Dump trucks are always needed for hauling materials to and from construction sites and mines and disposing of waste. That’s why it’s a nearly $20 billion industry, and you could carve out a slice of that pie by starting your own dump truck business. As a solopreneur you’ll have a high profit margin, and you can use those profits to scale your business.
Starting any business is a challenge, and the first step is acquiring the right knowledge. Lucky for you, this step-by-step guide will deliver all the insight and information you need to develop and launch your own dump truck business.
Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You
Pros and cons
Every business has pros and cons that you should consider before deciding if opening a dump truck business is right for you.
- Regular hours – You’ll mostly work normal business hours
- Stay local – You won’t have to travel like other truck drivers
- Good Money – Profit margins are relatively high
- Seasonality – You may work less in the colder months
- Fuel Costs – Dump trucks only get 5 – 6 miles per gallon
Dump truck industry trends
Industry performance is tied directly to the construction sector; when construction activity increases, so does demand for dump trucks. The outlook for the US construction industry is strong,((https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20210817005412/en/United-States-Construction-Market-Report-2021-2025-An-Infrastructure-Bill-Worth-US1.2-Trillion-to-Upgrade-roads-Transport-Broadband-Finance-EVBus-Charging-Infrastructure—ResearchAndMarkets.com)) thanks in part to the recently passed infrastructure bill. With massive projects to upgrade roads, railways, and airports, the construction industry is expected to grow nearly 4% annually through 2025, according to market research firm Research and Markets, ensuring steady business for dump trucks.((https://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/5546599/construction-in-the-united-states-of-america))
Industry size and growth
Trends and challenges
Trends in the dump truck industry are:
- Bullish construction industry outlook raises demand for dump truck services
- New technologies, such as telematics management systems and pedestrian monitoring, improve the operational efficiency and safety of dump trucks
Challenges in the dump truck industry include:
- Shortage of qualified drivers
- High fuel prices
What kind of people work in dump trucks?
How much does it cost to start a dump truck business?
Startup costs for a dump truck business range from about $6,000 to $50,000 or more. The largest expense is of course the truck itself, which even used will probably run you $45,000. Your down payment could be as low as 10% of that total, or around $5,000.
You’ll need a handful of items to launch your dump truck business successfully. Here’s a list to help you get started:
- Shovels and other tools
|Startup Costs||Ballpark Range||Average
|Setting up a business name and corporation||$150 - $200||$175
|Licenses and permits||$100 - $300||$200
|Insurance ||$100 - $300||$200
|Business cards and brochures||$200 - $300||$250
|Website setup ||$1,000 - $3,000||$2,000
|Down payment on a truck||$5,000 - $10,000||$7,500
|Total||$6,550 - $14,100||$10,375
How much can you earn from a dump truck business?
Dump truck services tend to cost about $100 an hour, and when you’re working by yourself your profit margin should be about 70%.
In your first year or two, you could work from home and provide 20 weekly hours of service, bringing in more than $100,000 in annual revenue and more than $70,000 in profit, assuming that 70% margin. As your brand gains recognition, you might rent a commercial space and add more trucks and drivers, reducing your margin to around 20%. But if you’re able to provide 100 service hours per week, you’d have annual revenue of $520,000 and make over $100,000.
What barriers to entry are there?
There are a few barriers to entry for a dump truck business. Your biggest challenges will be:
- Truck – you’ll need to find and finance a good used truck
- Competition – most areas have a few established dump truck companies
Related Business Ideas
If you’re still not sure whether this business idea is the right choice for you, here are some related business opportunities to help you on your path to entrepreneurial success.
Step 2: Hone Your Idea
Now that you know what’s involved in starting a dump truck business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market.
Why? Identify an opportunity
Look at what dump truck opportunities exist in your area. Are you near any mines quarries or massive construction projects? Research dump truck companies in your area to check out their services, prices, and online customer reviews.
You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as waste disposal or residential construction.
Another option is to add a plow to the front of your truck and offer your snow-plow services for hire in the winter! This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away.
What? Determine your products or services
You may decide to specialize in certain types of materials, such as gravel or dirt, or you could offer to haul:
- Construction scrap
How much should you charge for dump truck services?
Rates for dump truck services range from $70 to $120 per hour, with an average of $100. Your main expenses when you’re working by yourself will be your truck payment and fuel. Dump trucks only get 5 to 6 miles per gallon of gas, so you need to be prepared for that cost. Later, your added expenses will be overhead and drivers, who are usually paid $20-$25 per hour.
Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.
Who? Identify your target market
Your target market is likely to be developers, contractors, and construction firms. You can find them on industry forums and business sites like LinkedIn.
Where? Choose your business premises
In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and may need to rent out an office. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on Craigslist, Crexi, and Commercial Cafe.
When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:
- Central location accessible via public transport
- Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
- Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
- Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Step 3: Brainstorm a Business Name
Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.
Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:
- Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
- Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better
- The name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
- Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
- Including keywords, such as “dump truck” or “hauling”, boosts SEO
- Choose a name that allows for expansion: “Jim’s Bakery” over “Jim’s Cookies”
- Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
- Use online tools like the Step by Step business name generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.
Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these.
Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that set your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.
Step 4: Create a Business Plan
Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:
- Executive Summary: Brief overview of the entire business plan; should be written after the plan is complete.
- Business Overview: Overview of the company, vision, mission, ownership, and corporate goals.
- Product and Services: Describe your offerings in detail.
- Market Analysis: Assess market trends such as variations in demand and prospects for growth, and do a SWOT analysis.
- Competitive Analysis: Analyze main competitors, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and create a list of the advantages of your services.
- Sales and Marketing: Examine your companies’ unique selling propositions (USPs) and develop sales, marketing, and promotional strategies.
- Management Team: Overview of management team, detailing their roles and professional background, along with a corporate hierarchy.
- Operations Plan: Your company’s operational plan includes procurement, office location, key assets and equipment, and other logistical details.
- Financial Plan: Three years of financial planning, including startup costs, break-even analysis, profit and loss estimates, cash flow, and balance sheet.
- Appendix: Include any additional financial or business-related documents.
If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist at Fiverr to create a top-notch business plan for you.
Step 5: Register Your Business
Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.
Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business!
Choose where to register your company
Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to a dump truck business.
If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state.
Choose your business structure
Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your dump truck business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely.
Here are the main options:
- Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
- General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
- Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
- C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
- S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just needs to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using ZenBusiness’s online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have.
Step 6: Register for Taxes
The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN.
Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.
It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.
Step 7: Fund your Business
Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:
- Bank loans: This is the most common method, but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
- SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
- Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
- Venture capital: Offer potential investors an ownership stake in exchange for funds, keeping in mind that you would be sacrificing some control over your business. This is unlikely to be available when you start, but if you eventually want to grow your business, it might be an option.
- Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
- Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.
Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a dump truck business.
Step 8: Apply for Licenses/Permits
Starting a dump truck business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.
You’ll need to obtain a Class B and possibly a Class A commercial driver’s license (CDL) from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits.
You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more.
You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.
This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.
If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.
Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account
Before you start making money you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.
Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your dump truck business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.
Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account.
Step 10: Get Business Insurance
Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.
Here are some types of insurance to consider:
- General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
- Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
- Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
- Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
- Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
- Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
- Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
- Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.
Step 11: Prepare to Launch
As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business.
Essential software and tools
Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.
You can use industry-specific software, such as ShipWell, TruckingOffice, or dumptruck Dispatcher, to manage your scheduling, inventory, staffing, and more.
- Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero.
- If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.
Some of your business will come from online visitors, but still, you should invest in digital marketing! Getting the word out is especially important for new businesses, as it’ll boost customer and brand awareness.
Once your website is up and running, link it to your social media accounts and vice versa. Social media is a great tool for promoting your business because you can create engaging posts that advertise your products:
- Facebook: Great platform for paid advertising, allows you to target specific demographics, like men under age 50 in the Cleveland area.
- Instagram: Same benefits as Facebook but with different target audiences.
- Website: SEO will help your website appear closer to the top in relevant search results, a crucial element for increasing sales. Make sure that you optimize calls to action on your website. Experiment with text, color, size, and position of calls to action such as “Contact Now”. This can sharply increase bookings.
- Google and Yelp: For businesses that rely on local clientele, getting listed on Yelp and Google My Business can be crucial to generating awareness and customers.
Take advantage of your website, social media presence, and real-life activities to increase awareness of your offerings and build your brand. Some suggestions include:
- Competitions and giveaways – Generate interest by offering prizes for customers who complete a certain action, such as the first load is free.
- Signage – Put up eye-catching signage at your store and website.
- Flyering – Distribute flyers in your neighborhood and at industry events.
- In-Person Sales – Offer your products/services at local markets and trade shows.
- Post a video – Post a video about your dump truck services. Use humor and maybe it will go viral!
- Start a blog – Start a blog and post regularly. Change up your content and share on multiple sites.
- Seek out referrals – Offer incentives to generate customer referrals to new clients.
- Paid ads on social media – Choose sites that will reach your target market and do targeted ads.
- Pay–per-click marketing – Use Google AdWords to perform better in searches. Research your keywords first.
- Testimonials – Share customer testimonials about how your services helped them.
- Create infographics – Post infographics and include them in your content.
Develop your website
Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism. They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.
You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.
Focus on USPs
Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your dump truck business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire.
Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its strong USP: “Fresh, hot pizza delivered in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your dump truck business could be:
- We haul anything, anywhere
- Dump trucks on call 24/7
- The most trusted dump truckers in “your city”
You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a dump truck business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in dump truck services for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections.
The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in dump trucks. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business.
Step 12: Build Your Team
If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a dump truck business would include:
- General Manager
- Marketing Lead
At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need.
Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent.
Step 13: Start Making Money!
With a dump truck business, you can start your own company with a relatively small down payment on a truck. With that and a CDL license in hand, you’re ready to start hauling!
It’s a nearly $20 billion industry and you can make a healthy profit, even just working on your own. Eventually, you could have your own fleet of trucks and a staff of drivers, and never have to drive those big loads again. You’re off to a good start by acquiring the relevant information, and you’re now ready to start on the road to a successful dump truck business.
Dump Truck Business FAQs
How much can you make owning a dump truck?
Dump truck services cost about $100/hour, so as you gain clients, you can make a healthy profit. Even if you just have one truck and work on your own, if you work just 20 hours a week you can make around $70,000 a year.
How much does it cost to start a dump truck business?
You can start with one used truck, which you can buy with an initial down payment of as little as $5,000. Overall, you should expect to spend about $6,000 to get your business off the ground.
What licenses do I need to start a dump truck business?
You need a Class B commercial driver’s license and possibly a Class A license as well. Other business licenses and permits may be required, so check your state and local governments.
How many dump trucks do I need to start a dump truck business?
One! You can start with just one and work on your own, or if you have the funds, you could acquire 3-4 trucks and hire drivers. Either way, you can eventually grow your fleet of trucks and build a dump truck empire!