location, company, years of experience, and certifications and training. Also, unionized jobs often offer even high pay averages.
5. Build experience
Operating heavy construction equipment and machinery allows you to become a more experienced truck driver.
The more experienced you are, as a truck driver, the higher chances of employment you have and more job opportunities come your way.
Operating a dump truck may make room for future opportunities with other construction companies on other construction equipment like earthmovers or diggers.
Some construction companies pay for the driver's certification because construction site drivers may need more skills than regular OTR truck drivers.
The cons of a dump truck career
1. The driving routine is lonely and repetitive
Dump truck drivers don't have the advantage of seeing the country out on the road as OTR truckers do. They are alone most of their time because it's a single-person line of work.
At the same time, dump truck drivers may need to repeat the same route as many times as they can during a day of work. They may repeat the same route several times in a day.
During the workday, dump truck drivers don't have human contact if only the signals from the site boss directing the traffic.
2. Uncertain job schedules
The dump truck jobs can dry up during different seasons of the year depending on your region.
For example, a lot of construction work is done during summer.
If you live in a northern state or a Canadian province, you may expect to lose time during the winter.
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.
3. Inconsistent job offerings
Independent dump truck drivers may have periods of work lapse or difficulty finding their next job.
Establishing good connections throughout the industry is helpful since many drivers rely on companies they've worked with previously to find jobs.
4. Lack of comfort
Dump truck drivers perform work on different worksites outdoors in all kinds of weather.
Many dump trucks have basic features. They are designed to be rugged and they lack comfort features like A/C or heating.
If you have to get out on-site, you may find yourself in extreme heat, mud, or freezing rain. And such weather may go on for months at a time.