Will You Be King of the Hill or Stuck in the Pits?
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.
- Will You Be King of the Hill or Stuck in the Pits?
- The Pros of Dump Truck Driving Jobs
- The Cons of Dump Truck 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.
The Pros of Dump Truck Driving Jobs
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.
If you can find a union job, you will have much higher earning potential. When you join the Teamsters Union, you can look forward to steady work and excellent benefits, often making more than $30 per hour.
Make Career Connections
If you want to find a way to get involved in the local construction business, your CDL is a foot in the door. Driving the earthmovers and diggers that load dump trucks are high-paying jobs. In states that require a CDL for heavy equipment operators, your Class-A or Class-B license will open up well-paid jobs in construction companies.
These outfits may offer to fund your certification on the heavy equipment in their fleets. The general rule is that the more skills you have, the better the opportunities that will come to you.
The Cons of Dump Truck Jobs
The Routine Can Be Lonely and Repetitive
Driving over the road can mean long days or weeks away from home. While you can have more regular hours as a dump truck driver, it can still be lonely. It can also be repetitive too. You don’t have the advantage of seeing the country out on the road.
In this kind of driving, it is more likely that you will make trips along one route, as many times as you can do in a day. You get in line and wait, pick up a load, drive to the dumpsite, return to the dig and wait again. Your only human contact during your shift might be hand signals from a site boss directing traffic.
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 work sites 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.
Geoff is a freelance writer with 20+ years of experience in driving trucks and buses, dispatching, supervising, and training commercial driving teams. His expertise is writing topics on the transportation and trucking industry, and information technology trends.
Rigoberto Quiles says
How do you become an owner operator of a dump truck???
David worthy says
Hey my name is David and I have a class A cdl no endorsement yet
And I will love to drive dump trucks one day I’m from Louisiana and I need some dump truck training any advice thanks…
Jim finley says
I’ve driven try actual dump for 30 years I drive-in the city of Philadelphia I work for a great company and love my job I came off the road to do this and it was a great move
Ken Abbott says
Good day Sir:
I’m a school bus driver in Central Florida- CDL CL “B” w/ “P” & “S” endorsements.
Coming into two-(2) slack months of school being closed and need a driving position for these months.
Having difficulty!- Any suggestions?
Rhonda Smith says
I came off the first from OTR to drivng a dump truck an yes the advantage of being him.he nightly is nice plusi get to see my family an friends more.
Allison Hughes says
Hello, I’m thinking of going to truck driving school but would like to transition to local or dump truck as quickly as possible as I recently got married and want to be home every night The school I’m looking into has a program for 11months of OTR as they will pay for the training if you contract with them for 11months.
Is it necessary to be an OTR driver to be able to get the driving experience to then be able to be hired by local company’s?
Samuel Eli says
For CDL training. elisamuel692 @gmail.com
Samuel Eli says
I’m interested in dump truck driving and I live in Virginia Beach Virginia I need something close to home to for my CDL.
Samuel Eli says
I’m interested in dump truck driving
Have you found employment driving dump trucks in the Hampton Roads area?
hi. my name is Orlando and i’m looking to become a dump truck driving. i already have my class b CDL’s, but need training in dump truck driving. please send details about the training, cost, location of school, etc. Thanks…
I’m looking for dump trucking jobs…CDL class A…(Rockford ill..area) 13 years ex.
Bobby Thompkins says
Is there a place where I can buy a dump truck that will allow me to pay directly to the dealer. Like a buy here pay here kind of business.
interesting blog on truck driving training the pros and cons were really helpful one should really read if they are going to pursue training in truck driving
Thanks Geoff. Good article.
Hello Geoff Craig,..my name is Kasey and I’m a 46 year old female that lives at the moment near Detroit Michigan and I was wondering what region you live at because I just game up 20+ years pulling what they call Michigan trains if you’re not familiar they are a set of two trailers 24-28′ trailers 11 Axel’s which holds 42 tires and legally without a permit gross at 162,000…and just so happens this my first week of actually running a dump truck a 28′ quad..and I’m just wondering what kind of trucking that gives you a experience and facts to write what you have if you could please respond I would appreciate it thank you for your time
..and just a FYI NO female and I mean NO female has pulled Michigan trains longer then myself ..ty Kasey
Glen salzmann says
Looking 4 part gym work dump truck. Ed dump 18. Or 10 wheeler experienced clean cdl.