View Full Version : dump trailer or dump truck

10-22-2005, 01:38 AM
what do you guys think. I am small time so do you think a dump trialer would be better or a dump truck.

Gravel Rat
10-22-2005, 04:07 AM
It all depends on what size dump truck you are looking at and how much weight you want to carry. To state one thing trailers are a pain in the azz if you plan on doing deliveries. A trailer is okay if you need to leave something on a site where you are filling it gradually.

Personally I would rather have a truck if you find a F-450 it will carry the most you really need for landscaping. A regular 1 ton is okay but you can't carry as much they are limited to 3000-4000lb payload.

A good dump trailer will run you 8-10 grand plus you need a good truck to pull it.

10-22-2005, 05:30 PM
I have asked myself this question a couple of different times now and I am asking myself again now while I am considering some changes for next year.

What do you plan on hauling? How much product do you want to haul?

The problem with the truck is that you cannot haul too much weight, legally. Unless you go with a 450, 550, or Chevy 3500HD your legal load capacity is less than 2 tons for most 1 ton trucks. This may be fine if all you plan to haul is bark, clippings, debris, and leaves but for rocks, boulders, and topsoil this is not much.

Another perk with a dump trailer is that you can haul a skidsteer/tractor with it. This may or may not be important for you.

10-22-2005, 07:13 PM
I will be using the trailer for everything from multch to dirt rock or whatever. The thing about the dump trailer is you can haul quite a bit and you dont have to pay the high insurance and license fees. you can also leave the trailer at a the customers house and they are not likely to complain. And like I said I am smal time so I'm trying to keep my cost down

10-22-2005, 09:20 PM
I was planning on buying a dump trailer for my business. However, they just can't haul enough weight for me. I do 90% hardscapes. On most of my jobs i would have to make 4.5.6 trips to get enough stone to back fill my walls with a 14k gvw trailer. I realize that with the direction i am going with my company i am going to adventually bite the bullet and buy a 33k gvw single axle truck. I think every landscape co should have a big truck in the fleet.


Gravel Rat
10-22-2005, 09:35 PM
If you want to haul enough weight you will need a trailer with a 12,000lb trailer like a Bri-mar deck over wheels model it weighs 3000lbs empty which leaves you with a 9000lb capacity. To pull a 12,000lb trailer you need a good truck so minimum dually 1 ton with good brakes and a good brake controller. If you want a dump trailer you really don't want a low profile one any loads you dump will be spread out way too much. You don't get much of dump angle so if you have a sticky load that doesn't want to come out you have to dig by hand which can be a little dangerous.

Like I said my preference is a dump truck as it can go anywhere if you live in a area like I do getting a trailer in and turned around on a jobsite is pretty much impossible to can't be done. The only trailers landscapers have is really light single axle utility trailers to haul lawm mowers. Contractors with bobcats and mini excavators unload the machine on the road side (public road) and drive the machine into the site. It could be 50 feet driveway to a mile long driveway.

Most of the landscapers have 1 ton dumps if they need larger amounts pay a excavation contractor 100 dollars for trucking and they will haul 12 yards of material to you. If you did get a trailer down some of these places I go even a 4x4 wouldn't pull a loaded trailer up the driveways it would do a 4 wheel spin. I have spun wheels with my 450 (2wd) with 7500lbs of gravel on the truck.

If your going to get a trailer with anything less than 10,000lb you might aswell buy a F-450 dump truck you can find 88-97 F-Superduty (450) anywhere. The F-450 is good for 6000lbs (legally) they can carry 8000lbs (illegally) which is enough for most landscapers if you need to haul more hire a bigger truck.

I don't know what your insurance costs for me its around 1200 dollars a year for me to insure my truck and I'am classed as a licensed trucking company. Most P/U trucks are not much cheaper they are around 800 dollars per year to license a trailer with a 10,000lb gvw and used for commercial use is 400 dollars a year.

If you have trailer heavier than a 10,000lb gvw you need a CDL you can drive a single axle dump any gvw up to 35,000lbs without a CDL. If you do pull a trailer on a regular basis you will be looking at replacing the brakes on the truck every 6 months the trailers brakes would be the same. The local guys with 12,000lb equipment trailers that carry skid steers and mini Xs are repairing their trailer brakes (electric) on a regular basis.

10-23-2005, 11:50 AM
A dump trailer works out best for us. Don't have to insure an additional truck just an addition to the commericial vehicle coverage. Its Bri-mar 12k GVWR. Legally has a capacity of 4T. We haul everything from stone to mulch to leaves. Dual axle 102" width, 4" drop axles so we use it often to transport heavy equipment (i.e. TLB's and mini-skids). Maintenance is MUCH lower than a truck. No engine to maintain. Just grease the wheel bearings, change the hydro fluid and keep the battery charged.

Yes, dump truck would excel in deliveries, but we don't do many...if any, deliveries. We can get ten yards of mulch into it...most of our jobs are in the 6-8 range so one trip. I'm not sure if the mason dumps (assuming thats what you are referring to) can get more than 4, maybe five yards in them (????).

Yes, the dump trailer can be a pain to manuever to certain sites...but overall the thing kicks butt for us and makes us some serious mulla. We also like the fact its easy to load the wheelbarrels directly from the dump trailer. Opening the back gate and the trailer is on ~2' off the ground so getting in and out to shovel is easy. A dump truck you are much higher. Just personal opinion. Let me know if you have any specific questions. We've had it for 3..maybe its 4 years now...I can't remember...LOL.

10-23-2005, 06:24 PM
Currently I have a 96 Freightliner FLD120 tandem axle dump with a 12 yd box and 54,000lb GVW. But it can be too big for some jobs, so I have been looking for a gooseneck grain hauler. Lots of little farmers around here have them, they are gooseneck trailers, beds are about 16' long, 5' sides, most have end dumps with electric release, hydro tilt bed, and 20,000lb GVW (tandem axle with duals). I am looking for one of these to come up for sale, I figure that it would be a good addition to my little fleet. THe GVW is high enough that it would legally be able to haul as much as a single axle dump (30-35K GVW), and with high sides of the bed I could put in 14-15 yds of landscape bark/chips.

10-23-2005, 07:05 PM
Team yamaha- On smaller jobs i don't see how it will be easier to work with that big of a trailer. But maybe it will work for you.

In about a year i am going to buy a big truck. I am leaning towards a 33k single axle with a roll off body. However, i am not ruleing out a tadem. I just need to decide if having a bigger truck on the smaller jobs will make up for not having to make two trip to the quarry or the supply yard on almost every job. Its going to be a tuff decision. Either way i will be spending alot of money. I am planning/hoping i can swing a new truck. It may cost me alot, but when you consider how many years the truck will last, it ain't much per a year.


10-23-2005, 07:25 PM
We own several trailers. 6 x 10 to 32ft 5th wheel. we have the trucks to pull them but always messing up the schedule with our work to unload a trailer or truck to hook up to dump to go haul the guys the skid, a load of dirt, or couple tons of rock. So this year I bought a used ford dump truck. Gas engine, new hoist, new bed, all under 5K. The things runs great down the road, empties great, but goes thru gas. So I guess it depends on all your needs but it serves us well, but with that there is more upkeep with the truck, inspections, insurance & lic cost are more.

10-23-2005, 08:59 PM
mrusk-I borrowed one of these trailers a few weeks ago, when hooked to my 03 F350 I found out that I can make it into some pretty tight spaces. I had to back up a driveway, across the lawn, between the garage and a fence, down a hill and into the backyard. There is no way that my dump truck would have made it, a single axle could have into the backyard, but it wouldn't have been able to get back up the hill. Plus if the job is any tighter that this one, then I just dump the load on the drive or in the road and haul it with a Bobcat.

I have seen these trailer used for 5K in good condition, there is no way I can find a single axle dump for anywhere near that price.

10-23-2005, 09:33 PM
I was looking at the bri-mar 20 gvw and the 14gvw big tex trailer. I like the idea of a dump trailer. Seems cheaper and seems easier to slip between the cracks if the dot is looking.

Gravel Rat
10-23-2005, 11:41 PM
If you are looking at trailers that large you still have to buy a 450 or 550 sized truck to pull it so there is no insurance savings.

The DOT around here picks on trailers more than straight trucks because the people pulling trailers are towing with a undersized truck with brakes too small to even consider.

Have you priced out one of those trailers for what you are spending to buy one plus you need to buy a decent truck to pull it with you could buy a used 5 ton dump truck.

If you are trying to hide from the DOT you shouldn't be hauling on the road because you will eventually get caught and your wallet might be a few grand short.

I really doubt a dump trailer would ever pay for itself and wear out your P/U truck you will try pull it with.

10-23-2005, 11:57 PM
Yes, remember the DOT. First day I drove our truck home - the seller said he never had a DOT lic. cuz it was under the weight limit. Ok, call insurance, get the truck licsened, go about normal business. Tear out sod job leads to a $300 fine. The DOT pulled us over, made us leave the truck sit until someone with Class D lic could drive home. She got for everything, no flares, inspection, to valid insurance card, (even though she did call them and they told her we called in a day ago) and she een put down "hauling cargo" on the ticket. Our cargo consisted of brooms, shovels, blower, rakes, etc. She had the fine up to $3800 and since I was stupid and didn't know all this stuff she brought it down to $300. So yes, understand the vehicle, know your truck/trailer and take the time to make yourself aware of what needs have to be followed.

10-24-2005, 01:50 PM
Anyone who trys to run under the DOT radar is an idoit. Wait untill you get in a accident overloaded and your insurance company walks away from you.


10-24-2005, 07:36 PM
If you are looking at trailers that large you still have to buy a 450 or 550 sized truck to pull it so there is no insurance savings.
About a month ago, I pulled across the WI DOT scales and weighed in at 42,830lbs (99 F-350, 36' tri-axle tandem duals, Cat D5N) They made me pull into the lot and came out to pay me a little visit. I could just tell by the way that they came out that they were just dieing to write me a ticket. But after killing the better part of 30 minutes and 2 more trips across the scale I was on my way again.

They figured that there was no way that I was legal, but they were wrong. I was actually under what I could have been hauling. The truck weight was 11,420 (truck has GVW of 11,500 and licensed for 14,000) trailer weight was 31,410 (traier GWV is 36,000 lbs and licensed for same).

But I was 100% legal and in the clear.
I really doubt a dump trailer would ever pay for itself and wear out your P/U truck you will try pull it with.
My 99 has been pulling loads ranging from 14,000-32,000lbs, but mostly 18,000-24,000 since about 10,000 miles, it now has over 240,000 and still going strong. I have had the clutch replaced twice, once at 80,000miles (stock clutch), and second at 195,000 (Luk, a highpeformance clutch). And my 03 has been towing 10,000-20,000 lbs since about 5,000 miles, and it now has 80,000 on the clock. I did replace the stock clutch at about 7,000 miles (replaced with Haisley twin disk), it got smoked really bad at a truck pull, started slipping at about 80ft and by 210ft it was gone, not even enough to drive it off the track.

10-24-2005, 08:25 PM
This threads going to get good! :drinkup:

10-24-2005, 08:36 PM
Well I Have 2 Mason Dumps And If I Need To Haul The Big Loads I Just Call One Of The Gravel Outfits Around Here And Have Them Deliver The Material,just Pass The Price Onto The Customer Because If You Need To Haul 25 Ton Of Stone Somewhere It Wont Be Cost Effective To Do It Yourself(toomany Loads With A Masondump).get On Name Basis With A Gravel Suplier So You Can Get The Material In A Timely Mannor And Always Call The Night Before To Get The Material When You Need It.as Far As Dumptruck Or Trailor Go With The Truck,try Backing Around A House With A Trailor..

Scottish LScape
10-24-2005, 09:23 PM
We have a Dump Trailer, A Mason Dump & a insert dump. I like the mason dump best, but the Trailer is nice to leave at sites with employees( ie. Mulching) and still have that truck on the road making payup with another job. But, it all depends on what your budget is! Insurance is much lower on the trailer vs. truck. Do you have storage for the trailer? Good Luck

Rich's LS
10-26-2005, 09:54 PM
I agree with Scottish LScape the trailer is the way to go.. You can even rent tractors and haul them in the trailer.

10-29-2005, 12:19 AM
If you are looking at trailers that large you still have to buy a 450 or 550 sized truck to pull it so there is no insurance savings.

The DOT around here picks on trailers more than straight trucks because the people pulling trailers are towing with a undersized truck with brakes too small to even consider.

Have you priced out one of those trailers for what you are spending to buy one plus you need to buy a decent truck to pull it with you could buy a used 5 ton dump truck.

If you are trying to hide from the DOT you shouldn't be hauling on the road because you will eventually get caught and your wallet might be a few grand short.

I really doubt a dump trailer would ever pay for itself and wear out your P/U truck you will try pull it with.well not really, the gross combined wieght of my truck is 24000lbs, so I will be good to go

Gravel Rat
10-29-2005, 02:05 AM
You do know trying to jobs with a dump trailer and a P/U truck is the mickey mouse way of doing things. If you need a large amount of material delivered higher a tandem axle to deliver you what you need.

What you guys don't get is your beating the crap out of a P/U truck maxing it out pulling a trailer. A P/U truck is a light truck it was never designed to pull a trailer on a regular basis its not a truck tractor. Legally you will only beable to haul 3-4 tons of material on a trailer pulled by a P/U a F-450 with a mason dump is good for 3 tons.

If I'am hauling for a customer its 50 dollars per hour with a minimum 50 dollars delivery charge a tandem axle dump truck carries 15 tons is 75 per hour. If the customer I'am working for needs more than 6 yards of gravel I will tell them hire a tandem. I'am honest right off the bat why would I haul a customer 8 yards which would require 3 trips at 150 dollars when a tandem will do it for 100.

If they want two different products say a yard of sand and a yard of stone they have no choice pay me the 100 dollars for delivery I would have to make 2 trips.

Only in extreme cases would a person hire me to haul them more than 6 yards which has happened where I hauled a customer 12 yards of material because a tandem axle truck wouldn't fit. Some places have access roads and the area where they want the material just big enough to fit a F-450.

Hey its your money if you think you are saving money hauling with a trailer when your replacing tires on your P/U ever couple months, the fuel you are burning and the complete brake jobs on the truck.

Take for a example if you maxed your P/U out to 24,000lbs here every hill you climbed would be in first gear (8% grades) you may have to put the transfercase in low range with the hubs unlocked for the lower gears.

The specialty gravel and topsoil supplier is a hour round trip away each trip would probably cost you 100 dollars in fuel my old 88 F-450 grossing 16,000lbs used to burn easy 50 dollars in gas making one trip.

So your burning lots of gas your wearing out your P/U truck fast so you still think your making any money hauling with a trailer ?

I work in the excavation business and I have been trucking for 12 years I know what it takes to get material to a site from 1 yard to over 100 yards.

When you are doing a job you don't fool around if you need material to a site haul it properly. Get it there in the quickest and cheapest way possible to get the job done.

A customer would be really pizzed if you charged them more to deliver a load of material in your trailer when they could have had a tandem axle deliver them the same amount or greater for less money. If your P/U and trailer will fit a tandem axle dump will fit in the same area.

You start cheating customers your name gets passed around that your doing crooked business and your pretty much done.

10-29-2005, 09:14 AM
I used to have an F-350, dually dump.

I "dumped" it for the 16' dump trailer I have now, for the reasons stated previously.

Minimal license fees for the plates, $16 / year vs over $200 / year.

Minimal maintenace fees. In the 8 years I've had this trailer I've only replaced two tires from nails. I've changed the hydro-oil once, replaced the stock battery because it froze.

If I get a job or want some material at my house, I just have someone deliver it if it's over what I can feasibly do it for. I say feasibly, because if I have the time, whether it be off-season, or other, and the customer will pay, I will certainly make the multiple trips myself.

However, if I'm under time constraints, or the customer is on the cheap and I can't get what I want for making the multiple trips, then I'll have the material hauled in.

All of the "lots" that I deal with, mulch, dirt, rock, sod, block, are within 10 miles of my house, which is where I do 90% of my business, so it's not a real concern if I have to make 3-4-5 trips as long as the cost is getting passed along to the customer.

I do deliveries with this trailer as well.

Here in MN, we do have much more room than you guys on the east coast, so it's not too difficult.

I sell firewood, so I'm always backing into alleys, short drives, etc.

The biggest factors if you decide to buy a dump trailer:

Check the height of when it dumps. My trailer, since it's 16' doesn't go up high enough, so if you've got dirt that's settled, or other material that's somewhat sticky, it doesn't want to come out of the trailer that easily.

Buy an electric/hydraulic jack for the front. It's a jack where you've just got a switch to hit and the jack comes down. The last thing you need to be doing is having to try to jack the front end of the trailer up with 15k of material still in the trailer. The first time that happens you'll be kicking yourself for not spending the extra $6-700!

If you're going to spend the money, do it so your life is easier.

Gravel Rat
10-29-2005, 03:55 PM
You guys only pay 200 dollars a year for insurance on a truck ?

A truck like mine is 1200 dollars a year and that is bare bones insurance plus my discounts. A 12,000gvw trailer used commercially will be 600 dollars a year plus you have to license your truck for the gross combination weight so if you can gross 24,000lbs the truck has to be licensed for that. You know what that would cost per year plus you need to get a motorcarrier number like I had to.

Then the DOT comes along askes where your CDL is for pulling that trailer you don't have it the trailer has to sit on the side of the road or you have someone with a CDL (trailer endorsement) drive your truck.

The DOT loves people with trailers as its a cash cow because 90% of the time they are way overloaded and the fines start rolling. It gets expensive when you have to bring another truck to take some of the load off the trailer.

Wouldn't that be fun trying to unload 500 or so pounds off the trailer because your axle weighs are overloaded.