How Much Do Dump Truck Owners Make?

October 13, 2020 | Elizabeth Oberg

Dump truck ownership is an appealing income path for a few reasons. 

Firstly, the national average salary for dump truck owner-operators sits at $130k+. Owner-operators have the freedom to choose their schedule with flexibility built into the job. You’ll get to choose the jobs you take, take a variety of jobs, and meet new people along the way. Finally, dump trucks do shorter trips than long-haul drivers, meaning they get to stay closer to home.

However, many factors affect the salary of a dump truck owner. While the average wage is six-figures, there is a vast range between the 25th percentile ($47,500) and the 75th percentile ($194,000). These wages still put most dump truck owners above the median salary in the US.

When considering your earnings potential as a dump truck owner, you’ll have to consider the factors that create the gaps between the lowest earners and the highest earners.

Whether you’re an existing owner trying to understand what factors affect your salary or a driver looking to become an owner, there are three key influences on your earnings potential that you should be aware of.

Key Factors that Impact Dump Truck Owner Income

Location

Average salaries can vary up to $40,000 between the highest paying and lowest paying states. Depending on your location, you may have an advantage due to a higher hourly wage. The states with the highest salaries include New York, Massachusetts, and Washington, all with an average higher than $140,000. The lowest salaries are in Missouri, Florida, and North Carolina. However, with higher wages comes more competition. Consider your skills and how effectively you’ll be able to promote your services within your local construction market if you’re a new owner. 

Don’t just look at your state, either. Some cities and metros like Fort Wayne, IN, and Columbus, OH pay very well even if the state-wide averages are lower.

Skill Level & Years of Experience

Training for a commercial driver’s license (CDL) usually takes less than two months to complete, meaning there’s a relatively low entry barrier. However, nothing replaces on-the-job experience. 

Not only will that experience make you attractive to potential clients, but you’ll learn ways to curb your costs. Experienced drivers can cut costs by choosing the right jobs, operating the truck efficiently, and understanding what it takes to maintain a vehicle. 

You’ll also build a reputation in your local market as a reliable driver. Your reputation will increase the demand for your services.

Truck Ownership Costs

Once you familiarize yourself with the costs of owning a dump truck, you’ll need to consider how ownership will affect your income opportunities. Used dump trucks can cost between $30-$40,000, with newer models typically selling for $100-$150,000. 

With financing options available, you’ll be able to pay for the truck over time. A leading funding company for truck financing reported that the average credit score for an approved transaction was 677. 

Depending on your credit score, the size of your down payment, and your vehicle’s cost, monthly payments will vary. 

In addition to the cost of the truck itself, you’ll have other ongoing expenses including:

  • Insurance ($6,750-$20,000/year)
  • Fuel (Depends on gas prices and mileage; assuming 3,000 miles, greater than $1,400 per week)
  • Tires ($1,000 per tire)
  • Inspections (As needed)
  • Department of Transportation fees
  • Registration
  • Taxes
  • Advertising your business

You’ll need to weigh your potential salary against your ability to pay for the vehicle itself plus the costs of ongoing maintenance, both expected and unexpected. 

You may find it helpful to calculate your hourly costs to run your truck with your area’s average hourly rate to figure out how many hours per week you’d need to work to have a lucrative business.

Beyond the Owner-Operator Model

While many dump truck owners are owner-operators, there are other ways to be profitable with your dump truck. You can lease your truck in between jobs to help close the gaps. Some owners own multiple construction vehicles or own a fleet of trucks to better serve the market and create more revenue opportunities.

Dump Truck Ownership: Disadvantages

While the salary and lifestyle can be appealing, there are some disadvantages to dump truck ownership to consider.

Seasonality

The construction industry is significantly impacted by weather and the seasons. Depending on your area, you may have to factor in weather-related maintenance costs when driving in the off-season. You’ll have to consider how the seasons will affect your ability to get jobs consistently.

Short Project Lengths

Many projects take days or months to complete. This means that you’ll have to be always on the lookout for your next opportunity. Finding jobs can prove difficult if you’re an owner-operator out on the job while also doing the necessary work to find those new projects.

Regulations

When you transition from driving to ownership, you’ll be responsible for more documentation for your vehicle, business, and projects.

Dump Truck Ownership Next Steps

Whether you’re a current owner or thinking of becoming one, you can take steps to succeed in your business and avoid common pitfalls.

Technology advancements in the construction industry have taken some of the most common pain points experienced by dump truck owners and created a platform to make your job as an owner-operator easier.

Software like TRUX can help you to be a successful owner-operator by ensuring consistent work in your area. 

You can maximize your earnings by using the platform to find consistent work in your area. Over 20,000 approved drivers are already using TRUX to connect with local work and keep their trucks on the road. 

As you build your reputation in your local market, TRUX makes sure that you can connect to projects that you may not have been able to as an independent owner-operator against larger companies with more resources.

Weekly payouts help you get your hands on your earnings faster and ensure that you don’t have to finance the expenses of gas, insurance, truck payments.

Interested in learning how you can streamline your owner-operator business? Let TRUX help you.

Quickstart Guide: Truck Owners

About The author:

Elizabeth Oberg

Elizabeth Oberg is the Marketing Director at TRUX. Since joining the company in 2018, she has worked to introduce new features to the TRUX platform -- helping haulers and contractors shape their businesses with the adoption of logistics technology. With over 10 years of marketing experience, Elizabeth brings her passion to this innovative tech platform.

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